i-mate K-JAM Pocket PC Phone

Advertisement


i-mate K-JAM

October 11,
2005

Review by: Adam Z
Lein
,
Senior Editor

Jump
to: PAGE 1 |
PAGE 2  |
PAGE 3


INTRODUCTION

Hot on the heels of the
release of the i-mate JasJar, comes the latest
Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC phone. The i-mate K-JAM
is basically a re-branded version of HTC’s Wizard
Pocket PC Phone. You’ll see the same type of device
under other names like T-Mobile MDA Vario, Qtek
9100, etc. This one is much more friendly towards
usage in North America since it supports quadband
GSM, GPRS, and EDGE where as the JasJar (HTC
Universal) only has triband GSM, GPRS, and UMTS
which is not currently available on any of the North
American carriers at this time. However, both
Cingular and T-Mobile currently support EDGE high
speed internet which means you’ll get faster
wireless internet speeds with a KJAM than you would
with a JasJar.

Read on for a look at every aspect of the device.



WHAT’S HOT

 


The i-mate K-JAM (HTC Wizard) is the first
Pocket PC phone with 802.11b/g support. It’s also the first
with Bluetooth 2.0 support, although the initial
release versions only do Bluetooth 1.2; Bluetooth
2.0 will be available in a ROM update. The K-JAM also
sports quadband GSM/GPRS and a slide-out keyboard…
all in a form factor comparable to the previous
i-mate JAM (HTC Magician)
Pocket PC.


Device (no cover)
Size (inches)
Weight (grams | ounces)
i-mate K-JAM
4.25″ x 2.28″ x 0.93″
160 | 5.64
i-mate PDA2k 4.92″ x 2.81″ x 0.71″ 210 | 7.40
i-mate
JAM
4.18″ x
2.31″ x 0.68″

150
| 5.30

4.70″ x 2.90″ x 0.70″
175 | 6.20
Dell
Axim X3i
/ X30
4.60″ x
3.21″ x 0.58″

138
| 4.80

5.17″ x
3.03″ x 0.59″
187
| 6.60
4.50″ x
2.80″ x 0.64″
158
| 5.57
4.48″ x
2.75″ x 0.53″
120
| 4.23
4.68″ x
2.95″ x 0.73″
190
| 6.70
4.57″ x
2.95″ x 0.63″
142
| 5.01
4.71″ x
3.01 ” x
0.65″
164
| 5.80
5.43″ x
3.30″ x 0.63″
206
| 7.26

    Click on any of the above links to view our review of a handheld listed. The K-JAM still remains to be a relatively small handheld.

THE DEVICE

(all images link to higher resolution)

Let’s take a closer look at the device
itself. The K-JAM also comes with a Mini-USB cable,
AC adapter, stereo headphones with talk button/mic/volume
control, vinyl case, extra stylus, software CD and
manual.


The keyboard looks great with its silver on black
color scheme. In the dark you can see the blue
backlight in the keys, but the lighting is uneven
which makes the letters hard to read.


    On the top is the Messaging and Internet Explorer
buttons with the phone speaker in the middle. In the
two corners of the speaker slot are LED light
indicators for bluetooth, WiFi, Notifications, and
charging status. Below the screen are two soft
buttons for accessing the menus, a 5 way directional
pad, an answer/send button, and an end button.


The i-mate K-JAM and it’s older brother the i-mate
JAM are similar in size. The K-JAM is definitely
thicker, but remains comfortably pocketable.


    On the left side you see the Communications Manager
button, the volume slider button, and a speaker
grill. If you hold down the Communications manager
button for a few seconds it will toggle the audio
mode between on and vibrate. This is a great way to
quickly switch to vibrate mode when going to the
movies or a meeting.


    At the top, you see the power button and the Mini-SD
slot. The power button is flush with the body and
thus difficult to find by feeling with your finger.
If you hold down the power button for about 4
seconds, the K-JAM will bring up a Yes/No dialog
asking if you want to continue with a full power
off. If you choose Yes, it will shut the device off
completely, meaning it won’t use the battery at all.
That means the device won’t wake up for
appointments, phone calls, emails, text messages or
anything until you turn it back on and boot up.


    On the right side, you see the camera button, a
soft-reset hole next to the infrared port, another
speaker grill, and the Voice Speed Dial button.
These buttons are also flush with the device, which
makes them difficult to press accidentally (say in
your pocket), but also difficult to find without
looking.


    On the bottom of the device is the stylus hole, a
battery cover latch, Mini-USB port, 2.5mm 4
connection headset jack, and a lanyard hole. The
stylus is pathetically small, albeit retractable.
I’m going to be carrying a regular-sized stylus in
my pocket and just leave this one in it’s slot.


On the back is a “Flash” light, reflection mirror,
and 1.3 Megapixel camera lens.


When you turn the flash on, it stays constantly
lit until you take a picture.


    In our stack-up, the i-mate K-JAM on top is
significantly thicker than the JAM. Here you see
from top to bottom; i-mate K-JAM, i-mate JAM, i-mate
Pocket PC Phone, and the Dell Axim X51v. The K-JAM’s
dimensions are 109 x 58 x 23.7 mm and weighs 160
grams.


The included case is nothing special. It leaves the
sides exposed and uses a magnetic closure. It also
tends to press the hardware buttons (if you don’t
have keylock on).




    The stereo headphones are a nice matching silver
color and the wiring is a very interesting silver
woven-rope style wire. The Talk button, volume
control slider, and microphone are on an in-line
plastic piece lower down the cord. There’s also a
little plastic clip that attaches the two headset
wires together. I imagine this would be used to go
around your neck somehow and keep any tugging
pressure off the ear buds headphones.

 



i-mate K-JAM

October 11,
2005

Review by: Adam Z
Lein
,
Senior Editor

Jump
to: PAGE 1 |
PAGE 2  | PAGE 3




INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

The i-mate K-JAM includes all of
the software improvements of Windows Mobile 5.0. I’ll
go over a few of the phone-specific Windows Mobile 5
features here, but I’ll focus on those added
features that i-mate has provided with 3rd party
programs.

The Comm Manager mainly handles WiFi power settings
and Bluetooth settings. It also has a button that
toggles the audio settings to vibrate mode. Then
there’s an ActiveSync button that simply launches
ActiveSync.

    The Settings menu at the bottom of the Comm Manager
gives you access to the normal Microsoft Bluetooth
stack settings dialogs where you can manage and
create bonds with other Bluetooth devices. The
software here is improved over Windows Mobile 2003SE
as there are no longer two Bluetooth settings dialogs.
You can configure COM ports and ActiveSync pairings
all from this dialog.

The WiFi Settings dialog is not very feature rich,
but it gets the job done.

The new Contacts program in Windows Mobile 5.0 is
very much improved. You can even sync Contact photos
with Outlook 2003 and Exchange 2003 SP2. i-mate added
integration for adding Voice Tags to each contact as
well.

Even contact specific ring tones are integrated with
the Contacts program. However, the ringtone settings
are not synced with Outlook, which means if you have
to hard reset, you’ll have to re-configure all of
these.

When someone calls you, their contact photo appears
as a notification window on the bottom of the
screen. Things run so much more smoothly with an OS
level Photo ID integration.

    The new Phone application interface is very much
improved. No longer are there blank buttons, and all
the functions are accessible from the Menu. That
means you don’t have to know the trick to turning on
the speakerphone. On the other hand, the directional
pad hardware shortcuts for accessing the Speed Dial
and Call History are no longer present.

The Smart Dialing add-on from HTC has been updated
to support the Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone application.

The Messaging application also uses Contact photos
for emails and text messages.

Unfortunately, the MMS integration is very lacking.
The interface doesn’t look like the other messaging
accounts anymore, and it doesn’t even use the
soft-keys for menus! i-mate uses ArcSoft’s MMS
Composer 3.0.7.11 here, by the way.

The Phone Pad T9 Predictive Text input panel is
included in the K-JAM’s ROM. The large buttons are
supposed to make typing text with one big thumb
easier.

i-mate has also included a ZIP compression program in
the K-JAM’s ROM. It’s obviously not designed for
Windows Mobile 5.0 though.


    My favorite new feature in the K-JAM is that finally
we’ve got the ability to Voice Dial via a Bluetooth
Headset. i-mate includes the above Voice Speed Dial
program from Cyberon. You can record voice tags for
calling any contact as well as launching
Applications. It works quite well except that
launching the Voice Speed Dial program does not
pause Windows Media Player so that it can hear you. You can also edit the registry to get
a different voice recognition program to launch via
the Bluetooth headset if you choose.

ClearVue PDF is included in ROM for viewing PDFs.
Also notice this application is not designed for
Windows Mobile 5.0.

The K-JAM also includes a MIDlet Manager.

There’s a little application for setting up your
Club i-mate email account automatically. This saves
you from having to enter all those Exchange Server
settings.

In the System Settings tab there’s a control panel
called “Clear Storage.” This will basically do a
hard reset and restore your K-JAM to the default.

The K-JAM comes with a nice version of Backgammon.

    Windows Media Player 10.1 adds a ratings
capability and fixes some bugs. Microsoft
apparently forgot to add one-handed user-interface support
to the Library navigation window. It’s still PlaysForSure compatible, meaning you can use DRM
protected content from all of the online music and
video stores except for iTunes. It can also sync
your storage and memory cards with Media Center 2005
and Windows Media Player 10 which I love. I’ve had
some issues with the screen toggle not staying off
when it switches between tracks. I really wish Media
Player gets updated in a ROM upgrade soon. After
I’ve gotten used to using the hardware buttons for
everything, it’s such a pain to have to use the
stylus for Media Player.

If you’re an

Orb
user, you’ll love the K-JAM. Not only does
it support 802.11g, but streaming live TV and Media
Center content via Orb over a 201Kbs EDGE connection
is quite smooth as well. Yep, watching TV on this is
MUCH better than GPRS!

Skype is also included in the ROM of the i-mate
K-JAM. However, I couldn’t even get as far as the
screenshot above. My version wouldn’t launch Skype
at all (even after a hard reset)! That will
definitely require a ROM upgrade at some point.


The Camera application is an
updated version of the one normally included in the
HTC manufactured devices. You can see there’s a new
button at the bottom for a Flash.


The camera has a 2.0 megapixel
upsampling mode. Click the above image to see it
full resolution. The quality is not much improved
over other i-mate cameras. The lens is not nearly
sharp enough.


Here’s a similar photo at the 1.3
mega pixel setting.


Here’s a sample photo in extremely
low-light conditions. I’m also using the flash on
this shot. The flash has an effective range of about
2 or 3 feet, and the pictures are still very noisy
and blurry.






i-mate K-JAM


October 11,
2005

Review by:
Adam Z
Lein
,
Senior Editor

Jump
to: PAGE 1 |
PAGE 2  |
PAGE 3




BENCHMARKS

Since Spb Benchmark from

Spb Software House
has
not been updated for use with Windows Mobile 5.0,
which includes many changes for increased
performance and battery life, we can only compare
Windows Mobile 5.0 devices to other Windows Mobile
5.0 devices. But even then, it looks like Spb
Benchmark isn’t very accurate.

    The Graphics index can’t be right at all. There’s no
way the K-JAM has better graphics processing power
than the Dell X51v.

    In real life, the i-mate K-JAM
with its TI OMAP 195Mhz processor is noticeably
slower than the i-mate JAM with a 416Mhz Intel
processor. If you’re downloading email over WiFi
while playing music in Media Player and switching
between a few other applications, the K-JAM will get
extremely slow, to the point of hanging. However, if
you don’t multi-task too heavily, you should be
quite pleased with the performance. It can certainly
play video in Windows Media Player quite nicely both
from the Mini SD card or streaming internet.

BATTERY
    We
tested the 1,250 mAh battery on maximum backlight during
normal usage with WiFi and Bluetooth on. The KJAM
lasted for about 7 hours 33 minutes. Turning down
the backlight and shutting off wireless when not in
use will give you over 10 hours of
usage. That’s some very impressive battery life.


HELP SUPPORT


i-mate maintains a very useful support website and
community for their customers.

Clubi-mate.com
has forums, live-support chats,
update downloads, software purchasing capabilities,
etc. all available to i-mate customers. The
live-support chat’s aren’t that helpful as the
operators tend to only give out cookie cutter
responses. i-mate also


BUGS AND WISHES


I think there’s something wrong with the Mini SD
card slot on my K-JAM. When using Windows Media
Player, if I pause/stop the music and shut the
device off for a while, sometimes when I turn it
back on, Media Player doesn’t recognize any Media
Library. If I go to the menu and access the library
again… then all is well. But it’s pretty annoying
that I can’t come back to the song I had lined up in
the playlist previously.

 


A lot of the third party software included on the i-mate
K-JAM was not entirely updated to support Windows
Mobile 5.0. There’s also an Antivirus program
included in the ROM which significantly slows down
the device. My version didn’t even install, so I
didn’t bother. You’ve also got Skype which wouldn’t
run… and the MMS client integrated with the
Messaging program, which doesn’t have soft-keys
support. It’s a bit of a mess having all these
legacy programs on the beautiful new Windows Mobile
5.0 operating system. Be sure to check out the

WM5FixSite.com
for updates on what
software is or is not compatible with Windows Mobile
5.0.


The K-JAM doesn’t have the automatic GPS management
in its ROM for some reason. Other Windows Mobile 5.0
devices use an OS native NMEA raw data processing
module which GPS applications can use instead of
developing their own. I’m not sure why it was
excluded from the K-JAM. That said, I was able to
get Intellinav’s iGuidance 2.1.3 to work very well.
Most other GPS navigation programs are still in the
process of updating their software for Windows
Mobile 5 support.


While the K-JAM finally lets you activate Voice
Command via a Bluetooth headset. The Bluetooth
headset voice command button does not wake the
Windows Mobile device up when it’s in your pocket!!
Hello!? So I have to reach in my pocket, turn the
K-JAM on, then press the voice command button on my
headset? I hope this can be fixed in a ROM update as
well. One very cool thing was that you are able to
change the Bluetooth Voice Command button to launch
any application with a registry edit. I made it
launch Microsoft Voice Command 1.5, which works very
nicely, but MS Voice Command does not close the
audio gateway when it’s done. I have to press the
Bluetooth headset button again to close the audio
connection when finished with my commands.


Also, the initial version of the K-JAM ROM only has
support for Bluetooth 1.2. It has been said and
assumed that Bluetooth 2.0 support will come in a
future ROM update (since the HTC Wizard hardware was
approved as supporting Bluetooth 2.0). I’m sure the
Microsoft Bluetooth stack needs to be updated to
support the A2DP profile as well. A ROM update is
also expected to support 802.11e/i.


There’s also an issue where WiFi sometimes can not
obtain an IP address from a DHCP server correctly.
It doesn’t seem to happen all the time, and a soft
reset tends to fix it. But again, a ROM update may
be in order.


I also wish the K-JAM had a faster processor. I
understand wanting to have very good battery life,
but I’m such a heavy multi-tasker I’d be willing to
give that up for faster processing.


There’s one thing that’s awfully misleading about
the K-JAM. Most people say it has 128Mb of ROM, but
what you don’t know is that only 47.46Mb of that is
user accessible for installing programs and storing
files.


Lastly, I wish it was thinner. I must be spoiled by
the old i-mate JAM’s size. I’d definitely be willing
to give up the keyboard for a smaller form factor.


PURCHASING



The

i-mate
K-JAM can currently be found at a number of online
retailers including

Mad Monkey Boy’s Gadgets
and
Expansys.
It’s selling for about $749 right now, but the price
may go down in the future. There are rumors that
Cingular and T-Mobile will be offering a version of
this early next year.


PROS



  • EDGE high-speed internet


  • 802.11b/g/e/i high-speed networking


  • Bluetooth 2.0 (coming soon)


  • Small form-factor


  • Great battery life


  • Slide out keyboard


  • Quadband 850/900/1800/1900mhz GSM


  • Voice Command over a Bluetooth headset


  • EDGE high-speed internet


  • 802.11b/g/e/i high-speed networking


  • Bluetooth 2.0 (coming soon)


  • Small form-factor


  • Great battery life


  • Slide out keyboard


  • Quadband 850/900/1800/1900mhz GSM


  • Voice Command over a Bluetooth headset


  • EDGE high-speed internet


  • 802.11b/g/e/i high-speed networking


  • Bluetooth 2.0 (coming soon)


  • Small form-factor


  • Great battery life


  • Slide out keyboard


  • Quadband 850/900/1800/1900mhz GSM


  • Voice Command over a Bluetooth headset


CONS

  • Early
    models have plenty of bugs in 3rd party software
  • Mini SD
    cards don’t have more than 1Gb of storage
  • Camera
    quality
  • Thicker
    than i-mate JAM
  • Expensive
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

This is my new primary device and I am
very impressed. I didn’t think I would ever care for
a hardware thumb keyboard, but I’m beginning to get
used to it. I’m still fine with Fitaly and
Calligrapher though. Is the added thickness worth
upgrading from an i-mate JAM? Well, I think the
Bluetooth Voice Command or EDGE support or added
WiFi alone would be worth the upgrade… instead you
get all of that! The added quadband support means
you can roam on more GSM networks, and the RF
reception is actually better than the i-mate JAM and
i-mate Pocket PC Phone that I previously used.

    I was a bit
turned off at first when I heard the K-JAM and HTC
Wizard was only going to support Mini SD cards. But
then I noticed a Mini SD card with 1Gb of storage
only costs about $75. That’s less than I paid for a
1Gb SD card last year. Sure, I wish I could get a
2Gb Mini SD card… and I wish I could swap memory
cards with my digital cameras, but I’ll get over it.

    i-mate likes to
be first to market with a lot of the HTC Pocket PC
Phones and with that, you’re going to get a device
where not all the bugs are entirely worked out. On
the plus side, i-mate will likely release ROM
upgrades very promptly to fix these issues while
other providers will wait to fix the bugs before
releasing their versions. So right now, the K-JAM is
a great device, but if you wait for some ROM
upgrades to iron out the bugs and add some more
features… then we’ll be talking about an excellent
device.


Advertisement
What's your reaction?
Love It
0%
Like It
0%
Want It
0%
Had It
0%
Hated It
0%
About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!