Having only seen pictures of the i-mate JAQ3, it appeared to resemble the Samsung BlackJack and the Motorola Q with its QWERTY keyboard beneath a small horizontal screen. When I took it out of the box, I found that it was larger than a BlackJack but smaller than a Q. I expected it to be another Smartphone designed to compete with the Black Jack and the Q, but to my surprise, when I touched the screen it responded. And, you know what that means—it’s a Pocket PC phone edition.
Now the JAQ3 had earned my attention. When I discovered that it also had built-in Wi-Fi, unlike the BJ and Q, I was an instant convert. Couple that with a 2.0 MPX, 4X digital zoom camera and stereo Bluetooth, and you have a real winner.
But those were not the only features that reached out and grabbed me. I realized how much I missed a scroll wheel and action button, which seems to be coming back. I remember my first Pocket PC, an HP Jornada, and how much I appreciated using it to navigate Websites and eBooks. I wonder if the Blackberry has prompted the return of the thumbwheel. The mini-USB connector earned my approval along with the nice spacing and feel of the keys. The black, rubberized case, which seems to be the rage wins my approval too because it feels good and makes for a secure grip.
Let’s take a peek under the hood where we find a ho-hum 200 MHz processor, which is a disappointment, and its lack of hunk can be apparent at times. The 128 MB ROM and 64MB RAM configuration is pretty standard nowadays, but one could wish for more. I am grateful for the inclusion of 802.11b/g technology to accommodate high connection speeds when available. While the Bluetooth technology is stereo capable, it is 1.2 instead of 2.0.
This GSM, Windows Mobile 5 phone is a Quad band device supporting 850/900/1800/1900 with GPRS and EDGE connectivity. Obviously, it does not support any of the faster wireless networks such as EV-DO.
Under the JAQ3 battery cover lives a 1250mAh removable, rechargeable Li-ion battery supposedly capable of up to four hours talk time and 150 hours standby. The JAQ4 has a 1660mAh battery that supports 5 hours of talk time and 200 hours standby. There is also a SIMM card slot under the battery cover along with a most inconvenient and not always responsive reset button. I really appreciate the optimism of manufacturers who place the reset button under the battery cover. But, I think they need to get a grip on the reality of how often it is necessary to reset a device after software installation and freeze-ups.
While the 2.4 inch 65k color transflective 320x240 JAQ3 screen may seem small, it is significantly larger that the BlackJack and will display more information than a Palm Treo 750 because of the higher resolution. The picture is sharp and clear, but the images are small and may be a problem for the visually challenged.
On a tour around the outside of th...