A Winning Pair of JAQs

i-mate introduced its first JAQ in the fall of last year. It was a lightweight Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC Phone Edition device with a spacious keyboard, but it was criticized by reviewers for being bulky and lacking integrated Wi-Fi capabilitly. Early in 2007, i-mate followed up with the release of the JAQ3, and has more recently announced the JAQ4, a Windows Mobile 6 Professional device that may be available by the time you read this review. Hens, we will cover both the JAQ3 and 4.

As you can see from the photos, the JAQ4 is slightly larger and more rectangular than the JAQ3. It also has a different QWERTY keyboard design: the JAQ4's 36 keys are slightly larger and more rectangular than the JAQ3's 39 keys. Both come with integrated Wi-Fi, which should please the critics of the original JAQ. In addition, the JAQ4 has integrated GPS capability a 2,8" display (same as the original JAQ, but larger Lhan the JAQ3), and a 1660 mAh baterry. With both also having a 2.0 megapixel 4X digital zoom camera and stereo Bluetooth, the JAQ3 & 4 are a real pair of winners

The JAQ3 and 4 are pretty similar under the hood. Both are: powered by a ho-hum 200 MHz processor. It's sufficient for most functions, but its relative lack of power can be apparent with processors-intensive applications. Both devices have 64 MB of RAM and 128 MB of flash ROM. This is a pretty standard configuration nowadays, but one could wish for more. I am grateful for the inclusion of 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, which accomodates the faster connection speeds supported by some hospots. Both have Bluetooth 1.2 (not 2.0), but it is stereo capable,Allowing you to use wireless stereo headsets to listen to your music.

Both incorporate quad-band GSM phones with GPRS and EDGE data capability. Faster data capability would be nice, but as is, they are usable almost anywhere in the world. Incidentally, you can use the JAQ4 for longer periods of time, thanks to its 1660 mAh battery, which provides 5 hours of talk time and 200 hours standby (mfg. est). The JAQ3 has a 1250 mAh battery, which provides 4 hours talk time and 150 hours standby. These are unlocked phones, with means you can use them on GSM/GPRS networks world wide. The SIM card slot is underneath the removable battery.

In spite of continued improvements to the Windows Mobile OS, it occasionally becomes necessary to perform a soft reset on both devices to clear the memory-the equivalent of switching the device completely off and then on again. The soft reset button on the JAQ3 is placed-rather inconveniently-in the battery compartment. The reset button on the JAQ4 is more readily available on the outside bottom edge.

Both have QVGA (320x240 pixel), 65 K color transflective displays. The JAQ4's 2.8" diagonal screen is larger and easier on the eyes than the JAQ3's 2.4" screen. But both are sharp and clear- better than the screen on the Samsung BlackJack or Palm Treo 750.


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