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Review: Samsung Blackjack II for AT&T

Review by Michael Oryl on Wednesday December 19, 2007.

samsung sgh-i617 blackjack ii · at&t · wm reviews · smartphone reviews · samsung news · wm news · smartphone news · michael oryl

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Core Functions

Samsung's SGH-i617 BlackJack II is a tri-band UMTS/HSDPA handset that also happens to support all four of the major GSM frequency bands. While it won't support the new AWS (1700MHz) 3G networks, like the one T-Mobile USA is rolling out soon, it will work on pretty much any other GSM or UMTS network in the world. The audio quality of the calls we made on AT&T's 3G network was fantastic, and the speakerphone performed equally well, being one of the most clear and usable ones that we have come across this year. The phone also supports AT&T's one-way video calling service, which is called Video Share. Samsung tackled the battery issue of the elder BlackJack model by equipping the BlackJack II with a massive 1700mAh battery, perhaps the largest we've ever seen in a regular phone. This helped the SGH-i617 to manage 5.75 hours of talk time on a predominantly 3G connection; a mighty impressive feat. Standby time is rated at 14 days, which seems optimistic, but the BlackJack II is easily capable of running for two full days with average use, something the original model could only have dreamed of.

The contacts system on the Samsung BlackJack II is well organized and very complete, something that is common to all Windows Mobile 6 Standard edition handsets. Most any imaginable piece of information can be stored in a contact record, from typical things like phone numbers, custom ringtones, and a photo, to more obscure details like "Government ID" and "Manager". The contact editor in WM6 isn't the best organized on the market, but it is able to get the job done. Contact searching is simple: you just start typing a name with the keyboard and the contacts list appears, drilling down further with each key press. First and last name can be searched for at the same time by adding a space to the search string: "J D" would quickly find John Doe, for example.

The profiles system on WM6 Standard devices is not amazing, but generally robust enough for most users to survive with. While it is not possible to assign separate ringtones to the different profiles, each profile can be configured in fine detail as to how it will interact with the user when it comes to phone calls, received messages, alarms, and other notices. Each individual type of ring/alarm/notice can be configured in a profile in various combinations of different vibration types and sound volumes. Windows Mobile 6 Standard also offers an automatic profile that will switch the phone automatically into vibrate mode during any appointments in your calendar, and then switch back to normal when they are over. The profiles can most easily be accessed from the Quick List, which is called up with a brief press of the phone's power button.

WM6 has a flexible speed dial system that lets speed dial numbers be assigned not only to contacts, but also to applications. Applications are linked to a speed dial from within the Start menu, by using the right softkey's 'menu' function. Once assigned to either a contact or application, a speed dial can be accessed by long-pressing the associated key on the keypad. Sadly, though, just as was the case with the original BlackJack, AT&T and Samsung chose not to include Microsoft's wonderful Voice Command speaker independent voice dial application. It can be purchased separately from Microsoft for US$39.99. Without it, or a similar 3rd party application, there is no voice dialing capability on the BlackJack II.

The Samsung BlackJack II supports traditional SMS and MMS messaging as well as email and IM. The included IM app integrates MSN, AIM, and Yahoo! messengers into one central location that is quite easy to use. The email support on the BlackJack II is also very good, thanks to the inclusion of Microsoft's Exchange Activesync system that can deliver push email as well as synchronize appointments, contacts, and tasks over the air - though not notes. When the phone is paired with an Exchange 2007 server, users can even search for messages that are stored on the server, but not the phone, which can be tremendously handy. The solid messaging app on the BlackJack II also supports regular IMAP and POP based email accounts, with all accounts of all types, except for IM, being handled by the main messaging application. Users can easily switch from one account to the next by pressing left or right on the d-pad. The BlackJack II can also be synchronized with desktop apps like Outlook by using Bluetooth or the included USB cable.

The HSDPA capable Samsung BlackJack II managed to pull down data at rates ranging from 650Kbps in average signal areas to speeds just shy of 1000Kbps in stronger signal areas on DSLreports.com's mspeed site. The solid 3G performance helps mitigates the fact that the BlackJack II lacks WiFi support. Like most WM6 devices, the BlackJack II supports a wide array of Bluetooth profiles that include A2DP stereo and regular headsets. It is worth noting that the BlackJack II lacks Microsoft's Internet Sharing application that allows the phone to be used as a USB modem.

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pelicano pardo @ 8:21:23PM EDT on Wednesday September 9, 2009

This phone is reported to have a faulty charge system that can suddenly die out without need of any physical mistretment. Mine failed after a few weeks and was marked "unrepairable". Very frsutrating at about a million colombian pesos.

gopalpandey @ 12:02:23AM EST on Wednesday January 20, 2010

in this mobile samsung sgh-i617 ,can i connect wi fi internet ?

Chuck @ 11:33:38AM EDT on Wednesday September 1, 2010

my son just gave his SGH-i617 phone, I currently have a SGH-A737 Slidephone. Can i swap SIMS cards and use the BlackJack phone? Can i use the Black Jack phone without getting an Internet plan? i would just like to use the phone and the textmessage options? Any Ideas?

abosede @ 11:24:23AM EDT on Thursday September 30, 2010

sadly myn fell into water.....

tsh85 @ 8:12:36PM EDT on Wednesday November 3, 2010

Yes this phone does have a faulty charge system. I had to go through 3 new phones before I finally got one that charged correctly.

No the Blackjack 2 does not have wi-fi capabilities.

Yes you can swap sim cards and use this phone without an internet plan. This phone works wonderfuly as just a phone and a text messenger.

bunny @ 10:01:38AM EST on Wednesday December 22, 2010

in dis mobile.........software has been coccepted.......

anils @ 9:31:49PM EST on Thursday February 24, 2011

i charged my phone but it is still off. i dont think it is a mobile.

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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