Jive is no turkey

sammya920%20003.jpgThe ol’ Samsung A500‘s hinge has been loosening up the past few months, and finally in January the LCD backlight broke. It was $80 to repair, and $99 to get a brand new phone, and my contract was nearing an end, so it was a no-brainer.

I picked up the Samsung a920, aka the Jive. I spent a Saturday squinting and angling the darkened screen of my old phone at the sun to copy down my phonebook. This is the fourth Samsung I’ve had the pleasure of purchasing, and I find it fascinating to trace the design lineage. With every phone that is released, features are added, removed, honed and improved.

It’s called the Jive for a good reason. There’s the unlimited EV-DO Internet access (once you had a taste of its ~1Mbps speeds you’ll never go back), the intelligent voice-dialling, an MP3 player with exterior stereo speakers, mobile TV, uncrippled Bluetooth, a megapixel camera/camcorder with flash and an expandable memory slot.

There’s also a few fine adjustments that make it a pleasure to use. For example, you can now toggle vibrate and ringer volume separately. The phone contains both the flat and pinhole power outlets, so you can charge the phone with any Samsung charger. The grey rubber outlet plugs that graced the older Samsungs which eventually got grubby, rotted away, and finally fell off has been replaced with flush mounted, colour-matching, hard plastic plugs on hinges.

There are a few beefs, though. For example, the a920 now remembers multiple missed calls vs. the a500’s one, but then the phone doesn’t remember the __times__ the calls were received. The phone is relatively big – it’s actually slightly bigger than my last phone.

There’s another complaint other users have had – low battery life – but I suspect it’s because everyone’s been spending every uneventful moment surfing the web or playing __Doom RPG__ and __Zuma__, like me!

Bonus: My favourite Bell Mobility “pixel” ad, featuring the a920.

2 thoughts on “Jive is no turkey”

  1. Jive hits a sour note…and your pocketbook
    Kim Novak October 12, 2006

    Samsung a920 or cutely named the ‘Jive’, calling attention to its large speakers which offers music without headphones, is a total rip off. I’ve learned the bitter truth about my little MP3 belting buddy… you can’t get access or listen to any of your music without going into the mobile browser and your then being charged for every single second of listening, even when the music you are playing is already sitting in your phone.

    Yes my friends Bell and Samsung have teamed up to create a phone which lets them worm their way into your wallet even deeper. When I bought my phone I’d signed on for the unlimited browser access for $5 a month (I was warned it was going up to $7 the following month) and after seeing my first bill I vowed not to use the browse again. I bought the $20 memory stick so I could put my own tunes directly on my memory card, bypassing having to buy them off the browser, and then I called to cancel the unlimited browser and was going to even get rid of the mini mobile browser (included in my sign up plan) till I was told that without browser access I could not listen to my music because the Jive must go though Java to access its media player, but the service agent assured me that by keeping my mini mobile browser (100kb a month) I would be able to listen to my music as much as I wanted without going over… turns out he was wrong in a big way.

    So when my bill arrived this month with $14.10 and (looking back) over $5 dollars from last month I started to question what had cost so much, I went to my Bell dealer and asked what was I being charged for, he put me in line with the service people at Bell, she explained that I am charged for using the browser for the whole time I am listening to my music, not just when I zip through it to get to my memory card. I was shocked, here I’d bought the best phone (or so I’d thought) I could afford, with the idea that it would be useful with all its features, only to learn that I don’t use half of them, and the ones that I would use the most are riddled with hidden costs because of a design flaw Bell isn’t telling anyone about.

    And the ‘helpful’ Bell customer service rep’s advice to me was I should spring for the unlimited browser as she hung up with a cheery ‘Have a good day.’

  2. Thanks for your comment!

    About your overbilling issue: accessing the Music Store’s Player tab does not incur browser charges for me (after all, I can still play music when I’m underground in the subway or on an airplane).

    Only if you are surfing the Music Store’s “Store” tab and d/ling music will involve accessing the Internet.

    Regardless, you can also play your MP3s (and videos for that matter) through the Media Player if you keep all your music in the “/MEDIA” folder on the memory card. Media Player doesn’t use the Groove Mobile Music Store application at all, so it loads very fast.

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