The Samsung S8000 comes with the latest implementation of the TouchWiz user interface, which is basically a pimped up version of what you saw on the Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH. However here it performs quite better as obviously the hardware has been updated.
The handset has four different homescreens which you can fill up with widgets of your choice. In case you need a refresh, the widgets basically are handy mini-applications for customizing your handset.
Some of the widgets are more practical such as the calendar or the world clock, image gallery and the mp3/radio player, while others are just pointless but fun.
The transition effects are the biggest change to take place on the S8000 Jet in comparison to the previous TouchWiz handsets. You now get to pick between three different sets of transition styles all of which are smooth and cool-looking. They give so much life to the user interface and we almost never saw them lag (the rare exception is the photo contacts app which seems to take about half a second to open) - a commendable achievement.
No point trying to describe the nice transition when we can take the easy way and give you a short video.
Update: Some of the transition effects aren't present in the final version of the Samsung S8000 Jet. You can check out our detailed review article over here.
Making a sweeping gesture from left to right on the widget screen opens the Photo contacts screen. The whole thing mimics a 3D environment and shows pictures which you can use as references to your phonebook. You can scroll them up and down and dial or text the one you want. It's a trendy and cool interface, but we're not sure it's incredibly practical for everyday use.
Then there are several features that were not present on our device, but should be on in the final unit.
The 3D Media gate is an intuitive six-sided cube UI that you flick on screen for quick and easy access to six key multimedia features, such as Photo album, Music player, Video player, FM Radio, Games and internet.
The Samsung Motion gate a.k.a. Motion UI featured on the Samsung S8000 Jet is Samsung's own motion recognition engine which brings you access to your multimedia favorites as well as speed dialing just by tapping, tilting or flipping the handset.
Samsung have also enabled the S8000 Jet with the Smart unlock feature, previously known as Gesture lock. It was first featured on Samsung S5600 and Samsung S5230. Smart unlock allows users to simultaneously unlock the phone and open a menu item or an application, or even dial a contact, just by drawing an alphabet letter on the unlock screen.
Each alphabet letters from A to Z can be set as a gesture by the user to perform the various actions in question. For instance, you can use it to start apps like the music player, messaging menu, the web browser, Java apps or the dialing keypad.
To complement the available GPS receiver, the Samsung S8000 Jet also comes with some new on-board 3D map navigation software Samsung Mobile Navigator developed by Samsung themselves. It makes use of the electronic compass that's on board and allows for vehicle and pedestrian navigation.
With the Samsung S8000 Jet Samsung also introduces their new WebKit-based Dolfin web browser, which is an in-house developed application.
The new web browser supports Flash and allows up to 5 pages to be open at the same time. Multiple downloads in the background are also supported and there is also an AdBlocker.
One-finger zooming is also quite advertised by Samsung possibly as a reaction to iPhone and LG two-finger pinch zooming. Whatever the reason, we first saw that zooming on the original Samsung Omnia (image gallery and Opera 9.5 web browser) and we totally loved it.
The new web browser really sounds the part and we hope to see it soon in action on a more final S8000 Jet unit.
The new Samsung S8000 Jet has three different methods of text input. The first one is the traditional thing - typing on a customary (albeit virtual) 3x4 alphanumeric keypad.
Tilting the phone on its side automatically converts that keypad to a full-fledged on-screen QWERTY keyboard. The 3.2" display provides enough space for this layout, especially given that the number keys and symbols are in a separate screen that toggles on and off upon a tap. Typing is generally comfortable by touchscreen standards.
The final option is to use the stylus and write the letters on the screen. In general, handwriting recognition is very intuitive and in most cases got our scribbling right.