Touchscreens are on something of a hot streak but, apart from the Orange Vegas and the LG Cookie, they tend to be super-charged, high-priced smartphones.

Which makes Samsung’s Jet something of a welcome change. It has a blindingly fast interface, nimble touchscreen and, crucially, compact dimensions that make the iPhone and Samsung’s i8910HD look like they’ve eaten too many apps.

Super screen

The fact that the Jet isn’t a smartphone doesn’t mean it’s low on cool features. First off, it looks great, using a high-resolution AMOLED screen – the vivid, colourful display Samsung’s phones have favoured of late.

And you can have more than one home screen – flick the main screen with your finger and it’ll scroll to the next one. These aren’t just wallpaper changes – you can configure each screen separately with Samsung’s widgets, which can be found in the dock at the side of the screen. There are more widgets easily downloadable from the, er, Widget Downloader widget.

Sometimes the widgets can be a bit overwhelming, in which case the curious 3D-cube button under the screen simply takes you in and out of the regular menu. There’s more than one screen here, too, and you flick through from one page to the next.

Spin the cube

If all these options aren’t enough, there’s another eye-catching way to use the phone. On the side of the handset next to the camera button is another button that launches the 3D Media Gate. This shows six sides on a floating cube, which you can spin to show the Music Player, Video Player, FM Radio, Games, Internet and your photos in Album.

It’s not strictly necessary – a regular menu would suffice – but it’s a neat way to access your media if you want. There’s a 3.5mm headphone socket, by the way, so you can listen to music with your favourite cans.

Find your way

The built-in GPS benefits from the speedy processor, too. Of course, it can’t speed up data download times, but it assembles the data into a map quickly. The ‘Dolfin’ browser also renders pages well, and allows you to have five tabs open at once.

Google Maps, however, looked less impressive than it does on the HTC Magic or iPhone 3G S (the speeded-up processor on the new iPhone, incidentally, isn’t as fast as the Jet’s).

The camera, at 5MP, is a decent resolution and there are two lights for darker shots. But the fast chip has not erased shutter lag, sadly.

Still, this Jet is a cool-looking touchscreen phone – we’re particularly fond of the translucent red stripes on the back – that’s ideal for those who don’t demand the smartphone powers of the iPhone 3G S and its high-powered foes.

Stuff says... 

Samsung Jet review

Small, responsive and easy to use, but lacks the power and versatility of a smartphone