O2 – Joggler review

electronic family organiser with touchscreen and media playback features
Photo of O2 – Joggler
£149.99

Described by O2 as being the ‘new fridge door’, the Joggler is a touch-screen device designed to act as a family organiser. Featuring an online calendar, it’s designed to be used as a hub for family members to keep on top of day-to-day tasks and chores.

Looking a bit like a digital photo frame, the O2 Joggler is a fairly lightweight, portable device, although the non-adjustable stand means it requires quite a bit of space. Most mantelpieces would be large enough to accommodate the Joggler and this would also mean it could be in a prominent position for all to access. Unfortunately, there’s no scope for wall-mounting the device.

Set-up is fairly simple, although we got a little frustrated with how long it took for the device to kickstart. With no indication it was loading and only an ‘Open Peak’ logo greeting us for a good minute, a ‘loading’ icon would have been appreciated. There’s no power button on the Joggler so you’d need to keep the device plugged in.

If you don’t use the device within a set period of time a screensaver kicks into action. There’s a choice of two different clock types for this, or alternatively you can make it display a photo slideshow. This is a handy option as it essentially means the O2 Joggler doubles up as a digital photo frame and, using the USB port, you can easily add favourite shots like holiday snaps into the device’s memory.

The O2 Joggler can work wirelessly with your wireless broadband connection and it’s also easy to access a local Wi-Fi network using the ‘Connect and Play’ option within the Joggler’s ‘Tools’ settings. If you don’t have a wireless broadband set-up, though, O2 also bundles in an Ethernet cable. This isn’t very long, so you may still have to kit yourself up with an extension cable if you would prefer to keep it in a more prominent position.

By far the most handy feature of the O2 Joggler is it’s O2 calendar compatibility. You don’t need to be an existing O2 customer to make use of the O2 calendar. Through this, it’s possible to set up events and add reminders such as doctor’s appointments, either online at the O2 website or by adding an event using the simple QWERTY touchscreen keyboard on the Joggler.

It’s also possible to set up text reminders either one hour, one day or one week before, although this is only free to calendar members who use a mobile phone on the O2 network. O2 is also currently working on a text app that will allow users to send messages to and from the Joggler, although this is still under construction.

During our trials the text notifications worked on our O2 network mobile, although when trialling the ’1 hour before’ option, we didn’t get the reminder until nearly half an hour before, though this may have been an O2 network coverage issue.

Although it’s possible to add events directly onto the Joggler, in order to send out invitations to new members, delete calendar members or assign different colour profiles you need to log onto the calender online on the O2 website.

As mentioned above, there are plans to introduce a text app to the Joggler, and there’s also currently a radio icon that’s labelled with a ‘coming soon’ note so it looks as if DAB compatibility is just around the corner.

Capable of playing common audio files types including MP3, WAV and WMA (but not iTunes music files) it’s easy enough to access your music files stored on the Joggler’s 1GB of internal memory, and just as with photos, you can add tunes by selecting them from a USB device. The internal speakers are very tinny and don’t deliver the best quality sound but there’s an audio-out port on the rear if you want to use your own portable speakers.

O2 has also confirmed it’s working on dedicated speakers that will be fully compatible with the Joggler. This would also benefit video playback, for which the Joggler can play a range of file types including MPEG, WMV and DivX.

For general browsing purposes it’s possible to read up on news, sports or check the weather throughout the UK and major worldwide destinations. Don’t expect anything too insightful, though; the information is very brief and only really good for occasional browsing. It’s a shame you can’t use the weather app to run as a screensaver as we can imagine the benefits this might bring at a quick glance.

Finally, the ‘Traffic’ app allows you access traffic updates from Trafficmaster. Although you have to pay to hear live traffic info, it’s possible to quickly glance at warnings of traffic jams and the colour coded icons even show the direction of congestion. O2 markets this as being great for checking traffic details if you’re taking your kids to school, but as it’s not possible to zoom in any closer than seeing major routes such as dual carriageways or motorways, the usefulness of it for this purpose is debatable.

Company: O2

Contact: 08442 020202


Verdict
If you have a hectic schedule and a busy family then we can see how the Joggler may be useful. Not only is this a handy organiser, but it doubles up as a convenient device for checking day-to-day information such as the weather and traffic updates or acting as a basic media player. Possibly a little over-priced for its features, this is only likely to appeal to serious gadget lovers. After all, with free online calendars from the likes of Google readily available and bonus gimmicks such as text reminders only being available here for existing O2 customers, some may not find much use for this. There also seem to be a lot of 'work in progress' excuses at the moment. Additions such as radio and mail will be welcome when they get here and will increase the value for money, but it seems a bit cheeky expecting customers to purchase the gadget for nearly £150 when it's not quite finished.