Well, one month ago, I got the newest ‘berry and after making sure that UPS would keep it at the depot so I could pick it up in the morning before I came into work, I posted a quick “first impression”. Now one month later it seems right to update the impression into a review of the pros and cons of the device.
First the cons:
- The convienience key that is det by default to voice dialling is way too sensiitive
- If you get trapped in Voice Dialing, you may have to do a hard reset to get the device running again
- On occasion, the device will seemingly run out of memory and you’ll get the “Propeller of Pain”, requiring another hard reset (pull the battery while the device is powered on fyi)
- There is a relatively small attachment size limit (about 2mb) for emailing, making it difficult to send videos longer than 30 seconds over email
- Fast, fast, fast – browser is fast, bluetooth is fast, email is fast, OS (save the PoP) is fast
- Great screen and speakers, making it a handy little piece of kit to show off some videos or songs for the family
- Captures video
- Decent size overall
- Speedy keyboard
- Good battery life (I can get 2 days of my mid level use – 30 messages in/20 out, 20 min gaming, 20 min calling 20 min browsing – with one charge, though I haven’t left it overnight and now the battery seems to have been well conditioned so I’m getting better times)
- OTA installs for a decent number of apps
- System wide copy/paste
- GPS is fast and accurate
So with these two quickly done lists, I think I have made the right choice over the iPhone – though I wish I had a nickle for everyone who says… Blackberry? I thought you would be an iPhone guy! I was originally worried that I would not have very many apps to choose from, but it seems that with the arrival of the Curve just over a year ago, the development community for the BB OS has started to grow quite a bit and I have a number of free apps that have made my device suit just about all my needs. And that last point seems to be what differentiates the ‘berry and the iPhone for me. The ‘berry is a true communication tool – you can find me on just about any Messenger (other than AIM, which seems to be network restricted) and over Mail and Facebook with ease and I can contact others the same way. Of the iPhone users that I know, most are using their device for games and surfing, even though the device is also capable of the same connectivity that the ‘berry is.
Incase you are wondering, here are the apps that I have installed (all free):
- Windows Messenger
- Google Messenger
- GPSed (GPS app)
- Google Maps (w/ streetview)
- Opera Mini (barely used now)
- Twitterberry (largely as a backup to Ping.fm and slandr on the borwser)
- gMail (to tidy up the mail box)
- Jotspot (mo-blogging)
- Google Sync
Since I got my new phone, I’ve been trying my best to make use of as much data as possible (within reason) every day. In part to make use of the massive 6GB that I have, but also to see what a “student” use of data might be. So, with my last bill, I saw that I used 40MB of data, up from the 20MB max that I used on the Pearl. So, it certainly seems that the old 25MB plans likely would not have worked on this phone, but it also suggest that with even heavier use of GPS and web on a BB device, a user would be likely pressed to get up beyond 500MB – without doing some serious uploading/downloading of files or tethering.
Here is a sample of my usage:
Pearl Typical – 1,550.00KB
Pearl High – 3,664.00KB
Bold Typical – 4,256.00KB
Bold High – 11,263.00KB
I’m hoping to break 100MB next month, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.
Well, I’ve spent a good part of the morning playing with getting everything back up and running as I transition between the Pearl and the Bold. So far, I must say that I am more than impressed – now that just about everything is working. The device is very fast, the screen is amazing and the OS – spartan as it is – does the job, as does the browser. So while it’s great to know what works, not that it does – what did it take to get things up to this point?
Well here was my experience:
- VMWare does not like the “loader” that the BB Utilities comes with – so I had to download the 4.6 software for the rather than using the disk. I grabbed a Windows laptop for backup and wound up doing the initial move from that machine.
- Actually moving the settings and information over took maybe 2 minutes. In the end this was largely a waste as it wound up that only a handful of my apps came over and those that didn’t grabbing them again was fast and easy. Some of them that didn’t want to install right away took a few tries to install – except for Flickr… it doesn’t want to play yet.
- Calendars and Address book didn’t move over! So I luckily was able to use Missing Sync to transfer (FAST) my addresses and the calenders synced up like a dream with Google Sync
- Calls are nice and clear, the speaker phone is very clear – this is really a great in room media player (it comes with ear phones) when on the road.
- Ringtones are not as easy to move over – the Pearl could use any file… the Bold not so much – edit – actually all I had to do was disconnect the USB cable
- Inserting the memory card is a bit tricky – be sure to up it in upside down and push all the way in.
I really think this device, the Nokias and the iPhone are really going to be game changers and with fast network access, I can see there being a shift coming in ubiquitous computing.
Well it seems that I got it more right than I thought – at least I beat the National Post to the idea as to how the iPhone and Bold are being marketed. While I was coming home today another thought hit me – the $100 price difference between the top end iPhone and the Bold would have got chewed up by a MobileMe subscription to get non Exchange calendar sync.
Well, after getting the slack jawed yokel effect from many CSRs at Rogers stores in Edmonton today, I decided to call into the call center – and after talking to the “top mobile seller in the country” who told me that I had to get a new number in order to get the device, got switched to a rep who was actually helpful. One hour and thirteen minutes later, I’ve got a package shipping out tomorrow morning with UPS (yeah I’m a little scared about that as well). Through the experience i found it amazing to compare the difference between Apple and RIM – essentially the old and the new guard of ubergadgets. Apple made sure that there were devices in stores (at least one I would think), and I’m pretty sure that RIM could as have as well, but they didn’t. Apple put all it’s cards on the table about price and features… RIM/Rogers… didn’t. Maybe this speaks to the markets that each company is targeting, and it certainly seems that RIM is not targeting first timers – a bold step indeed.
It’s official, this Thursday is the launch of the Bold.
Well, maybe for a few lucky people. I called today and the phone people were just clueless. I don’t know, after the iPhone launch(s) it seems that every other device out there should launch in the same manner. Everyone should know the date at least – if not from the retailer, at least from the manufacturer. But if we are not so lucky, we might see it August 12th.
Man, this blog is really turning into the “Summer of 3G phones” blog eh? But it looks like Rogers will be doing the $299 price that I predicted just over a week ago, according to another source.
As I was browsing the virtual aisles of the the App store last night on the iPod touch, I caught myself thinking … maybe I could live with some of the shortfalls of the iPhone, and in reality, if I really want to be using the device that likely a majority of students on campus will have in some form, maybe that should be the upgrade path for me… then I broke out of this trance as I realised that I had been playing Mahjong (yes the company site is a Blogspot blog, but the app is free, so what do you expect?) (App Store) for maybe half an hour without blinking my eyes. But after that I was thinking about it again and I really don’t know why (my Pearl is kick’n along just fine), other than the fact that I could reduce my monthly bills and make up for the cost of the upgrade within probably 6 months. Other than a lack of C&P and no unified mailbox system (or from what I can tell multiple signatures) – the iPhone is really the device to beat. But then again, with an iPod touch, I have most of those features anyway right? Ah to be spoiled by choice.
Fast forward a bit to this morning, I find in my reader that Boy Genius has gone and compared the two devices and the result is that they basically come out in a tie. If you need more business oriented features like being able to edit MS Office docs and manhandle a mountain of email the plus goes to the Bold. If you need the consumer oriented features of being able to show pictures and videos more than needing to copy and paste the occasional bit of info between one app and the other, the game goes to the iPhone. Dang it if this doesn’t make the choice harder… though maybe if I look ahead… the ability to show off photos and videos might really come in handy.
It seems that RIM has done well with the new Blackberry – at least according to BGR.
The build quality seems to be questionable, but I have a hunch that actual production units might be a bit tougher – but then again the review didn’t really describe the scuffing the device survived. But if you get a silicon skin for it, I’m sure it will survive just fine.
Playing now with the 2.0 version of the iPod touch, is really making me ponder which way to go with the pending upgrade. The app store is cool, but would really just be eye candy for me. The only reason that I can think of right now to go iPhone would be game – if the urge to play more than Ka-Glom or Texas Hold’em was outweighed by having SuperMonkeyBall available all the time, I might go to the iPhone… damn this confusion!