I sit here perplexed at what I have just done and why so many hundreds of thousands of you out there have done the same. I have bought a Blackberry. But you see what makes me in comparison very strange in doing this, is because I already have a perfectly servable and as I have now found out, far better phone – an Apple iPhone.
Contrary to popular belief I am not an Apple fan card carrying ‘fan boy’. Far from it, their iPad sits in my room doing little more than being a £500.00 photo frame. It is pretty useless, but I am none the less easy to sway and like shiny new toys to play with.
So what on earth you may wonder made me go out and spend so much on Blackberry? Simple really, I am a very curious person and while unlike the cat it has not so far killed me, it does often cause me to spend vast sums of money on needless purchases and otherwise cause be to make mistakes in life. I was curious about the hype of Blackberry, the device, ‘BB Pins’ and how well it handles emails.
I’m sorry to say it is all just that, hype. You see a Blackberry is really rather shit. Before I owned one I had always said that a Blackberry owner was someone who wanted an iPhone but could not afford it. It was a business person given it as a corporate mobile, or a teenager who had not the money to spend on anything more decent. Now I admit the fact Android phones have become much more mature and can compete (and sometimes do a better job than a iPhone) only the other day a friend got an HTC Desire and it is very nice to use. So perhaps a Blackberry user is someone who wants an Android phone – but can’t afford it. I honestly can see no reason why anyone could put up with using, or rate a Blackberry over anything other than a basic phone, Smartphone I isn’t!
Let’s begin by saying I have got the Blackberry Bold 9780 – It has all the usual features, GPS, WiFi and of course the famed email service (more on that later) and costs £350.00. I was expecting a lot, It delivered little.
First up is the fact that Blackberry want you to pay for their ‘Blackberry service’ which gets you the internet, push email and Blackberry Messenger. Let’s just look at BB Messenger for a moment. It (as the cocky salesman told me so excitedly):
“Lets you message any other Blackberry anywhere in the world for free!”
I then asked, why if I had unlimited text messages, and do not need to text outside the UK, would I need such which is after all not free* with my inclusive text messages I can text any phone, not just a Blackberry phone and this is free. He paused and looked down at his feet, a moment later telling me:
“Well most users are teens who can’t afford to top up all the time so BB Messenger is ideal”
I then asked about the email service. I was told how this was encrypted and no one could ever read them, and how the moment someone sent an email it was ‘pushed’ to your inbox on the phone in seconds. I nodded, but my iPhone does this for nothing, heck even my Mothers paltry LG for £20.00 gets emails on it, every 5 minutes so what makes a Blackberry special then? The best he came up with was a unified inbox where emails and texts are shown in one conversation.
*Blackberry services are charged at an additional £5.00 a month taken from credit loaded on the phone, the tariff you are on or as an additional charge incorporated in your monthly contract price.
But none the less, before long I was signed up, entering my card pin and parting with money to embark on Blackberry ownership.
It looks nice, sat on the desk – it’s little notification light telling me it is happily connected to O2 and will tell me at a glance if I have any notifications, like emails. I set up my email accounts and then run into the first problem. Anywhere outside the main context menus and you are taken back to the 1990’s in how things work and look. It is all black and white and frankly looks so, well basic and ‘cheap’.
Ahh but I was told you can spice it up with themes and applications from ‘Blackberry App World’. Now having used the Apple App Store, and Android Market Place (even once the god awful Nokia Ovi Store) I can confirm that Blackberry App World is the biggest load of old bollocks I’ve ever seen in my life. It is jumbled and clearly was an after thought at RIM (the makers of the Blackberry) where they needed an App store for all the non corporate out there suddenly buying their handsets. The pricing is all over the place and the applications all feel half arsed efforts of their Apple or Android counterparts. I know that is not RIM’s fault, but it is so clunky in how you get, download and use the Apps.
Let’s take for a moment, themes. So you want to make your Blackberry icons look akin to an iPhone? Sure that’ll be $4.99 and once you do this, what you get is a skin overlaid on the main menu and home screen, but the moment you go into, for example email, you are straight back into the basic black and white world of Blackberry. Even applications like Facebook where on Android and the iPhone make using Facebook easier than the main site, Blackberry have managed a mangled approach to things. The optical track pad, although customizable with its sensitivity is all over the place and constantly having to save or discard things you do makes the experience feel ‘broken’.
I could go on and on about the experience, but to sum up. It feels sold to hold, the keyboard is OK to use but requires more effort to push the keys than to touch as you find on a touch screen phone. I like the personalisation of sounds and notifications, the ringtones are not bad either and with a magnetic holster case a nice touch is it will sleep and change profile when in the case, but the moment it is taken out comes to life with perhaps a softer ringtone and the like that you’ve personalised. I am sure too it is robust and makes for a good phone to call people on, but other than that in my opinion is pretty much yesterday’s tech polished for today’s market.
Personally get if you want a phone to email and text on then get the Orange Rio. It’s £30.00 and a perfect clone of a Blackberry 8520 but has a touch screen and at least looks and feels snappy and modern.
How anyone could ever think a Blackberry better or easier to use than an Android phone or an iPhone is simply on another planet.