As a reminder, I have been a long time BlackBerry user until I decided to switch to an Android device in June. After having 3 Droids in 4 nearly months, I decided it was time to go back to a BlackBerry device.
I have spent 30+ days using the BlackBerry Bold 9930. Through normal use, I have discovered that I love…and hate a lot about this device. Also, this process has reaffirmed the things I love and hate about BlackBerry in general. So to simplify this review, I have broken it into 3 sections: What I Love, What I Hate & What I Want From BlackBerry.
Before I jump into the review, let me give you the condensed version of the post I wrote giving my first impressions after 24 hours with the 9930.
-thin device, fits well in hand but is slippery and can be dropped easy
-lightweight with a sleek design
-attractive brushed metal frame
-love the sharp, bright touch screen with QWERTY keypad
-wonderful new graphics technology, much faster response in general…especially boot time
-great setup panel, helps get you to adding email and customizing the device right away
-battery door is a pain to open, must use a knife
-charging port is in a bad location
Now for the review…
What I Love
The design is rather solid. I really do enjoy the thinness of the device and the bushed metal frame. This device has a rather sophisticated design.
The look of the browser is fantastic.
Having a brilliant touch screen and QWERTY keypad is essential for me.
Battery life was decent. I don’t run a lot in the background other than UberSocial so my battery sustained decently throughout the day.
The microSD slot, where you can add up to 32GB of storage in addition to the 8GB built-in is great.
Wonderful call quality.
Let’s talk about BlackBerry Protect for a moment. This is a service native to the device that allows you to back up and restore your contacts, calendar, memos, tasks, text messages, browser bookmarks, password keeper and wi-fi profiles should your device ever be lost or stolen. For example, if you lose your device, you can use BlackBerry Protect from your desktop to view its location or make it ring. If your device is stolen, you can use BlackBerry Protect to lock it, change your password or delete all data from the device. I love this idea, however a recent article on CrackBerry has me second guessing the usefulness of this service as a way to restore a device, if the probably of fail is greater than the typical method of hooking it up and using the Desktop Manager.
What I Hate
BlackBerry should rethink the button cluster for volume up, down and mute. It was just a bad idea to put these buttons so close together.
The charging port is an issue if you desire to use your device while it charges.
The battery door is a pain to open. You must use a knife or something to pop it open to do a reboot or handle your memory or sim card.
Periodically the device freezes. The QWERTY keypad does not respond and neither does the touch screen. This is rather annoying when you are working on an email or using the browser.
I love the convenience key however it is located right where one would hold the phone when taking on it. It is an odd location for a button.
Because I have experienced Android and really liked it when it wasn’t malfunctioning, BlackBerry OS7 does not impress me. It is a huge step forward from OS5 and I never used OS6 but nonetheless, when compared to where Android or iOS are in development, it’s a regression.
The typical issues with BlackBerry devices is that they freeze or get stuck with the clock with the revolving hand and requires a battery pull. I personally hate battery pulls because you never know if you will get the dreaded white screen of death when your device comes back on. During this review period, I rebooted my phone 10+ times. I eventually stopped counting. As the phone reboots, it started to get hung up at about 3/4 of the way the status bar. After a few minutes it would progress and complete the reboot.
What I Want From BlackBerry
An 8 megapixel camera would have been optimal for this device. The 5 megapixel camera is really an insult to users.
Front facing and rear facing camera.
Easier OS updating process.
Fix the issue with freezing, slow booting and white screen of death. Why does it appear that every BlackBerry has a life of about a year? As reports from users are showing for this device, it’s just a few months before they need a replacement.
All in all, I would say BlackBerry is still a workhorse over a toy that is what I want. Honestly, I don’t care about having a ton of apps. I need email power with a streamlined way to view and send them. I hope BlackBerry focuses on the core of its devices, email, security…and BBM. This is why BlackBerry users are so faithful even as Apple and Android users increase. I really see the 9930 as a bridge device to something greater to come from RIM, so I am going to hang on to see what’s on the horizon. But hear me and hear me clearly, if I do not like the direction RIM takes, I will become an Apple user. After my experience, I will never touch an Android again.