Blackberry Curve problems (opis BlackBerry Curve)

I’ve noticed a number of Slovenian bloggers writing and tweeting about of BlackBerry 8310, which I guess is now available in Orto smart or something like that. For some reason these reviews are very positive and happy, so I’d like to provide some balance into the discussion.

Blackberry Curve 8330 (Sprint) vs. Blackberry 8800 (T-Mobile)
Image by nino63004 via Flickr

I’ve been using the phone now for 6 months+ as part of the business package that my employer decided to standardize on.

I’ll start by saying that the user interface is a horrible mess, with most things at unusual locations and well hidden. Unless you patch the phone with the latest firmware, it’s even worse. This means that you’ll be scratching your head clueless most of the time.

Also the most obvious things are missing. You can not send someone’s contact to a SMS number. You have to find the contact in address book, select the number, copy, go to the other menu in the phone, create a new SMS, paste the number and then send the SMS. A process that will take you a few moments and a lot of practice with the wheel and the command button before you manage to do this without starting to scream at the RIM (Research in Motion, makers of Blackberry).

At one of the conferences I actually met someone from RIM and asked them about this feature, and the person told me that SMS is not popular in North America, therefor BlackBerry is not optimized for usage. You know – just send that contact as email (something that you can do easily).

Blackberry 8800 with Google Maps GPS
Image by asmythie via Flickr

It’s also not possible to receive contacts via SMS. For some reason RIM decided not to play nice with other phones, so someone sending you Nokia VCF/contact SMS, will translate into lot of garbled text that you have to hunt out details out yourself and do big things with copy and paste again.

The other thing that really annoys me is that battery life is terrible. You get two days most, with most of the time being day and a half, just enough to make the end of the second day miserable because of dead BlackBerry battery.

While nice thing about BlackBerry is that it’s quite robust, it’s still pretty weak at points. The scroll wheel in the middle will regularly stop working, fall out or stop scrolling in one direction.

The application collection (remember, it’s a smart phone), is terrible with everything hidden behind random pages on Google. There are some nice apps like Google Maps, Gmail, Google Sync (starting to see pattern here?), Remember the Milk and TwitterBerry, but they all seem lacking any true passion from developers to make them really useful on the road.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 27:  Actress Taraji P. Henson arrives at the Launch Party for the New BlackBerry 8330 Pink Curve xxclusively from Verizon Wireless on the 15th Anniversary of Intermix on August 27, 2008 at Intermix on Robertson, Los Angeles, CA.
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I’ll end this rant (even though I have enough material for follow-up), with the fact that mobile browsing/data packages on BlackBerry are really slow. If you sit in a confrtable office in middle of Ljubljana, they somehow work (even though web browser can’t even do CSS), but as soon as you start moving around it becomes really slow. God forbid you want to visit any of the foreign cities, where something like Google Maps would actually be useful. Since the phone is GRPS/Edge only, the Simobil contract will put you on Vodafone roaming which is 3G in UK, which will make your phone default to GRPS. There’s nothing better then to be lost in London, late for a meeting (remember: you’re lost for a while now) and your BlackBerry Google Maps still doesn’t show you actual map because of the low GPRS speeds.

I won’t even start on a crappy 2 megapixel camera, that doesn’t allow good blog photography or the fact that even keyboard starts failing after 6 months with enter key mysteriously being pressed while typing, loads of empty SMS-es sent our automatically during night and no clear way to know, what is part of RIM roaming and when you have to pay data charges.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 27:  Television personality Kim Kardashian arrives at the Launch Party for the New BlackBerry 8330 Pink Curve xxclusively from Verizon Wireless on the 15th Anniversary of Intermix on August 27, 2008 at Intermix on Robertson, Los Angeles, CA.
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

While BlackBerry 8310 isn’t a complete Fail, it’s not something to be really exciting about. I also have some good things to say about the phone, but I’ll save that for a possible followup blog post. Right now I’m seriously considering switching away from BlackBerry mobile platform. I’m considering waiting for Nokia N96 or just go with now cheap N95, that actually has camera that works and is much better mobile machine (notice that I didn’t say iPhone here).

The fact that I’m considering switching from a company issued phone to something that I finance myself just to have a better life on a road, should speak for itself.

What are your experiences with BlackBerry? Am I just grumpy because it’s raining in London as I write this and my BlackBerry is on slow roaming, with battery that mysteriously died yesterday in a middle of the day?

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20 thoughts on “Blackberry Curve problems (opis BlackBerry Curve)

  1. Hi Jure, tnx for the pingback! Well, I agree with you, the interface is horrible. My first post was mainly about the aproach the provider did, even though I forgot to mention why I'm pitching it in my blogpost 😉 . I haven't jet posted a review of the usability but the user experience is really bad.

  2. You might also want to consider the Nokia E71; it's almost the same form factor as the BlackBerry, but it looks to me as a way more decent (Symbian) device. I've heard some good stories about it too and am oggling it myself as replacement for my Sony Ericsson m600i. If only it had a touchscreen 🙂

  3. My advice would be that you either wait for N96 and see what Nokia has to offer or choose one of the E series (E71 is sweet). Those N95s that I saw weren't withstanding the test of time very well… And battery life was also in the range of 2 to 3, maybe (sometimes) 4 days.

  4. Actually I saw N96 now in London. It's all about mobile video watching, so not the direction for me 🙁

  5. hm, for SMS you just find contact in Compose press BB key and choose Send SMS? 🙂 no copying of number 🙂

    P.S. thanks for linking.

  6. I'll vouch for the N95. It does suffer some of the same problems though:

    – Battery life is poor (3-4 days max). This is typical of most 'smartphones'. Solution: simply charge it every night. I bought a charger for in the car, for the holidays.

    – You'd hate the interfaces. Yes, multiple, because you've got a mirad of ways to start any application. They all suck.

    Then again, being a Euro-phone the N95 doesn't mind SMSing. It also includes Nokia maps, which isn't as hip as Google Maps it does work disconnected. I tend to use it every so often, it isn't bad. I've had a few forced reboots in the half year I have the N95, not enough to be bothered about.

    The normal browser (Webkit-based) is OKish, but you can install Opera Mini which I've heard is much better. Email client supports POP and IMAP + encryption, which is good enough for me. In all the rest (HSDPA/UMTS, 5MP camera) it's a decent boring all-rounder. Plug in a 8G miniSD card, and you'll toss your ipod even, it's good on the music side as well.

    Then again, you don't want to email much with the normal keypad. If you email a lot with your Crackberry and seriously want to switch to a N95/96, get a bluetooth keyboard (or don't switch).

    Biggest plus for me is being able to code natively for my phone, or Java or Python. Geekgasm!

  7. My advice would be that you either wait for N96 and see what Nokia has to offer or choose one of the E series (E71 is sweet). Those N95s that I saw weren't withstanding the test of time very well… And battery life was also in the range of 2 to 3, maybe (sometimes) 4 days.

  8. Actually I saw N96 now in London. It's all about mobile video watching, so not the direction for me 🙁

  9. hm, for SMS you just find contact in Compose press BB key and choose Send SMS? 🙂 no copying of number 🙂

    P.S. thanks for linking.

  10. I'll vouch for the N95. It does suffer some of the same problems though:

    – Battery life is poor (3-4 days max). This is typical of most 'smartphones'. Solution: simply charge it every night. I bought a charger for in the car, for the holidays.

    – You'd hate the interfaces. Yes, multiple, because you've got a mirad of ways to start any application. They all suck.

    Then again, being a Euro-phone the N95 doesn't mind SMSing. It also includes Nokia maps, which isn't as hip as Google Maps it does work disconnected. I tend to use it every so often, it isn't bad. I've had a few forced reboots in the half year I have the N95, not enough to be bothered about.

    The normal browser (Webkit-based) is OKish, but you can install Opera Mini which I've heard is much better. Email client supports POP and IMAP + encryption, which is good enough for me. In all the rest (HSDPA/UMTS, 5MP camera) it's a decent boring all-rounder. Plug in a 8G miniSD card, and you'll toss your ipod even, it's good on the music side as well.

    Then again, you don't want to email much with the normal keypad. If you email a lot with your Crackberry and seriously want to switch to a N95/96, get a bluetooth keyboard (or don't switch).

    Biggest plus for me is being able to code natively for my phone, or Java or Python. Geekgasm!

  11. That's broken by design. It should be part of the standard platform, not
    something to pay for!

  12. I don't think that it is a design flaw.
    I worked with BB tools and I have the highest respect for the Blackberry engineers.

    It seems to me that it is a design constraint dictated by a political decision from Blackberry.
    Don't forget that there is a direct competition between BB and Nokia and recently Nokia announced their own competing email service while BB discontinued their support for Nokia business phones.

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