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Work finally got me my long awaited mobile phone, a Blackberry, which seems to be the norm for work phones, but me and the Blackberry are not getting on too well. So far the only advantage I can see with this phone is that it's mine - I don't have to give it back to work when the contract runs out in 18 months I get to keep it or indeed, what I am really looking forward to, selling it. I can't wait to be rid!
The best bit about the phone is it looks good, it's smallish, well smaller than my iPhone and also lighter. But, what it gains in looks it most definitely looses in usability. The screen is about 3x4cm and the home page displays all the icons on the screen. Below the screen are five buttons, in order from left to right is as follows: the button to make calls and send messages, the menu button to make selections, ie. compose text, reply to email etc., the trackpad button, which is used to scroll through the screen like a mini finger mouse and is optical or if pressed selects the function which is highlited, the escape button and then the return to home button, or if you hold for longer the off/on button. Under these five larger buttons are the smaller buttons of the keypad, which are in normal keyboard order.
The major issue I have with this phone is the "keyboard", it's just too small to type with! Even entering the password to unlock the damn thing is a struggle and I have really slim fingers. I just keep catching other keys. The numbers also anoy me, as they are on one side of the keypad integrated onto the letter keys and I find it a faff to use the numbers if I need to in a text or email.
I am used to using an iPhone, perhaps this is what I am always comparing it to, but then in affect the Blackberry is in competition with the iPhone, so should be compared. I keep going to touch the screen of the Blackberry to select something and of course nothing happens! The Blackberry just does not have the same level on personal interaction as my iPhone does.
The main feature of the Blackberry 8520 is that it automatically connects to wifi when it can, then switches back to mobile coverage when it can't find a wifi signal. So, for email and browsing purposes, when I am in one of my work's buildings the phone always picks up the wifi connection, which has its advantages as one of my offices is in a very mobile-signal unfriendly place.
The lesser features are the phone has "desktop" icons, where the apps are placed and things like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are already on there. I have not used any of these apps, it's a work phone and they are not necessary for what I do.
It came setup with an envelope icon for email messages, which is connected to my work email address, although because I struggle to type on the tiny keys I avoid checking my emails on my Blackberry.
The camera seems to be quite easy to use, just select the camera icon and off you go. They quality looks good on the screen (screen resolution is 320x240 pixels). I've only briefly played with it so haven't downloaded anything onto the computer, so I'm not sure how good the images are if they are blown up. The camera is 3.2 mp with flash and a 4x zoom, which I was surprised that the zoom is so good.
The text icon is a phone, but again I avoid texting because I struggle to type. I did find it rather amuzing that as a work phone, one of the easiest features to use in an email is an emoticon - perhaps I should text by emoticon instead as there is a really good selection to choose from!
There seems to be good multimedia features and formats on the phone, and it accepts a very wide range of video and audio formats. This version of Blackberry has dedicated media keys on the head of the phone, including forwards, backwards and play/pause. There is also a lot of storage space, which I will need for the downloaded content, of 526MB.
The phone pack comes with earphones and the sound which comes from the phone is very good. The phone has Bluetooth and integrated hands-free speakerphone. The pack also includes the charger, which like an iPhone charger is in two parts, the plug and the lead which can go into the plug or into a computer's USB port.
I would say its more durable than my iPhone, although I am not prepared to put it to the test! If dropped I think it would stand a chance of being ok, and it does have a sort of rubbery material between the front section of the phone and the back and battery cover, which slides off.
~Prices and Colours~
They seem to cost around £120 outside a contract, which is probably why they are provided instead of an iPhone at work, they are cheaper. It comes in black (mine is black), silver, purple, lilac and white.
I thought the battery was supposed to be quite good and it claims to have a standby of 408 hours or 4.5 talktime hours, however I have to charge it most days, and I am not spending anywhere near 4.5 hours a day on the phone!
If there is a battle of iPhone vs Blackberry then for me there is not contest, iPhone wins hands down. It has some good features and I can see that the price makes it more attractive than the iPhone, however it somehow just does not do it for me.
I will give it 3 stars, for the price it is good quality and has some great features however it looses two stars as they keys on the keypad section are just too fiddly to use.