What Smartphone?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by gleff, Dec 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    I've been a blackberry guy for several years. My blackberry bold is a couple years old, and I feel like technology is leaving me behind.

    The criteria I have for a new phone:

    1. Single device. It actually has to work well as a phone, not just as a handheld computer.
    2. Not an Apple device. So not an iPhone.
    3. What I like most about my blackberry is the real keyboard. My primary use is and will remain email.

    This is a business device for me, it's not a toy, but I assume there's a whole lot more out there than blackberry phones these days. And I may just be under a rock but I haven't even seen that much innovation with blackberry, is there very much new/better there than a couple of years ago when I got my last one? [Which was very much an evolution not a revolution over the one i got in 2006.]

    Advice appreciated!
    rwoman, Espan, Kalboz and 1 other person like this.
  2. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

    I'm interested in the answers here, as well, cause I think I'm about in the same situation. Also, unlocked international is on my list. (Actually, onboard keyboard less essential to me (as I'd carry a portable bluetooth or such device for heavy data entry...) but I don't want to hijack OP thread...

    Seems like first decision is Android Ice Cream Sandwich vs Microsoft Phone

    Welcome all advice/comments, as well
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  3. FlyingBear
    • Original Member

    FlyingBear Silver Member

    Blackberry certainly did not innovate much lately, but if you like their keyboard and it works for you, I don't see why you wouldn't pickup their newest phone with the same phone factor. They are not the "cool" company anymore, but their phones work well.

    Also, before going on a wild goose choice, are you limited to any provider? Have you tried any touchscreen keyboards? I was a blackberry user and moved to Android (Galaxy S) and typing has been a bit easier than expected, although still getting used to it.

    There are not nearly enough Android ICS out there to limit it that way, and unfortunately Microsoft has yet to provide enough variety of phones beyond Lumia that are of any interest.
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  4. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    Not limited by provider. I'm with AT&T since 2006, but there's not any reason why I need to stay with them.
    Kalboz likes this.
  5. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

    I'm pretty certain that there are Android phones in the Blackberry form factor (with a similar keyboard) which would give you the best of both worlds (albeit a the loss of some screen real estate).

    As an aged person, a large screen is valuable to me. I'll be replacing my original Droid 1 (with slide-out keyboard) next month and will most likely get a large screen phone with no hard keyboard. While I appreciate the separate keyboard it makes the phone much heavier and the on-screen keyboard is surprisingly usable.

    As far as I know there's only one phone shipping with Android 4 (ICS) and that's the Nexus that was released last week. Google has throttled back upgrades to ICS for previous Nexus models and I just had dinner last night with a Google engineer who told me there are a lot of problems with that upgrade.
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  6. Captain Oveur
    • Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    Given the criteria you list, I would stick with BlackBerry.

    The majority of these devices that are coming out are leaning towards things such as higher-resolution screens and video-capturing, "all-in-one" features such as NFC (electronic wallet) and 4G speeds.

    There are devices such as the Motorola Droid that has a slide-out keyboard, intuition says you don't need the rest of the stuff that comes with the Droid. Though you might be interested in the Droid if you want a higher resolution, and larger, screen.

    You were pretty clear in what you do (and don't) want. BlackBerry might not be the sexy thing out there, but if I were in your shoes and going strictly by your criteria, BlackBerry sounds like it is still the best thing for you.
    Kalboz likes this.
  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

    Not as devil's advocate or religious tenet, but why not an Apple device?

    I'm on my third iPhone, all upgrades by choice. I love it, if only for the wide range of apps and the clearer "fit and finish" compared to the manufacturers of Android devices. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Android or Windows Phone 7.5, but my iPhone experience has been CONSISTENT, and I like that if I buy a song/book/app on my iPhone, I get it on my iPad as well and can share it with others in my immediate family (Home Sharing).

    So, is there a reason you don't want an Apple device other than the fact that it's from Apple, who has the highest customer service/satisfaction rate in the industry?

    Lastly, as a business device, the Apple iOS wins over Android HANDS DOWN, especially for email integration (Android requires a third-party app for Exchange ActiveSync email) and VPN connectivity (automated provisioning, including Cisco, Juniper and F5 clients).
  8. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    No question that the integration between hardware and software is much more seamless with the iPhone versus the Android devices. I was a Blackberry guy for over a decade, but finally had to give up and move away because the newer Blackberrys were so poorly constructed.

    I tried 2 different Droids. The first one just didn't fit me, and I returned it within 24 hours. The second Droid had a slide-out keyboard. I stomached it for about 2 months. I had to have the device replaced twice because of hardware issues, and had numerous software issues (mostly just buggy annoying stuff).

    I switched to the iPhone4, which I think is the *least* functional of all the Apple devices. I think it makes a pretty crappy phone. But, the new iPhone 4S definitely moves this device up the "functional" scale for me. I'd say Siri types about 60% of my e-mails and texts.

    As mentioned above, based on the items you find important, I would stick with the Blackberry. For a hardcore Blackberry user, you're going to be frustrated by the software glitches in the various Android devices, and you will most likely suffer from shorter battery life. IMO, you'd be better off moving to the iPhone than an Android device if you HAD to move away from Blackberry.
  9. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

    You're right, and I should have specified. I'm not in a rush, and am thinking by late first quarter of 2012, there should be a few attractive new options in each of these categories, which is what I'm kinda waiting for...
    • Original Member

    TAHKUCT Gold Member

    Those are not the best Android phones.
    • Original Member

    TAHKUCT Gold Member

    If you can wait, there are several new Android phones coming up with a slide out keyboard.
  12. gleff
    • Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

    How long do I have to wait? :D
    TAHKUCT likes this.
  13. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    I had one of the Androids with the slide out keyboard (Droid 2, I believe). I was not pleased with it. If you've used a Blackberry as long as you have, you're a power user. IMO, the biggest issues with all the Android and iPhone stuff is that they're NOT built for power users. They're easier to use for a beginner, but the interfaces generally force you into more of a "wizard" approach.

    For example, I used to be able to pull my Bberry out of the holster when I got buzzed for a new e-mail and the screen would automatically pull up the new e-mail. Neither the Droid nor iPhone do this in the same way. On the iPhone and Droid, at a minimum you need to press a button and swipe (there is an app on the Droid that eliminates the need to swipe, but it causes other issues IMO), and potentially navigate through another screen or two.
  14. Art234
    • Original Member

    Art234 Milepoint Guide

    One important consideration is also the carrier...You mentioned you are with AT&T, and while the phone quality on GSM is not great, you do get international calling...Verizon on the other hand, has a limited choice of "world" phones, and I don't believe any of them offer LTE as yet.

    That said, while my work phone remains a Blackberry Storm 2 (I am getting rid of it as soon as my IT department can provision a new phone), I did get the iPhone 4S for my personal phone a month or two ago, and never looked back...I love it. While my work PC remains Windows, my personal computer is a MacbookPro, and I have an iPad as well, and have begun using iCloud...

    If your reason for excluding Apple is purely philosophical, I'd reconsider. I did a couple of years ago and am very happy....also FWIW, Apple service has been amazing.

    Happy Holidays by the way.
  15. mowogo
    • Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    I've tried HTC and Samsung Android devices, and while I like HTC better, I still prefer my old iPhone better, and will be switching back at the end of this contract. Blackberry is improving, but is a dying platform (BB 10 is probably the last major release the way RIM is going)
  16. Miles
    • Original Member

    Miles Silver Member

    You might consider Republic Wireless.
  17. doc
    • Original Member

    doc Silver Member

    Samsung Nexus! :)

    'Cept for the limited battery life, admittedly a concern, it is, simply put the best smartphone currently available, IMHO. The second worse feature is the camera- & its not bad & very, VERY quick! ;) Verizon only, BTW.
    Happy holiday! :)
  18. joejones
    • Original Member

    joejones Silver Member

    Actually, with the new iPhone operating system, one swipe from the lock screen will take you directly to a new email or text message (assuming you don't have a passcode lock). These show up as notifications on the lock screen, and you can swipe the item you want to unlock the phone and go directly to that item in one maneuver. Also works for calendar alerts, news alerts and some other apps.
  19. msny

    msny Gold Member

    The problem with most of Android phone is UI such as HTC Sense, Samsung TouchWiz, Motorola MotoBLUR and others which though useful to some but are major resource hungry and drains battery.

    If choosing Android, go with either of the Google Nexus devices. AT&T version of the new Galaxy Nexus should be available by end of January.
  20. joejones
    • Original Member

    joejones Silver Member

    And to answer the original question very succinctly:

    * If your phone is primarily intended for two-way communication, get a well-tested model of Blackberry.
    * If your phone is primarily intended for games or media consumption, get the latest iPhone.

    I am very happy with my iPhone 4S. It is powerful enough that I basically only need to use my home computer for writing documents now. The Retina screen is absolutely beautiful and makes any other electronic screen look like crap. Really great for reading news and e-books, too. But the soft keyboard is annoying when you need t unless you want to carry a bluetooth peripheral around.

    If you are just writing email most of the time, you basically need a simple and robust device with a fat keyboard, and the Blackberry line is still the winner in that department.

    The only satisfied Android users I know are people who never owned another smartphone before...
  21. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    This is still more steps than the current Bberry system for power users. For starters, the iPhone does not interact with a holster. BBerry holsters have small magnets that trigger the screen to turn on and default to the e-mail when you pull it out of the holster.

    Even with no passcode lock on the iPhone, you still have to hit the button and swipe after pulling it out of the holster.

    And, I haven't found a way yet to have e-mails pop up on the main screen reliably while using Exchange for your mail instead of Apple mail.
  22. moa999
    • Original Member

    moa999 Gold Member

    I'd buy a good 2nd hand Blackberry BB6/BB7 as you like.
    And then wait for the BB10 (or QNX phones) to be launched later in 2012 - based on the Playbook this will be a big stepup for Blackberry and open up android apps.
  23. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    Echo this. Can't stress enough that the Bberry is still head and shoulders above any other device for e-mail, IMO. It's also pretty high up on the phone reliability scale.
  24. joejones
    • Original Member

    joejones Silver Member

    You should not be wearing a holster unless it's for a firearm.
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  25. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

    To offer a dissenting opinion, my own personal preference (ignoring work affiliations) is with Windows Phone. Second choice would be latest iPhone. Third choice Nexus.

    -Has all the same main features as android/iphone (yes, a few quirks here and there vary, but basic things are the same)
    -Much much better usability compared to android. I'm a big fan of the metro interface; granted, this is a personal preference.
    -In general OS feels faster and more responsive
    -Excellent keyboard (still on-screen for bulk of the devices out now, but MS Research actually did a great job on the error algorithm. Technical reads - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/news/features/wp7keyboard-042811.aspx)

    With that said, a lot of this is very very subjective. You're likely best served by trying a few devices.

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