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Berry Picking

We tried out the new BlackBerry Bold from Research in Motion (RIM) a few months ago.Now we try out its three brand-new smaller siblings.

Kushan Mitra        Print Edition: April 5, 2009

There are some serious blackberry addicts in India. Vijay Mallya totes BlackBerry's new Bold. Within days of the new Curve, Flip and Storm being launched, thousands of people bought those devices. So are they any good?

Well, we’ve used the Bold and it’s big, bulky, powerful but too expensive. For the Flip, we’ll take the word of Jamal Shaikh, Editor, Men’s Health, who loves the device but says the battery could be better. For the 8900 Curve, we’ll use the verdict of Rohit Saran, Editor of your magazine, who bought the device within days of its release. And guess what? He loves it.

What about the BlackBerry Storm? The Storm, literally created a storm at the time of its launch on Vodafone UK and Verizon Wireless in the US with the units selling out in hours. Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton totes his in adverts. Yet, the army of America’s tech reviewers, including Walt Mossberg and David Pogue, found the device unwieldy, the “tactile” touch interface clunky and the device not a match on the other touch devices out there.

BlackBerry Curve 8900

  • Screen: 2.44 inches, 480x360 pixels
  • Connectivity: Quadband GSM, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, Wi-Fi
  • Size/Weight: 109x60x13.5mm/110 gms
  • Price: Rs 27,990 (Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone)
  • BT’s Verdict: The best of the lot. Not too big, not too heavy and not too expensive but very, very good!

Yet, despite the verdict, the device continues to sell well. Why? We used a Storm for a few days to figure out. Head-to-head, the Apple iPhone is nicer to look at and easier to use. But the Storm is an optimised e-mail device. However, I’m not a big fan of touch interfaces and the Storm’s “soft” keyboard could be better. If you want enterprise quality e-mail and a decent touch interface along with a good operating system, the Storm is essentially your only choice if you are a private user. Some Windows Mobile devices work well, but the ease with which you can configure multiple e-mail accounts on the Storm is still far easier.

I didn’t fall in love with the Storm, but maybe, as I use it more, I might like it more—by the admission of a Research in Motion (RIM) spokesperson, the Storm has a moderate learning curve. With the iPhone, though, even an idiot can learn to use it within minutes. It’s possible that the handset I received was an early evaluation piece that hadn’t been loaded with the latest operating system from RIM. The Storm is not exactly the cheapest touch-screen handset, but it costs Rs 7,000 less than the iPhone at Rs 27,900. However, it is a Vodafone exclusive in India as of now. But given a choice of the four new handsets, I would plumb for the Curve 8900. Nice size, nice keyboard, rather nice overall. But, as they say, to each their own.

RIM has also recast its distribution strategy to make the devices more easily available—BlackBerry devices will be retailed at mobile outlets in nine cities that will also sell certified accessories. This helps because service providers’ outlets are usually packed with people complaining or paying their bills. At the same time, following Idea’s tie-up with RIM, every major private telecom operator now offers BlackBerry services in India. What you will not see from RIM, though, are “BlackBerry Zones”, such as the large handset makers have. But what you might see is a lot more BlackBerry devices.

 BlackBerry Storm BlackBerry Flip 8200


  • Screen: 3.25 inches, 480x360 pixels
  • Connectivity: CDMA EV-DO, Quadband, GSM HSDPA/EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS
  • Size/Weight: 12.5x62x14mm/155 gms
  • Price: Rs 27,900 (Vodafone)
  • BT’s Verdict: Far from perfect, especially without Wi-Fi, but gives a decent touch experience.

 

  • Screen: 2.6 inches, 240x320 pixels
  • Connectivity: Quadband GSM, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, Wi-Fi
  • Size/Weight: 101x50x17.5mm/102 gms
  • Price: Rs 21,990 (Airtel, Vodafone)
  • BT’s Verdict: Capable device, but can’t help but feel that it is targeted at the glitterati!

 



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