Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The switch from iPhone to Bold

I've really tried to like the iPhone and for the most part, it's lived up to many of my expectations. However, there are a few things that make it hard to use for business:
  • Battery life. On a normal-use day for me (probably a heavy-use day for most people), I wind up recharging the battery at least once during the day and have to charge it overnight.
  • Signal. There still seem to be some signal issues with 3G service; I can stand right next to a co-worker using an original model Samsung BlackJack and he has full bars on 3G while I'm on a couple of bars with EDGE.
  • Keyboard. I've gotten pretty good at using the iPhone keyboard, but it still is limiting when compared to a real QWERTY keyboard (yes, I've tried the Storm with the haptic and although it's marginally faster, it's not really as good either).
I picked up a Bold last week and immediately took it with me on a business trip. Things that I like:
  • Contacts & calendars. I simply set up Google Sync and all of the information from my contacts and calendars downloaded to the phone and everything syncs in real-time. While I had configured this on the iPhone, Google Sync on the Bold automagically happens by simply downloading the app and entering in your account information.
  • QWERTY keyboard. I can fire off e-mails about 3 times faster than I could with the iPhone.
  • River of messages. Having everything -- e-mails, MMS, and SMS -- come into a unified inbox greatly improves my workflow. I've gone from being a minimal texter to a heavy texter as I use texting as a filter for importance.
  • Battery life. I'm only recharging it every other day under my normal use conditions.
  • Signal. Unbelievably good in areas where the iPhone wouldn't even have coverage. There's no option to shut off 3G, but the only reason I ever considered doing that on the iPhone was to conserve battery, which doesn't seem to be an issue with the Bold.
  • Call quality. People on the receiving end have commented on the voice quality, so it must be noticeably different (I didn't call myself from my iPhone and I haven't called myself from the Bold, so I really would know).
What I don't like about the Bold:
  • User interface. Apple and the iPhone blow everyone out of the water with this on every Apple device that I've used; nobody even comes close.
  • Applications. The BlackBerry's handling of applications is kludgy at best and there just aren't that many real applications yet. I miss a lot of the applications that I use to use on a daily basis, including applications as simple as the iPhone Weather application. I'll see what happens when the BlackBerry app store opens.
  • Media handling. Totally sucks compared to the iPhone -- I'm not sure anything handles music, pictures, and videos as well as the iPhone (except a Mac, of course). It does such a poor job that I travel with an iPod Touch to take care of these items.
  • Screen size. This is a total opportunity cost -- in return for getting a real QWERTY keyboard, I lose half the screen real estate that I had on the iPhone.
  • Rich e-mail handling. For the most part, the iPhone rendered e-mails on its screen the same way a desktop e-mail application does; the new BlackBerry OS does an ok job, but not great. Further, since I access my personal Gmail from the Gmail BlackBerry app (I accessed it via a Safari shortcut on the iPhone), there is not support for rich/HTML e-mails, which sucks.
Overall I think I'm happier with the Bold from a getting things done perspective, but there are definitely times when I miss the iPhone. Interestingly, the AT&T folks told me I couldn't move back and forth with my SIM, but I popped it into my iPhone today just to check and had no problems whatsoever (note that I don't use VisualVoicemail, but I'm guessing that would not have worked) -- I was able to make and receive calls, send and receive SMS messages, and access the internet. I'm guessing that my iPhone is completely unbricked, which means that I could probably sell it for a fortune, I'm just not sure that I want to at this point with the knowledge that I can bounce back and forth. I suppose if any of you wanted to make me an offer for it, I would consider it, but I'm not necessarily in active sales mode right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm making the switch from the iPhone to the Bold in the morning. I love the apps on the iPhone, but can't stand the on screen keyboard. I just wanted to see if you are still happy with your switch after a month and how the app store has turned out.