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Old 01-14-2010, 09:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
JJJJJJ
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Model: 8520
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Thumbs down Six 8220s in six months...

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T-Mobile has sent me five replacement Pearl flip 8220s since June. Two of the problems were the same as flapjack30 wrote about on 11-21-2009, in "The 8220 is garbage" (sorry, I'm not allowed to post links yet), but there've been lots more.

I'll start with the problems, then add some details, and finish with a surprising troubleshooting session with RIM. Bottom line: after so many replacement phones, as you can guess, my opinion of the 8220 isn't great...

- Two days after the end of the buyer's remorse period, phone #1 rebooted itself as I was listening to voicemail. I called T-Mobile to report the problem; as I did, the phone shut off all networks (mobile and Wi-Fi) by itself and the call dropped. One rep suggested that it was a bad battery, but another rep said I needed a replacement phone.

- I've forgotten all of the details on phone #2, but it wasn't too bad... I had it for a few months, and I had a data plan for part of the time (because it was required to get the rebate). One problem was that the alarms were erratic: sometimes they'd ring weeks ahead of time (say, an October calendar item would ring in August); other alarms didn't ring at all. I got occasional white screens with tiny writing in the middle, so small that it was unreadable; taking the battery out was the only way to fix these.

- Phone #2 (I think it was) had the most serious problem: when I'd pick up the phone to make a call, the screen would be black. Pressing keys didn't do anything. The phone had been dead for minutes or hours; clients who'd tried to call me got my voicemail. The only thing to do was to take out the battery. A T-Mobile rep said that a newer software version, 4.6.0.181, would fix the problem. (The version I had was 4.6.0.180.) Unfortunately, I couldn't do a software update from my computer because both of my machines (one running Windows XP, the other Vista) would freeze when I plugged the phone into them. So the rep authorized another replacement phone, which should have the new software version.

The new phone (#3) still had version 4.6.0.180, so I sent it right back for another replacement. The next replacement (#4) also had 4.6.0.180. At that point, a T-Mobile rep told me that there was no version 4.6.0.181 -- at least not for T-Mobile phones. Phone #4 also had a trackball that was hard to press. So, I sent it back... I still had phone #2.

- Phone #2 kept having black-screen problems. I eventually got to RIM tech support. The rep said he'd never heard of that problem; he checked with his colleagues too. So we re-installed all the software, etc. No help; the phone did it more -- from time to time, sometimes a few times in a week, other times infrequently. I asked clients not to call my cell phone anymore, and I got Google Voice instead. (A great free service, by the way!)

- Phone #2 finally did something that made me ask for another replacement. It was sitting in a shady spot, not being used. When I picked it up, it was quite warm to the touch: warmer than when it's charging. I wondered whether it might get hot enough to cause a fire? The T-Mobile rep authorized another replacement phone.

- Phone #5 had the same black screen problem. RIM tech support helped me re-install the software, etc. They also had me set logging in debug mode so that, if the phone froze again, they'd be able to see the logs and maybe find out why. (But see the surprising end of the story, below...) By this time, I'd given up on all of the apps; I was only using the phone to make calls, take photos, and set a few alarms for things I needed to do that day.

- I actually can't remember why I got phone #6. Maybe it was the black screen problem. Anyway, phone #6 had a defective camera; the right side of every photo was out of focus. (I do a lot of photography; it wasn't "operator error.") So I sent phone #6 back; now I have phone #5.

- I got a black screen a couple of days ago on phone #5. I called RIM tech support, and the rep walked me through the steps to download the log onto my laptop so I could email it to them. As it turns out, though, the log can't be downloaded while the phone is frozen... and taking the battery out (to fix the frozen phone) erases the log! So the rep had me reinstall software (for the umpteenth time), removing a lot of apps (including lots of built-in apps that I don't use), resetting the phone to factory settings. Then the surprising part:

He marked the case "resolved" -- even though we had no answer for the black-screen problem, and (for me, at least) not much confidence that it wouldn't happen again.

Although I really like the 8220's size -- and, though I don't use most of the BlackBerry features (I just want to make calls over UMA) -- it sounds like T-Mobile may allow me to swap phone #5 for a different, bigger model. I'm hoping for better luck on phone #7 (actually, #8: I had one 8900 before I got the first 8220).

Think twice before you get an 8220!

[Details: I got a new SIM card in June. I don't have a data plan or use text messaging. The only apps I use are built-in (calendar, camera, browser via Wi-Fi); I don't have any other apps installed. I don't transfer data from one phone to the next; each phone is factory-reset, and I keep my contacts on the SIM card. I use UMA calling all the time because I don't have good mobile network coverage at home... but the problems have also happened away from home, when I'm not on UMA. I have an 8 GB media card.]
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