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Old 02-13-2009, 01:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default JC's impressions of the 8900 Javelin...er...Curve

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So, I got my 8900 a few days ago (Monday) and decided to give a review/blog of how the last few days have gone. It's now Thursday night and I just finished getting it all dialed in. It's long and blog-like so read at your liesure.

I left the 4.6.0.114 oem OS installed since it's a demo device from TMo and I needed to give some feedback to my IT department in exchange for getting the device. I didn't do a "switch device wizard" as I don't like moving any of the third party apps over from one type of device to another. It's usually best to install new versions of the same apps. With the big change in OS from 4.5.0.xxx to 4.6.1.xxx it's likely that they may not be compatible and cause issues on the new device.

So I made a backup of my data on the 8320 as well as the 3rd party apps (just in case.) Then I simply did an advanced restore from my backup and restored the important stuff like Messages, Content Store, and the bigger databases i have like calendar and address book and then activated on the BES.

I moved my 8Gb card from the old device to the new. Upon getting the device up and running and enterprise activated it seemed pretty snappy even with the original OS. Everything seemed to work ok with the exception of the media player and UMA. The media app would not scan the card properly and would not show my pictures, videos, music, etc. But the biggest headache was that once I fired up the 8900 on UMA, my 8320 would drop UMA. If I let it sit for a while, it would swap and the 8900 would drop and the 8320 would pick up UMA. I'd previously used two 8320's on the network with no issue. After trying new OS's this turned out to be an issue with my WRT54GS router (w/ latest firmware.) If i rebooted the router it would work for a while and then quit. So, I flashed it with the latest version of dd-wrt and that problem went away.

With the original OS, SlingPlayer didn't want to work. It caused resets and just was not a good experience. Also, any 3rd party app icons were smaller than the rest of the icons. I finally upgraded the device to 4.6.1.152 (and 4.6.1.163 yesterday) and things got much better. SlingPlayer worked, the icon sizes were fixed but UMA still had the multiple device issues and the media player would still not pick up my media. That's when I decided to reflash the router and the UMA problems went away. Now with the UMA problems fixed I could focus on the media. I decided to take my own advice and backup the card contents and reformat it in 4.6.1. I did that and added my music only and it all scanned and showed up fine. I added back all my other folders (lots of data folders as I use the card as a thumbdrive for storage.) After adding all that back, the media disappeared again. So, I started deleting folders one by one until the media would show up. Then I added them back one by one. I narrowed it down to two folders. They had mixed content including .jpgs for some of the programs stored. I also have a fltplan.com airport directory guide that uses a folder on the sd card for it's data. It's about 30Mb. That particular folder was one of the culprits. I fired off an email to the developer of that app and they replied the next day that they had seen that on the newer devices and it's a bug in the RIM OS. So, for now, I'm down that particular app.

Here's what I have installed:

BBFAQ shortcut
BBForum shortcut
BBNews shortcut
BBWap shortcut
BBLight
BBNotepad
BBWeather
BeeJiveIM
BerryAnnoying
CaptureIt
FlightPlan.com Airport Guide (works but causes media card scan issues
FoxNewsMobile
Google Maps 3.0.1
Docs To Go Premium w/PDF To Go
Poynt
Profiler
SlingPlayer Mobile
TeleNav



I reinstalled JiveTalk for OS 4.6...nice update and gives a global icon at the top of the home screen. Something missing from the older versions.

Poynt needed an updated version for the 4.6 OS.

TeleNav required an update to 5.1.0.131

All the rest used the same versions that I had on the 8320.

All in all, the biggest device software issues I had were the UMA, the media card scan bug.

Now for my thoughts on the device itself. It's very quick and responsive and the display is beautiful. The size is nice but just a tad small. I may need to just get used to this as it's just a bit smaller than the 8320. The buttons are a little stiff and the menu/escape keys are all one unit and it rocks back and forth for menu or escape. This makes these buttons a little stiff, as well, if you don't have your thumb on the outside edge of it.

The charging port is micro-usb instead of mini-usb. Combine that with the new location of the port and I'm quite disappointed with that. They put the port on the right hand side. I keep trying to plug it in on the left (old habits die hard.) The biggest problem with it on the right side is that it's right at the "p" key and it interferes with typing if you have it plugged in to charge and want to type something on it. It also doesn't fit down in my leather desktop stand I had for my Curve. When you add that to the fact that new chargers are necessary (or adapters) you end up with a big PITA.

The convenience keys ar move up higher and in my opinion are too high to be very "convenient." The lock button and the mute key are on the top which is fine but the angled top makes it kind of awkward to push them.

Aside from the location of the convenience keys and the charging port I really like the device and it's a joy to use. The OS is very fast and the built in GPS works very well and even picks up satelites when I'm in the house. The 3.2MP camera is awesome and the autofocus really does work well. After adding all my applications I still have about 120Mb free! No real need to JCMOP (John Clark's Memory Optimization Post) the device. I've left everything on it that came on it aside from unchecking languages I don't use in application loader when installing the new OS.

All in all I give the device a 9 out of 10. I'd give this device a 10 if it weren't for the location of the charging port and convenience keys. The only real noticeable bug I've encountered in the original OS is the media card scan issue so I'd say RIM did good with the OS out of the gate. Hopefully, they'll get that fixed soon.

Oh, and one more thing. OS updates are very quick. After the OS loads, the device has to reboot before the backup is restored. That reboot takes 20+ minutes. The 8900 does it in 6 minutes. It's great!

Here are a few pics. They are taken with my 8320 so they aren't that great.











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Old 02-13-2009, 03:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good honest overview. I myself don't really care much for the top lock key, just a mute would have been enough. Or it would be nice to map over to a camera function, that could be useful. I am already trained to use the "k" key to lock the keypad and another button that is easily bumped doesn't help me much.

Wanted to put my 2 cents in as far as OSes go so far. .152 I had issues with and it just wasn't as snappy as .144 I had loaded just before. I spent the most time with .144 and was overall pretty pleased with it, so now after headaches from .152 and slow boot times I'm back on .144.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice review John.

How hard was it for you to remove the pre-installed media card? I just about used every utensil I had to pry that thing out.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great review. Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Great review. I am waiting for mine and can't wait to play with it.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKyoo View Post
Nice review John.

How hard was it for you to remove the pre-installed media card? I just about used every utensil I had to pry that thing out.
I have a 4gb card coming so I haven't crossed that bridge. Any helpful tips are appreciated. Shoving the SIM card into its slot made me apprehensive about ever removing it. Since there's no locking mechanism I assume you need a knife blade to get it out.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Everything I see says BerryAnnoying is not compatible with the 8900. Is there one out there that is?
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Excellent review JC, I was waiting for your thoughts on this device!!!

I love the 8900, its a great BB!!
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tixxx View Post
Everything I see says BerryAnnoying is not compatible with the 8900. Is there one out there that is?
BerryAnnoying is working for me. It's actually the same one I had on my 8320.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks, I was waiting for that too. I'll give 2 thumbs up to the Bedside mode in the charging dock. I ditched my landline last week so tossed my $25 clock/phone and just use the $17 dock and the $200 phone instead. Just put it in there and the clock comes alive. Looks great at night, no blinky LED lights, and wakes me up in the morning (or with a call at night) just fine.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKyoo View Post
Nice review John.

How hard was it for you to remove the pre-installed media card? I just about used every utensil I had to pry that thing out.
Yeah, it was a little tough. I pull down on the latch, and then used my fingernail at the bottom left side of the card and it popped out. Not too bad but it's going to be a problem.

As for the sim card, yeah I had to pry up on the top and then use a very tiny screwdriver to push it up from the bottom to get it out. It's a nice tight fit which you need with sim cards. There have been many issues where people don't lock the sim cards properly with the old metal latches and get sim card errors all the time. I bet this fixes that problem!
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBigNewt View Post
Thanks, I was waiting for that too. I'll give 2 thumbs up to the Bedside mode in the charging dock. I ditched my landline last week so tossed my $25 clock/phone and just use the $17 dock and the $200 phone instead. Just put it in there and the clock comes alive. Looks great at night, no blinky LED lights, and wakes me up in the morning (or with a call at night) just fine.
Yeah, that's a nice feature. I do the same thing but I don't give up my regular alarm clock. I always set two. I woke up the other day to my 8320 on a black screen and it wouldn't turn on until I popped the battery. Not sure what happened (I streamed Slingbox a bunch that day) but I don't take chances with not waking up. I do find the clock a little on the bright side and I'm not sure why the keypad has to stay lit the whole time. Seems like they could make that shut off. They need to add that feature so apps like Slingbox will allow the keypad light to go off and leave the display on.

I breezed over the camera a little bit. The camera is VERY nice. It takes great pictures and the autofocus works very will. it's one of the nicest cell phone cameras I've ever seen.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Clark View Post
BerryAnnoying is working for me. It's actually the same one I had on my 8320.

Thank John
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Clark View Post
........I'm not sure why the keypad has to stay lit the whole time. Seems like they could make that shut off....
You'll have to disable "External Power/Charging" in BBLight for the keypad to dim in Bedside Mode.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great review. I also think this is an awesome phone. I am so pleased with it.

Last edited by TXLady : 02-13-2009 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Clark View Post
I do find the clock a little on the bright side and I'm not sure why the keypad has to stay lit the whole time. Seems like they could make that shut off.
My keypad is off on the Bedside mode. I think that's the main diff between it and the Clock mode. Also, I turn off the LED in the BS mode so I don't see the redlight flash when I look at the time.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I can't believe I missed this! Nevertheless, thanks John Clark!

You rock! This phone rocks! I love BlackBerry more! \m/
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:11 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Doesn't the trackball light or keypad up?
that would suck
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Love the review. I am really liking this phone.
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:16 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
Doesn't the trackball light or keypad up?
that would suck
I like it all black!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyckitching View Post
Love the review. I am really liking this phone.
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