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Old 02-09-2008, 02:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Observations of an 8300 Newbie

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I've had my AT&T 8300 for about 4 months now and have come to really enjoy some things about the unit but I have some real regrets about choosing the BB over a Treo. Since I had hoped I could reduce my device load from a phone and a PDA to just a single smart phone/pda device, I've found the BB to be totally lacking in some areas. My biggest complaint is with some of the applications supplied with the BB and the lack of aftermarket software to correct the stock offerings.
What I like about the BB:
Fantastic color display.
Fantastic e-mail device. My youngest son is an OTR truck driver. We keep in touch via our BB's through e-mail and/or PIN msgs.
Good Call Quality. Not great, but acceptable and a little better than my previous phones.
Trackball. I haven't found anyone who doesn't love the trackball. The company I work for supplies BB 8700's to management staff, of which I'm not one, and those guys are simply totally envious of my 8300's trackball.
Great form factor. Very comfortable to hold, very secure feeling in my hand, light weight, fit's in my shirt pocket without my shirt sagging on that side.
Maps. Fantastic. Love it. Really a plus in my job. Yes, I can put maps on my Palms, but getting them over the air, just the ones I need at the time I need them, with directions, is really great.

What I dislike about the BB:
Like I said, it's basically some of the supplied applications.
The Calendar. This is easily my biggest gripe. The calendar on my 8300 has to be the most basic, archaic, ignorant calendar I've ever seen on a modern device. It's like a calendar you might have found on an old, monochromatic PDA. I have two Palm PDA's, a Tungsten E and a TX. With the Palm's I can look at a Month view and see what I have scheduled for each day, with color coded segments that instantly let me know what is, or was, happening on any day. If I need detail I can pull up the day. On the BB, looking at a Month view all I can see for a day is a black bar, the length of which is determined by the number of hours dedicated to the event(s) but I have to pull up the day to see anything about what was happening. Bummer! All that beautiful full color display screen and the BB calendar is Monochromatic. On the Palm if I need to modify a recurring event, I could choose to modify just one single event, all such events or only future events. With the BB I can modify the single event or all events. There is no allowance for leaving the past intact for future reference. And I have tried a couple of aftermarket calendar enhancements, trial versions. They offer some minor improvements over the basic calendar functions (none of which were worth the asking price), but the calendar itself remains the same incredibly uninformative monochromatic presentation. Totally Unbelievable. It's kind of like putting a 2.3L I4 out of a 1974 Pinto under the hood of a 2008 Rousch Mustang.
Word Processing/Spread Sheet. Well, on BB there is none, unless you're willing to spend $99 for the aftermarket stuff. Both are included on Palms.
Limited use of SD Micro Card. The Media card can be used only for media. All of your applications have to be in the device memory. Can anyone think of a better way to limit the flexibility of the device? Yes I know there are security issues with using the Media card for applications but I'm not too worried about who sees my Mahjong scores. And I'm not really concerned about the needs of the NSA. They aren't paying for my BB, I'm paying for theirs. BB can make a model for the extreme security applications and have others available for the rest of us.
No onboard voice recording capability. Yes I tried VR+ and found it to be too expensive for a totally unreliable program.
Aftermarket Software. It's very, very limited. There are lot's of games and tons of e-mail related programs. But try to find a list program for media. I have an extensive DVD/VHS collection. With my Palms I have programs to organize them, track them, etc. Prior to the programs I had lists on a spread sheet I made out of Palm's EXCEL program. Can't have either on BB.

Most of what my 8300 does it does well, the biggest exception to that is the calendar. I enjoy a lot of things about it. But my intention behind it's purchase was, as stated earlier, to replace two devices with one device and that just hasn't worked out. In order to step down to one device I've actually had to revert to a hard copy pocket calendar for quick reference use. Can anyone but me understand the insanity of that concept? Going back to hard copy because it's faster? In retrospect, I wish I had decided to go with a Palm OS Treo. And that's a crying shame. The BB's have such a tremendous but unrealized potential. Maybe, someday, BB's will be brought up to date. If everything about the BB's was as terrific and leading edge as their e-mail capability and the trackball, they would indeed be a super-tool.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you'd gotten the Treo, I can see the post now:
What I dislike about the Treo...
1. Horrible email capability. not dependable
2. Resets, hangs and slow.
3. No trackball
4. Pitiful call quality.
5. Hangs, slow and resets
5. Form factor: too heavy, thick and BIG.
6. GPS is horrible.

What I like:
1. Cool calendar. When it's not hung up.
2. Word processing and spreadsheet, nice programs, when it is not resetting.

So now I only have to carry my Razr for the phone, my BB for email, and my Garmin for GPS. But the Treo ROCKS!

just kidding, man. But you are one of a few, and certainly entitled to your opinion.

Enjoy the treo.
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Old 02-09-2008, 02:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So why don't you just trade in your Blackberry and go get a Treo...seems like you'll be much happier.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's about priorities. The device should do your most important functions to your complete satisfaction. If it doesn't, then you're using the wrong device. I'll say the calendar is adequate, but then I didn't choose the blackberry for its calendar function.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I believe that 2 of your concerns will be addressed and remedied in the upcoming 4.5 software release: Word/Excel processing and Voice Recording capability. I'm not sure about any calender improvements though.
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Of course, Word and Excel editing and viewing is already possible, with third party applications. The new OS will have Documents2Go available (maybe not immediately).
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is device primarily targeting the email needing market. Blackberry handhelds are known for assisting with those who need not only time-sensative information, but also an entire host of data offerings. There is no device available that can top the Blackberry in the email and messaging categories.

Your phone also has a bluetooth GPS receiver, which is a exceptional advantage. You can find a few free GPS applications and other paid applications. The media is top rate, the messaging options are better than any other smart phone, and the operating system is the most secure and stable of any smart phone out there.

I think you made a fine purchase. I think if staying in touch with family members via email and messaging is important to you, than you should not look back, because you have the best.
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