I dropped the Nokia e61 and went back to the 8700g - here's why...
I longed for the e61. I dreamed about it. I had lewd thoughts about it. I wanted the e61 to bear my children. Alas, it was not to be. As hard as I tried, the e61 could not live up to my expectations (minimal as they were), and that crushed me. Time and again I found myself attempting to scroll or use the escape button in a situtation where I knew BB would have implemented a more elegant solution.
I have to be fair and give credit to RIM where credit is due. I've said a lot of bad things about BB and it's OS. I stand by those comments. The BB 8700g IS cheaply made AND the BB OS has some limitations..compard to even the Hiptop OS. And I'm still not a fan of the scroll wheel and Alt+Escape button solution... BUT, That said, I went back to my 8700g (and very glad I am that I did), in fact cried tears of joy when I reactivated my BB, and here is why:
1. The balance of the device really bugged me. The e61 is long and thin and is top heavy. Holding it causes my hands to cramp and feel uncomfortable. The 8700 is more balanced and does not slip out of my hand like the e61. The 8700, in spite of being slick cheap plastic, does not feel uncomfortable in my hands as does the aluminum e61. The 8700 is not unbalanced. The e61 is tapered at the keyboard, the one place I need it to be thicker so I can grab it better.
2. Keyboard - Keys are not friendly. I need fast action keys and the e61 keys take a lot of pressure, applied directly down, to acivate. I can't adapt to this. By slowing down a bit I can reduce my error count on the 8700 to ~5-10%. On the e61 I am slowed down by the keyboard itself AND still make errors. It's larger, which I am a fan of, and yet I loathe this keyboard. I can fly on a Blackberry keyboard (even with it's cramped key's and cheap, moving keyboard) but the space key on the e61 gets in my way every time I use it.
3. Menu structure - While I have had Nokia's for years, the S60 menu structure is unecessarily Byzantine in it's implementation. Way too many nested levels to accomplish something.
4. BB OS - Whatever I may think of the latest hardware, and the OS limitations, it can't be denied that the BB ROCKS! when it comes to sending messages of any kind. It just flat out kills re: speed, reliability, setup, ease of use when sending/receiving emails and SMS. I missed this. The e61 makes messaging a CHORE. Additionally, you can only poll an email account every 30 minutes on an e61!!! WTF? I don't "need" PUSH email but I do need to be able to PULL at least every 5-10 minutes. And yes, tried ProfiMail and it sucked.
5. Blackberry Connect on e61 - Used Asian install file. Took under 10 minutes to get it installed and it worked. Flawlessly. All the while however, the main thought I had ricocheting through my head was "why do this when you already have it on your BB without all this extra effort..dufus!!"
6. Screen - The e61 KILLS the BB 8700 on screen. NO comparison. Sadly, it's not enough :( I will miss it. The BB screen is smaller and less sharp (8700 is 64K vs e61 16M) and I still choose it over the e61.
7. Media - I can't listen to music and work at same time. But, I wanted a device I could at least load up and have available. the e61 DOES play my iTunes ripped/encoded 224k AAC files, but the Media player shows them as Unknown artist, album etc. Arggh.. No go.
8. 802.11b/g - Won't connect into my 128k WEP enabled WiFi home network. I will try WPA as most people report success with WPA..but come one Nokia... not WEP????? The 8700 doesn't even DO WiFi and I still choose it. EDGE is plenty fast AND the e61 keeps bugging you for access point selection on Opera (can't be configured) which is a drag.
9. More media - RealPlayer works and then doesn't. Most of my .mpg's and .mpeg's dont play. That's total BS. I know what the manual says about what formats will/wont play..but BS. .mpg's are ubiquitous and should play! Flash won't stream? BS.
10. ShapeServices (bless their little german hearts), switched my BB license over to the Symbian platform happily..but guess what? I could use IM+ on my e61 with no problems. But let my GF insert HER SIM into my device and it wouldn't function. Not IM+'s fault..but another glitch that leaves you scratching your head, looking a the e61 and saying "WTF???". This is really a T-Mobile problem but I never saw this on a BB.
11. I cry for the inability to use the .doc, .xls or .ppt features nativelyon the e61 (yes I know I can get this functionality on the BB but it's native on e61), but I still feel I come out ahead because at least I can use the device. The e61 seemed to go out of its' way to to throw up roadblocks to use.
12. The 8700 is a poor phone compared to a Nokia, especially something like the e61 or the 6230i. Nobody will deny that. However, I still would choose to live with "what did you say????" vs a device that I hated to use :(
13. Losing storage - BB has no storage (MiniSD or otherwise). I do actually have work files I need to tote around with me (access lists, user profiles lists, test scripts, jokes, etc). I can make do with the BB Notes app ,but I really wanted the ability to use the e61 as mass storage. Again, I would walk away from it to get a device that just worked vs one that didn't.
14. CPU - The 8700g is much faster, to me, than the e61. The e61 is maybe 80Mhz slower, but due to the Symbian OS, feels much slower. Custom themes make it worse.
15. I pay for my BIS myself. I would have saved $6 a month using T-Zones and UNL Text vs the $19.99 BIS plan. Add in the $14.99 text plan I added along with BIS..and using the BB becomes even more expensive. I STILL choose to use the BB over the e61 even after adding in $15 more a month. Admittedly, I spend $15 a day on lunch so it's not a big issue, but when somebody tells you that they don't mind spending more to use a less capable device, then you really should listen.
There are other reasons I've not even covered here why I moved back to the 8700. I can't remember all the things that got up my nose while using the e61, and made me long for the 8700, so I've listed the top ones that were a recurrent irritant. I just listed the ones I could remember.
All in all, if the BB 7290 had the features of the 8700, then I would be happy because I loved the 7290's heft and keyboard. YMMV.
One more thing.... I owe 99% of what I know on the Blackberry to this community. I would not be where I am without blackberryforums. BlackberryForums is full of some pretty good people. There are even some "OK" (not completely stuck on themselves) moderators. It is this community that made learning the Blackberry fun. There was no dearth of information on the e61 but there was also, yet, not e61 community like the BB. I wouldn't choose a device based on the web communities that spring up around it but it sure doesn't hurt when trying to learn a new piece of hardware.
Thank you to all of you who contribute your knowledge to this place. You have a far greater impact than you realize. To those of you who think you have a far greater impact than anyone realizes/appreciates...go soak yer head