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Old 01-24-2008, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Maybe switching to BB from SE M600i - Needing advice

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Hello,

It's my first post and my question was partly discussed already in some other threads I found by searching (e.g. thread comparing M600i with the pearl or comparison of Nokia E61 with BB devices).
But I still find this post necessary, so please be kind ...

I've been a very loyal SonyEricsson Smartphone user for several years now. Started with the Ericsson R380s, continued with the P800, the P910 and now currently an M600.

I was almost always very satisfied with these smartphones. The usability, the quality and features provided.

But the last device, the M600i had some drawbacks (well to be honest, all devices had their own drawbacks, I never had my personal "perfect" smartphone, but I do not really expect that - it's always a
split between pros and cons of the devices available).

Maybe I have to point out, that the M600i was nearly perfect.
What I always wanted for my smartphone was:
-NO camera (NO! NEVER, NO!)
-relatively light weight
-nice form factor
-hand writing recognition
-possibility for one handed operation
-possibility to install 3rd party software or even develop own software

When I decided for the M600i about 18 months ago, there was (AFAIK) no other phone/device on the market that could beat it. And I really liked it all the months. I just accidently
cracked the display a couple of weeks ago and so I have to replace it now sooner or later (as the touchscreen is not working properly anymore cause of the crack). As SE was not
very nice to their customers concerning M600i/P990i firmware updates (support stopped, but bugs are still present), my loyalty has shortened.

When I now go for a new device, I thus added some new wishes and requirements:
-being a little tougher
-lasting support
-stable OS (the M600i was quite stable - i.e. running my device about 20-50 days without reboot or any lock/crash whatsoever - but had some unresolved issues)
-WiFi (well 18 months ago I was not aware, that this could really be cool )
-maybe GPS

While searching for a new device the last days, I found the RIM 8820. It has all of the above except for handwriting recognition. As I use my M600i for a couple of weeks only by
keys now (I mentioned the crack of the display already, have I?), I think I could live without it. For the form factor, I'd think, the pearl would be better, but the pearl has a camera,
so no go for me.

So now, here is/are my question(s):
Can anybody give me an advice on going for the BB 8820?


What I use my device for is
-Internet access on the go (including normal websites, RSS Feeds and ssh connects)
-2-3 IMAP Mail accounts
-Contact Management
-Calendaring
-Tasks/Notes
-Syncing Contacts/Calendar/Notes/Tasks online via SyncML
-Listening to audiobooks/music

My hope is, that I can also use navigation software when getting a 8820, but that would be bonus.

Can I do all of the above with the 8820?
What is your experience with the usability and quality of the 8820?
What is your experience with its form factor?
I have read, that GPS is not always enabled?
Does anybody have any experience with using an unlocked 8820 (I ask, because no provider in Germany offers the 8820 for now, and I'd have to buy an unlocked one to get one)?
Are there drawbacks for the 8820 (please be honest)?
How stable is the OS?
I do not use any blackberry server (yet?), is it possible to use the device without any?

Thx for sharing your opinions/experiences/advices with me.

Greetings
Naytsyrhc
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Old 01-27-2008, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Reasking my question

Noone here, who can me give an advice if I should go for a BB 8820? Maybe no answer is an answer too and I shouldn't

Your help would be very appreciated. It's always such a difficult decision when a new mobile has to be purchased...
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Old 01-27-2008, 05:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The 8820 would be a winner for you. It should do all the things you've listed and do them well. I have the 8800 - same form factor, different featuers - and it's superb. I switch between that and the 8300 (smaller, camera) all the time. Some folks don't like the keyboard, saying the keys are packed too tightly together. I like 'em. As for the OS, it's rock solid and light years beyond anything else out there. T-Mobile doesn't lock out the GPS like some other carriers. You just need a data plan to get the maps. Either BIS or BES, but you have to get one or many of the features simply won't work. If you're not going to get a Blackberry Data Plan, don't get the Blackberry.
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Old 01-27-2008, 06:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One thing I will note is that the 8800 series of BB's is a bit easy to break. Dont dare drop it unless it is in some protective case or covering. I dropped my first one within 1 day of getting it and it hit my hard ceramic floor. It dematerialized almost. I took it directly back and got a replacement immediately. (insurance is a good thing!)
Now I have a rubberized covering on it and have dropped it again twice. It survived with no ill effects in the protective case.

Thats about the only real down point I see except that the internet drops on all 8800 series devices at odd times. can be very annoying.
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
If you're not going to get a Blackberry Data Plan, don't get the Blackberry.
Ok. Well it may be a very stupid question, but as I'm totally new to BlackBerry, I do not know, what that is. Do you mean I have to subscribe to a BlackBerry-Service? Or do you just mean, I need a data plan for online access?
I presume you mean a BlackBerry-Service-Subscription or something like that in order to use BB-Maps, BB-Push-Mail, etc.

So, here is my next questions:
-Is it possible to use GPS (e.g. with google maps or any other software) without a data plan from BB?
-Can I access normal IMAP accounts without data plan wit BB?

Thx again for your help.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Looking at your list, no touch screen on the BB, so no handwriting. I have a 8800 and it isn't fragile but not nearly what the 7290 had been as far as build quality, but it does a lot more. I have had, and still have phones with wi-fi, I find that feature to be useless for the most part as wi-fi drains the battery too quickly. I don't think wi-fi gets you significantly faster browsing with the bb so you may want to search the forum. Also, I don't believe you can do everything over wi-fi, you still need to be connected to cell service for data so if you're hoping to use it where you don't have cell service I'm not sure it will work. Again, search the forum.

GPS is one of the coolest features added to phones in years. Unfortunatley, it too isn't battery friendly. I use it frequently, it's great.

The browser isn't too bad, I never found a RSS reader I really liked (I"m using a Tilt too so I pretty much use that for RSS/Browsing). You can sync up to 10 email accounts, some are instant (gmail, yahoo, godaddy?) others have up to 15 minute polling.

As an email device with phone, the RIM is fast and easy to use. With the new software (v4.5 first half this year), we get html email (pseudo-html third party apps now) and spell check (now need third party apps) which are nice adds.

Bad news, it isn't good as a PIM and about equal to what a Palm did five years ago. Tasks are ok (lots of third party apps), notes are useless for me as the lenght is too limited (see rexwireless) and no way to organize. Calendar is very basic (can't copy an appointment, no categories, poor views). Contact management, yes, there are contacts and the address book syncs well with OL but that's about it. You can search a person in the message box and you'll get a call history and messages you've sent. I use grandcentral.com for voicemail which pretty much has a much better system than AT&T offers.

Look in the forum under third party applications, someone is testing a BIS Outlook sync. Otherwise, I haven't read good things about syncml and the BB. I'm using the google sync and the appointments seem to be working nicely (no contacts); tasks and notes I use rexwireless so this isn't an issue for me.

You'll have to search for the music/books. I see there is a media player and some third party apps but I don't use it as our corp policy disabled the memory card :(

Navigation software, check the GPS section, but I think you only have subscription services (mapquest, telenav, garmin) available. Not bad in a pinch but can't replace a GPS in my opinion. Google Maps is excellent, Windows Live Search isn't bad either.

Usability, for phone/email device, it is the easier to use than my AT&T Tilt. No 3G so tethering isn't a good option and the browser, third party software and PIM aren't as nice. Battery life is a big plus for the BB. I have the 8800 and the form factor isn't bad, I like the wider BB like the 8700 for the keyboard but I got the hang of the smaller 8800.

If you leave a program like Google Maps running, the battery will drain in about half the time as without GPS. When I see I'm down to 3/4-half my battery by lunch time, I know Google is running. Basically, programs activate the GPS when they need it, so I wouldn't say it is disabled. Google Maps also uses cell towers to determine your location which is fast but not as accurate.

The OS is stable. I have my share of warm/cold boots but it isn't frequent. You don't need a Blackberry enterprise server account (called BES) but you do need at least blackberry internet service (called BIS). Not sure of your service provider, but blackberry internet service here (USA) is about $30 for unlimited use with access to 10 email accounts. It is a "special" data plan that gives you the data access plus the BB services. Without BIS (or BES), the BB can't do any data services.

You need a data plan to use google maps and imap/pop email.

Regards-Michael G.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you very much for your information.

Sad, but I'm now pretty sure the BB ist not the right choice for me then. I have some IMAP Servers that I'd like to access on the run, but I do not want any service between these an my device. I'm not really in need of a full Push-Mail service. Just in need of an "everywhere-access". Calendaring and PIM management is very important for me and SyncML access is a must.

I thought about a WiFi device, because it can lower my online costs. There are several free-of-charge WiFi hotspots around here (or at least low-budget-wifi hotspots) plus my own WiFi hotspot at home, that would allow me to access internet/mails without an expensive (and slower) GSM/GPRS/3G access.

The GPS is not a must and if it's like you described, I'm probably more comfortable with an external one as they are offered by Garmin or the like.

Again: thx for sharing your experiences/opinions/information. Was very helpful for my decision making (allthough I do not have a real decision yet, only know, that the BB is not the right one - the "hunt" continues...).
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Me too as far as push email goes, nice to have but not critical. I was just as happy with my PocketPC polling every 15 minutes. I believe there are third party imap/pop clients, just search in the aftermarket section. I'm by no means an expert and don't keep up with software developments.

Again, search syncML too, I remember reading some posts about it not being reliable but again, not something I use. I don't think you can do email via wi-fi, just browsing. Hate to sound like a broken record but you can search as this was discussed.

As for GPS, it is sooo cool to be able to just bring up google, type starbucks and get a map showing all the local shops or to see all the subway stops in my location. I can't see me buying a new phone without it. Google Maps is a must have as far as I'm concerned.

Regards-Michael G.
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