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< >

How to Choose the Right BlackBerry for You!

CrackBerry.com's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series
By Kevin Michaluk on 24 Sep 2007 12:29 pm EDT
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Happy Monday class! And welcome to Lecture 3 in our weekly BlackBerry 101 series. In today’s lecture we’re going to dive into the topic of choosing the right BlackBerry to suit your needs. If you are in the market for your first smartphone or are finally making the switch to BlackBerry from another platform, you should (hopefully!) find this lecture helpful. If you’re a long-time CrackBerry on your second, third, forth, fifth, six, seventh, eighth (you get the picture) BlackBerry most of this will be old news to you, but take a read anyway… you never know, you may just find a useful tip or two. Let the class begin >>

First Things First – Choose BlackBerry!
Before you can Choose the Right BlackBerry you first have to Choose BlackBerry. If you missed our first lecture entitled Why BlackBerry? I suggest you give that a read before proceeding any further (read it now!).

Decision made? You want a BlackBerry? Congrats! The good news is that by choosing BlackBerry you really can’t make a bad decision when it comes to device selection (I’d take any current BlackBerry model over any other smartphone!). Every current device model made by RIM possesses the same basic features and qualities (easy-to-use operating system, stability, durability, long battery life, BrickBreaker, etc.) that has given BlackBerry the reputation it enjoys. That said, there are features that distinguish one BlackBerry from another (height, weight, personality, abilities, hair color) so a little homework up front will ensure you choose the BlackBerry that suits your tastes and needs.

My BlackBerry Collection
And if you're like me and just can't decide which BlackBerry to Choose,
Get one of Each! Those who can't do teach, right? :-)

How to Choose the Right BlackBerry for YOU!
The decision tree for choosing the BlackBerry for you is not very complicated, but there are some critical decisions to be made before arriving at your final choice. Here’s the basic process:

  • Choose Your Carrier
  • Pick the Right Time to Buy
  • Answer these questions to choose the device for you:
    • Can it Have a Camera?
    • Full Keyboard or SureType?
    • Which Form Factor?
    • Which Bells & Whistles Do You Want (GPS, WiFi, etc.)?
    • Any Other Details/Factors to Consider?

Pre-Decision – Do You Have a Choice?
Despite RIM’s growing presence in the consumer market, the majority of BlackBerry devices in use worldwide are corporate owned/issued. This means for many BlackBerry users there are no decisions to be made – you take the BlackBerry you are given. While some companies are quite active in upgrading their BlackBerrys, others unfortunately, are not. If you work for the latter and are still sporting ‘Old Blue (the nickname I gave my BlackBerry 7290), it’s probably time to start a small “BlackBerry Union” and hold bi-weekly meetings in the parking lot to discuss ways to get the company to upgrade.

Step 1: Pick Your Carrier

The first step in choosing the right BlackBerry for you it to first choose the right CARRIER for you. Despite the millions they invest in advertising, there is no single ‘best’ carrier (at some point the grass will always be greener) but in the long-run I’d consider it advantageous to pick a carrier and stick with them (that’s how you can eventually start talking your way into ‘loyalty’ perks) rather than bounce around between carriers each time a new device hits the market and always be a new customer.

Unless you buy your device outright (which is expensive), you’re going to be stuck with the carrier you choose for a while. You don’t want to have to end your contract early (nothing is worse than having to pay cancellation fees and/or buyout your contract) so you’ll want to give this some thought. Here are the key factors to consider in choosing your BlackBerry carrier:

1. Coverage – Choose the carrier that provides you with the best cellular coverage. You spend most of your time at the office, at home, and in the car ride in between, so make sure the carrier you choose will give you full bars/signal strength during your typical daily routine. There’s no point buying the latest BlackBerry only to find you get no signal and dropped calls! If you’re a first time cellular user (the odds of that are probably pretty slim these days) or just moved to a new area and are getting your wireless on (better odds) invite friends/co-workers/family over to your home/office and check their bars! Better yet, walk in to a store and see if they will lend you a test device for an hour or two so you can check your signal (tell them they did this for a friend of yours – they might go for it that way!).

2. Network Technology – If coverage isn’t an issue (consider yourself lucky!) and you have your pick of carriers, your next consideration is the technology the carrier uses to connect your device to its network. Is it GSM or CDMA? Assuming the quality of coverage is equal (which rarely seems to be the case), from my observation it seems most BlackBerry users would opt for a GSM BlackBerry. GSM carriers tend to have a broader selection of BlackBerrys to choose from, and typically get the latest and greatest BlackBerrys first. But the good news today (vs. a couple of years back especially) is that all of the major carriers (GSM or CDMA) now offer some sweet BlackBerry devices, so even if you’re stuck with a CDMA carrier it’s not all bad news (unless you have your heart set on a Blackberry Curve).

GSM stands for The Global System for Mobile Communications and is the leading technology for cellular communication worldwide. In North America, AT&T (formerly Cingular), T-Mobile and Rogers (Canada) run GSM networks. GSM phones use SIM cards to store information about your cellular account (i.e. your phone number), which makes it easy to upgrade and/or switch between phones. Just pop your SIM card out of one BlackBerry and into another and you can begin talking right away (login to your BlackBerry BIS account and update the device’s PIN # and your data/email will begin working immediately too). GSM BlackBerrys come locked (they only recognize SIM cards from the carrier the phone was purchased from), but many BlackBerry users (especially those who travel a lot) seek to ‘unlock’ their phones, allowing the phone to use the SIM card of any GSM network worldwide. In addition to this ability to be ‘unlocked’ (which is not something the GSM carriers want you to do), GSM networks also tend to get the newest BlackBerrys first. Data services for GSM BlackBerrys are typically provided via a technology called EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution). With a max data rate of ~ 236Kbps, EDGE is somewhat slow when compared to the higher EV-DO data service technology becoming available to BlackBerrys on CDMA networks.

GSM Carriers in North America each offer the full range of BlackBerry devices – including the Curve, 8800, Pearl and 8700 and older 7xxx series of phones. If you’re on a GSM carrier, you are lucky enough to have the full gamut of device form factors to choose from.

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access, and is the cellular technology used by Sprint, Verizon, Alltel, and Bell/Telus (Canada) in North America. Unlike GSM phones, CDMA phones do not use a SIM card. The devices are hard-coded with a unique ID number, which the network recognizes to allow connections. Because CDMA is less adopted in Europe and Asia than in North America, getting coverage when traveling abroad with a CDMA BlackBerry can be challenging. RIM has addressed this with the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, which when in North America runs on CDMA networks, but also accepts a GSM card for roaming when overseas. As mentioned, some CDMA BlackBerrys (the new BlackBerry Pearl 8130 coming to Sprint) take advantage of EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) technology for data services, which offers transfer rates of up to a speedy 3.1Mbps.

With a CDMA carrier, your selection of BlackBerry models to choose from will be limited when compared to those available by GSM carriers. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Curve series will not be on your shopping list, nor will the original BlackBerry Pearl (though if you remain patient, as mentioned, a CDMA Pearl is on the way and will soon be here!). The best CDMA BlackBerry on the market right now is the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, and the odds are relatively good this will be the phone you end up with if you are looking to buy a CDMA BlackBerry right now (at least it’s a great phone!).

3. Plans – If coverage isn’t an issue (again, consider yourself lucky!) and you have multiple carrier choices available to decide from, look next to the PLANS. Every carrier has BlackBerry voice/data plans, and no matter what carrier and plan you choose your monthly bills will always be wayyyy more expensive than you think they should be. You need to put some research into figuring out what suits your needs best. Are you a data hog? Better get unlimited data (good luck if you’re in Canada!). Can you get by with only email access? T-Mobile is offering a new $10/mo. email only data package. Talk to the same people all the time? Maybe you need My Fave Friends. Figure out how many minutes, how much data, and how many text messages you think you’ll need each month, add 15 – 30%, and try and find the carrier that can provide it for the least cost.

4. Other Factors – Maybe your company is going to pay for your phone, but whatever phone you choose it has to run on AT&T. Maybe you’re a long-time Sprint customer, and don’t want to switch to another carrier even though you’re stuck on CDMA and don’t understand the way their plans work. Maybe you’ve heard good things about T-Mobile customer service and want to give them a go. Maybe your friends are all on AT&T, and you need to be too!

There are many factors that may influence the decision of which carrier you choose. Just remember, push comes to shove, the most important factor is COVERAGE COVERAGE COVERAGE!

Step 2: Pick Your Time to Buy

Here’s a little story: You’ve been waiting for your current cell phone contract to expire, it’s finally up, and you’re itching to get the new BlackBerry Curve you’ve seen a couple of your co-workers with. You head on down to the local AT&T outlet (you need to be on AT&T where you live), and you pick one up today. You come home, use it for a couple of weeks, LOVE IT, and BANG…AT&T releases the BlackBerry 8310. If you ONLY would have logged onto a couple of gadget blogs and forums (err…CrackBerry.com) you would have known there was a new Curve on its way. By waiting just a couple of weeks, for the same price you could have been showing those co-workers up with a flashy, RED, GPS-enabled 8310 Curve.

Lesson Learned: When Choosing the Right BlackBerry for You, you have to compare not only what’s on the market today, but what’s going to be available on the market in the weeks and months ahead. Only then can you make an informed decision.

Equally important to consider is where you are in your current contract. If you’re caught in a contract and looking to switch carriers, it might be worth waiting it out a few months to avoid the cancellation fee/having to buy the contract out. Is Christmas around the corner? Substantial holiday season savings might be just weeks away if you can hold out just a little bit longer.

You don’t want to go into paralysis by analysis when making your BlackBerry purchase decision, but at the same time you don’t want to be hasty. Your berry intuition will get berry good with time. You’ll know when it’s the right time to buy.

Step 3: Choose Your BlackBerry Device

We’ve finally reached decision making time. In an attempt to keep this article as ‘timeless’ as possible (I don’t want to be updating it every single time a new device hits the market), I’m going to take a generalized approach at honing in on the right series of device that is suited to you (but will throw in some specific suggestions as well). From there, you should be able to determine the model that fits your needs based on your carrier and specific desires. We are working on a detailed BlackBerry Buyer’s Guide for CrackBerry.com that will be updated regularly and provide a side-by-side comparison of every BlackBerry device available, so stay tuned for that!

Decision Making Time
When buying your BlackBerry, today or in the future, always try and stick to the latest-generation of devices available. At this point in time, if in the market for a new BlackBerry, I would be considering models primarily from the BlackBerry 8800, 8300 and 8100 series. Depending on your specific circumstance, there is also the chance the 8700 series would still be a good fit for you, though this device is in the later stages of its product life cycle. I would personally try and stay away from the 7xxx series of phones. Don’t get me wrong, they are still good devices and I would be happy with any, but it’s almost 2008 and you gotta keep up with the SmartPhone Joneses.

To walk through this process of choosing the right BlackBerry for you, I’m going to assume you are purchasing your BlackBerry from a generic GSM carrier, meaning you have the full selection of BlackBerrys to choose from.

Decision 1: Can it Have a Camera?
If you intend to use your BlackBerry for business, there is a good chance that having a camera onboard your phone will be considered a big No No, hence why I put this question first. If this situation applies to you, you can slash your choices down to the camera-less BlackBerry 8800 Series and older BlackBerry 8700 Series, which are geared towards being ‘corporate executive’ (rather than ‘consumer’) smartphones. Between these two, the 8800 series is likely to be the favored choice – it’s newer, sleeker, more feature rich, has the trackball, media player, GPS, and expandable memory. At the same time, if you’re looking for a work horse and care less about high-end features, the BlackBerry 8700 series is sturdy, reliable, and gets the job done (and I still have a unwavering fondness for the trackwheel).

If a camera is must have (or if you are indifferent), the BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry Curve will be on your BlackBerry-buying radar as well. The BlackBerry Pearl was the first BlackBerry to include the trackball and a camera, which is of a lower resolution than the newer BlackBerry Curve. The next generation of BlackBerry Pearl to be released will put these two phones on an even playing field in terms of picture taking capabilities.

If you don’t want a camera, your decision gets made here!

Decision 2: Full QWERTY Keyboard or SureType?
While the BlackBerry 8800, 8700, and 8300 Series offer full QWERTY keyboards, the ultra-slim Pearl utilizes BlackBerry’s SureType technology (which assigns multiple letters to each key) for data input. If you receive more emails than you send, and place value on having a small-sized phone, the BlackBerry Pearl may just be for you. While I personally have never been a fan of SureType (before I was a BlackBerry Addict I was a master of T9 word completion on my old Samsung flip phone – once discovering BlackBerry’s full QWERTY I vowed never to go back!) I have seen people become very adept at using SureType, to the point where they can equal the speed and accuracy of me on a full QWERTY BlackBerry.

While full QWERTY keyboards are larger (by necessity) than the Pearl’s SureType keypad, the QWERTY method of data entry is very easy to learn and become proficient with, is fast, and offers high accuracy. It’s the inspiration behind the “BlackBerry Prayer” as well. When you want to write a long email, you grab the device with a two handed grip, put your head down, and pump out the message with both thumbs a blazin’. From my experience on all of the 7200, 8700, 8300 and 8800 series of BlackBerrys, I would rate their keyboards in the order just listed. Typing on ‘Old Blue (my 7290) was a real joy – the phone itself is a tank compared to the BlackBerry Curve I use today, but it’s spacious keyboard and small buttons with big spaces in between made for blistering typing speeds. With the 8700, the keyboard tightened up a bit, and I found myself making a few more errors while typing than with the 7290, but with time my speed and accuracy became every bit as good.  With the introduction of the BlackBerry 8800 RIM started to go in a new direction – the BlackBerry 8800 series keyboard features big, sculpted buttons packed tightly together. I had a hard time getting used to this keyboard - the lack of spacing between keys makes it easy to mistype, and to this day I’m still less comfortable typing on this model than with any other BlackBerry. With the BlackBerry Curve, RIM has gone back to a keyboard design that features small keys with larger spaces in between (thank you RIM!). The Curve’s keyboard is amazingly small, yet offers all of typing ease I enjoyed on the 7200 and 8700 series. All other factors aside, if you are making the decision between the BlackBerry Curve and 8800, I would go in the direction of the Curve simply because of the keyboard. Regardless of your choice between the Curve and 8800, with the addition of Spell Check to the latest versions of the BlackBerry OS you can be rest assured your messages will leave the phone spelled correctly.

If you have decided the BlackBerry Pearl is for you, the decision ends here!

Decision 3: Which Form Factor to Choose?
Assuming you have excluded the BlackBerry Pearl from the decision making process (by now you should know if that’s the phone you want), your decision will either be based on the overall form factor of the phone or else the bells and whistles you are afte (GPS/WiFi/Camera). Ignoring the bells and whistles and just focusing on the ergonomics and looks of the phone, there are three form factors to consider – the older 8700 series, the newer 8800 series, and the latest BlackBerry Curve series.

The 8700, while not that old, is quickly becoming ‘old school. It’s a sturdy, dense device, and features BlackBerry’s iconic trackwheel for navigation. It’s actually a joy to use – if you never try the BlackBerry 8800 or Curve you really won’t feel that you are wanting for anything. Plus, the 8700 to date is my favorite BlackBerry in terms of ease-of-access. The OEM holster for the BlackBerry 8700 allows for super-quick removal of the device when worn on the front pocket or belt. One of the best features of the BlackBerry 8700 is that people recognize it as a BlackBerry – it has the BlackBerry ‘look’.

In comparison, the BlackBerry 8800 series is thinner, narrower, and lighter than the 8800, but also a little taller/longer. The 8800 was the first full QWERTY BlackBerry to utilize the trackball, which if making the switch from the trackwheel takes some adjustment but overall I have found to be far superior (you can use your BlackBerry with both your left and right hand and can scroll in any direction). Compared to the 8700, the 8800 feels a little less sturdy (I’d recommend throwing the 8800 into an open-face case to tighten it up) and a little less comfortable to type on than the 8700, but as mentioned in Decision 1 is much more feature rich than the 8700 and is likely to be your choice.

The BlackBerry Curve is an evolutionary step that really brings the best of both the 8800 and the 8700’s form factors together, and in my opinion is the ultimate BlackBerry form factor (it’s going to be interesting to see how RIM tries to improve upon it in the future – it’s near perfection!). My only problem with the Curve form factor is its name – it really isn’t all that Curvy. I find its overall appearance is that of a slimmed down 8700 (same proportions) with the trackball navigation applied.

If form factor a decisive factor for you, your decision will be made here.

Decision 4: Which Bells & Whistles do you Want?
Do you want your BlackBerry to have GPS? Are you looking for WiFi? Need to have a Camera AND GPS? How about a Camera and WiFi? Maybe WiFi and GPS? Eventually (and hopefully sooner than later), RIM will be able to cram EVERY smartphone bell and whistle imaginable into a tight form factor like the Curve. Since that’s not currently the case, you are going to have to pick which Bells & Whistles are important to you and make your decision from there. Day by day the options are increasing. At first, GPS was only available on the BlackBerry 8800 Series. Now it’s also available on the BlackBerry Curve 8310 (GPS & Camera). You can now get GPS and WiFi together on the BlackBerry 8820, or if you’re a T-Mobile user, the BlackBerry Curve 8320 offers WiFi and a camera, but no GPS.

When it comes to the bells and whistles, there will always be tradeoffs involved, and it will always come back to the limitation of what’s available from your carrier.

If there’s a specific ‘bell and whistle’ you want your BlackBerry to have (or combination there of), the choice will be made for you at this step.

Decision 5: Any Other Details/Factors to Consider?
Your final decision should be color! Keep in mind, you won’t always have a choice in this department (do you want your 8800 in black, or Black?!). The BlackBerry Pearl is available in an assortment of colors, and the color options on the BlackBerry Curve are now increasing too (T-Mobile is offering their 8320  in Platinum and Gold, and AT&T is rumored to be introducing their 8310 in Titanium and Red).

If your final decision isn’t color, and at this point you’re still stuck, just like choosing your carrier it may come down to the details. Look to the BlackBerry spec sheets to sort out these decisions.  Is battery life a major concern? You may want to opt for the BlackBerry 8800 over the 8300 if there are no other factors influencing your decision more heavily. Or maybe you want to use the same BlackBerry Paris Hilton is using… you better go with the Curve (haha…I know I just killed the credibility of this lecture by throwing that statement in!).

One factor that shouldn’t sway you is the way RIM has marketed the device. The BlackBerry 8800 may be a ‘corporate executive’ phone, but if you’re a personal consumer and think it’s got the goods you want, then go for it! Likewise, the Curve may be geared toward ‘consumer’ use, but that shouldn’t stop you from using it for ‘business’ use. Just last week I ran into Leonard Asper, my old boss and CEO of CanWest Global Corporation (Canada’s largest media corporation), and sure enough he was carrying a BlackBerry Curve.

If you’re still not decided, pay attention to the details, seek advice in the CrackBerry forums, and then go with your berry intuition!

Conclusion

The process for choosing the Right BlackBerry for You is relatively simple, but there are some critical steps along the way. Pick your carrier first – that will limit your choices. Don’t be hasty in making your decision – do some research and make sure you are working with all of the information available to you. And from there, finally pick the phone that offers the form and features that suit your needs and desires.

That’s it. The above paragraph sums up what I took 3,800 words to say previous. But hey, it wouldn’t be a Lecture if it was short! Until next week, Class Dismissed!!

Discuss this Lecture in the BlackBerry 101 Forum.

47 comments

mxz700

Great Lecture!! I didn't even fall asleep or yawn once.

Sandipan

Great lecture...Very informative n step by step...Keep it up

javatyger

Amazing article and very informative; definitely helps me decide on which phone I should upgrade too. The only "unlimited" data plan I could come up with in Canada(i'm in Edmonton, Alberta) is $100/mth for 1GB of data!!! Best one I could find!

zerog46

Another good class thanks.

Bla1ze

Once again great job Kevin...ps..hope your feeling better!!

portfolioman

Hi Kevin,

I am writing from Jakarta, Indonesia. Unfortunately we don't have the luxury to choose our providers like the one in the States. However, I was wondering if you can give some pointers on the device. Should I go with Pearl or 8700 for overall ease of use (sending email attachments). I also heard that 8700 does not come with external memory card. Can BB compress the attachment like excel, pdf, jpg and so on. Thanks a bunch.

Steven
portfolioman@crackberry.com

Kevin Michaluk

You are correct that the 8700 does not have an external memory card.

In terms of sending/forwarding attachments from your inbox, both will work equally well.

Both are good devices. The Pearl is a generation of phone (uses the Trackball), but for myself would rather have the 8700 when it comes to plain ease of use. I like the full keyboard for sending long messages.

Are you on a GSM network? The other option is always to try and get your hands on an unlocked phone (buy it outright from Europe or North America and have it sent to you), and then hook that up. Not necessarily cheap, but if you want cutting edge then the the 8800 and 8300 would also be on your buying radar.

Solachica

Very well written :-)
At least this is a lecture I wud surely show up for

oskaru

I thought that was an insightful lecture, I do agree that when choosing a carrier that will definitely slim down your selection. If someone is looking to buy a blackberry, this is the site to consider prior to purchasing one because I have seen more insightful articles and updates just like the one I saw today about AT&T lowering their prices for the holiday season to come.

curveyberry

an awesome lesson...i'm a BB newbie..."Blackberry Prayer"....i'm lovin' it...

peter13

Hi, Why do the ringtones(even ones I self load) sound better and clearer on my pearl than my 8830????at the same volume the 8830 sounds like a cat with a hair ball stuck in it's throat!also all blackberry's volume controls are too weak, at least on the pearl you can go in and set the device to volume boost (works great and solves ringtone as well as Mp3 Volume problems)

Suzette

Thanks for this very good tips. Had I discovered this just 2 weeks earlier, I wouldn't make the same mistake we made.

In fact, I've just got my first BB less than 2 weeks ago. My colleague was the one who got me the approval and enquired the device, when I was away on holiday.

We are only allowed to use 1 service provider, Maxis in Malaysia. As we are 2 ladies who are very used to the small compact Nokia 6300 phones, naturally we wanted something like Pearl.

When enquired, Maxis encouraged us to take 8707g, as it is the 'only 3G phone'. My colleague didn't know anything about it, and ordered that for the 2 of us.

We made the mistake pointed out in your post above - 2 days after using, I found out in their website, they are going to 'launch' 8300. When I called up to enquire, they still insisted that the 'only 3G phone is 8707'.

Wonder if you could explain the difference between 3G and non-3G? Is it really that important to have 3G phone? I thought all of the devices are 3G?

Though there is nothing wrong about my 8707g, but knowing it is not the latest model, just by few days (same price!), really hurt! :(

METALHEAD

From reading what you have written, I am pretty fortunate to have gotten the 8700. I do like the full keyboard but to be honest I can't afford the internet access yet.. I am going to come up on my early renewal in august. The little woman also wants a blackberry now that she has seen mine, but I think she wants the pearl. I will have her check into these "classes" to decide for herself. I Will also watch to see if I am going to upgrade my services as well. At the moment though, I pay 100/month for the two phones, not sure if I can afford much more :)

sojicka

I am planning to buy a BB curve. I already have a phone with Rogers Canada that is contracted under a regular (non-data plan). Is it possible for me to switch the SIM card from my regular cell phone to the BB curve smartphone? (i.e. Can I use the BB curve without a data plan?)

HawgPI

Good solid well thought out information. Thanks you!

find a chiropractor

Modern BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, while older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors.

Anonymous

I think this lesson could be updated considering that the curve and the pearl are both now available in cdma.

Anonymous

Excellent article. Very helpful. tks.

blueboy9895

well, well, done!!!

thank you Kevin

kansas city vacations

Wow, totally cool. Now I will know how to choose the best blackberry for me.

how to gain muscle

Yes, this article was very helpful on choosing a blackberry. Thanks.

crackcookie

time to recvamp this for 2009

carrioke

This nice thing is, as I just learned, if you love all the features of the 8800 series, but are obsessed with having color choices, 'skin it' is the way to go!

Janis Liebhart

Just wanted to throw my two cents in here - I have the titanium 8830 blackberry - it's backlight is blue, rather than white. I thought it was pretty cool - I cannot see the letters well with not enough contrast! So in considering which "color" to go with, make sure you use it a bit and are happy with the blue light against silver. It's certainly not enough for me!

SHAKESPEARE#CB

Thank you Kevin! I was leaning toward the Pearl, but your discussion of the Curve's "Full QWERTY" keyboard versus the Pearl's "Sure Type" convinced me, a writer, that the Curve is for me!
By the way, PC World ranks the Pearl #1, the Curve #4, the Bold #7 and the Storm #10 on their Top Ten Smart Phone review!
The Pearl gets a 91(superior) for design, while the Curve gets an 81 (Very Good) for design. Both get a whopping perfect 100 (superior) for performance, ahead of both the Bold and the Storm by far.
Based on its "Full QWERTY" keyboard, as well as its ".4 inch" greater width, I give the Curve a 91 and the Pearl 81!!
CASE CLOSED, and thanks again, Kevin. I look forward to learning so "berry" much more about my BB!
Best regards,
Shakespeare

SHAKESPEARE#CB

VERIZON, with CDMA network technology and EV-DO data service with a transfer rate of 3.1 MBPS, currently offers BlackBerry
Pearl, Curve, WE#8830 and Storm!!!!

cityguyaz

I am glad that I chose to purchase my Curve 8330 instead of renewing my contract. I have been torn since I have been reading a lot about each device. I really enjoy the 8900 and the Bold. However, my carrier, Sprint is coming out with the Niagara. BUT, as you initially pointed out, GSM vs. CDMA is a big factor. I did not have any idea that GSM carriers allow you to switch your phone simply by changing the SIM card. That is too cool. I now know not what to do.

I would love to be able to switch phones with ease. (I get bored really fast). I may have some serious thinking to do prior to the release of the Niagara. Thoughts?

eurogrand

Thanks for your article

I had a iphone and now i have blackberry and i will not change.

Sophia

Amritha Alapati

Thanks a ton Kevin, great site.Your passionate lectures make everything a breeze for first time Blackberry users, I will be getting mine very soon, the 8900 Curve after reading a zillion reviews :) I am from India and my carrier Airtel has an official tie up with Blackberry, yippee. Will definitely hit CrackBerry.com more often now.

Can I say your site is the unofficial bible? Any advice for me?

Rodolfo Serna

I read your forum about choosing the right BB but the you never considered the speed. Which BB would be the fastest, with camera, full QWERTY and GPS?

crackcookie

I really think its time to upgrade this article

with the Tour, atlas, Bold, javelin, gemini, pearl flip, storm, Onyx, Storm2, driftwood, and possibly another phone coming out, I think its time you remake this article, touting the lower end blackberries;

curve, pearl, Gemini*

Then work your way up into the higher end models; Curve 2, pearl flip

And then talk about the true 3g phones, Storm, Bold

then talk about future releases and things to look forward too; gemini, tour, onyx, storm2, driftwood.

And then of course, list which phones are native to which carrier, and which phones can be unlocked unto which carriers.

Baby Gift and Shower World

I appreciate the tips since I have yet to buy a Blackberry.

mechanix22

Nice article..I'd go with Bold anyday of the week..
Jewelry Gifts

Joyz4Swtz04

Still w/in my 30 tryout days with VZW. Gonna switch my pink curve though sad to see the pink go... For the BB tour b/c it was misrepresented when I got the Curve that it could do rhapsody to go and it can't!
Joy

tammynicurn

choices. just go to ebay.

psych.doc

In Lecture 3, How to Choose a Blackberry needs to be updated because some of the statements are no longer true.

WagsterB

No longer a useful article as it is woefully out of date.

tiny_goddess

As mentioned in the intro to this lecture, its purpose is to define the process of product selection, not to be the be-all and end-all of comparative features (which is available elsewhere).

This lecture is extremely useful in organizing the process of selecting a Blackberry, since the details included are merely illustrative. After agonizing for weeks about which Blackberry will be my first, I now have a solid approach for making my decision.

If the rest of you want a lecture which tells you which model to buy, go ask your mother!

IMAWriter

Excellent article.
I'm still hoping for a new Sprint enabled Curve before Christmas 2009, but it doesn't look like it's happening.

tuckeroo58

I just got my first Blackberry a week ago. Got it based on recommendations from friends. After reading this article, I'm glad they made the right choice for me! So, talk to your friends that have Blackberrys, too. They know you, they know what would work best for you.

Moose Dawg

Very informative, I have a Curve 8310 and a 8820, so I will be trying both over the next couple of weeks to make my final decision

QueenSakina

It's a shame this hasn't been updated, really could do with the help.

Sky.Jack21

very old post.
best world edition blackberry is bold 9650 and tour 9630

Felix_9300

It has not been updated for a while but it still helped me choose my blackberry in 2013.