[ Please note: This review was completed before the upgrades to the eBay app that showed up yesterday. The judges have kept that in mind while reading the review and you should too from the perspective of Zander as a CrackBerry Idol contestant. ]
Are you an eBay power buyer? Have you ever been frustrated because you've missed an item you've been bidding on for weeks but you were nowhere near a computer for the final countdown? With RIM's eBay add-on app, making purchases on eBay are conveniently in your pocket and at your fingertips with the use of any modern BlackBerry (such as the 8520, 8230, 8350 and 8530 models and up). In this review, I'm going to put this app to the test and talk about its pros and cons. Interested? Keep on reading to see if eBay for BlackBerry is right for you!
Personally, I never was really a huge eBayer, I've always been wary about buying a product that I can't put my hands on first to make sure it's a product that I really want. Lately though, I've started to open up to the whole idea of eBay and have found some really useful things for great deals. Don't get me wrong, I would still be far from being considered a "Power User" by any means, but I do think this is a great little app to have at the ready when I get the urge to browse for some new-ish toys.
First off, let's take a look that the functionality of the app. At 696Kb, it's not the smallest app in the world, but for its size I find it runs really well on my Storm2 (I would imagine that it would slow down a bit on older phones but the developers claim that the app will run on 64MB devices...). I would compare its operation and GUI to an app like Poynt. Navigating around is fairly smooth and there is very little lag when going from screen to screen, there are also nice transitions to keep it a little more interesting.
The app opens up to a home screen that allows you to login to your account or browse for stuff, so there aren't any screens to hop through in order to do a basic search - and no, you don't have to be logged in to your account to do a search. Also featured on the home screen are some popular items being sold on eBay, just in case you want to check out what's hot!
Searching for items is pretty quick and easy. Results for me pop up within seconds but this will depend on your carrier's coverage or if you're connecting though wifi. Once the search results are displayed, you can click on any of them to get more information about the product, look at the item's pics, seller information (location, rating, etc.) as well as place bids or just watch the item. You can even add the auction's end time to your BlackBerry's calendar and set a reminder to have your BlackBerry remind you that your auction is about to end!
But wait! Before you nod your head and say, "Geeze Zander, that app sure sounds fantastic!" there are some things that you should know...
The latest version (184.108.40.206) and lower does not support the selling option, so if you're an eBay power seller than I'm afraid you're out of luck. This will be a deal breaker for a lot of people right off the bat as there are a lot of people who primarily sell on eBay. Even if you are currently selling items on eBay, you cannot check the status of them from this app. So for you power sellers out there, I recommend that you stick with visiting ebay.com from your phone's browser or from your desktop computer.
Another con is there can be a bit of a lag from when you bid on your BlackBerry to when the bid is received on the eBay servers, so I wouldn't recommend using this app for any last second bids. This is a fairly big drawback too because you generally want to be able to make those last minute bids when you're on the move (that's one of the reasons you'd have it on your mobile device after all).
All in all, I would say this app is a good one to have for the occasional eBayer like me. So if you're into picking up the odd item or gift when you're not around your desktop or working long hours and can't otherwise get access to the internet, consider downloading this app for ease of access to the eBay world. Hopefully we'll see some selling options in future builds.
The price is right on this one, as a free app you've got nothing to lose if you want to try ‘er out!
** This review was written as part of the CrackBerry Idol 2010 competition. Click for details. **