Round Robin Review: CrackBerry on the Ahh Frak Phone 3G

CrackBerry's Final Impressions of Apple's iPhone 3G
By Kevin Michaluk on 15 Dec 2008 10:42 am EST
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A First Class Gadget, but it Still Lacks the Crack!

[ This is an official Smartphone Round Robin post! Every day you reply to an official Round Robin blog post or forum thread on CrackBerry.com, you automatically gain an entry ballot for a chance to win a BlackBerry Bold, Spare Bold Battery, and Case Mate Second Skin! If you somehow still don't know what this is all about, visit SmartphoneRoundRobin.com!! ] 

My apologies Apple fans, but I just had to give this article that name. I had some fun with my Round Robin iPhone 3G Initial Impressions video, and it got a lot of passionate comments in response. The majority of them were positive and in agreement with what I said (makes sense seeing as CrackBerry.com is a BlackBerry enthusiast site) and I just couldn't help but laugh at the slightly negative ones that called the review biased. Hello? Of course it's biased. That IS the whole point of the Smartphone Robin... to use and abuse and review the competition from the perspective of the reviewer's preferred platform, in this case the iPhone 3G from the perspective of a BlackBerry addict. If every review was conducted without any preconceived favoritism, you'd be reading the same review over and over again from each editor, and where would the fun and learning be in that?! Apparently not all iPhone owners possess the good sense of humor that the iPhoneBlog.com's editor Rene Ritchie has. Ahh well, it's all good! Rene has my BlackBerry Bold this week so I'm sure he'll get his sweet revenge on me then on behalf of iPhone fans. I'm looking forward to it!

As for my take on the iPhone 3G? Between last year's Smartphone Round Robin where I reviewed the original iPhone, our CrackBerry.com Podcasts and site editorials, most of my thoughts and opinions on the iPhone 3G are already well-known and out there for all to hear, see and read. While I do like the iPhone 3G (it is my favorite frenemy) and in fact there are things I even love about it, after having been a subscriber to the BlackBerry philosophy for so long it's simply not a device I'd ever feel fully comfortable with using as my primary means of communication. Despite the hardware improvements to the iPhone 3G from the original iPhone and the addition of the App Store and version 2 software this past year, it simply still lacks the crack that got me hooked on BlackBerry to begin with. Could Apple ever build an iPhone that could win me over that would be more to my liking? Maybe, but I don't think it's in El Jobso's plans. Read on for my Apple iPhone 3G Final Impressions >>


But First... A Science Experiment and Yet More Smartphone Philosophy!

What would a CrackBerry Round Robin Review be without some preamble ramble?! Warning - it's long, so feel free to skip ahead to the iPhone 3G Overview if you want to skip the lecture.

Some History

My first experience with the iPhone came last year in our first ever Smartphone Round Robin. If you have never read them before, you can take a browse through my iPhone Initial Impressions and iPhone Final Impressions reviews. While you're at it, and that is if you haven't already, you may also want to check out our Top 10 Reasons Why the Iphone is NO BlackBerry and Top 10 Reasons Why the iPhone is STILL No BlackBerry articles. The first two articles will give you a good idea of where I'm coming from and the latter articles address some of the more obvious points in the ongoing iPhone 3G vs. BlackBerry comparison/battle. I don't want to spend too much time in this review harping on the argument points us BlackBerry Addicts are already familiar with in regards to the iPhone 3G - like it's lack of cut and paste (though it does appear a bit of a work-around for that has emerged) or non-easily replaceable battery, so if you read this full review and think I missed something the odds are you can click into the links above and find it already addressed there.

As for whose iPhone 3G I'm using in this article, it's actually mine! The last thing I'd want someone to think is that I'm a completely uneducated BlackBerry fanboy, so the day the iPhone 3G was released I bought one. Well, I didn't actually plan on buying one when I left the house that morning. I went to see just how big the lineups would be, and when I found myself fourth in line upon arriving the gadget nut in me got caught up in the excitement and I waited it out. What a debacle that day turned out to be! Rogers' systems were completely FUBAR. I arrived at the store 6:45am. Though we had our slips to claim our phones by 9am and the store opened at 10am, the first person in line didn't leave until after 2:30pm with an iPhone 3G in hand. I didn't get out of there until almost 5pm. It was a pretty stupid day. Thanks to the BlackBerry Curve I had with me I never actually missed out on my CrackBerry.com duties, though I think some of the others waiting in line were quite disturbed at just how much I was on my CrackBerry all day (seriously, I just laid down on the mall floor on my back with BlackBerry in the air and thumbs blazing for literally hours - pretty sure to this day my back hasn't been the same). I did make a few new friends while waiting in line, which in retrospect does put a rosy glow on an otherwise utterly negative purchase experience. For way more details on this day, you can listen to Podcast Episode 018.

Now an iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Curve owner who was eagerly awaiting the release of the BlackBerry Bold, over the next few weeks I conducted a bit of an experiment, carrying both my Curve 8320 and iPhone 3G with me at all times. I had my email, contacts and calendar along with some relatively equivalent third party apps hooked up to each device, meaning either device was capable of accomplishing the tasks I typically use my smartphone for. I wanted to see on a day to day basis which device I would reach for instinctively at any given time. I'm guessing the results won't be all that surprising to read, but going through the process did make for an interesting experience. Though it's called the iPhone, I quickly grew to detest using the iPhone for anything communications related. Even though I gave the iPhone a more than fair chance, it was just painful for me to use the device for placing phone calls or ploughing through email as I could get it done so much more quickly on my Curve. Think back to my on the go smartphone vs. stop and use smartphone rant in my Treo Pro Review and this largely explains it. For communication-related tasks it's hard not to prefer a device that's quick to use, especially while on the go. But when it came to media and killing time, tasks where it doesn't actually hurt to slow down and put your full attention on what you're doing, I found myself reaching for the iPhone 3G quite often. The iPhone's Safari web browser was light years ahead of the 8320's browser (or Opera Mini for that matter) and when it came to falling asleep while laying in bed at night, once I got through my email and messages on the Curve it would be while playing a game on the iPhone that I finally hit the hay (I got addicted to Bejewelled 2 for a few weeks there). Side Rant - speaking of lying in bed while playing with a touchscreen smartphone, it drives me nuts that accelerometers don't seem to work worth crap once you're flying down flat on your back and using your phone in your outreached arms. There needs to be some sort of upright/lying flat setting (or I guess internal gyroscopes are going to be the wave of the future) to compensate for this.

Carrying around two devices might seem a little like overkill, but for the smartphone user looking for the no-compromise solution at that time I felt the BlackBerry Curve 8320 / iPhone 3G combo was pretty stellar. The Curve 8320 was my 9am to 5am get things done fast communication tool, while the iPhone 3G was my 5pm to 9am media/gaming device. Of course there was some overlap in there - web browsing on the iPhone 3G during the day, BlackBerry Messenger and other IM apps on the BlackBerry at night - but for the most part the strengths of each device played well to the other's weaknesses.

The release of the BlackBerry Bold changed things however. All of a sudden my BlackBerry had an awesome display, which made the BlackBerry media experience far more enjoyable (going through photos, watching movies, etc.) and the web browser was MUCH improved (assuming I left JavaScript support disabled). And the speed of the Bold's processor made my already fast and effective BlackBerry communication tool THAT much more fast and effective.

As I continued on with my carrying both a BlackBerry and iPhone test, with the launch of the Bold I found myself reaching for the iPhone less and less. The BlackBerry Bold definitely extended beyond the hours of 9am to 5pm for me, and began to steal away much of the use my iPhone was previously getting. Where I would have normally reached for my iPhone, I was now reaching for the Bold. The Bold comparatively wasn't quite as good at handling some of the tasks where the iPhone 3G excelled (web browsing), but it was close and the fact that I could carry out these tasks easily in the one-handed on the go manner I put the Bold over the edge. When I was carrying the Curve 8320 the iPhone 3G had a lot of appeal and I reached for it often, but once the Bold came into the picture that appeal diminished, to the point where I no longer felt compelled to carry both a BlackBerry and iPhone with me at all times. There are most definitely certain tasks I prefer to carry out on the iPhone 3G over the Bold, especially ones where the big display and touchscreen controls are of benefit (i.e. Google maps), but in these cases the incremental benefit of the iPhone 3G "experience" is not greater to me than the BlackBerry way of getting things done.

Some RIM / Apple Smartphone Philosophy

My on the go vs. stop and use theory was largely derived from observing my own behaviors in using both of these devices, but that doesn't mean they necessarily apply to everyone. For example, over at the iPhoneBlog member Bad Ash would argue till the cows come home that he's just as capable at using his iPhone 3G on the go and one handed as he is with his BlackBerry Bold (yes he owns both, though he's been an iPhone 3G user longer). And I'm sure he's not the only iPhone user who would argue this. Despite these types of arguments, it's pretty clear that RIM and Apple have different approaches and philosophies to the way they build their smartphones.

RIM - At the BlackBerry Developer Conference held earlier this year, Research in Motion's founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis told the audience (we live blogged it) the secret to the success of BlackBerry has come about from their philosophy of balancing customer needs with the laws of physics. In regards to smartphones, the laws of physics affect bandwidth, capacity, performance and battery life, with each of these pillars typically adversely affecting the other (example - if you increase performance you sacrifice battery life). RIM has always strived to create devices that hit the sweet spot of these four factors given the best technology and technological know-how available at the time.

While you can't argue with RIM's founder that this guiding premise underlies how they built out the BlackBerry platform and design their devices, I'd argue the real reason RIM has been so successful is the Crack! There's a reason BlackBerry users get addicted to their devices and why observers of the phenomena came up with the CrackBerry term. In the book I recently co-authored, CRACKBERRY: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse, we dedicate a few pages to the aspects of the BlackBerry that set it apart from the competition that cause it to bring about this somewhat surprising psychological dependency.

What causes the CrackBerry Addiction? I want you to buy the book, but here's the Cole's Notes version... it's RIM's combination of one handed-ease of use, Always On, Always Connected nature, push email and that big ‘ole flashing red LED light that create a smartphone user experience that's addicting as hell and tough to give up. Though the term CrackBerry has only attained mainstream recognition in the in the past couple of years since RIM began targeting the consumer market, its first cited reference goes all the way back to 2000. What hooked me on BlackBerry? My first BlackBerry was Big Blue - the 7290. Compared to the Bold or Curve 8900, no offense, but the 7290 is CRAP. Yet that device is what I got addicted to and it was/is every bit as addicting as my latest generation Bold or Curve 8900. It's not 3G or awesome displays or fast processors or awesome apps or in the case of the BlackBerry Storm a touchscreen that causes the addiction, rather these basic BlackBerry attributes. Call me crazy or cracked out, but I'm pretty sure if I was forced to have only one smartphone and my only options were to choose between a BlackBerry 7290 or an iPhone and I couldn't have any other smartphone, I think my addiction is so strong that I would still pick Big Blue. I need that feeling of connectedness and speed of communication that the BlackBerry experience provides. I think a big part of RIM's success comes from building their devices according to this ‘CrackBerry philosophy'.

Even with the BlackBerry Storm RIM tried to keep as much of the ‘CrackBerry philosophy' in the device as possible, which is a tough thing to do when going to a touchscreen for input. While trackwheel/trackball BlackBerry smartphones are extremely easy to use one handed - you only use them one-handed unless you're actually typing out a message (in which case you go into the two thumbs, head down CrackBerry prayer position) - having big a ole piece of glass immediately sacrifices on the one handedness of the device as you'll often find yourself holding the phone in one hand and tapping and swiping with the other as you navigate your way around the phone and applications. Despite this, RIM still put a lot of thought into keeping the Storm as one-handed as possible (typing out messages in SureType, up/down arrows for scrolling instead of having to swipe, etc.).

Also coming from the BlackBerry Developer Conference this year, RIM's CTO of Software, David Yach, shed further insight on the BlackBerry philosophy. He said that the BlackBerry philosophy is to add an hour to each day of your life by taking all of those currently wasted one or two minute chunks of time - at a red light, waiting in line at the water cooler, bathroom time, etc. etc. - and turning them into productive time. You don't want your smartphone to become your life, rather you want to use it to improve it. Another way to sum this is up is to say... the BEST smartphone is the one that spends the LEAST amount of time in your hands while getting the most stuff done. That is the BlackBerry way. The BlackBerry experience is optimized for the person who reaches for their phone one hundred times a day (literally) and gets something done and puts it away. Obviously this isn't the only way to use a BlackBerry as activities like playing games or watching movies are very much stop and use by nature, but at the core of BlackBerry experience is still this get things done quick philosophy. Conclusion: RIM starts with a philosophy, and builds their devices and operating system around this philosophy.

Apple - While the RIM philosophy/BlackBerry "Experience" took a lot of explaining, thankfully the Apple one is much shorter. This could be that I don't know much about Apple and have it all wrong, but hopefully that's not the case ;-)

To me, Apple didn't start with the end user philosophy as RIM did, rather, they started with the device design and out of that grew the iPhone experience. I honestly don't know the history or the story or any of that, but I'm pretty sure Apple basically said we're going to build a device where the screen is the phone...we'll just give it one button that brings you back home. And it's from that basic design decision of how the device would look that the Apple team went to work on figuring out how the user would interact with the phone and get things done. The proof of this concept can be seen in the changes from the iPhone 2G to 3G - visually, the design concept is unchanged. It's a stark contrast to RIM, who is constantly changing up the form factor yet delivers substantially the same experience regardless. There's no arguing the talent of the team of people Apple put to work on the iPhone - both the original iPhone and iPhone 3G deliver an initial "wow" factor and out of the box intuitiveness that I have yet to see be equaled on any smartphone or any other piece of technology gadgetry for that matter. I've even handed both my 6 year old niece and 65 year old dad my iPhone 3G and with only a 30 second explanation on how to use it they were both up and running in no time. In fact, my niece wants me to buy her one for Christmas (she loves the games). This says a lot.

While the iPhone experience brings with it the benefits of intuitiveness and an easy learning curve, to a smartphone user like me this simplicity is perhaps my biggest knock against the experience as you become more familiar with it. I'll get into that later...

All said and done, which smartphone philosophy is better? I think the track record and market share numbers do the talking here. RIM's philosophy proved key to capturing the enterprise world and from there transitioned over to the consumer market relatively smoothly where it has helped RIM continue to grow quarter after quarter. With the iPhone, and especially the broader worldwide launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple has shown that its smartphone design philosophy and means of distributing mobile content (iTunes, App Store) is of tremendous appeal as they gain market share at a rapid rate. Clearly both platforms have their strengths and are both in demand.

Time to get nitpicky with the iPhone 3G!


The New and Improved iPhone 3G

Apple iPhone 3G

If you're reading this, you're likely not in need of an overview of the iPhone 3G. If by chance you are, then check out TheiPhoneBlog's iPhone 3G hardware and software reviews.

Comparing the iPhone 3G to the original iPhone I reviewed in last year's Round Robin, it's sort of startling to see both how little AND how much has changed. The iPhone 3G of course gained 3G and is fast, but other than that the hardware is virtually the same. The casing got reworked, losing its metal back in favor of a plastic once. In other words, little changed.

The big changes came not to what you physically hold in your hand, but what you see on the screen. Last year's iPhone was arguably (and Dieter argued this point a lot) a feature phone rather than a smartphone (albeit a very nice feature phone). With a shortage of apps and no development APIs yet released, the iPhone experience was very much limited to the device you purchased. This is very much a reality of feature phones. However, with the coming of the iPhone 3G Apple released its version 2 software and launched the iTunes App Store. Since that launch, the OS software has already seen some further revisions/improvements and the App Store has grown to over 10,000 apps. The OS improvements have brought more speed and stability to the iPhone as well as features for enterprise and the app store makes it incredibly easy to browse and install third party applications. This year's iPhone is most definitely a smartphone.

 

Hardware and Virtual Hardware - Likes & Gripes!

Ahhh... the iPhone 3G. There's a lot I like about it and at the same time there are a ton of little things that irk me about it. In case you missed my initial impressions video, be sure to watch it below (you'll get a visual sense for what I love and hate).

Here's a quick overview the iPhone 3G's key specs:

  • Display: 3.5 inch, 480 by 320 pixels, 163ppi, capactive touchscreen
  • Processor: 620MHz ARM
  • GPS: Assisted GPS
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g
  • Camera: 2 megapixels (no flash, no zoom, no video recording)
  • Audio: 3.5mm headset jack
  • Bluetooth: 2.0, no A2DP stereo streaming support

With 3G, WiFi, and GPS it's what I call an all-in-one smartphone which is expected of today's top of the line devices. It's too bad that Apple didn't up the camera on the iPhone 3G to 3.2 mexapixels (or more) and that the device is still unusable with my stereo bluetooth headsets. I guess they're saving something for the iPhone 4G (or will it be iPhone HD?!).

More of an object than an electronic device, the iPhone 3G is all about the touchscreen experience. SIM Slot, Headset jack, Volume On/Off Toggle and Up/Down buttons pictured.

The bottom - Microphone pickup, syncing/charging port and the only speaker port on the device. Oh how I wish there was a programmable key or back button on this side of the device.
The Apple iPhone Look has Become Iconic

Form Factor - While I enjoy the iconic and ‘singular' (as Dieter puts it) look of the iPhone, I have never found it to be a particularly comfortable device to hold in my hand. I do prefer the feel of the iPhone 3G over its predecessor though. The original iPhone sort of cut into my hands, especially when using it as a phone, but the plastic back of the 3G is sculpted more gently. It is a bit of a slippery bugger though. When I first got it I was afraid I was going to drop it all the time, so I skinned it. This helped, but I have to say that a skinned iPhone 3G definitely loses something in the gadget sexy department (all you see is a smudgy piece of glass) so it wasn't long before I lost the skin and decided to risk it.

Display / Touchscreen - The iPhone's display is bright, and both apps and media look great on it. What's really surprising here though is just how good the displays on RIM's latest generation of smartphones are. The iPhone 3G and Bold both have 480 by 320 resolution, but the Bold packs that resolution into a smaller physical area, providing greater pixel density that really impresses.

While this gets a bit into the software side of the equation, it seems a fitting time to talk about the iPhone's touchscreen. When it comes to touchscreen smartphones, I think the day of the resistive touchscreen is done... or at least it should be done. After having used the T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry Storm and iPhone 3G, all of which take the capactive approach and provide a friendly user experience, it makes resistive touchscreen devices (like the Treo Pro I reviewed or HTC Fuze I'm reviewing next) seem awfully dated.

And out of the G1, Storm and iPhone 3G, I do need to be honest here and say at this point I think the iPhone 3G offers the best touchscreen user experience of the bunch. I have found all three of these devices extremely easy to pick up and learn to use quickly and effectively, but do think Apple's implementation of "touch" seems the most intuitive and natural. It's the little things, like the bounce / stretch / rebound / elasticity effects and the way it takes into account the speed of your swipe for scrolling (if you swipe quick it continues to scroll once you have lifted your finger) that do make for both a rewarding and fun experience.

Buttons - Compared to your typically BlackBerry, which has a ton of buttons, the iPhone 3G has only a few. The main button on the bottom front of the device brings you home. At the top is power button and long the side is the volume up/down buttons and volume on/off switch. I made mention of this in my initial impressions video, and it is worth repeating here... I hate the volume on/off button. I have now lost count of the number of times I have accidentally switched the device from sound on to sound off in my pocket and as a result have missed calls and emails.

Syncing / Charging - For syncing and charging, the iPhone 3G uses the Apple dock connector thingy. I really wish they would use MicroUSB. For one, I could use all my other MicroUSB cables with it and secondly, it's smaller and would "ugly" the phone up less. When you look at the bottom of the iPhone, the curren port takes up a lot of real estate, which could be used for other things, such as more speakers!

Speakers - For being such a media-centric and entertainment-centric smartphone, Apple has left a lot to be desired in the sound department. The iPhone 3G features one sound port, located on the bottom right side of the phone, which throws decent sound but in pratice is extremely easy to cover up. It makes playing otherwise fun games like Cro-Mag Racing and Crash Bandicoot NitroKart completely frustrating. These games make you hold the iPhone like a steering wheel, and in doing so your finger covers up the sound. Annoying!!!

Though it's a software thing, as mentioned above, the lack of A2DP support still boggles my mind.

BlackBerry Storm, Apple iPhone 3G and BlackBerry Curve 8900 side by side by side. A face down look at RIM's two newest smartphones and the Apple iPhone 3G.

The BlackBerry Storm and iPhone 3G compared. Both offer comfortable form factors. Which is the sexier device? I vote Megan Fox on the BlackBerry Storm (we gotta get her using a BB!)
It's like comparing Apples and Berries

Camera - Considering it has no flash, the iPhone 3G's camera takes pretty decent photos, even in low lighting situations. This is one area where the device could still use a lot of improvement though. You can't zoom, there's no video recording and there are no real options (ie. choose between color, black & white, sepia, etc) to choose from. Sometimes less is more, but not in this case.

Battery - My gripe here isn't with battery life being bad, but with the fact there's no easy way to change the battery or replace it. With normal communication-focused (dare I say BlackBerry-like) usage the device goes a day and a bit, but if you really start to put the iPhone 3G to use in terms of its entertainment capabilities, the battery can be drained pretty quick (as my niece demonstrated to me just yesterday in fact). This is yet another reason why I could never ever rely on the iPhone as my primary/sole device. A smartphone is nothing more than a paper weight unless it has life to it.

Network / Signal - One thing I have noticed is that my BlackBerry smartphones always get better signal in low coverage areas than the iPhone 3G. My Bold often retains 3G coverage in areas where the iPhone drops it, and in areas where there's next to no signal available (think basement of a hall) I can still place calls on my BlackBerry while the iPhone tells me No Signal is available. From my experiences, RIM definitely wins the battle in terms of staying connected.

Keyboard - As a touchscreen phone, the iPhone 3G relies on a software keyboard to get the typing done. For many potential iPhone 3G users, this is the big sticking point that prevents them from jumping on the bandwagon. I definitely have mixed feelings on it and do see both some pros and cons in its design.

The big con is typing accuracy. If your fingers are agile and your attention is focused, you can actually bang out messages relatively quick on the iPhone. So long as you focus on the keys, the auto correction will do a pretty decent job of keeping your fingers on track. At the same time, if your focus is anything less than 100%, if you're in a bumpy environment, or your fingers don't quite have the dexterity they used to, it's easy to run amuck on the device. What you touch is what you get, and on the iPhone it's easy to mis-tap and bring about the "Ahh Frak" I so often hear when observing iPhone users (and judging from the comments to my last Round Robin post I'm not the only one who hears iPhone users spouting that on a regular basis).

iPhone3G Keyboard
The iPhone 3G's Software Keyboard

RIM obviously saw this as a big con as well as with the BlackBerry Storm they put a new twist on the software keyboard in an attempt to alleviate this problem with their clickable SurePress design that helps to separate navigation from confirmation.

Did they succeed? I'd say it's a 50/50. A lot of Storm users have grown accustom to the SurePress and are loving it. For others it's slowing them down just a bit too much (when in full qwerty) compared to their traditional BlackBerry that has a physical keyboard. I will say that one of the benefits of the iPhone's software keyboard is that it provides effortless typing vs. the Storm where clicking out long messages can be become a bit tiresome.

For myself personally, my preference is still with the traditional physical keyboard (I absolutely LOVE the Curve 8900's keyboard). It simply feels right.

Overall, the iPhone 3G is pretty rock solid as far as build quality and hardware go.

Operating System and Native Software - Likes & Gripes!

In terms of the iPhone 3G's operating system, not much has changed from last year in terms of the basic concept. I've always considered it to be a mind boggling OS in both directions. There are things about it that are mind boggling brilliant while at the same time there are things about it that are so mind boggling frustrating that I want to toss it out the window.

Basic Navigation - In the brilliant department, I enjoy the fact the OS was designed for touchscreen implementation from the get go as it makes the iPhone extremely easy to use. Every option you have is viewable on screen at any given time and there's no confusion in terms of navigation as you really have only one way of "doing" things. This makes the device easy to use for even the least technically competent people. I sometimes think of the iPhone as a "dumbphone" rather than "smartphone" for the simple fact that even err... "dumb people" can get up to speed with it quickly.

But while the iPhone's ease of use is award winning, I find the speed of use to be incredibly frustrating. I find myself constantly waiting for the iPhone. Once you get familiar with where you need to tap to get things done, you find you're constantly looking at zoom in / zoom out or slide in / slide out screen transitions as you wait to make your next tap. I used to think these were all for show and making the experience pretty, but I'm now pretty certain that this is just a cover-up while the iPhone works to get things loaded. If not, then I would love to be able to turn these off. Coming from a device like the BlackBerry Bold, which offers a SNAPPY SPEEDY FAST OS experience, I find I have lost a bit of patience for the iPhone in this department. I know we all complained about the Storm's lag when it first came out (and rightfully so), but it surprises me I don't hear more about the time consuming nature of the iPhone OS. Seriously, if RIM's philosophy is to add an hour to your day, I think Apple's is to take up 30 minutes of the day looking at things opening and closing.

Also frustrating to me is that takes too many steps to carry out basic smartphone tasks. Dialing a person for example. On my Bold or Curve, I have my key contacts set as shortcuts on my keyboard. Hold down a letter and it automatically dials. For anybody else, I simply dial the first couple of letters of their name and the device pulls it from the address book and I can easily call or SMS them. On the iPhone this becomes a procedure - turn it on, slide to unlock, tap on the phone, tap on contacts, decide whether to scroll up or down or tap to get the contact I'm trying to reach to show up on the display, tap their name, then tap the number I want to call.

iPhone 3G
iPhone Homescreen and Settings. Note Settings contains both native & 3rd party apps

Settings - One of the gripes a lot of new to BlackBerry users have is in regards to the settings - they're all over the place and some of them are really confusing. Apple's approach to settings is to try and keep them dead simple by keeping them all in one place... Under Settings... go figure.

This philosophy works well for native apps, but it gets really confusing for 3rd party apps. Apple wants developers to place settings for apps and games into the main Settings page as well. I personally think this is REALLY STUPID. When it comes to native apps and standard OS settings, YES, keeping them on one page is simple and effective. But when it comes to third party apps, the only time you ever want to make a change to a setting is when you're actually in that app. But instead, you need to exit the game, go back to the homescreen, open settings, and make the changes there. This isn't intuitive, nor is it is efficient. Plus you often don't even know there are settings options for a new app you just installed until you accidentally discover them when going into Settings to change something else (after downloading a game from the App Store I immediately want to open it and play it - not check first to see if there are any game settings/options I may want to tweak). Plus despite Apple wanting to have all app settings placed here, not all developers are actually doing that. So for some games/apps, I can change settings within the app, and for others I need to dive back to the Settings page.

Email/PIM - This year I was able to get my push email up and running on the iPhone via Mobile Me (I had my gmail forwarding to my @me.com account). I typically use Outlook as my home base for contacts and calendad, and Mobile Me kept these current on my iPhone 3G by syncing to the magical cloud. I also ran my Gmail IMAPED to the iPhone, but keep it set for manual checking - this was a nice set-up as I used MobileMe to stay on top of my current messages as I got them, but could always dive into Gmail to look up old messages or view messages by labels. It definitely irks me though just how much tapping is required to jump between inboxes!

Along with version 2 software came Microsoft Exchange support, which more than the original iPhone makes the iPhone 3G more of an option in business and enterprise.

Notifications / Profiles - I made note of this during the initial impressions video, and it's worth repeating... there simply are not enough options on the phone for customizing how you want to be notified of different events. BlackBerry and iPhone are at different extremes here. On the BlackBerry there are almost too many options as you have several default sound profiles which allow you to customize notifications for just about everything (emails, SMS, calls, BBM, etc.) and you can even create your own custom profiles. On the iPhone you basically have On/Off/Vibrate. The iPhone is desperately in need of user-set notification profiles.

It seems the iPhone doesn't know how to properly prioritize notifications either. To me, when you're on a phone call, that's the priority. Yet if you have the volume set to on and vibrations set to on, the phone will bong and vibrate in your ear while you're talking to someone. This is frak'n stupid! Not being able to turn this is off is both frustrating, dangerous (I won't tell the story here of what almost happened the first time I discovered this the hard way) and it's also rude to the caller on the other end of the line (hard to stay focused on the conversation when you keep getting distracted.

Not having an easy way to clear notifications on the iPhone also drives me bonkers. I get a LOT of emails each day. I don't necessarily have to read all of them when I'm out and about and relying on my phone as my email device. I just need to stay on top of what's new and respond to what's timely. Yet once I go through my inbox, there's no way to simply mark all messages as being read. The same is case for other apps, such as Facebook.

Did I mention the iPhone doesn't have a blinking red light? I really wish Apple would allow for a third party app that offered external notifications. Ya know, just take 10 x 30 pixels at the top right corner of the phone and all the user to make them light up and blink for whatever he/she chooses.

iPhone 3G
The iPhone 3G is great with Media. Safari is fast and renders pages accurately.
Downloading podcasts is simple.

Web Browser / Media - As mentioned at the top of this article in the preamble section, in this department the iPhone is still the best. This says a lot considering nothing has really changed in this department from last year. Apple got it right the first time. My only real issue here is with the web browser, where I do find despite my best efforts to focus, I often mistap and open an article or zoom up on a picture without wanting to.
And of course there's still things from last year I'd like to see appear on the iPhone, such as flash support in the web browser, native cut/paste and the ability to multitask with apps (as Dieter points out in his Round Robin iPhone 3G review, the iPhone doesn't do a great job of streaming audio and getting turn by turn directions at the same time).


The App Store

Apps. To me, this is really what owning an iPhone is all about. And if the iPhone fails to meet your needs as your primary smartphone (as it does for me) then this is what owning an iPod Touch (in addition to your BlackBerry) is all about.

With the release of the SDK and App Store, Apple really changed the mobile game. When shopping for a cell phone, the focus is no longer just on the device you're walking out of the store with and what it can do for you, but what else you can download and buy for it to take it to the next level. The App Store makes it easy to browse, purchase and install apps.

iPhone App Store
The App Store makes browsing, buying and downloading apps easy.

Though when I say apps, for the most part I really mean games. I have 45 third party apps running on my iPhone 3G. Only eight of them are what I would consider real apps (Google, PayPal, Facebook, Bloomberg, Beejive, Apple Remote, vlingo, Joost) while the rest are games and or silly time wasters. You can't really scoff at this though, as honestly, these apps are a big part of what's helping Apple to sell iPhones right now. Just pull out the lighter app or beer app at a party or hand your nieces and nephews Tic Tac Toe to play at a family gathering and you'll see the immediate "I want that device" come into affect.

For the most part, the iPhone 3G does a great job of running apps. iPhone apps always seem to look good - I hope BlackBerry one day soon can offer developers the same type of graphics support. Compare a game like Crash Bandicoot that's available for both the BlackBerry and iPhone and you'll agree with me on this.

iPhone App Store
An iPhone Version of BrickBreaker. Ocarina blows my mind.

RIM is set to launch their App Store in March, and I hope it wows us with its features and simplicity. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the thought of extra competition coming to our super-popular ShopCrackBerry.com Software Store and CrackBerryAppStore.com mobile app store, but do think for the good of the BlackBerry RIM needs this. Having an app store be easily accessible from every handheld is a big deal. And with the launch of the BlackBerry app store, I also hope we see big attention from BlackBerry developers in turning out awesome BlackBerry apps. At the moment, a lot of mobile developers are directing their attention to developing for the iPhone as it's getting a lot of action. I have no doubt within a year there'll be a new reality tv show focused on the iPhone App developers who made a million dollars selling iPhone apps like Ocarina for 99 cents a pop. But the BlackBerry community is big and vibrant, and upon the launch of the BlackBerry App Store there will be a pent of demand for apps. So let's get developing!!

Some Final Thoughts

If you've read this far (my apologies for being so long - if I ever take a couple months off from CrackBerry.com I'll be sure to attend Concise Writing School) you can probably tell that I really like the iPhone, but at the same time it's just not the device I could use as my primary smartphone. It doesn't work the way I need and want a smartphone to work.

Could Apple ever build a smartphone that was more to my liking? I'd have to say maybe, but a few things would have to happen. Here's my thought for Apple....

You know how Apple makes both a Macbook and a Macbook Pro? I think they should produce an iPhone Pro. I know a big part of the iPhone philosophy is to keep it simple, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to be a little more complicated, and luckily, tagging a product with "Pro" at the end covers the reduced intuitiveness of a professional device. At the bottom of the iPhone is a single home button. How about we toss a little Apple key to the left of it? Maybe when you hit that button you could get a few basic functions to pop up on the display... maybe like copy and paste? While we're at it, let's add a little back button to the right of that home key. The lack of a back key on the iPhone is one of my BIGGEST irks of all - you have to learn within each app the correct way to tap "back" to a previous menu (time waster). The most unified/simplistic means of getting back is via a back button. I know this is something that even iPhone fans (Rene, I'm looking at you) would like to see. Maybe add the ability to edit office docs natively - it's not something one typically does on a smartphone all that often (more likely to view than to edit), but sometimes "Pro" users do have to make changes on the go. And last but not least, give it a flashing red light. In other words, make it more like a BlackBerry! :-)

Sex definitely sells, and the iPhone does a great job in the sex appeal department, but it's the CrackBerry that always keeps me coming back!

Up Next in the Round Robin - The Windows Mobiled powered HTC Fuze! Stay Tuned... 

Topics: SPE Round Robin

Reader comments

Round Robin Review: CrackBerry on the Ahh Frak Phone 3G

151 Comments

My favorite part was the pic of the Storm next to the iPhone. Nice wallpaper on the Storm. Where's the wallpaper on the iPhone?

I don't know. Any review that requires 6 pages of history and philosophy to justify a "my phone is better" review throws up red flags in my mind.

I wouldn't say I put that in to justify anything one way or the other. With a Treo Pro review a lot of people liked the "philsophy" part of the review the best. For the most part everyone has already read standard device reviews... so I put in the philosophy/my story stuff just for some unique content and a different perspective. So you can throw down your red flags :)

The iPhone really seems to be mostly about form, where the Blackberry seems to be about function. Obviously they both are pretty good at both, but the main indicator to me is the lack of an easily replaceable battery on the iPhone, like they didn't want an ugly battery door marring their perfect device. Aside from that, I still love the mePhone nickname, as every iPhone user I see seems to have one for, "Look at me, look at me!"

Thanks for your review of the iphone from the crackberry perspective. As a 750 owner whose looking for a replacement you have affirmed my convictions for now that the iphone is still not for me. You have me leaning more towards the Bold or possibly the epix unless att picks up the treo pro soon or the unlocked price comes down(the former is more likely than the latter I know). The fuze was in the running but I am not sure about slider smartphones either.

ill admit.. da only reason id get an iphone or ipod touch is for its apps and games.. sickk. hope rim makes a comparable app store one day..

I have to say, very concise and thorough!

I have to agree. I would consider getting an iPod Touch to go along with my Blackberry. With the way both are designed for different segments of the market, it can make sense to carry both devices.

Lately, I have been experimenting with the various "smart phones" out there because I am going to be upgrading soon. I'm currently with AT&T and have researched the iPhone and the Bold since my update is quickly approaching. I recently had hands-on time with both devices. I was really amazed at how much easier I thought navigation on the Bold was rather than on the iPhone. I found myself getting "stuck" in various apps on the iPhone and I really don't like the fact that there aren't more buttons (especially just a standard "back" button. I really dislike the fact that there is only one physical button and it only takes you back to the homescreen every time. My experience with the Bold was rather impressive. As everyone else has said...that screen is amazing. All I could say was "wow!" All that being said, I'd rather have a BOLD!

Xopher: I have an iPod Touch and a Pearl 8120. I love both devices but tire of carrying both. Hoping the 8900 is the answer.

My son has the IPhone and swears by it. But it just doesn't do it for me. I still like the crack. I would relly like a bold.

Even Jobs said it himself. "the iPhone is the best iPod ever" He said nothing about it being a smartphone or being able to replace a crackberry ;)

Kevin, I agree with your philosophical arguments, none of which are a flame on the iPhone. To me, the iPhone is just an iPod touch (a brilliant device) with phone, web and PIM capabilities added. The browser is great, but the phone and PIM are just so-so. But it's still an awesome iPod touch, with media and game capabilities second to none. You can use it for work/productivtiy, but it certainly doesn't compare to a modern Blackberry for that purpose.

As a user that owns both a curve and an iphone, this review was a good read(yes I read it from top to bottom)(Kevin I didn't know you carried both at one point). Though it was long, I agree with almost everything you said. the pros of the iphone, the form factor, the ease of use... it's really what sells the phone. The "it" that drew me to buying one was the web browsing experience, which up until today is still unmatched.

I too am starting to pick up my iphone less and less. I'm grow tired of it's short comings, tired that the app store has no "useful" apps to make me say "wow". Even the web browsing, I find myself looking for a computer instead. The iphone is now reduced to being my mp3 player, (thinking I should have just bought an itouch instead).

Now I'm on the market that will give me the effective-ness of my curve, and the browsing capabilities of the iphone... I tried out the storm... and though the hardware is there, I'm finding I do have to slow it down a bit to type accurately(still faster than my iphone though)

In the end just wanted to give you props on the long but awesome review... maybe I'll give the bold a shot, or hopefully I can win one =)

Say what you want the IPhone is a well made device. It just aims at a different market than your typical Blackberry. Although, both companies are trying to pick up the same possible customers, they're just going at it a different way.

I have to agree with you Kevin. I have the Bold and iPod Touch 2G that I carry around. My wife has the iPhone 3G as well. The biggest gripe I have with the iPhone is the inability to truly multi-task on it. I downloaded IM+ for my iPod Touch and in order for it to stay logged in, I have to stay in the application. If I decide to go out and play a game or view my Facebook page, it logs me out. Where as on my Bold, I have Live Messenger and Microsoft Office Communicator running on my Bold all the time and I can still read emails, browse web pages or whatever, and I can still receive my IMs.

Overall, I think you gave an good, honest overview of what the iPhone is. Great job!

A well balanced review and insightful into the pros & cons of the iPhone. Currently I'm looking at the Bold and the iPhone to replace my Curve this summer, but I might wait even longer to see what Apple brings with the next version of the iPhone to allow more multi-tasking.

I still have to play more with them to make a final decision.

Wow....great review, as always Kevin. I'm sticking with my Storm. Don't know that I could ever cross over to the "other side".

This is my favorite review of the round robin so far, great work Kevin i too was hooked on the BB with a 7250 "my old black" hehe (wich i still own), the iphone 3g is such a wonderful gadget but nothing can keep me away from my blackberry.

I think the iphone Pro idea is a great one - maybe an iphone with some more buttons and enterprise features would hit the spot for a lot of people. Probably not me, though - I'll always need that front-facing keyboard to be truly happy. Great review, anyway!

The only reason I could see for getting an iphone is that the media and browser capabilities seem a little more mature and streamlined than on my blackberry. yes, I can play videos and music, but it does seem like more of a hassle than what iphone users have to put up with. but once you try a blackberry and its superior messaging and email capabilities, its not something I would trade for.

P.S.
What a thorough review, excellent!

I always thought the "home" key should be called the "start over" key, because if you press it by mistake, that's what you will be doing. I bought the 3G and carried it for about 2 months and went back to my Curve, and in January, will be moving on to a Bold. I think you got it pretty much dead on. The iPhone will be great for a first time user with no prior smartphone background. If you don't have anything to compare it too, then it is wonderful. But, coming from a Berry to the iPhone, it quickly becomes apparent what you have given up. I think the biggest thing is that a Berry is a stand alone device, while the iPhone requires a "system". It seems like you always need "something" to do "something". And that "something" is a computer. You are always having to sync the phone for one reason or another. Example: Take a pic with your Berry. View the pic. RE-NAME THE PIC. SAVE THE PIC TO A FOLDER. All without the need for a computer. I got tired or having to dump all my pics, re-name them, then put them into "albums", THEN put them back on the phone. Too much trouble. But, it seems like Apple is trying to sell you a complete "experience" with the phone.......one where you have a Mac computer, use MobileMe, etc. With a Berry, just put the thing in your pocket and you have all that where ever you go.

Great Review Kevin. I always love reading your point of view on things. I don't think it was long winded, sometimes it takes a few pages to explain your point of view. NICE JOB!

ok, I cant wait to get some more games on my storm.
But it's still a better phone overall than the 3G.
Or, at the very least, Verizons network is a better network :)

ok, I cant wait to get some more games on my storm.
But it's still a better phone overall than the 3G.
Or, at the very least, Verizons network is a better network :)

I like the very very good informative(long) Review.
I dont need to read the History thing if i dont want. :D

But...for me...no IPhone...On wednesday i buy the 8900. :-)

I still don't understand why Apple hasn't given the iPhone stereo bluetooth support. The device is AMAZING in the entertainment department and clearly that was Apple's focus with it (because it fails as a phone), but how can you make the entertainment THAT good and forget stereo bluetooth support? It's like building a really gorgeous Ferrari with an amazing suspension and a 600 HP V-12 in it and then putting Les Schwab all season tires on it. Come on Apple, if you're going to go that far just finish the job already!

I enjoyed the (rambling) review and especially the direct comparison of using the phones side by side. I think it's mostly a one-handed versus two-handed approach. RIM comes from a background of workers on the move where one-handed operation is a given. Apple wanted a media-oriented device with a big screen and that requires two-handed operation. With their history of simple, intuitive UI design (remember the one-button mouse?) the virtual, contextual screen buttons and multi-touch interface followed naturally. The approach is not ideal for checking your email a hundred times a day--that's productive???--but it is an extremely flexible design with no wasted space. Besides, a big screen is a plus now that communications are more media intensive, and this is why I am attracted to the Bold and Storm.

This review does a good job of showing the good and the bad of the iPhone.

I really think that right now, one of the biggest selling points of the iPhone is the apps. Some of those apps are just really well done and well thought out (of course not every app is like that).

I think if people developing for the iPhone can be persuaded to develop on the BlackBerry, we could get some really "flashy" apps on the BlackBerry as well.

The iPhone is an entertainment device that just happens to be a phone. For business purposes it can not be compared the Blackberry.

One problem with the iPhone is how it combines a Smartphone with a music player, but lacks a replaceable battery. If you're like me and like to text and listen to music/watch videos on a trip, there's no way your battery on one device will last the whole trip. And without a replacement, you're out of luck.

Now the iPod touch and a Bold on the other hand... totally different story.

A very good read, and while biased toward blackberry, it gives a good indication of what a BB user would experience when switching to an iPhone.

I'm curious what an iPhone user would think going the other way.

It would be like going back to dos (the os before Windows) or for apples users basic (before the mac os).

A blackberry has a learning curve. You then learn the shortcuts. Once you learn how to use it you think you are efficient since you used to be so slow on it. The iphone like the Mac OS is just intuitive. No one takes a class on the iphone or needs to be trained on the use of Mac OS X. Though the IT people always complain as they find it over simplified when it really is just well thought out. Kind of like driving a sports car, when you drop right hand off the steering wheel it should land on the stick shift.

If you like scrolling thru menus get a blackberry. If you don't want to think as much and concentrate on life or business work, get the iphone.

I have friends who love their iPhone, but it still isn't anywhere near as helpful as a Blackberry. Several of us at work have turned down a company (Mobile Windows) phone to keep our Blackberries because they are so much more useful to us.

I'd happily take a Bold!

that's what i think of when i see the iphone. it's wrapped in pretty paper and it's undoubtably cool, but it is more toy than tool. i want a bold too.

The keyboard is definitely a deal breaker for me. Oh, I can only wait for a touchscreen/qwerty combo from RIM.

just finished upgrading the OS on my bold and would just have to say i would never settle for a (as babeberry puts it) a "douche-phone".. haha

I love my Bold,
I've had to for alittle over a month and wouldn't trade it for anything. I used old moto's and other devices. I have even tried a Iphone and couldn't compare to me when the curve came out. Now there's not comparsion. Kevin you do a wonderful job of articulating everything even though.... It's a little long winded it should be detailed though. Great job from us here in Louisiana. GEAUXXX LSU>>>>

DANIEL Crackberry Addict... Since 2006.

It's funny to see the differences in devices...and people for that matter. To each his own I guess. If either RIM or Apple could cram both devices into one, you'd have a show stopper. RIM tried with the Storm (and I own one), but didn't quite hit the mark. I suspect down the road we'll see a device from one of these two companies that truly does all of the above. Whichever company is able to do it first is going to be just about unstoppable.

Right now it comes down to personal preference. Do you value communications or media more? I, personally, buy a phone as a phone (and by definition a communications device). All other considerations are secondary. Would it be nice to have all of the above? Certainly, but I NEED to be able to communicate. That's the purpose of the thing from the get-go. That's part of the reason I bought a Storm. It's the closest I can get to "all of the above". Is it perfect? Nope. Does it meet my primary needs, while also satisfying my secondary needs? Yep. In the end, each device is different. It has a different feel, a different look, and a different philosophy. As I said before, to each his own.

but I wouldn't give up my Blackberry for that device. The Bold has me so intrigued but I'm waiting on the 8900! I want to see that device in action :)a

I'd rather play tic tac toe on paper than use an ipod touch.

I'd rather yell really loudly than use an iphone.

I'd rather do anything in the world than pay a DIME for anything on an apple app store.

I already know the name of every song instantly when I hear it. lol

I'm a PC on a computer and for a phone I'm all CRACKED out-

geeez, that iphone looks pretty darn hot! However, i just can't see myself loving the iphone as much as a blackberry. It just doesn't "hit the spot" as you say kev in terms of application since i hardly ever play games on the bb anyway.

Also, when you said "the BEST smartphone is the one that spends the LEAST amount of time in your hands while getting the most stuff done," it's interesting cause i think the blackberry is the best smartphone yet i'm getting things done, but i just don't find myself putting it down much! oddly i have the ghost vibration syndrome... lol uh oh!

I don't mean to be harsh, Kevin, but this was more of a comparison than a review. It read like a Bold vs. Iphone 3G article.

I liked what you had to say, though.

I hate to admit it but the app store and the 3rd party apps does make the iphone tempting.

However, I sure do like my Storm

My sister is a total iPhone freak, told her about the whole aww fuqu phone thing, she flipped out... Said it happens to her all the time... Lol... I seriously don't get why people are so obsessed with touch screens. I even just this weekend checked out the Storm, don't get me wrong it's a great lookin piece of hardware.. But I would never trade in a Cure or Bold for one.. Heck even my pearl is easier for my to navigate than it... Anywho, just my 2 cents...

Read the entire thing, loved it. It's good to see another perspective on the iPhone from one that's used to the sometimes faster Blackberry way of doing things.

wonderful.
absolutely brilliant review.
seriously, so many people criticize the countless annoying lack of features on the iPhone, but few people ever take the time to go into such depth.

That wasn't too long at all.
If anything, the length was absolutely necessary.

Oh and uh... how's about that bold giveaway, huh?
:p

Don't give them too many ideas, Kevin. You know they are already hard at work developing NEXT YEAR'S iPhone model and a marketing scheme to get people to upgrade. I'll take my Storm and Curve any day of the week, thank you!

It didn't take me long to get addict; since Nov 2008. A former Nokia E62 user I thought about getting an Iphone but my hubby beat me to it. And I am glad because it help me to realize the iphone is not for me! The point you made about the touch screen describe my ability to touch it....you would think I rode the short bus to school after typing a text, or street addresses etc...So, I got a BB 8310 and eventhough it's not 3G tech I prefer edge tech over iphone 3G anyday. Yes,(iphone) it does have nice attributes but not enough to make me want to trade in my BB. My flashing red light is my life line!

Geminiandie

Understanding that this is a review of the iPhone, it actually puts the Bold on the spot light.
Right now the Bold beats the iPhone on almost everything except the UI.
The questions the cracks have to be asking themselves is:
BB evolved the BB form factor to perfection and with the Bold they reached the highest point with the guts inside that form. But now what? where they go from here?

But watching the iPhone going the the direction of the future, BB must understand that they are at the end of a dead end, and learn from iPhone that they must do a dramatic 180 degree mind shift or else will continue the journey of perfection to the land of nowhere.

I have always described the iPhone as an entertainment smartphone that does productivity, as opposed to a productivity smartphone that does entertainment. It seems like a smartphone has to choose one area of focus, and the preference then depends on the user.

I have both Devices and until I got my storm I used to carry both.. Now I tend to leave the Iphone at home and it looks like Ebay is in its future..

As an apple fan boy (computers only) I am glad to see a decent review that actually explains the cons of the iPhone.

I drooled over an iPhone from the minute I watched the announcement online... I was stuck in contract so I knew I couldn't get one soon, especially with a baby on the way (at the time, she's 1 1/2 now)

I got a Pearl a few months back and only had it for 2 months and have been in heavy withdrawl ever since! I can't wait to get another BB!

I did however, get an iPod Touch and was happy at first, but the novelty wore off. I don't know if it's because I'm limited to my house and friends house who give me their wifi passwords... or if it really is as over rated as i think it is.

The cons are plain and simple, follow the TOP 10 list given by Kevin and you will see EXACTLY what is wrong w/ the iPhone. I agree with all of them.

Plus my brother now has an iPhone and that makes it even LAMEr!

I love the feel of the iPhone and I love the media player capabilities. Otherwise Im sort of disappointed by it.

I'd love a Bold though

Wow, another massive review post Kevin, lmao!!

Great, now I want an iPhone so I can play all the cool games and listen to podcasts, damn it...Rogers is gonna own me till I'm 90...suppose though, if I don't win an iPhone maybe I'll just get a iPod touch.

I still what a bold, and No the Iphone doesnt have that crack that a berry has ask anyone that owns one and they have know idea what your talking about

I have seen both in the ATT store and am going with the Bold. It is fast and everything a personal assistant should be. Go BOLD.

I have been using blackberries for almost 7 years and really really hesitant to go iphone because of email functionality

I was given an iphone 3g while waiting for the bold to come out, but I am posting this comment on my curve if that is any indication on how the iphone experimeent is going

The iphone for all the hype, is heavy, does not have simple things like cut/paste or running apps in background.. And typing... Geez the typing. Maybe if I were on verizon, I would have gone for the storm, but I have come to depend on the real keyboard on my blackberry too much and am able to pretty much type without looking on my blackberry but would never try anything like that on the iphone.

My iphone has been deligated to a glorified ipod and not using any data services. I use the wfi and vpn on the iphone for basic email and some apps, but for me, the bold would be the perfect replacement to my curve

Hope I win the BOL

Give Apple some time, and they will improve their iPhone! I'm carrying the Bold right now, but the screen is a bit too small for multimedia. The Storm doesn't have Wifi, so that's not an option for me.
Let's see what Stevie brings out next, and maybe, just maybe, he can impress and convince me to buy an iPhone. Maybe, in the year 2015 or so... ;-)

Kevin, I didn't realize how huge the notifications (and ease of switching and custimizing profiles) were until I tried to switch away from Blackberry with the Fuze. I just couldn't get used to not being able to glance at the phone (from across the room) and know if I had a new e-mail. I strongly considered the iPhone 3G but knew that it couldn't replace my BB, even with Exchange via active sync, largely because of the notification options, or lack thereof.

I agree with alot of your complaints about the iPhone, no cut/past, needs a notification light, back button, and lack of settings options. However I still love my iPhone and at this time it is the perfect device for me and isn't that what really matters. As far as your review goes I thouht it was right on as far as content and length. All the comments about you trying to justify your choice of phone are stupid. For those of you that don't know this is a round robin article and the whole point is to go in depth into all these phones and then. Compare them to their phone of choice. Kevin keep up the good work on the articles and the podcast.

The Iphone has lost its zeal for me. The review was great, but looking forward to your take on the fuze.

iphoney will never beat a BB.. EVER!! there is something to be said about falling asleep with the phone in your hand and its the first thing you look for when you wake up..

I'll be really curious to see whether the next iteration of the iphone takes any of the comments like these into account, or if they will just plow ahead as they see fit.

I find it amazing that a communications tool can generate so much emotion from its users, whether they are iPhone or BB people.

Keep up the excellent work!

That all white iPhone sure is nice. I never see any pictures of the Bold with a different color leather back. I know there are like 3 different colors available, I wonder what the white one looks like on a Bold.

Alright to be honest i am a heavy iphone user but my needs are more than that i have been looking at the bold for a while not but i am trapped in the 3 year term with my iphone. point is i wanna win to convert to a crackberry addict:) thanks for the chance

Kevin,

Well done, it was a little ahem.. Thorough.. but pretty well done. As an ex-curve owner and Iphone 3g lover. I have to say you were pretty fair. In all fairness though, you tweak your bold/storm, why not jailbreak the iphone?

also, as far as the removable battery.. I know most pc and blackberry users arent used to superior hardware, but if you have solid hardware, no need to replace the battery. Then again, BB users do need to remove the battery constantly to clean up the bloated OS... oops, did I say that outloud?
no, I still miss a few things from my Curve, and I still think that BOTH of these items work well for what you use them most often for. For me, the iphone works seamlessly with my car stereo, my mac laptop, and everything else I use on a daily basis. Would have been interesting to hear a snippet or so on blackberry/Iphone integration with home and car stereo systems... I dont hear many people talking about that.
anyways, thanks kevin.. you're awesome, i find myself reading more of your reviews than even Rene's(sorry... dont tell him):0)

I like the bold and the Iphone and currently have the iphone on a test run. I would love the Bold in the USA.

This article reaffirms everything i've come to love about my crackberry(s). No other smartphone can touch the BB in terms of efficiency on the go. Where's my Bold???

This article reaffirms everything i've come to love about my crackberry(s). No other smartphone can touch the BB in terms of efficiency on the go. Where's my Bold???

Hey Kevin,
That was a great review. Pretty much sums up everything. I got a Bold about a month ago, my first bb and I absolutely love it. It does everything that I would possibly want it to and it really is efficient. Upon reading your review, I'm really surprised that the Iphone doesn't have a LED indicator notification and no "back" button. Although those are very simple things, they make a big difference when it comes to efficiency.
In my opinion, Apple has backed themselves into a corner by going all touchscreen and their only real option to keep their fans is to continue making touchscreen phones. That really limits your future model designs and limits your market since there is a large chunk of consumers who find operating a touchscreen device clumsy and inaccurate.
On the other hand RIM can continue developing their physical keyboard models as well as touchscreen, and perhaps a better flip, and appeal to more people.

Really insightful review! I have neither the iPhone nor a Crakberry but rather a Shadow. That said I have felt the magnetic almost hypnotic pull in turn of the iPhone 3G, Bold, Storm and yes even the Fuze. Your point counter-point style of reviews here and at your sister site over at wmexperts has been hugely entertaining and informative. Although I am marginally closer to making a decision, each new article seems to have me mentally chalking tally marks in every column. It comes down to business or pleasure in many ways. And yet I am loath to commit to either the Apple ecosphere or the incessant over-the-shoulder compelled to respond to the pretty red light crack. Guess I'll figure it out one day. But either way, your site has been added to the long and distinguished list of geek-centric places to quench my thirst for tech. Thanks!!