BlackBerrius Maximus

Eenie, Meenie, Miney Berry... Which Should I Choose?

What a year! 2008 will definitely go down as the "Year of the Berry" for me. My little SIM Card found a home in no less than 7 different BlackBerrys this past year! While much of the use could be classified as "professional," there was certainly a "searching" for the perfect Berry as well. So, let's take a look at the year that was and maybe you can help me choose amongst my Berrys and I can keep my SIM Card parked in one device for at least a few months in 2009.

2008 started for me with a White T-Mobile BlackBerry Pearl. A great deal from actually netted me a $75.00 profit when I got this device, so I didn't think I had too much to lose (since most my retired BlackBerrys wind up on Ebay, anyway.) I really liked this BlackBerry (even with all its limitations.) I loved the size - it was almost perfect for putting in my pocket. SureType was not a problem for me and I became very comfortable with short emails and texting on this phone. I did wish the screen was bigger and the resolution was not the best. This was my first trackball BlackBerry and it became love at first scroll. I used the Pearl exclusively for about four months.

Spring of 2008 saw me "upgrade" to my trusty 8320. I loved this Blackberry (I still do.) It felt great in my hand - while bigger than the Pearl, it wasn't too big and I loved the bigger screen. As much as I tolerated SureType - there is just no substitute for a full keyboard - especially if you try to send out emails with any regularity. The "Curve" is lightweight, feels great in the hand, was fast enough and the trackball seemed improved. This was almost the "perfect" Berry.

There were a few quirks with my Curve - too many battery pulls, memory leaks and the like - but we get used to that, don't we? I loved the WiFi and using UMA for my calling - it saved me a ton of dough.

I briefly rested my trusty 8320 to try out various 8800 devices - including the 8830 and 8820. Somehow, they just seemed too big and the keyboard didn't work as well for me as the Curve keyboard. I did like that the 8820 had built in GPS and WiFi so I didn't need to choose between the two - I could navigate, stream Bluetooth Stereo and then use Wifi for browsing - that was cool. But, it just didn't fit into my pocket and I am not a real "holster" kind of guy. Also, the 88xx series seemed kind of "stuffed shirt" to me - there just wasn't much of a "coolness" factor.

My SIM card went back into my trusty Curve for another couple of months. I upgraded to beta versions of the 4.5 OS and now I could record video, watch YouTube vids and even stream internet radio -I had breathed new life into my old and trusted 8320.
Then, it happened - the Bold showed up. What a screen, what sound, what storage possibilities! Hands down I felt this was the most "quality" device that RIM had ever built. I loved the keyboard and who couldn't love the screen? The trackball seemed improved and I rarely had to do a battery pull or clear my event log. I loved everything about this device, but, for some reason, I didn't love the device itself. I think it was the size, it may have been the keyboard or the faux leather back - but I definitely had trouble getting this in my pocket which was a real bummer for me. I was also trying to use a Rogers unlocked device on T-Mobile so I couldn't take advantage of 3G and it didn't work on UMA here in the states. After about a month or so, I boxed it up and off it went to my friend Martin who is still using it today.

Around the same time I got an iPod Touch because the games and size of screen just didn't totally cut it on my Curve. I found myself spending lots of time in the App store loading up the touch - and I enjoyed the media features as well.

Then, I got a Pearl Flip and wrote a whole BlackBerry Maximus about it - I really like this little phone. It can really do everything the other BlackBerrys can do - but the size is perfect -easy in the pocket and nice and small when closed. I love the outside screen which previews text and Messenger and email messages. It was great on workouts and long bike rides too. Suretype seems improved and the new OS is very nice to work with. I found myself still using my iPod Touch for games, but doing more music playing on the Pearl Flip. Lastly, I like this device as a "phone" - there is just something about the microphone actually being near your mouth that makes for a very positive "call" experience.

I retired my Curve at this point and used the Flip exclusively for a couple of months. I did miss the full keyboard, but I just loved the size. Then, I made another huge change.

As I wrote in my last article, I waited in the cold for my Storm. I was excited for this device - probably more excited than for any previous BlackBerry. There was certainly a learning curve to this one - but there was also so much potential. I didn't like being on Verizon (just because of their higher costs and their crippling of the BlackBerrys functionality) but I did like the coverage and the speed. The addition of the SIM card meant that I could "unlock" this phone and still use my T-Mobile account - so I tried it. While I lost a little bit in terms of coverage and speed - I could keep my very reasonable rate plan and still use My Faves to save money.

I did miss the WiFi - but not as much as I thought I would. It has taken me a lot of time to get used to typing on this - but now I think I type as fast as I did on my Curve. There is an intangible quality about this device - it is just "fun" to use. I haven't really used "fun" and "BlackBerry" together before - but I have fun browsing my music, watching videos and navigating through email and typing. I have found that I haven't picked up my iPod in nearly two weeks. I have to believe that the new BlackBerry App Store will provides some compelling content - maybe I will be able to retire my iPod Touch completely.

So, there I am - pathetic BlackBerry user - One Pearl, One Curve, Two 8800's, One Bold, One Flip and One Storm - all on one SIM card inside of 11 months. This is where I need your help - faithful Maximus readers - I have in my possession right now my 8320, Pearl Flip and Storm - all working on my T-Mobile SIM card - one of them will be my everyday BlackBerry - but which one?

I am also waiting for the 8900 to come to T-Mobile (hopefully in February) and maybe that will be my next one - but I really like the touch screen. What to do, what to do? I just can't go through 7 more BlackBerrys in 2009!

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