Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Newer is Not Always Better

rim_blackberry_8703e That phrase has never been more true than today.  It seems that each “new and improved” gadget, service, product, etc. ends up being more of a “new name / improved profit” gain for the vendor and a so-so lateral change for the consumer.  There are exceptions of course.  But one that hits home for me is my Blackberry smartphone.

I’ve owned and operated several models over the years, mostly those without a camera (job requirement).  The one I’ve owned the longest has been my Verizon 8703e running the dated OS version 4.1.x.

rim_blackberry_8830I got a brand new Blackberry 8830 “World Edition” last year, part of my “renew every two” plan.  But after just two weeks of intense use, decided to revert back to the 8703e.  Why?  Because the 8830 is not comprehensively “better”.  Sure, you can argue on technical merit that the 8830 is “superior”, but realistically (as in: put down the spec sheet and actually try using this thing…) it’s got some irritating flaws that accumulate to the point of wanting to throw against a brick wall.

Rather than digress into the techie minutae, I’ll focus on the real-world usage aspects:

Feature 8703e 8830
Sturdy enough to remain intact and operational from a drop on a hard floor from 3 feet Absolutely No fucking way
What happens when dropped from 4-5 feet? Back cover might come off, battery stays in. Case flies to pieces, battery slides across floor in opposite direction of the other parts
Keypad comfort Smooth, Quiet.  Great for texting and tweeting even during dead spots in staff meetings Noisier than a drunk tap dancer wearing steel shoes on a diamond-plate deck.  Keys are smaller
Keypad acuity Large black keys with white back-lit letters which even Stevie Wonder could see in a galactic black hole Stupid-as-hell tiny silver keys with light blue back-lit letters which are impossible to see in the light or dark
Battery Life Sitting in a holster doing nothing = 3 days before it needs a charge Sitting in a holster doing nothing = 4 days before it needs a charge
Case / Clip Sturdy molded plastic clip which hangs on even when running through a gauntlet of spinning baseball bats Flimsy leather sissy-ass clip that lets go of the phone if you sneeze.
App World (App Store) Nope Yes (about the only advantage)
Navigation Tool Wheel (side) Trackball (face)
Thickness A little thinner than a ham sandwich with cheese About as thick as a post-it pad.
OS Stability Flaky.  Reboots at odd times Stable.  Rarely flakes out.
Usable Apps UberTwitter, FaceBook, Google Apps, TwitterBerry All of those and many more (another benefit, but not enough to get giggly or anything)
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