Thursday, July 22, 2010

Updated phone thoughts

Got a new work phone, and have been considering the Droid lately, so I've been more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of my phones and potential replacements.

The BlackBerry has been chugging along merrily, resisting my mistreatment, and only suffering a single design flaw. I purchased QuickLaunch a few months ago, and have been extremely pleased with the increased control. I love being able to operate my phone without looking at it, and the customizable shortcuts coupled with the BB's autotext feature means I can press the side button twice to open a text message to someone, press "q" three times (it's in the corner of the keyboard, and easy to find), then press space to autocomplete the "qqq" to "On my way." and click twice to send. All without looking at my phone. Once I started considering the BB strengths, I had to stop and really think of all the times I use the built in shortcuts and the QuickLaunch shortcuts to navigate through the OS. It was just so intuitive, I did it without even thinking. No tapping and scrolling, no clicking and dragging, just press "D" for memopad, "C" for contacts, "B" for browser, and go! Not to mention, doing all these shortcuts so quickly means I get almost no OS lag, which would wear on my nerves quickly.

I've gotten quite good at typing blind on it, which I love, and the keys are just as responsive and sturdy as the day I got it. Considering the new droids has made me respect the BB's overall size, and form (most droids being big and blocky). Big enough to feel sturdy and sure in my hands, while small enough for one handed operation (and I have small hands), and easy pocket carry (which I prefer). The trackball navigation has become second nature, and in the event of lag (usually when opening a heavy app), I scroll the ball down the exact amount I intended to move the cursor exactly where I intended. I only realize how reliable it is because the lag makes me wonder if I got the right amount of scroll just before it highlights exactly what I was looking at. This brings me to the one design flaw.

The trackball is prone to gather dust, and debris, causing it to refuse to roll in one direction. Earlier models had removable trackballs, and a little maintenance was no big deal, while later models use touchpads which eliminate the moving part altogether. The BB Bold, however, had a non-removable ball, which means the only way to clean it is with alcohol and a cotton swab. I've only had it lock up on me three times, but every time was still annoying. I'm worried that it will eventually lock up to the point that I can't clean/fix it.

Aside from that, the BlackBerry really shows its design maturity in almost every category. It really is a working phone. I'll miss it when I switch.

I considered getting it as another phone, but a BlackBerry, a Droid, AND a (work) Samsung Windows Mobile phone? That's one too many.

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