Sunday, September 6, 2009

Forced comparison: BlackBerry Curve 8300 vs BlackBerry Bold 9000

The day occurred that all BlackBerry users dread....the trackball on my Bold failed (failed for the downward scroll, which let's face it, is probably the most critical movement for the trackball).

With one month left on my warranty (how good is that!) the Bold has been returned to Telstra for repair/replacement (I have been advised full replacement, so shall wait with baited breath), which will take approximately two weeks.

So...what does a BlackBerry user do in circumstances like this? Easy...pull another BlackBerry out of the drawer. I have two in the drawer now; a Pearl 8100 and a Curve 8300, so the Curve was chosen.

Why the Curve? Well quite simple really. It is the newer of the two spare BlackBerry devices (by about a year), has had less use than the Pearl (the Curve was in use only for six months prior to the Bold arriving), and it has a proper qwerty keyboard (compared to the Pearl's SureType 2 letters per key setup).

Now the Curve has been back in use coming up to a week, and I now can start to make some comparisons (regardless of whether you want to or not, comparisons are inevitable).

The Bold is quite a hefty BlackBerry, both in dimensions and weight. The Curve on the other hand, seems to fit into your hand (and not your hand fit the BlackBerry, as in the case of the Bold), and feels quite delicate. The pocket test (how it feels sitting in your pants pocket) obviously belongs to the Curve; much more unobtrusive.

The Curve got its name from the curved shape of the qwerty keyboard, which in retrospect, works well, with the keys, though small, easily found, being both raised and spaced apart). It took me no time to get reaccquainted with the Curve's keyboard.

The Bold's keyboard adopted the curved qwerty keyboard look of the Curve, but the key design of the 8800; that corporate workhorse. So even though the keys are placed up against each other, the extra girth of the Bold allows for a more spacious keyboard & slightly larger keys (again similar to the 8800). The Bold's keyboard makes thumbing out emails an easier task (although it took me a little bit more to become familiar with the design).

Where the Curve's keyboard trumps the Bold's is in the area of one thumb operation. You know the situation I am sure; your better half is sound asleep next to you & your arm just happens to be in "use", leaving you just one hand to operate your BlackBerry. Let me just say, the Curve's smaller keyboard is less of a chore with one thumb, than the keyboard of the Bold.

You just have to love the Bold's screen... Big bright and delivers beautifully rendered images...especially when compared to the Curve's. I miss the Bold's screen.

The first thing I did when I pulled out of the drawer, out of "semi retirement" was to google up the latest OS, and came up with

The Bold was running although I have made a note of

And the second number of each is the whole key to the BlackBerry experience. 4.5 OS is found to be quite lacking in its looks (and for once I am not a fan of old world charm) compared to 4.6 OS. The 4.6 OS on the Bold, in conjunction with its screen and processing power (see below) is just a whole other level in superiority to the Curve's 4.5 OS. It is like comparing the 4.2 OS found on some older BlackBerry devices (example any 8800 that has not been upgraded) to the latest 4.5 OS and then another big step forward.

The Bold is a 3G and 2G device with WiFi, where as the Curve is a 2G device only. In 3G mode (which is my chosen selection on the Bold) the Bold is a far superior downloader than the 2G Curve, as you would expect.

But 3G has a disadvantage loves using the battery, and even with a larger battery, the Bold suffers. I consider it a good day to get through a day without having to recharge with the Bold (to its defence, I do run a number of auto refreshing applications which is not a battery friendly position to be in).

The 2G Curve though is much more economical with its battery usage.

Now this is probably the biggest area of difference. As all BlackBerry users know so well and love, and the Apple fanboys cringe about, is a BlackBerry device can multi task like no other, and multi task until the cows come home (and still Apple's iPhone, even in its latest illustrious format, cannot multi task).

The Curve can multi task just as the Bold can, but you need to give the Curve some good old "Indian stretch time". By that I mean, things will take longer to do the same thing on the Curve, as it does on the Bold, and this is exaggerated on the Curve when you are running multiple applications at once.

The Bold just goes about doing its multi tasking as if it was born to multi task (which I guess it was) where as the Curve was the learning impaired poorer will get the job time.

How or rather why, is this so? Quite simply, with a new evolutionary OS, oh almost twice the processing power, and with 3G at its disposal, the Bold was always going to be able to do its thing, faster, more efficiently, & with less effort.

While I haven't tried it personally myself, there have been quite a few reports about the speed and abilities of the Curve 8900, which although lacking 3G, has more processing power and new OS than the older Curve 8300, and somes close to the Bold's abilities as a result.

As more developers move to more intensive multitasking applications, and cloud computing, the older OS is being excluded. Case in point is Screaming Toaster's Wicked Blogging application (only available for 4.6 or 4.7 OS (4.7 is for the Storm, Tour, etc) and as a result I am without this application, until my Bold is returned.

Expect developers to move away more from less than 4.6 OS as we approach the 5.0 OS (standard for the Onyx and which the Bold will definitely move to, but I am doubtful about the Curve).

Horses for courses, but my Curve 8300 makes a good spare (my Pearl is about to be given to a mate of mine as his first BlackBerry), and I can hardly wait for the Bold to be returned.

My thoughts.

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