By Brandon Naff
I will probably be a part of the last generation that remembers not having a cell phone. I distinctly remember the day my dad brought home the family cell phone. It couldn’t be used to text, and if you weren’t in the city, good luck making a call.
Now you can do things on a cell phone faster than you could on the old dial-up computers. Whether it’s an iPhone from Apple or a BlackBerry from Research In Motion (RIM), surfing the web is now one of the selling points of any major competitor. 3G, 4G, and WiFi are all terms derived for how fast a handheld device can surf the net.
I think it’s easy to tell which phone is cooler. Any time I pull out my iPhone there’s always at least one person that will ask to see it and/or play with it. With its slim design and Apple branded “cool factor,” the iPhone clearly is the phone to have. In the first quarter of 2009, however, BlackBerry had the top selling phone (Curve models) and also held spots three and four with the Storm and Pearl models, respectively. Apple held the number two spot with the iPhone 3G models. But which is the better phone?
We’ll take a look at the two latest models: Apple’s latest iPhone 3G and BlackBerry’s Bold 9700.
Cost: The iPhone 3G cost without a service contract comes in at a whopping $599 for the 16GB version and $699 for the 32GB version. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 comes in at $449.99, again without a service contract. Advantage: BlackBerry.
Size: iPhone – 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.48 inches. BlackBerry – 2.4 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches. Typically with phones, sleeker is better, but you make the judgment call here.
Weight: Weighing in at 4.8 ounces in the left corner is… The iPhone! In the right corner, at 4.3 ounces… The BlackBerry! Advantage (though slight): BlackBerry.
Talk time: iPhone – Five hours. BlackBerry – Six hours. Advantage: BlackBerry.
Camera: Though the iPhone 3GS offers a 3.0 megapixel camera, they still don’t offer a zoom feature. What gives, Apple? The BlackBerry, meanwhile, offers a 3.2 megapixel camera WITH the zoom feature. Advantage: BlackBerry.
Some Pro’s and Con’s of the iPhone.
-The iPhone’s ability to be both a phone and an iPod is simply unmatched by BlackBerry. I’ve dealt with the 8GB version of the iPhone, and I’m noticing a limited amount of space. But the 16GB and 32GB versions are available and have plenty of space.
-Apple’s Application Store clearly has many developers, resulting in the most and highest rated applications for any phone. Every time I’ve wondered if there was “an app for that” I’ve found it in Apple’s Application Store (usually for free).
-The touch interface on the iPhone is otherworldly. Having tried out Android phones and other touch-screens, I can tell you that the iPhone is in a league of its own when it comes to touch-screen phones.
-The iPhone still cannot run simultaneous applications, a flaw that has haunted Apple all the way up to the realease of the iPad. It’s really annoying having the Facebook application running, then having to re-start it after answering a text message. It would be highly beneficial for the looming iPhone 4G to run simultaneous apps.
-The touch interface, while phenomenal on the iPhone, still isn’t perfect while texting. It’s doubtful whether Apple can ever fix this problem without a flip out keyboard, and even more doubtful they’d want to. Even after getting used to the touch screen keyboard, it’s hard to type accurately on a consistent basis.
-The reception on the iPhone is awful. When I used a BlackBerry, cell reception from Sudden Valley to Bellingham lost a call once. The iPhone dropped 5 different calls on the same route. The new 4G (set to release in the fourth quarter of this year) needs to address this issue.
Some Pro’s and Con’s of the BlackBerry.
-BlackBerry’s organization is near perfection. Whether I’m checking e-mail, or updating a Facebook status, it’s a breeze to stay in touch on the BlackBerry.
-The reception on the BlackBerry is the best of any phone on the market. You won’t find a phone with a better antenna. It’s rather annoying to have to time your calls correctly using the iPhone while riding in the car.
-Finally, BlackBerry got rid of that troublesome trackball. The new touchpad for navigating the phone should be much more effective, and should result in fewer repairs for customers.
-BlackBerry will never have the iPhone’s “cool factor”. It just isn’t on the same platform there. Apple products are just trendy right now, there’s not really much explanation as to why.
-Web browsing on the BlackBerry is nowhere near as fast and efficient as the iPhone… Yet. I have a feeling BlackBerry will be making leaps and bounds in the coming months to improve Web browsing. Still, you’ll never be able to zoom in using your fingers.
-If you want the latest, coolest apps, you’ll have to turn to Apple. BlackBerry’s App World is always just a bit behind the Apple App Store.
The bottom line:
The BlackBerry will never be as much of a fun toy as the iPhone is. Apple has simply the coolest gadget on the market in the iPhone, and it will probably always be that way.
Having a device that you can use as a phone, a GPS unit, an mp3 player, and a mini-computer is awesome. The BlackBerry has an mp3 player, but just isn’t on par with the iPod built into the iPhone.
The better overall phone however, thanks much in part to its qwerty keyboard and crystal clear reception is the BlackBerry. You can bet that when it comes time to replace my iPhone, I’ll be looking to get the latest from RIM in a new BlackBerry.