Earlier this week, I ended a 12-year love affair with BlackBerry and bought an iPhone (3GS).
I described the decision process here, and the experience of buying it here. Because many of you are in a similar position–long-term BlackBerry users wondering whether to switch–I’ll also describe the switchover experience.
I’ve now used the iPhone for four days. I’ve set up my personal email. I am still struggling to set up my corporate email. I haven’t downloaded any apps. I’ve made some phone calls. I haven’t set up the voicemail. I haven’t taken a picture or shot a video. I’ve taken some notes. I haven’t yet tried to transfer my contacts (which I gather will be a headache).
Overall, I’m happy. I’m still learning to use the iPhone, and, as a result, I’m only using a fraction of what it can do. Some things I was dreading have turned out to be OK. Others, surprisingly, are worse than I expected. I’m looking forward to exploring more of the things the iPhone can do that my Curve couldn’t.
Here are my thoughts so far:
- The battery-life is almost unacceptably bad. It’s hard for me to believe that the 3GS battery is a big improvement over prior iPhones. I charge the phone all night and get up at 5AM. By late morning, the battery meter has already fallen low enough that I’m getting worried. By late afternoon, if I haven’t recharged it completely, I hit red. Another hour or so later, it dies. I don’t talk on it much. I do a lot of email and a lot of Internet. To not do those things to “conserve battery life” would mean not using the features I bought the phone for in the first place. When I charged my BlackBerry overnight, this never happened. I was set for at least 24 hours. I’ve now taken up plugging my iPhone in the moment I arrive at the office. I’m dreading my first cross-country plane flight.
- “S” should stand for “Slow,” not “Speed.” I realise that this is not the iPhone’s problem. But we might as well be honest about it. Using the mobile Internet, even at 3G speeds, is still frustratingly slow. It is FABULOUS to be able to read real web sites from the phone, and I am generally very happy with the multi-touch screen. But the mobile Internet is still way too slow.
- Setting up email is harder than it should be. I’m not a complete moron about these things, and, in the end, I’ll have devoted several hours to getting my corporate email to work. The IPhone is currently uploading in all my SPAM in addition to all my email, even on my personal account (Yahoo). Etc. Lots of frustration here.
- The typing is much better than I expected! I’m getting used to the touch screen. It’s a finer art than typing on the BlackBerry, but in another week, I think I’ll be as fast as I was on the Curve. Editing emails is tough (getting the cursor in the right place to correct a small error is infuriating), but, again, I think this has more to do with my lack of touch-screen skill than a design flaw in the phone.
- Reading email is good. Lots of flexibility. Nice to see some graphics if I like. Relatively easy to navigate. I miss the simplicity of the Curve here, but the benefits offset the loss.
- Overall, as feared, email is worse. There are just too many small headaches that BlackBerry has dealt with, including: No syncing between phone and Inbox (I have to erase all my SPAM twice–once on the phone, once in the Inbox). Only 200 messages allowed on Phone. I’m sorry…I get 200 messages in an afternoon sometimes. I need messages to sit on the phone for several days so I have a chance to respond to them. I usually do a lot of responding on the subway–and I can’t search my inbox from the subway because there’s no connectivity. This seems like a silly restriction. The phone should at least store 15 days worth of emails.
- No syncing between phone and Inbox (I have to erase all my SPAM twice–once on the phone, once in the Inbox).
- Only 200 messages allowed on Phone. I’m sorry…I get 200 messages in an afternoon sometimes. I need messages to sit on the phone for several days so I have a chance to respond to them. I usually do a lot of responding on the subway–and I can’t search my inbox from the subway because there’s no connectivity. This seems like a silly restriction. The phone should at least store 15 days worth of emails.
- The spacial-reorientation of the screen doesn’t always work quickly or correctly. Sometimes it just stays in Portrait when I turn to Landscape. Sometimes, after I look away for a moment, it has turned the whole screen upside down. Sometimes, I have to back out to the Home screen and start again. Sometimes things that I thought I never clicked on appear. Sometimes I’ll look up to cross the street and discover that I’ve erased an email. Etc.
- Watching the first video clip on our site was close to a religious experience. Wow. I’ll say it again: Wow.
- Incessant annoying popups telling me the phone can’t read or send email (when I’m in the subway, especially). If there’s a way to turn these off, I haven’t figured it out yet. Ditto for annoyingly quick reminders that I’D BETTER TURN THE PHONE OFF IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE THE BATTERY’S ABOUT TO DIE. Just a colour coded light is fine. Or a better battery.
In summary, the folks who say that the BlackBerry is designed for business and the iPhone is designed for personal are generally right. But I’m still not unhappy I got it. And I’m looking forward to continuing to learn how to use the darn thing.
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