I'm on day seven of my 30 day BlackBerry Challenge with the BlackBerry Bold 9930, and I have to be honest: so far, it's not as hard as I thought it would be. Sure, I've been hit with my usual "I'm bored of this phone!" feelings that I get with any device. But that's normal. What shocks me is I haven't really missed Android, iOS, or any other platform since I migrated over last Tuesday.
Based on my past experience with BlackBerry devices, I expected to miss the more popular platforms after a few hours. Web browsing on Android, or media capabilities on the iPhone. While I miss the media ecosystem of iOS, there are workarounds - namely, BlackBerry Desktop Manager. It's not as easy to use (it's all about time consumption in my life), but at least it's an option. And the web browsing is a huge improvement (more on that below).
I'm loving the keyboard. I was always a fan of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 - both in size and features - and the 9900 is like a supercharged version. The keyboard is six percent larger, but retains a similar feel. I'm fast with virtual keyboards and have no issue with them, but when typing a three paragraph email, I'd much rather have a physical keyboard.
RIM says the web browser is a 40 percent improvement over BlackBerry 6, and a 100 percent improvement over BlackBerry OS 5.0. As far as I'm concerned, it's a million percent better. This is the first BlackBerry I've used that's functional in the Internet browsing department. I can log into my various accounts without worrying about improper formatting, which is huge.
I've been pretty disappointed in battery life, but given the tradeoffs, I can handle it. BlackBerrys have always been the battery life kings in the smartphone world, and while it's disappointing that I have to charge at least once throughout the day (or more, depending on my usage), the fast processor and improved performance is a decent tradeoff. The problem will come during travel, as I'm not always near an outlet. I'll be doing some in the next few weeks, so expect to hear me gripe about it while I'm on the road.
The Bold 9930 - and some of the other new BlackBerrys, from what I've seen - suffer from the occasional system hiccup where the screen freezes for 3-5 seconds. There's no rhyme or reason to it, and it doesn't matter what I'm doing. I've tried to snag a picture of it, but by the time I pick up a second device, it's gone.
I'm chugging along with the Bold 9930, but the "new phone!" itch is getting stronger and stronger. Will I make it for the full 30 days? It's anyone's guess! Follow my progress on the site and via my Twitter account (@PhoneDog_Aaron).