Google’s Android is getting better and better with each new T-Mobile phone. I really enjoyed using the G1 early last year; over the summer T-Mobile released the MyTouch 3G phone. I finally had a chance to play around with it for a few weeks and to take it with me to CES; I’ve come away from the experience liking Android and this particular phone a lot.
A lot of people complain about the T-Mobile network, but frankly I’ve never experienced any major issues with it during my travels and testing. T-Mobile needs to improve it’s network speeds – their 3G isn’t noticeably faster than their Edge network which I found myself connected to at least 60 percent of the time. This happened when I tested out their Blackberry Curve (which was an Edge only phone) in Orlando, the G1 in NY and now the MyTouch in Vegas. Here’s the thing, Edge is slow but at least it’s reliable.
I used both the MyTouch and my iPhone while at CES. My iPhone was an epic failure – dropped every single call and 90% of the time I couldn’t connect at all to the network, there were moments I was screaming at the phone at the convention center and wanted to literally throw it at the wall. People were looking at me like I was a crazy woman. What’s the point of having an iPhone if the thing doesn’t work in environments where there are more than 10 people around using the same network? Meanwhile the MyTouch was the little engine that could. It never gave me any issues other than taking "awhile" to download my email.
Here’s one of the reasons I hate being on the low-end of the PR Press List (although I do generally get things after Engadget and Cnet gets done with them). While everyone else is out reviewing the new sexy Palm Pre (which I think is pretty ugly), I’m here reviewing the Blackberry Curve 8900 for T-Mobile. I Nothing against the folks at the big T but hey, what can you do. I’ve had the Curve now for about 3 weeks now and overall I like it but I think it’s now official I’m not a fan of the Blackberry, although I do think the Curve comes closest to what I would want in a Blackberry.
After spending the last few weeks checking out T-Mobile phones, I thought it was time to give Verizon’s latest and “greatest” phone from my friends at LG a go. The LG Versa hit the shelves last week and is a pretty slick little phone. This small touch-screen is somewhere between a “dumb” and “smart” phone. It’s for people like me who want a standard phone with more features (like a prettier interface, touchscreen) but don’t want to get hosed with expensive data plans. The problem is with Verizon’s network they nickel and dime you on everything so no matter what you do, if you go beyond the call plan you might as well bend over and just take it. Once I activated the phone on my plan I went and added the mobile web and email functions on the phone. Cost $15 a month and the experience isn’t all that good – more on this later in the review. Let’s start with the positives.
This phone is pretty slick. The size is just right and fits perfectly in the palm of my hand. The touchscreen has tactile feedback and makes a sound when you click it. I find this to be pretty annoying, luckily you can turn these features off. The touch feels just right, you have to press a little hard on it, but it’s not a button like the Storm, it’s more natural. The phone has a nice heft to it, not to light or not to heavy, you’ll know it’s in your pocket. The battery life feels a bit off to me, I don’t know what the claimed battery time is, but it seems like the standby time is less than 24 hrs, every morning when I get up there’s only about 2 bars worth of power left. I’m not a heavy talker so I can’t really comment on the talk time. Call quality is clean, didn’t have any problems with signal strength like I have in the past with Verizon phones. The phone has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The Blackberry is one of those devices that always perplexed me. It’s the most popular smart phone in the world (yes, even more than the iPhone) and I’ve never had one or really even touched one. Sure my bosses had them but I always took one look at the interface and said, “Ugh, that’s one fugly looking UI.” So I’ve never understood its popularity, ok I do. The idea that you can run your business from the phone is compelling. Every time I travel to a conference, I always wish I had a smart phone. Then I get home and realize I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the outrageous monthly costs. I wish I could get one without being locked into paying almost $2,000 (over the course of a standard 2 year contract) for that kind of money, I’d rather just get a $400 Netbook with wireless broadband and carry that around (or take my Macbook everywhere I go).
T-Mobile and Blackberry have teamed up to bring us the first Blackberry Pearl Flip phone. I’m a huge fan of the Flip; all of my personal cell phones for the last several years have been flips. This is one beautiful looking and feature rich phone that is hampered by one janky, frustrating keyboard that made me want to throw it off my hotel balcony.
Let’s start with the positives, again T-Mobile, I don’t know why the network doesn’t get the love it deserves, it’s a solid network that hasn’t dropped a call on me, is clear, and reasonably priced. More so now that they have the new $50 unlimited call plan. By comparison, Verizon drops calls almost every time I get on the phone – seemingly, regardless of where I am. I know a lot of people swear by VZ’s network, but in the two years I’ve had their service, I’ve almost never had a good experience. I tested T-Mobile’s service here in DC and in Orlando, Fla and it worked fine for me. The data speed is slow, but then I don’t expect blazing speed on a mobile device. T-Mobile will most likely be whom I switch to when my VZ contract is finally over.