Tech - Are Blackberry Phones Worth Buying Anymore?

From its iconic status among corporate elite a few years ago, BlackBerry has been forced to mingle with the masses. Is it still a smartp...

From its iconic status among corporate elite a few years ago, BlackBerry has been forced to mingle with the masses. Is it still a smartphone worth buying or have the newer operating systems overshadowed it? AE finds out.
It was the phone that popularised mail on the move. It then added a new dimension to mobile messaging with its BBM service, which lets its users swap messages and files with each other free of cost. However, the competition caught up with BlackBerry.
Today, many people are not just criticising the devices, but the company (Research In Motion) as well. So should you buy one? Go through its various features and services to know if it can still deliver, and where it stands with respect to the competition.
Operating System
There are those who believe that like the Symbian, the BlackBerry operating system (OS) is beginning to show its age. This is perhaps why it is likely to receive an overhaul in the coming months, when version 10 of the OS will be launched. However, even in its most recent avatar, the OS 7, the interface remains easy to use, though it does not have the intuitiveness and ease of use that Apple’s iOS and Android do.
Our opinion: If the interface is important to you, you will find the icon-based interfaces of Android and iOS as well as the tile-based one of a Windows Phone much easier to use than a BlackBerry. They also score heavily in terms of style and presentation. However, the BlackBerry interface works very smoothly on high-end devices.
The BlackBerry crowd is lagging behind its peers in this segment. The competition boasts better cameras, displays and sound quality in the same price segment. However, as some people will insist, you do not buy a BlackBerry for multimedia.
Our opinion: If you want a great camera and sound quality, BlackBerry is not your best option. The seamless sharing across BBM is undoubtedly amazing, but every smartphone is expected to have multimedia muscle, and in terms of sheer quality, the opposition has stolen a march over BB.
BlackBerry remains a formidable device for handling e-mails. However, it is no longer the only device capable of doing well in this department. Windows Phone, Android and iOS are giving it a good run for its money, offering larger, higher resolution displays in smartphones.
Our opinion: The playing field in mobile e-mail is a level one now. Most BlackBerry devices remain wonderful options for those dealing mainly with text-heavy mails. However, if you get heavily formated attachments regularly, this is not the best option for you.
With its trademark Qwerty keyboard and BlackBerry Messenger, RIM has carved a niche for itself in messaging. However, with the emergence of services like WhatsApp and Nimbuzz, messaging and file sharing is not limited to BlackBerry users. What’s more, these services work across platforms and are not restricted to BlackBerry, making them more flexible.
Our opinion: BBM rules the roost when it comes to messaging, and the keyboards in BlackBerry devices are very helpful to those who write long texts. If your friends do not have BlackBerry devices, you will not be able to make the most of BBM, but since WhatsApp runs on BlackBerry devices, you can have the best of both worlds.
When it comes to integration with a company’s mail server and security system, BlackBerry is still the leader. Other platforms like iOS, Android and Windows Phone are making their presence felt in enterprise circles, but for most people, BlackBerry remains the best option because of its familiarity with and reputation for security.
Our opinion: It might no longer be the only enterprise-friendly device in town, but it’s still one of the easiest to adapt to corporate conditions due to its strong technical support.
Web Browsing
Once considered the Achilles heel of most BlackBerry devices, Web browsing has received a big fillip, courtesy the OS 7, which came with a new Java engine and fast page rendering. The screens of most devices might be small and have a lower resolution than other smartphones, but this doesn’t detract from a BB’s smooth browsing,
Our opinion: The screen sizes and resolutions could be better, but in terms of basic browsing, most BlackBerry devices on OS 7 can hold their own against the competition. However, if you browse the Internet frequently, you may prefer a phone with a bigger screen for better visibility.
Social Networking
BlackBerry stunned the world when it took to social networking like a duck to water, with smooth Twitter and Facebook integration. Of course, the other devices also offer this feature, but combined with the BBM, a BlackBerry allows you better contact with your social networks.
Our opinion: If you want to be connected to Facebook and Twitter round the clock, a BlackBerry is a very good option as long as your posts have more text than images/videos. Also keep in mind that the device offers fewer alternative apps for social networks.
Most BlackBerry fans insist that apps do not matter. We come from a different school of thought because apps give users the option to do more with their devices. Unfortunately, RIM is not really giving Android or iOS too much to worry about. While you will get apps for most routine functions, and even the odd funky game, innovations are rare.
Our opinion: It takes time for new apps to be adapted to the OS 7, and sometimes, developers give it a miss altogether. Though the keyboard ensures that apps like office suites work well, when it comes to photo editors, games and even news apps, BlackBerry is not in the same league as iOS and Android.
So, Should You Purchase A Blackberry?
As with all tech devices, it boils down to what you need. Those seeking style, flair and apps would be better served by other platforms. However, if you want a solid phone that delivers a smooth mail and texting experience, with an easy-to-use keyboard, decent browsing and social media connectivity to boot, BlackBerry remains a good proposition.
Our opinion: It is not a bells-and-whistles device, but it’s still a handy and increasingly affordable one, especially for those who prefer writing a thousand words to showing them via a picture.
You might not need a BlackBerry device as much as you did a few years ago, but there are not too many people who will refuse one easily, especially those working in enterprise circles.
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  1. You failed to mention that Blackberry is probably the most cost effective in terms of mobile internet data consumption. An Android or ios would probably not be affordable in terms of internet data consumption; as they are data thirsty unlike Blackberry where a thousand naira or thereabout covers the whole month. An android is staggeringly pockek-tearing; which is why Africans, most especially Nigerians prefer Blackberry to any other operating system.



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