Friday, October 12, 2012

So I Upgraded from A BlackBerry to a Samsung Galaxy Note... and Here's How It Went

So after months of people making fun of my BlackBerry Bold 9700, which in my opinion was a fine phone and still would be if it didn't crash to heck (and have all sorts of other silly problems), I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy Note. Here's how it went.

BlackBerry Bold 9700 Smartphone

My Reason for Upgrading BlackBerry to Samsung Galaxy Note

Ok so apart from the social pressure amongst my hipper, cooler, friends who all use either an iPhone or some sort of Android. The BlackBerry was starting to get really really really slow. Despite not having many apps, it was taking a long time to receive and open emails and it was starting to crash when composing them. I also guess it was time to move on to a larger, touch screen interface because EVERYONE ELSE has one. Oh the wisdom of the crowds.

Email Gripe

The first thing that struck me about the Android based phone is the lack of a decent email client. This is very striking when you have been spoiled so much with the BlackBerry mail service. Android is really lacking a great email tool. Especially for those who manage and maintain multiple email accounts. Later, I found a great tool for email on Android, called AquaMail. Which I'll be blogging more about in another post.

Keyboard Gripe

To me, the keyboard on the BlackBerry was 100% bonafide AWESOME. I could type on it whilst doing 5 other tasks at the same time. Yes I know I shouldn't be doing that but the deal is that I do want to be able to type messages to my friends while I'm walking down the street without the fear of walking into a lamppost. Typing on the Samsung was a real pain at first. Unfortunately, although I've gotten to grips with it a bit, two months later I still can't type anywhere near as accurately or as quickly as I could with the BlackBerry.

OK. Time to address the elephant in the room. The Samsung Galaxy Note is MASSIVE.

It doesn't fit in my pocket and it sure as heck doesnt sit comfortably in my hand. Carrying it around is like carrying one of those FiloFax things from the 80s. Maybe in 20 years time people will be blogging about doing things that remind them of this phone too.

Oh yeah, and the battery.

The battery on the Galaxy Note drains faster than the fuel tank of a Lamborghini. Leaving it on the bedside table at night, I always observe that it has drained by about half by the time I wake up. I sleep about 6-7 hours on average. I guess that's a tradeoff of having the huge screen. There are countless battery manager apps out there... but meh. The best investment for this is a good USB cable, so you can charge it constantly whenever you're at a PC or laptop, and an external battery pack (or car charger if you drive). Road-warriors might have trouble with this.

Saying all this though, there are some things that I really enjoy about the phone. Ok so here's why the Galaxy Note is awesome:

Samsung Galaxy Note


It's not quite a tablet, but comes in close. It is really useful for surfing websites that are not optimized for mobile yet, purely because of its huge screen size.

Apps Apps Apps

This will seem really lame to anyone who has had a smartphone for a long time, but having the Google Play Store at my disposal has but me in contact with a load of apps. (Btw. I'm not completely app store naive, I do have an iPad). No longer do I have to wait and hope that BlackBerry will get a certain app in the next few months (which my hipper, cooler friends have already gotten bored of it).

The Camera is Great - But that's normal these days isn't it?

Maybe it is a sense of depravation from the crappy camera that my BlackBerry had, but the camera on the Galaxy Note is right up my street.

It has a stylus, and sometimes you just NEED a stylus

Ok so Steve Jobs, with all due respect for the man, abhorred the concept of having a stylus on any of his iProducts. He though that we were more comfortable using our fingers like primates to poke and point at the screen. I could argue that this is not true, because how many of us have been using a pen to write with rather than our fingers for most of our life? Sometimes we just need a stylus to write notes and scribble on things in a controlled way. Which is what the Samsung Galaxy Note, with its huge screen, excels at. The stylus is pretty nifty too, with its side button that is used for taking screenshots, and probably lots of other features that I don't know about yet.

Concluding Remarks - For Now

I guess I could write a much longer post about it. In essence, I'm pretty happy with my Galaxy Note. The only gripes are those that I've mentioned above. I hope upgrades to the operating system work on making the battery life last longer and some more intuitive keyboards could be released by third party developers.

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