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The Guru Speaks: BlackBerry 8350i review

Discussion in 'BoM Blogs' started by Disciple of The Watch, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

    Aug 20, 2005
    Likes Received:
    After a brief fling on HSPA, I visited a friend of mine who runs a smalll phone store. I had not seen him for quite some time, and he assumed I was still on iDEN, and showed me a MINT 8350i, and I IMMEDIATELY madly fell in love with the phone. Think of the Curve, but on iDEN. Burned a hole in my budget, but WHAT THE HELL, it's WORTH IT, so I got it.

    First thing first... moving TO the MiKE network (the name Telus has given it's iDEN network) FROM HSPA/CDMA is a PAIN IN THE ASS. It took 48 hours before they had everything up and running, BUT I wasn't stuck in limbo, the HSPA phone still worked. When the 2730 Classic dropped dead, I Master Reset the 8350i, and VOILA. I also broke a misconception by using an old SIM that HAD BEEN USED BEFORE. And it worked. Providers will tell you that SIM cards CANNOT be reused, but that's because they prefer selling a new one than going through the hassle of reprogramming it. Think about it -- is a SIM truly cannot be reprogrammed once a number has been assigned to it... how the hell do they do phone number swaps then?

    Anyway, back to the buisness at hand... at first, there were no appearant way of sending SMS, other than going through the browser. Okay, that's nothing that OS5.0 cannot fix. I never was able to install 5.0, but I didn't need to, merely restoring the Berry to factory settings (full wipe) made the Send SMS option appear. It also removed policies set in place by the former owner of the Berry.

    Modes: iDEN 800. Yes, DATA is lackluster, but the 8350i has WiFi.

    Battery life: Consistently 3 days. Which is fine with me.

    Signal: The 8350i does a fine job of latching and holding on Telus' iDEN network. It also handled the Dead Zone vault test, calls did not drop but there was some choppiness during the vault test. Otherwise, no dropped calls and great RF make the 8350i a great phone.

    Sound quality: As good as I have came to expect from the MiKE network... clear and crisp. The speakerphone is UBER LOUD, and it plays music DAMN well, and it handles DC DAMN well, too. My one complaint would be that the earpiece volume is too soft, but that has been a recurring complaint in my phone reviews.

    Form factor/phone & keyboard feel Slab. The 8350i is comfortable in my hand, and the keyboard is a little cramped for my big paws, but SMS/Email is a smooth experience.

    Screen: 320 x 240 pixels QVGA TFT. An HTC EVO this is not, but that's just fine with me. The 8350i's display is crisp and clear, and automatically adjusts backlighting strength according to the light level, and this function works very well.

    Others: The 8350i has a microSD slot under the battery. Supports up to 32GB cards appearantely, but since I only have a 8GB SDHC, I can't confirm that. The media player is no-nonsense, but it does the job perfectly. The lack of a 3.5mm port means I have to use the adaptor from the horrible steaming pile of goat **** known as the Keybo2 to use 3.5mm headphones, and the said adaptor does the trick just fine. Playback volume with the media player is LOUD... WAY louder than the 2730 classic.

    Cam is 2.0MP, seeing as I'm no photography enthusiast, it's more than enough for my needs. Pics are clear and crisp, and the flash is INCREDIBLY bright... then again, what else to expect from a Xenon flash?

    Final score, the bottom line: Considering the small number of smartphones available to iDEN users, the 8350i is, IMO, the quintessential communication tool. It handles phone, SMS, fax, DC, Email and does all of that SUPERBELY. Add RIM's tried-tested-and-true PDA functions, and add a simple yet very effective media functionalities, and you got the 8350i. Like I said, DATA with the iDEN network is NOT GREAT, BUT that's WHY the phone has WiFi.

    Final score: 10/10. Don't get me wrong, I have grown pretty fond of Android, but the 8350i feels like home to me, having used plenty of Berries in the past. It looks good, works good... I was thrilled to add the phone to my collection, and the more I use it, the more I like it.

    One more thing... in the US, NEXTEL has BOOST, which is prepaid service using the iDEN network. I often hear how "BOOST/NEXTEL SUCKS!", and network saturation is your problem. Telus, OTOH, markets (well, when they do a MiKE ad every 100000 years that is) MiKE/iDEN to BUISNESS users, NOT to the general public. Telus WILL activate iDEN handsets for the casual user on demand, but for the most part, only buisness users are on the MiKE network. The MiKE network has fewer subscribers, which means more available spectrum for those that do use it, and that reflects into a SMOOTH experience. SMS/email ALWAYS come through with ZERO delay, I've NEVER had a call drop on the MiKE network either.

    MiKE/iDEN user 2 THA DEATH! The 8350i is AWESOME!
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