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BlackBerry Curve 9220 User Review with Evaluation of it’s good, bad or ugly qualities and specifications.

Blackberry Mobile phone 9220

Blackberry-9220

BlackBerry has launched Curve 9220 in April 2012 and It’s Global Launch began from India instead of USA. The best thing about this phone is its price that it is cheap and the worst thing is its plastic looks which are also cheap. After using it for three months, I would suggest that one should buy this phone only in certain circumstances which have been formulated at the end of this page.

Technical Specifications

2.44 inch qVGA display
QWERTY keyboard
2 MP camera with video recording
Single core processor of less than 700mhz.
512MB RAM
BlackBerry OS 7.1,
Expandable memory up to 32GB
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, BBM, Optical trackpad (without lighted border)
1450 mAh battery
2G only (No 3G)

Browser

Charles Dickens’ Tale of two cities begins with the sentence that ‘best of the times are worst of the times’. Something similar can be said about the Browser of this phone which is unnamed but codenamed “ms-rim”. The best thing is that Browser can render almost any page on the web making it comfortable to read. Focusing and moving to any area on the page is no problem. But it is awfully slow more often than not. On such occasions it reminds me of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

BTW, did Microsoft helped in creating this browser? What ‘ms’ stands for, in the browser’s code name “ms-rim”? Typical of Microsoft family, it crashes too often when under stress and offers to restart with same pages but restarts with the last page instead.

Optional Browsers:

1. Opera

It is unfortunate that for the first time Opera has so miserably failed. While Opera works so well on other phones including Micromax Q5 (A cheap Indian Brand which looks like Chinese blackberry). Unfortunately Opera does not render pages readable. Zooming in, cuts off part of the page making every line of written text torn off at the side margins by a few words. Apart form Opera Mini, it also offers a kind of beta version called ‘Opera Mini Next‘. This worked slightly better but the same problem of reading persisted in this also. Opera is good only for quick loading of mobile version of web pages. For else we have to fall back upon “ms-rim”.

2. Uzard

This is the best option but it does not support BIS. Really it is true. It works only on Wifi. But it renders the pages very well and is faster than the official “ms-rim” However it has a clumsy interface and it takes time to develop intuitiveness to use it.

3. UCBrowser

No point. Do not even bother to install. I simply could not type an address in it to make it go. It has some compatibility issues. It did not work even though it was installed without any warning or error.

Battery life

Excellent. With several hours of punching and browsing everyday apart from phone it lasts a day comfortably. This is better than most of the smartphones. However some third-party applications drain battery and phone start to heat up. Closing such apps, manually solves the problem.

Phone and GPRS

As a phone it is excellent. Signal quality could be one notch better but yet it is good. At poor signal spots phone switches to gprs or 1G and phone continues to work. Thus if top right corner of screen reads gprs and not edge, it means we are off the Internet. However at 1G the Internet related functions do not work and are stopped altogether. Yes no email either. Without 3G either, it must be the first, strictly 2G phone.
As regards browsing, the official BIS is much slower than the normal TCP-IP with APN enabled. At least on Vodafone, in New Delhi. BIS is particularly slow at peak hours.

Email/Pushmail:

It works fine. Reading and composing email is no problem. It is as smooth as it can be. In fact the push mail is so fast that while I am looking at my gmail account on the desktop, the message on phone appears earlier than the desktop browser.

However, without using BIS options for pushmail are limited to Hudeemail but that may entail some security issues. Another third-party option is a IMAP client called Logicmail which also works fine.

Contact Sync.

Gmail: It does not work properly. Sync with gmail requires us to permit creation of duplicates but sync-daemon simply keeps on duplicating the contacts in the phone as well as gmail. It had to be stopped. It wasted my several hours everyday for three days to rectify the problem. The sync daemon provided by Gmail called “gmailsync” was a better option but the Google has discontinued the support since 1st September 2012. Therefore GmailSync has stopped working. Now no contact sync is possible. At-least I do not know of. I would like to be updated.

Yahoo: It simply does not work. I do not know the reason nor any message/warning is displayed but the contacts saved in yahoo account simply did not upload to yahoo and vice versa. Yahoo help clearly declares that they have no supported app for sync. Presently no solution has emerged except to regularly backup with one of the apps in the “App World”.

This is a very negative aspect. It means if we have hundred of active persons in address book, there is no easy way to keep those updated of safe except may be backing up through Desktop Software for Window’s or backup in phone through an App. However I have found a workaround to backup contacts which is here.

Camera

Camera with 2.0 MP is another disappointment. There is no flash either. I have used this camera to post all the photographs of my post relating to homework culture and Vodafone. But all the pictures have been thoroughly overhauled in GIMP. In fact I do no remember if I could use any picture without editing in GIMP.
However the camera has a good lens and it performs better in optimum lighting i.e. outdoor morning and evening when Sun is at the horizon. But do not shoot towards sun. Keep it behind our back or diagonally away. See this picture:

Rain water harvesting

image & © sandeepbhalla.com

The above unedited picture was shot at Golden Hour when sun was at the horizon. This the best possible shot from this phone. Depth of field shows the quality of lens is not too bad. However generally result is not so good. See below the same image enhanced in GIMP:

Rain water harvesting shot at Golden Hour and Enhanced in GIMP

Image & © sandeepbhalla.com

Instant Messaging, BBM & Keyboard

BBM works fine. Blackberry is slowly but surely converting BBM into a social networking. Users can share most of their activities on BBM. For persons bugged by BBM, the keyboard is hard but just OK and this is a good phone to use on BBM. For users not intending to use BIS, What’s App is another alternative. However that is sometime not very quick in transmitting the message. Gtalk does not work at all.

Office files

The phone includes “Documents to Go” application which is a proprietary program of RIM. It works fine with most of the office formats like PDF, Doc and Excel files. But it has no support for open office files. Creating and editing of the documents is on the go but to format it properly for print out purpose, is not possible unless it does not require any formatting at all.

I miss these:

There is no Kindle app for OS 7.1. No flickr, GMail or GDocs. I really miss these programs.  Do not bother to install these. Opera does not work properly. No contact sync with Yahoo at all. Sync with Gmail results in irrational numerous entries. BTW the BlackBerry’s ebook reader also does not work. Kobo is a reader that works but it is a drain on battery. None of the online contact backup sites support this device as on 19th Jan 2013.

Conclusion

If urge to try blackberry is strong, it is better to start with this cheaper model and find out if the apps for our routine usage are available. This blackberry is certainly better than any Nokia phone in this price range and is certainly more stable. As a phone it has no problem. Problems start with smart applications but it still has more options than the Nokia’s Simbian or any other firmware.
But it is a phone for hermits. Not the religious type hermits. This phone is meant for the people who have limited use. In other words this phone does not belong to the person who wants a new adventure everyday. It suits more to persons who have fixed uses/routine for few or same programs everyday. If our work demand new software solutions everyday, then no blackberry is suitable. Remember the official position that it is an access device. Thus RIM does not claim Blackberry to be a smart-phone. Any resemblance to smartphone is therefore purely accidental and unintentional.
For me, I am looking for parachute to jump off this obsolete ship ASAP.

© Sandeep Bhalla

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About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user but often an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

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