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Monday, September 07, 2009

Terrible Together: AT&T 3G Network & Blackberry Bold

Terrible...that's the way this post is going to be summarized. Just be prepared.

A few months ago, I upgraded to the "new" Blackberry Bold from my previous 8800 series. The Bold, also known as the Blackberry 9000 series was supposed to be the best thing sliced bread. Let's just say I am less than thrilled with the Bold, it seriously under delivers.

Blackberry Bold Product Image Blackberry 9000 Series Phone Mobile Picture

In my opinion, it's for a few key reasons.

The biggest problem as I see it, is the terrible battery life. Most days, I am lucky to make it through business hours with more than 20% battery left. And I do not even talk on it that much. To make matters worse, the USB charging is relatively ineffective -- charging at an undetectable slow rate. You need to use the wall charger or a car charge to generate an effective charge rate.

Just in case you're wondering -- I leave the Wi-Fi radio off and the Bluetooth radio off unless I am using it. I do leave the GPS radio on, but make sure I exit location service based applications like Google Maps whenever I am done. Using a similar pattern of usage on my 8800 would have easily lasted 2 full days and in many cases 3 days. Very disappointing.

Another huge miss is the woefully inadequate built-in Blackberry browser. I cannot tell you how sick I am of the HTTP Error 413 - Request Entity Too Large. This occurs even on the simplest of sites like My Yahoo! This problem plagued the previous version of Blackberry and with a platform as revolutionary as Blackberry v4.6 -- this should not be happening. One should not have to rely upon a 3rd party browser like the Opera Mini (a lifesaver). Apparently RIM doesn't get it.

Lastly, the Blackberry App World is a poor attempt at copying Apple's own App Store. Looking through the applications, there are too many misses to mention. Consistently over-priced applications, riddled with trial versions, many major applications or free offerings missing. The list goes on and on.

Yes, there are some nice features...the brighter screen is pretty good, the added camera (my 8800 didn't have one) is nice, too. However, it is not enough to overlook the gaping holes in the capabilities of the Blackberry Bold.

At the same time I turned in my Blackberry 88000, the Blackberry Bold also forced me to upgrade to the AT&T 3G network. It feels like my wireless provider (at least in Los Angeles, the Silicon Valley, and Washington, DC) has gone back to 1997.

AT&T ATT 3G Network Logo EDGE


Call drop more often and relatively frequently.

Data performance is ok, but not much better than EDGE.

Lots of data only dead spots. Los Angeles International Airport, Hollywood Bowl, list goes on and on.

No smart switching or manual switching to the EDGE network, GPRS, and 3G. The 3G network thinks it is always there an available.

Can I please have the network known as EDGE back? It was much superior to the current performance of the AT&T 3G network.

Is it only me? That's what I thought -- maybe somehow I have a defective Blackberry unit and no one else has the same problems. But, Ashley has had a similar performance issue with her iPhone 3GS 32GB, guessed it, it uses the same AT&T 3G network. More dropped calls, questionable access, and more -- ever since she upgraded from her iPhone first generation.

Where's my Blackberry 8800 again? I may switch back for a better device and a better Mobile network.


Raju Vusirikala said...

I have all the problems you mentioned in your blog with my Bold as well. I see there are two issues then.. one with the Bold phone itself and other is 3G network.

Homi said...

The performance of the Bold is horrible compared to the long line of predecessor Blackberry devices I've had. Droppped calls on 3G is the worst I've ever seen, followed by very poor battery life. I'm ready to get rid of it and migrate to an alternative, possibly the 3G iPhone.