As regular readers may recall, although I’m a relatively recent convert, I’m a huge fan of Blackberry but, as I previously wrote, I was recently without one after an accident involving some coffee.
Although it was always likely I’d eventually opt for another Blackberry, my mid-contract status gave me a reason to look at a cheaper clone.
Online retailers never seem to have a shortage of cheap Windows-powered wannabe Blackberry in stock, one is currently listing the Toshiba Portege G710 which it’s knocking out at less than £100 including VAT.
Being one of those people who think the mobile flavours of Windows are its better incarnations, I’m always tempted by deals like this, if only to buy one and stick it in a drawer in case of future mishaps.
The only problem with these ultra-cheap alternatives, especially the generic branded ones, is the finish can be a bit lacking. But then, as they always say, you get what you pay for.
I also looked at the various Palm options, including a pre-used Palm Centro from a high street retailer but I’ve never been keen on secondhand phones. A few years back a friend bought a pre-used phone only for the previous owner (who’d cashed it in on the high street) to then have it blacklisted as stolen.
The Centro looked OK, I guess, but the gap between the screen and keyboard felt too large for my liking and overall the handset just didn’t feel right in my hands. I can’t stand holding phones which don’t sit comfortably in my hand, I consider myself a power user and comfort is a BIG factor in my decision making.
Preferring known brands to the hundreds of Far East OEM handsets (though many lurk beneath the logo) I also looked at the Nokia E71 (pictured above) after a friend raved about his. The online reviews also seemed to rate it, with a score of 8.9 out of 10 rating on CNET.co.uk and 8.7 out of 10 on testfreaks.co.uk.
This definitely felt a more natural fit than the Palm and I’ve always quite liked Nokia handsets so it was a real contender. The best price I could find at the time was about £250 which was a bit more than I wanted to pay but not too much more.
In the end familiarity with Blackberry’s interface won out but the pace of progress and my own taming of the iPhone’s touchscreen keyboard may make it a tougher call if ever again mistake my Blackberry for a digestive.