So, continuing my tests of Smartphones, today was the turn of Blackberry.
Now I've tried other BB's and never been too impressed with the build quality but the 8520 I tried is pretty good, not up there with Nokias E71 but far better than something like the T Mobile Pulse, which is about the same price but feels like a toy. First impressions? Really easy to setup, a wizard takes you through the basics and as long as everything is simple it's great. The moment you have something different it all goes wrong in a big way though. If you have a common email address like google or hotmail you should be OK but anything non standard and you're in trouble. Once you get out of the wizard the whole Blackberry OS feels very dated and cumbersome, and it doesn't help that the user guide they supply does not match what's on the phone, when you find sentences like "If your phone has a icon for settings on the Home Screen....." you begin to get a bit worried.

Biggest problem though, is that you just can't use Pay and Go Sim cards. To get email to work you need a Blackberry service enabled on your Sim and none of the carriers will do that without you having at least a voice call contract. Without that service you can't even set email up to work over WiFi. Crazy. You can't even set up a POP account! You have to use their push service. Not clever. I can see no reason for this, it just makes me mad. You know, Blackberrys come from the business world, so I guess most people there will have a contract and with an IT department setting things up, it's probably OK but I don't think it's made the leap to consumer use. Almost anything else is easier to set up. To me, the legendary Blackberry keyboard didn't live up to its reputation either, having to press a modifier for numbers and punctuation slowed my typing down. There are much better keyboards out there. Sorry Blackberry, but so far you are bottom of my list.