1. hotgeekness's Avatar
    Hello everyone!

    I knew the time would come, so after several months of "my BlackBerry does this and that", my mother got more than interested in acquiring one for her. Although she stated "money is no problem" and "get me the best one", I am having a hard time deciding on a BlackBerry suitable for her.

    Quick facts:
    1. My mother drops her phone a lot.
    2. She is far from being a technical person.
    3. She needs to have Arabic input.
    4. She refuses to have a data plan.

    Possible choices: (skip this part for the summary)
    1. I found the Curve 8520 (and Curve 3G) to have a very rugged feel and it seems less likely to break apart compared to my Bold 9650. Ergo, the best choice for someone like my mother.

    2. Less maintenance is better. Trackpad and charging contacts for the Charging Pod are a must (which unfortunately makes the Curve 8520 a bad choice). Yes, I've witnessed my mother breaking a USB port on her laptop trying to insert the connector upside down (thankfully her laptop had a couple more USB ports). It's better not to take any risks with a BlackBerry, where the single USB port is vital.

    3. One of the reasons my mother told me a BlackBerry is good for her is the presence of a complete QWERTY keyboard. Her current phone only has a telephone keypad, making messaging a very tedious procedure. For Arabic input I can swap in a keyboard with the appropriate characters drawn, but it must not be a SureType keyboard (i.e. Pearl series are out of question). This does leave the possibility open for a touch screen device (I had a Storm2 with Arabic input working perfectly fine), but regarding the Storm series I am very positive my mother is not a fan of SurePress and the Torch 9800 does not seem like a good idea (seems easier to break apart from many drops).

    4. This might be a bit unusual for someone wanting to have a BlackBerry, but when it comes to finances my mother is conservative. Or it could have something to do with the fact that data plans are way too expensive for her needs. For this point it basically means that WiFi is a must and the lack of 3G connectivity is no issue. My mother did state that if she can sync data (e.g. RSS news) at home and then access it later without a network connection, then that is perfectly fine for her. She also does not use e-mail for the matter, but liked the way SMS messages are handled on a BlackBerry.

    Summary:
    Necessities are trackpad, charging contacts, complete QWERTY keyboard and WiFi. No Pearl, Storm or Torch device. In other words a Curve 8520 with charging contacts would be the perfect BlackBerry for my mother. Unfortunately something like it does not exist.

    Ideas? Thank you very much!
    08-29-10 09:25 AM
  2. pr1nce's Avatar
    The Curve is a good device for a first time BB user. However, I don't think it's very rugged. The Bold 9650 is a better device, has the trackpad, wifi, keyboard, everything that you're looking for. It feels more solid. Whatever she decides to get make sure she has a protective case.
    08-29-10 09:32 AM
  3. hotgeekness's Avatar
    The Curve is a good device for a first time BB user. However, I don't think it's very rugged. The Bold 9650 is a better device, has the trackpad, wifi, keyboard, everything that you're looking for. It feels more solid. Whatever she decides to get make sure she has a protective case.
    I had the Curve 8520 before my current Bold 9650. I can say from experience that the construction of the Curve 8520 is better than that of the Bold 9650. Compared to the Bold 9650 it is much lighter, meaning that there is less impact if dropped. Also, atop the LCD display is a separate plastic layer; on the Bold 9650 the LCD display is one piece and has greater potential to break. On the Bold 9650 there are more separate parts such as the top cover and bezel, which are a solid piece on the Curve 8520. I do think it is very rugged.

    Protective cases are a "love it or hate it" thing. I personally dislike the use of protective cases. Silicon cases tend to act as dust magnets (bad) and solid cases (e.g. OtterBox Commuter) tend to make the use of the device cumbersome (also bad). Then you also have cases that offer little protection (e.g. Case-Mate Barely There), which... well, offer little protection.
    Last edited by HotGeekness; 08-29-10 at 09:49 AM.
    08-29-10 09:43 AM
  4. pr1nce's Avatar
    It's all personal preference. To me the Curve 2 felt cheaper and not as rugged. I had the 8330 and I thought that was built better than the Curve 2. I don't use cases either, but you mentioned that your mom drops her phone alot.
    08-29-10 09:53 AM
  5. hotgeekness's Avatar
    My mother does drop her phone a lot and apart from the keypad occasionally sticking out and waiting to peel off, her current phone still works. I've had quite many BlackBerry smartphones; from my first 8700c to the Bold 9650 there are the Pearl 8110, Curve 8900, Curve 8520 and Storm2 9520 in between. I do believe the Curve 8520 is more rugged, although I have to agree with you that it did feel cheap (could have more to do with the low resolution LCD display rather than physical construction).

    I'm currently leaning towards the Bold 9700, but I feel it still is not the perfect choice. If only there was a way to modify a Curve 8520 to have charging contacts
    08-29-10 10:06 AM
  6. Spiral_ouT's Avatar
    I'm going to have to agree with princebb on the "rugged feel" of the 9650 over the 8520. The 8520 felt like it was constructed of cheap plastic that might chip and dent easier when dropped.

    That said, I have gone through a similar situation as you are in and my mother drops and loses her phone more than her fair share. I got her a 9650 with a Case-Mate Smart Skin and she loves it! The material used on the case is soft yet shock absorbent and also doesn't pick up dust. I prefer not to have my keyboard covered up, so my case preference is the Case-Mate Tough case. It doesn't affect using the device at all.
    08-29-10 10:16 AM
  7. hotgeekness's Avatar
    Ok, point taken! I will give up the thought that the Curve 8520 is more rugged

    I'm still leaning towards the Bold 9700, if only for the fact there is official Arabic support and we only have GSM networks here. Any word on build construction of the Bold 9700 vs Bold 9650? BlackBerry 6 is not much of an issue.
    08-29-10 11:10 AM
  8. Spiral_ouT's Avatar
    The 9700 is a GREAT phone. I really prefer it over the 9650's slightly bulkier feel. Favorite phone I've ever owned and will be getting OS 6 as well.
    08-29-10 11:16 AM
  9. BoldtotheMax's Avatar
    9700 is a great phone for sure, has trackpad, wifi and heard that swapping out a keyboard isn't that bad. I would go that route, but I am biased as it is my current phone, however, I have had quite a few berries, Andriods and 1 iphone and by far my favorite phone is the 9700, hands down.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    08-29-10 02:04 PM
  10. avt123's Avatar
    4. She refuses to have a data plan.
    What carrier are you on? Not wanting a data plan may be a problem, because many carriers force you to have data plans with smartphones.
    08-29-10 02:44 PM
  11. hotgeekness's Avatar
    Thank you all for the replies! Bold 9700 seems like the way to go. I am very certain that disassembly won't be difficult; I've opened up my Bold 9650 and a Curve 8900 in the past. I don't see why the Bold 9700 would be any different.
    What carrier are you on? Not wanting a data plan may be a problem, because many carriers force you to have data plans with smartphones.
    As funny as it may sound, my carrier of choice doesn't offer BlackBerry Internet Service. In fact, no carrier here does. I currently use a generic GPRS data plan, but still enjoy the benefits of push e-mail and the like. Granted I don't have the luxury of using BlackBerry Messenger or Facebook (or other applications built by RIM), but then again I'm not active in either community so it's no issue. My main source for BlackBerry smartphones is eBay. Having much experience makes it easy for me to snatch good deals and be on the safe side from fraud or cheaters (I'm a seller too). No way would I sign for a two year contract (or three for the Canadian). My mother will mainly be using pre-paid service. Don't Americans have the option to purchase a BlackBerry with pre-paid service? At least the British have this luxury from what I've heard.
    08-29-10 02:55 PM
  12. avt123's Avatar
    As funny as it may sound, my carrier of choice doesn't offer BlackBerry Internet Service. In fact, no carrier here does. I currently use a generic GPRS data plan, but still enjoy the benefits of push e-mail and the like. Granted I don't have the luxury of using BlackBerry Messenger or Facebook (or other applications built by RIM), but then again I'm not active in either community so it's no issue. My main source for BlackBerry smartphones is eBay. Having much experience makes it easy for me to snatch good deals and be on the safe side from fraud or cheaters (I'm a seller too). No way would I sign for a two year contract (or three for the Canadian). My mother will mainly be using pre-paid service. Don't Americans have the option to purchase a BlackBerry with pre-paid service? At least the British have this luxury from what I've heard.
    Oh wow ok. Yea I would get the 9700 or 9650 then. I believe we have prepaid BB options here, but I think they also require data. I'm not too sure on that though.
    08-29-10 03:01 PM
  13. hotgeekness's Avatar
    So far everything seems clear, but I'll be holding out until BlackBerry 6 comes available for either the Bold 9700 or Bold 9650. Reason being I want to be sure Arabic input functions without issues (this was an issue with early firmware 5.0 releases for the Storm2 and the current firmware for my Bold 9650 also has issues with Arabic input). Any Torch 9800 owner willing to report how Arabic input works in BlackBerry 6?
    08-29-10 03:27 PM
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