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Five Reasons Why I Chose a Blackberry Curve Instead of an iPhone

Trying to decide between a Blackberry Curve and an Apple iPhone?

I recently compared the features of a Blackberry Curve with an Apple iPhone and ended up buying the new Blackberry Curve 8310 Titanium model. It has a nice balance between size and features: a full Qwerty keyboard, a bright display, 2.0 MP camera with built-in flash, expandable memory up to 4GB, and even GPS so I can use Google Mobile Maps to find where I'm at for free.

The iPhone also has some great features that have made it a very popular device, such as the built-in accelerometer that detects when you rotate iPhone from portrait to landscape, then automatically changes the contents of the display. This lets you immediately see the entire width of a web page or a photo in its proper landscape aspect ratio.

I discovered 5 features that put the Curve a few steps ahead of the iPhone in my opinion. I'll cover those in a minute, but first I'll list a few must-have features that both devices supported.

Features that I absolutely had to have regardless of which phone I bought (but that weren't deciding factors because both phones had them):

1. Lots of memory. The iPhone actually wins in this category, with 8 GB and 16 GB memory capacity depending on the model. But the Curve lets you plug in a Micro SD card for up to 4 gigs of added memory - plenty in my case, and good for storing up to 1000 songs and pictures.

SanDiskĀ® 2GB 3-in-1 microSD/miniSD/SD KitI found a 2 GB 3-in-1 microSD/miniSD/SD Kit at Wireless Emporium, that includes a MicroSD memory card and adapters that let it also be used in any SD memory slot (like the slot on my Nikon D50 DSLR camera).

The MicroSD card is inserted behind the battery on the Blackberry Curve. Just take the battery off, lift the memory slot cover, insert the MicroSD card, and snap the slot cover back in place. That's all there is to it, and here's where to find the memory slot:

2. Plays MP3 music and videos.

Both cell phones play mp3 music and video, and with the 4 GB expansion slot on the Curve I can play over a 1000 songs - plenty to let me keep my iPod at home and only use the Blackberry to play my tunes.

The Curve comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a pair of headphones that have a call-in button (just press the button when a call comes in, and you have an instant hands-free device that lets you answer the call without having to remove the headphones).

3. Email and web browsing. Both devices let you send and receive email, and have a built-in web browser. Jabra BT620s Stereo Bluetooth HeadsetI installed Opera Mini for the Curve as well.

4. Bluetooth. I have a pair of Jabra bluetooth headphones (also from Wireless Emporium) that sound great and both the Blackberry Curve and iPhone support Bluetooth, so I'd be able to use them with either device.

Pairing and setting up the Jabra headphones with the Blackberry Curve was extremely easy, and I had them working in a matter of seconds. The sound is great, and I like not having to deal with any headphone wires.

Here are the 5 reasons why I chose a Blackberry Curve instead of an Apple iPhone:

1. Smaller Size:

Both devices are fairly small, with the iPhone being just 2.4 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall, but the Curve is almost a half inch shorter - which lets it slide in any out of pockets a little easier.

The Blackberry Curve also ships with an original Blackberry carrying case that protects the screen and looks very professional.

2. Qwerty Keyboard:

The iPhone has an advanced touch sensing technology and a popup keyboard that lets you type in email or text messages. I found it a little hard to get used to though, because my fingertips are quite a bit wider than each keyboard letter entry, and the screen is completely flat so there's no physical indication that you're clicking the right key.

I prefer the direct physical sensory response of an actual button click that the Curve provides, with it's built-in full Qwerty keyboard. That way I always know if I'm clicking the right key.

I also like that the Blackberry keyboard is separate from the display, which means it doesn't take up screen real estate like the iPhone keyboard does.

3. Built-in GPS:

The Blackberry Curve 8310 model includes GPS technology that lets you pinpoint your location. You can pay a few extra dollars a month and sign up for the GPS plan, or just use Google's Mobile Map application for free, which gives you fairly decent positioning and both map and satellite views.

I like being able to zoom into my exact location and see the actual buildings and even trees in the area using the satellite view.

4. Better Camera with Flash and 5X Zoom:

Both the iPhone and the Curve come with a 2 megapixel camera, but the Curve's camera has an automatic flash built in, which makes pictures turn out much better than the iPhone. The curve's camera also has a 5x zoom, so you can get closer with your shots.

I actually use the camera pretty often for things like my kids soccer games, or taking snapshots of friends I'm having dinner with. It's also really nice to take a shot of a friend, and then attach that picture to their address book entry on my Blackberry.

With the Curve, it lets you assign a picture to any phone book entry, and even gives you a cropping window so you can zoom in on just the part you want to show. Once the picture has been assigned to a phone book entry, then that picture is displayed on the screen whenever that person calls... taking caller ID to the next level.

5. Much Lower Price:

With the iPhone running $399 and the Blackberry Curve costing only $99, it was an easy decision to go with the Curve. Apple really needs to bring their price down if they plan to remain competitive. That's a difference of $300, and I've even seen the Curve on Amazon for free with a $75 cash rebate, which makes it a no-brainer decision (for me anyway).

While most of your points are valid, I think there are many other features that further distinguish the two devices that are more important.

For example, the BB has a better ability to add software. You have to crack the iPhone to do that (for now).

The iPhone's browser kicks the BB any day. It is critical to be able to zoom, rotate, and slide around easily on a full size web page when viewed on a small screen. I have had a BB for the past 10 years and I have never browsed the net as much as I do now with my iPhone. It works great (although I wish they supported flash).

The touch interface takes some getting used to but I don't see myself going back. I don't have much trouble typing on the iPhone at all.

Visual voice mail is awesome - an iphone only feature. Fast forward, rewind, pause, and delete email without actually calling a "voice mail system". It's just there on your phone like magic.

UI is intuitive and easy to use on the iPhone. The BB has lots of nuances (more so than the iPhone imo) and with the scroll wheel it just takes longer to navigate than I like.

The music player is light years ahead of the BB. Album art, screen controls from anywhere on the iPhone, etc. Like an iPod on steroids.

Streaming YouTube. Sure, it's a bit gimmicky, but it sure is fun and has become something I do almost daily for a few minutes before bed.

Your point about the price is compelling however. :)

Great comments Jim, and some points I hadn't considered. I do envy the zoom and slide browser capabilities of my buddy's iPhone, but I found that one site I visit several times a day was not viewable on the iPhone.

I also dig the music player on the iPhone better than the BB, but felt the BB gave me all the necessary features (view by album, artist, etc) and it was easy to connect to my Bluetooth Jabra headphones for wireless music.

The touch screen on the iPhone looks really cool, but I was afraid I'd scratch it up, and was also afraid that my stubby fat fingers wouldn't be able to press the tiny keys in the right place, which is why I like the physical feedback of the Qwerty keyboard on the Curve.

I'm glad you like your iPhone though, and it's clearly sweeping the world as one of the most popular electronic devices.


Wow it only cost you 100.00 for your curve? they are close to 500.00 in canada, unless you sign up for a 3 year contract (promising to keep your usage over 75.00 a month) and then you get it for 300.00 plus tax

Valid points on either end. Both devices make a great phone. One, though, that hasn't been brought to light is the cost of services. Yes, the iPhone costs more up front: $399, and the Blackberry Curve runs around $99. However, the actually use an iPhone each month only costs an additional $20, which includes unlimited data and email access, and 200 text messages. To use a Curve with the unlimited data and email package alone costs an additional $30 each month. To receive 200 text messages is $5. Thus, to replicate the same package already offered with the iPhone, one must pay an additional $15 a month. Each phone comes with a two-year contract attached. At the end of those two years, one with a Curve will pay an additional $360 ($15 a month for features already packaged with the iPhone multiplied by 24 months). In some ways, over the long run, which, sadly, too many don't consider, it can be more cost effective to buy an iPhone.

Ricky i have the same phone, i swapped over my sim card from another phone addeded all contacts but my caller id does not show who is calling but worked on the other phone. do you know the answer?

i got my curve for free! it was refurbished. definitely a better deal than the iphone, which for someone on a budget just is not practical. I was just looking for ways to expand the memory on my curve, and your blog popped up in my search, so thank you for posting this. yes an iphone is nice...but there is definitely alot of hype and it definitely is for people with a little more cash to throw away and those monthly bills...yikes.

let me give you a few more...

restrictions on teh music...i am so glad the music player on an iphone is soo cool but i cant do jack with it but play tunes...bluetooth music on an iphone...nope sorry!
make a ringtone and put it in? nope sorry cant do that either. email a song? noooope. msuic is under prison on an iphone. no thanks.
same goes for any software etc.

picture messaging on an iphone is nowhere to be found.

read an ebook? not that i have seen...

so yeah blah blah blah good screen thats about it...but what good is it for if i have restrictions?

I would like to have the browsing ability of iPhone but I am not sure I will surf that much on a phone. There are 2 things which I cannot do without and I am not sure if iPhone can do that.

1. Aggregate and push all my emails from 10 different acoounts, including corporate

2. Stream audio wirelesly to my bluetooth headset. I cannot go back to wires and the very thought makes my skin itchy. I like the freedom of bluetooth in a gym which is the only time I listen to the music. So if it is not wireless, I cannot listen to music and I cannot go to the gym. So no iPhone for me.

3 I get a curve 8310 without any contract and for $0.

First three reasons sealed the decision for me in favor of curve and iPhone was out.

4. I have stored my passwords, important numbers in Keepass. I am not sure it is available on iphone and I do not want to spend any extra efforts or money trying to convert to another format. I like being lazy.

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