The Battle of BlackBerry Plans

Because of the growing popularity of BlackBerry and the close calls between all BIS plans, I wanted to do a review on the BlackBerry Plans available in the market today. So I browsed the internet to find the most recent deals available from Smart, Globe and Sun.

Of course we know that Globe was the first to offer BlackBerry plans and now they offer the BlackBerry Curve 8520 free starting Plan 999. With this package, the 999 is consumable for both texting and calling intra and inter network. However, the key part of any BlackBerry handheld which is its BlackBerry Service is an Add-on service which you would have to subscribe to separately or have padded on to your plan. Possibly, their biggest come on is their pay per use BB Max, BB Messaging, BB Social service. With MAX, you get surfing and the whole BIS package for the one whole day at P50. For Messaging you get email and BBM for just P299 per 30 days. For Social, you get access to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for the low price of P299/ month as well.

For most of my friends on Globe’s BlackBerry they’re monthly service is P999 plus P299 which is P1298.00 per month that comes with a free BlackBerry Curve 8520 and a 24-month lock in period.

Smart also has its own BlackBerry offerings though they seem more intent in pushing HTC handhelds. Smart offers the same Social and Lite at the same price P299/month. They are also available for prepaid subscribers via the Smart Buddy Max, Social and Lite. The Social and Lite are P35 per day.

The last entrant into the game, as usual, is Sun Cellular. Though last in the race to BlackBerry offers, they have launched a solid offer that is equally, if not more valuable, than Globe’s.

They had the Great BlackBerry Deal 999 where for just P999 / month you get a BlackBerry Curve 8520 with unlimited calls and texts Sun-to-Sun and unlimited mobile internet. It also had a bonus of free 3 months of BlackBerry service. To some it was a so, so deal but  I thought at P999 per month you get not just a BlackBerry handheld but a solid postpaid plan.

Just recently, they launched the Complete BlackBerry Package. For the same P999/month, you get a BlackBerry Curve 8520, unlimited mobile internet, unlimited BlackBerry Service, unlimited call and texts to Sun. Of course, like all other plans, its under a holding period. In this case 30 months. That’s 3 unlimited services. Totally a good deal, right? It smacks all other offers out there.

Remember the time when you used your BlackBerry smartphone, you’d always get surprised by the HUGE mobile internet charges they cost you? If for P999 a month you won’t get any of that, I think it’s a pretty good deal entirely.

But I bet you would agree that if they offer Curve 9300, it would be the most awesome thing on the battle for the best BlackBerry service, won’t it?

In Review: Nokia E7

Nokia E7 Review

First Impressions:

I have to admit, the first time I got hold of this phone, I was intimidated. Sleek and heavy at 176 grams, I deemed it isn’t the kind of phone I would bring with me for a late afternoon walk at a crowded park. When it comes to phones, I have weight issues. Hence, after unboxing my Nokia E7, I thought to myself – it better be worth the weight.

Appearance & Interface

At first, I thought E7 was just another improved twin of the N8. Then again, the subtle inclusion of the slide-out QWERTY keyboard caught me by surprise. I think it’s an upgrade on both sophistication and flexibility. I like how it appears like a mini monitor and keyboard every time I slide it open. I just wish Nokia would polish the hinge further to make sliding easier.

 

Scrolling and shifting from the vertical to the horizontal view is also seamless. The capacitive touchscreen shows Nokia’s great improvement on its touchscreen technology. No need to touch twice because you’ll get it on the first click.  With this improvement, you have the screen lock or standby button installed just perfectly to balance the improved sensitivity.

Features

Camera

Browsing through its features, E7 is packed with all the inclusions of a regular digital camera. It is equipped with an 8-megapixel and dual-LED flash camera. Not to mention, shooting features include face-detect, grid focus, self-timer function and even photo editor. Having all these, I thought it was worth ditching my trusty camera for.

Then again, I was disappointed with the actual shots. Its current specs may be promising but Nokia should still improve on the camera capacity for indoor and night-time shots. Although, I would say that picture quality is already satisfactory for the daytime and outdoor shots. Shots are kept crisp and do not get pixelated even when zoomed in for review. To optimize the quality of photos, just don’t forget to turn on red-eye reduction.

As for the video, the shots are grainy. Quality is comparable to typical home videos. Because it comes handy with the phone, it is perfect for spontaneous capturing of key moments during the day. Indoor capturing is fine, just as long as the location is well-lit

.

Multimedia

For its music playing function, I have nothing but praises for E7. Sound quality is exceptional. Leave your earphones behind and share the music out loud with a friend or two. As for downloaded and converted videos, playback is great, too.

I would suggest the horizontal view when watching videos. Especially when the keyboard is slid up, the phone’s form makes you want to view it from afar and treat it like a television screen. It also helps that the phone has a video editor where you can create, edit and then later own view your own videos.

Internet & Social Networking

This phone has all the connectivity means in full-force, from 3G, EDGE, WAP and WIFI capacity. I would say browsing is quite an experience. Given the huge screen and the seamless interface, it may be comparable to the iPhone’s browser. Just make sure you have a stable connection and you’re good to go.

For social networking, this isn’t the phone for you. Don’t expect snap and share to work well on this. Multimedia items are not directly transferrable to social network accounts, unlike in other smartphones. Nokia needs to catch up on that.

Memory & Syncing

I was at first peeved to find out that there is no card slot for this phone. But after consulting the manual, I found out that the internal memory capacity is powerful at 16 GB, with 256 MB RAM and 1 GB ROM. Man, this phone is already powerful by default. There is just so much that you can do and store with such memory.

The only downside is content portability. It may be reliable as a flash drive but the transfer of multiple files may be inconvenient when there’s no computer around. I had to rely on its Bluetooth function to transfer pictures from this phone to my old phone.

Best Feature

Although still not in its best form, I would deem that the idea of slide-out QWERTY keyboard is E7’s best feature. Touch technology may be in but still, there nothing like the classic experience of typing. I think it is E7’s edge over its counterparts – Apple iPhone, Samsung Wave or even its earlier twin, Nokia N8. E7 gives users the best of both worlds – they can touch and they can type.

For quick responses, I use the touch screen interface. For more intent and leisure composition, I use the keyboard. There can be no monotony in the usage.

(As you can see, I am a fan of the phone’s horizontal layout.)

Overall Recommendation

I remain firm in saying that this isn’t the phone I would bring with me for an afternoon walk at a crowded park. Rather, this is the phone I would bring with me when I get stuck alone in an island. I hope you get the picture. This phone has it all – maps for navigation, office document tools for work, connectivity and multimedia capacity for entertainment. To cap it all, E7 boasts a seamless interface and an excellent battery life. You can say that it tries to be everything. And, for me, it has succeeded in doing so.

Definitely, it is worth the weight.

First Look: LG Optimus ME P350

LG OPTIMUS ME P350 REVIEW

First Impressions:

Having to unbox a phone for the first time proves to be quite an experience, every time. Excitement and anticipation jitters would always ignite the tech enthusiast in me. With LG Optimus ME P350, I didn’t have to wait a long time to be able to get hold of one. Coming at an affordable price, it was a temptation that was too good to resist.

LG Optimus ME P350. Photo courtesy of TechPinas

Appearance

If you are a fan of sleek and sophisticated-looking gadgets, I would not recommend this phone for you. But, if you are a sucker for fun and youthful-looking phones, then LG Optimus Me P350 might just be the perfect handset for you. I got mine in blue and I like it funky this way. At 130 grams, I usually don’t mind carrying it around and putting it in my pocket, every time.

Interface

As in most touch screen phones, the home interface shows a wide array of the handset’s applications. LG could do better at organizing its icons. Related applications have not been clustered together by default. Being new to LG, I was surprised at the messaging icon. It looks quite unconventional in its non-envelope-shaped design. To make it easier for first time users, I think it would be better to have it placed at the topmost left side, as how it is by default in most touch screen phones. Other than these, I had an easy time tinkering on the other controls.

Its touch screen performance is not exactly one for the books, although satisfactory for a low-end phone. I would say I’m satisfied with the response rate. I like how easy it is to navigate through the calendar, messaging and call logs with just simple flips through the screen. This is perfect for people like me who usually find it hard to touch icons precisely.

Features:

Camera

Boasting a 3.15 megapixel camera with autofocus, photos are okay but not superb. With Facebook and Twitter coming handy as applications, it gives one the convenience of taking photos and sharing them in real time. Although, I didn’t bother dwelling much on its video application, as its VGA remains low at 24 frames per second.

Music

Sound quality is again, satisfactory. Being MP3 and MP4 capable, LG Optimus Me P350 can prove to be one good companion on slow and quiet days. Although, the briefness of the battery life could counter the excitement, as it only took me approximately 3 hours of listening to the FM radio, combined with a couple of hours talk time, until the battery died.

Internet

Among the features that I was most excited about on this phone were its 3G and WIFI capabilities. Ideally, these would best complement the built-in applications of Google Search, Maps, Latitude, Facebook and Twitter. So far, I have no complaints on the usability and functioning of these. Graphics were not so smooth and seamless, though, and viewing could be enhanced with a bigger screen size.

This brings me to another good point of LG Optimus Me P350 – it can be used as a WIFI router. With its USB port, I connected it to my laptop and eventually, I was able to establish a connection. Although slow in loading, I would still give it a plus for the connection capacity. Besides, as it is in any platform, the browsing experience of the user can only be fully-optimized with a good internet service provider.

Memory

Before purchasing a MicroSD for this phone, I was disappointed to find out that the internal memory is only up to 140MB. Although, it’s 32GB expandable memory compensates for this. With this phone all-boosted up, the average user can already enjoy storing music, videos and files up to his heart’s content and even beyond. For this, I would give it another plus.

Best Feature

As an Android phone with a multitude of possibilities for software download and updates, I like how the developers have explicitly added an icon feature on Software Updates. Most users may not be keen enough to update their installed applications each time but this function makes it all handy for them. Besides, these applications are the lifeblood of Android phones. The more updated and dynamic they are, the better becomes the user experience.

Overall Recommendation

Overall, being an Android phone offered at a friendly, midrange price gives LG Optimus Me P350 a lot more rooms for enhancement. It can be further improved with better graphics and eliminated glitches. Although, with its up-to-date features – from its capacitive touch screen, up to its 3G connectivity, I would still say that there is a lot to LG Optimus Me P350 the user can enjoy and maximize.