This is a Blackberry style Android. A Black Droid. Full QWERTY. My first Android phone. It’s actually quite OK, though in hindsight, full screen is better. That’s not the killer though. As useful as this phone is, it has a battery life of like three hours. I always have to keep it plugged in, which means it’s a pretty shitty mobile.
FYI, I’m writing this review in response to Ami Sampath’s piece Cheapest Android Smartphones in Sri Lanka: 10 Androids You Can Buy Below Rs. 34,999/-.
It looks good, has a full keyboard, and runs Android. The problem, however, is that… wait, positives. OK, functionality. I can listen to my Hype Machine music, streaming, in the car (through a headphone jack cassette adaptor). I can set up a WiFi hotspot, which I’m using right now. The Internet is fast, most apps work great, etc.
Battery life. It never lasts a day, is impossible to travel with and constantly needs to be plugged in. If you use the features of the phone at all, it dies. If you don’t it lives, but what a wasted life.
Also, it has a keypad, but the default goes to search, not numbers. To find or dial a number is a painful process. Also, there is no ‘=’ option, which makes coding difficult, but there is one button that switches everything to Arabic. Sigh. Not useful. Oh, and to type numbers, you have to hold down the alt button every single time, it doesn’t stick like a Caps Lock. Also annoying.
QWERTY Vs. Virtual
The reason I bought this phone was for the keypad. In hindsight, however, not necessary. The GMail App doesn’t really fit on the screen, so it’s not great for that. Coding HTML is very difficult and only for emergencies, again because the screen is small. For most apps, including Twitter, that screen real estate is important.
My gripe with smartphones is that they’re too often media consumption devices rather than production (iPad too a bit). A keyboard makes it a bit more production ready, but it’s not worth the trade-off in terms of screen size.
So, would I recommend this device? Nope, but solely based on the battery life. If they just made the pack a bit fatter it would be a fine Black Droid phone. Until then, check out Ami’s reviews of other cheap Androids available in Sri Lanka. It costs about Rs. 28,000. I got it at QTel in Liberty Plaza.