bb-bold-9700-pressHTC Hero 

Tomorrow I will finally get my hot little hands on the Hero and more importantly my grubby not little fingers on the much heralded Sense UI.  But wait there’s more: also sitting in a FedEx sorting facility waiting to be delivered to me is a new Blackberry Bold 9700 (ordered appropriately enough on Black Friday).  All the mathematical comparisons I made in my head weren’t adequate in helping decide for one or the other, so hands on it must be.

Here are the rules I will abide by:  Each device will get enough time if not equal time.  In fact, the device that seems to win the ball control battle this week is indeed the phone that will win.  However, I will apply the same scoring during quotidian usage as I have in the fantasy lead up, and it goes a little something like this:

Device Totals sans Price Totals Design Sleekness Build Keyboard Screen Overall UX Browser Media Email Price Rank Rank sans price Value for Money
Droid 68 61.8 10 8 9 5 8 7 8 5 8 -6.2 3 3 6
Hero 69 62.5 8 8 9 4 8 9 8 5 10 -6.5 2 2 4
Bold 9700 66 61.24 9 7 10 10 5 7 5 5 8 -4.76 4 4 8
E71x 57 54 10 10 10 7 0 5 5 5 5 -3 5 5 10
iPhone 3G 75 72.8 10 8 10 4 8 9 9 10 7 -2.2 1 1 2

These are devices I currently or recently owned (plus of course, those I will imminently own)And to explain the method to my madness a bit, hardware is definitely more important to me than software, and I have weighted price similarly to all other categories by dividing the actual price by 10.  The Droid price is inclusive of the extra $40 a month I would have been paying to keep it, plus the early term fee I would have paid to AT&T to break my contract. 

The Hero would appear to have the edge going in, and that would seem to confirm what I would expect to happen this next week, but every time I look at a picture of the Bold 9700, I feel myself leaning closer towards chrome and qwerty. 

It’s RIM versus HTC.  It’s Blackberry versus Android.  It’s Bold versus Hero (and ironically trackpad versus trackball). It’s on!

The clarity of video on the Motorola Droid is clearly better than that on the iPhone 3G. This is an even more stark result than I expected when I imagined 267 pixels per inch versus 163. By the way the video is by Telefonino.tv and can be found here if your interested in seeing the 231 ppi screen the Nokia N97 Mini offers.

With so many great smart phone choices right now, one would think a serial smart phone freak such as myself would be beholden to none.  But, in the weeks leading up to the Droid drop date (Stealth fighter commercial reference intended), the Verizon marketing team had nearly transformed me from a mere Mobiquizoid into a Pavlovian salivating MobiquiDroid (if you will).  In only a week my trance would be broken, but oh was it fun while it lasted, especially the annoyed looks my wife gave me as my 4 year old and I reveled in the obnoxious “DROOIIID” alert notifications!

Three weeks ago I got up early and navigated my way to my nearest Verizon store to get in line for the opportunity to put my hands on a Droid, and damn the mail in rebate hassle that could have been avoided by patiently waiting for Best Buy to open, I would have my Droid as soon as commercially possible thank you!  So there I was at 7am sharp, number 9 in line, in a line of 9. Slightly disappointed by the lack of fellow mouth frothers though I was, deterrence nor dampening of my excitement was not at risk, and I was quickly in and out with my first Android phone.  (though the Verizon rep was a little too car dealeresque for my taste – tried to sneak in the extra $15 a month for Exchange access not surprisingly)

So what happened in a week that caused me to sheepishly return the device?  Really only a few things, but deal breakers they were in ascending order of importance: 

  1. Exchange calendar integration is lacking as you can’t accept or decline meeting invites or updates. 
  2. The capacitive screen though spacious and gorgeous is prone to what I like to call “screechiness”: just not as buttery smooth as the iPhone (and nor was similarly stellar AMOLED capacitive screen on the Samsung Omnia HD I briefly owned). 
  3. The keyboard was worse than I expected and I found myself wishing it weren’t there so I didn’t feel guilty not using it, and using the virtual one instead.

Also, the overall size was just too much foot print for my daily usage, even with the thin profile. The call quality and data speeds on Verizon were as good as I expected, and the Google integration was even better than expected, as Android 2.0 certainly seems proof that Google is gaining ground on Apple’s mobile OS – but not enough to make me jump from the GSM ship to have it.  However, it certainly inspired me to search like a madman for an HTC Hero from Canada with AT&T compatible 3G, and mercy in the form of a Fedex delivery employee shall soon persuade my sanity to return. 

Unlocking and rooting are of course the inevitable next steps, but until I can show some comparison pictures of the Hero and iPhone, here is the compulsory competition with Droid:  

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Better update your commericals Verizon! Georgia’s 3G coverage on AT&T just got a needed upgrade!