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Thread: Review: My early take on the Blackberry 9310 on Straight Talk

  1. #1
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    Review: My early take on the Blackberry 9310 on Straight Talk

    Wasn't sure which forum this belonged in, but here it is. I've been lurking here a long time and used HF for a lot of info and decided this was my chance to contribute.

    So long ago I decided I had had enough of AT&T and wanted to switch to a prepaid carrier, preferably one that used the Verizon network as it has the best reception in my area. After much consideration I decided Straight Talk was my best option, however I wasn't 100% sold on their device selection. I spent quite a bit of time searching for the best Android replacement for my Blackberry (which I've carried in some form since 2005), as the BB keyboard and messaging system are my favorite things about my phone and would be hard to replicate. Finding a prepaid carrier in my area with decent service and a Blackberry offering was next to impossible.

    So, as I'm mulling over the various options, flashing a phone, buying one from eBay, finally ST releases a BB for sale. I'm immediately sold on the idea and head out to purchase it as soon as I have the cash.

    The phone was available on the retail rack at my local Wal-Mart (but not some others, so YMMV). The cost was $129.99 + tax, plus a 1-month service card for $45 + tax. My mother, who is a Wal-Mart employee and was one of my family lines on my AT&T plan, used her discount for all the phones and cards I bought that day, and it was effective for everything including cards, so that might factor in to your decision if you're a Wally World "associate". It basically eliminates the sales tax in my state.

    I got the phone home and got the package opened, you'll need a razor for this to avoid cutting anything important. There was a USB charger and cable inside, as well as detailed instructions and all the codes needed for activation. There is no headset included. After plugging in and powering on, a few minutes on the website to activate and port my number, I was up and running within 15 minutes from arriving home. Great!

    I used BB desktop manager to switch devices, and swapped my MicroSD card, and everything copied over nicely. Most of my apps came over, but a few of my OS6 apps (from Curve 9300) weren't compatible. I imagine some of them will be updated in App World soon and will work fine; others I've already found replacements for. After checking my address book, calendar, and saved messages, and setting up my email, I wiped the old phone.

    The 9310 on ST has true Blackberry service, with BBM, email, and BIS. SMS and MMS work fine. I've had no problem using Opera Mini, Facebook, eBay, Twitter, or any of my other (compatible) apps. The extra memory (512MB) and newer OS (7.1) help a lot when using the browser. I haven't received one "page closed" error since buying the phone, and I got those all the time on my 8520 and 9300.

    Now for some complaints: 1) The keyboard is a classic BB keyboard, sturdy and accurate, but the keys are spaced just a LITTLE farther apart than I'm used to, and it takes some getting used to. The trackpad feels a little flimsy, in fact the whole phone feels a little bit cheap compared to the Blackbbery construction I'm used to; 2) The battery cover on my 9300 was rubberized, I could lay that thing just about anywhere and expect it to be there for the duration. Not so the 9310, it's a slick hard plastic back and it slides very easily. I could fix this with a silicone cover, but that would negate my holster that I love so much; 3) The GPS has been a pain. I've got it mostly working now, but on my phone (and two identical ones I bought the same day) it won't work with Google Maps or BB Traffic (which is one of the apps that wasn't compatible, according to App World); 4) The FM radio, while a nice feature, doesn't pick up stations nearly as well as other radios in the same room, consistently; 5) The new JS1 battery is much bigger than the C-S2, so I was hoping for some great battery life, but so far that hasn't materialized. This is purely anecdotal, but this device seems to need charged more often; 6) Multi-part text messages come through separately and aren't regrouped into a single message. They seem to have a (1/2), (2/2) header on each message that's being miscoded, and comes through as ????+ some garbage characters. This happens on all multi-part SMS sent by all 3 of the devices I bought; and 7) This is my biggest complaint. The right side convenience key is in a bad place for my hand and is VERY easy to press accidentally, and is quite sensitive. I've had to exit my camera app at least 50 times this week. There's also no way to auto-lock the screen without a password, so I'm manually locking it each time I holster.

    So, long story short, I'm very glad to have my Blackberry on a prepaid carrier on the network I wanted at an affordable price. The process was easy. That's all great. My one experience with ST support was awful (I posted on their forum and sent in a support ticket on the GPS issue, and the rep that called me directly had NO idea how to go about diagnosing or fixing the issue). Taking in the problems I've had (some of which might hopefully be fixed by an OS update), I'd give the whole experience a C+. That said, I'm happier than I was with AT&T as the 4 lines I pay for now cost me about 40% less, with no worries of data overages.

  2. #2
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    There's been a lot of buzz about the Z10 over the last couple of months and it's easy to forget that the vast majority of BlackBerry users are still on "legacy" devices and that's likely to stay that way for a while yet. What's also been lost in the shuffle is the growth of the prepaid market in North America, which seems to be growing daily. Nice review. Thanks.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, I hope it's useful for anyone trying to decide on this phone.

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    Very Good Review! I am considering getting a Straight Talk Blackberry 9310, and was wondering if you been able to use the Wi-Fi calling feature? I have read conflicting reports on whether or not Wi-Fi calling is supported on Straight Talk. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraffMan84 View Post
    Very Good Review! I am considering getting a Straight Talk Blackberry 9310, and was wondering if you been able to use the Wi-Fi calling feature? I have read conflicting reports on whether or not Wi-Fi calling is supported on Straight Talk. Thanks.
    I can't say for sure, as I only have a few BBM contacts and I never call them, but ST does support BBM (and all other Blackberry functions such as push and BIS) now. So, it should work. If I see an opportunity to test it, I will do so and report back.

    To update on my original complaints from the OP: 1) I've adjusted to the keyboard, and that's no longer an issue for me. 2) Still looking for a rubberized battery cover. The one included is incredibly slick. 3) GPS is working mostly, but Google Maps and BB Traffic never did work for me. I found other apps that work ok, but sometimes I still have to refresh in the Options. 4) Haven't used the FM radio any more, as there are plenty of apps that I can find stations on if I so desire. 5) Battery life is definitely not as good as my previous Blackberries. I get about three hours heavy use/talk. 6) I was having a big problem with my SMS either not sending or being garbled by misencoding somewhere along the line. I switched all outgoing to MMS in the options and haven't had any more problems. This won't work for "short code" services though, like checking bank balance. 7) The problem with the convenience key is a little better now, but I'm still manually locking my screen all the time to avoid it.

  6. #6
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    thanks for the detailed post. are you able to use aol instant messenger or trillian?

  7. #7
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    Keypad lock

    "I've had to exit my camera app at least 50 times this week. There's also no way to auto-lock the screen without a password, so I'm manually locking it each time I holster."

    Had the same issue with the camera and killed that convenience key function on that side. As to Auto lock, you did notice the keypad lock on the top?

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