Blackberry singing in the dead of night
Friday, March 30, 2012 8:57:36 PM
I think I paid just under £70 for it. I should have spent the extra £60 and got the next model up, the Scroll Excel. (Note, the price of the Excel has come down a lot since Christmas.)
Not being a smartphone owner, I did not appreciate the difference between a resistive screen, which the cheapo Essential has, and a capacitive screen, which the dearer Excel model has. The difference is down to touch sensitivity; with a capacitive screen, your fingers can glide over the screen, whereas with a resistive, there is a lot more hard pressing going on. With the latter, you might want to think about using a stylus.
A bit more research also would have revealed that the Scroll Essential, although it has an app which can play YouTube videos, cannot play flash files. Now, as any Apple fanboy will (not) tell you, any Internet browsing device which cannot play Flash media files is a worthless bag of shite, at least until the market dominance of Apple forces sites to use an alternative technology, which, if it has not already happened, must be fairly imminent.
For now, however, the inability to play Flash is a real drawback to the Scroll Essential, because although it has brilliant connectivity options to modern TV screens, even 3D screens, I can't watch Jon Stewart and the Daily Show on it, which is virtually a deal breaker for me since Channel 4 took the bone-headed decision to stop broadcasting the show,
(You can watch it online on the Comedy Channel, using the Firefox browser, but you have to frig around with the headers to convince the comedy channel that you are not watching it in Britain; Channel 4 may not want to broadcast the daily episodes, but it does not want you to watch them online either if you are based in the UK, because they have the UK rights).
Another drawback was the Scroll Essential's inability to access the official Android App store. That wasn't a big deal for me, but Mrs. Fiendish was irked by it. Once I found I could listen to Radio Caroline on an app called Tune In Radio I was as happy as a pig in shit, and when I also discovered an Internet Movie Database app, I nearly came in me keks.
Apparently, the dearer Scroll Excel would have satisfied Mrs. Fiendish's requirements, and I was about to pull the trigger and buy her one, and keep the Essential as a glorified dedicated Radio Caroline listening device, when I noticed that Research In Motion, maker of the looter's favourite smartphone, the Blackberry, had again slashed the price of its tablet device, the Playbook.
Carphone Warehouse and Dixons were both selling it for £150 which, at the time, was only about £20 more than the Scroll Essential and some £300 cheaper than the iPad 2 (the iPad 3 was not yet out at that time).
Overcoming my reluctance to buy anything from Dixons, I ordered a Playbook for Mrs. Fiendish. I would give you a quick review of it but since it arrived, I have been unable to prise it from Mrs. Fiendish's hands, and when she is not using it, number two son is hogging it.
Apparently, the screen is fantastic, it handles Flash, the app store has everything Mrs. Fiendish needs (it may not be as extensive as the Apple store, but do you really need 42,000 fart noise apps, for instance?), and she is so happy with it, she has not eoise ven bothered to download version 2 of the operating system which, apparently, is a huge improvement over version 1 and which improves the e-mail experience no end.
So, a big thumbs up from the Fiendish household for the Playbook, then, and unless you have been utterly brainwashed by Apple - and I should note that I am the only person in the Fiendish household who has never had an iPhone - then I see no reason why you should pay an extra £300 for the Apple tablet. OK, the iPad is bigger - i.e. it does not fit into an inside jacket pocket like the Playbook or Scroll Excel - and the Apple app store is no doubt more extensive (though I understand Android is fast catching up), plus Apple is still going to be in business this time next year, whereas Research In Motion (RIM) ...
Well, if RIM is still in business next year, Mrs. Fiendish is talking about getting a Blackberry when her next phone upgrade is due (every two weeks, isn't it? I would not know about these things).
In any case, even if RIM does go belly up, I don't think it matters much. For £150, if Mrs. Fiendish gets two or three years worth of watching Downton Abbey in bed out of it on iPlayer or whatever the ITV equivalent is, she will have got her money's worth.
As for the Scroll Essential, it suffers in comparison with the Playbook and the Scroll Excel, but for £65 or so, it is a decent browsing device. You can read e-books on it, use it as an MP3 player without having to go through the seven circles of hell known as iTunes, and you can use it as a media device plugged into your LED TV screen.
It is not a device for prolonged data entry, in my view, and if nothing else it encouraged me to try to fix my netbook, which had become very temperamental since about mid-2011, locking up for long periods. Touch wood, I've fixed the netbook's problems now, and unless you behave I will tell you how I did it ... quite probably in the next blog entry.