Since today T-Mobile launched the 9700 I wanted to go and try it. Well, that turned out to be harder than I thought, and I have a few words to say about T-Mobile. The experience didn't go well at all and quite frankly I'm a little upset by it. I ended up going to 3 different T-Mobile stores just to try a 9700 demo unit.
I was in the store for less than 60 seconds after seeing their demo unit. It had a zip tie across the screen and keypad holding it to the security device they attach the phone to. Needless to say, this made it pretty much unusable. Couldn't really see the screen and an entire row of buttons on the keypad were completely unusable! I didn't even feel like sticking around and talking to a rep about it I was so mad. See for yourself in the picture below. A little ridiculous don't you think? Who the hell could try out a demo unit like this?
So I decided I'd go to the next nearest T-Mobile store. It's in a really big mall so I don't particular like going to this one. Told them I was just there to look at the new BlackBerry when I walked in. Thankfully no zip ties on this unit. But the battery cover was some cheap replacement so I couldn't see how nice or bad the real one is. Started to play around with it. Typed a short message. It was okay but the keypad is a little narrow, my thumbs knocked into each other a few times while typing, and the keys were a little stiff. The screen looks nice and everything is pretty fast.
Then I decide I want to see what this thing can do on their 3G network. Unfortunately I couldn't as this device had no internet connection at all! The rep told me it was because they were in a mall and needed a repeater. I don't buy the excuse at all. Even though the connection said EDGE in all capital letters, there was no internet.
And in the process of try it out a strange thing happened. Several times it was like the device just took over. Turns out that T-Mobile is loading BlackBerry demo software on the 9700s that pops up every few minutes or so that shows you all the nifty features of the phone. It popped up several times while I was trying to test the phone myself. It was extremely annoying. I wanted to try it out for myself, not watch a video of what it could do. It also disables a lot of the applications on the phone. There was only 3 rows of applications in the applications list. That demo software really made it difficult to see first hand what the BlackBerry 9700 has and can do.
I was kind of hoping that one of the reps would offer to let me test out a non-demo unit but no one did. I wasn't very happy with the reps at this store as they did not seem very knowledgeable or helpful in my endeavor to try out the latest BlackBerry. So I walked out of there even more upset than I was at the first store.
I decided I would drive 25 minutes back to the one T-Mobile store I have had good customer service at in the past and see if I could get better service and a fully working 9700 demo unit. Sadly, the 9700 demo unit at this third store had similar issues. It too had the crappy demo software that kept popping up and taking control every few minutes while I was trying it. And at first, there was no internet. But after toggling the mobile network on and off, the internet was back up and running.
Finally I was able to try out a 9700 on T-Mobile's 3G network. It's definitely faster than EDGE. I compared it with my 8320 and the 9700 wins hands down. The browser is a lot easier to use too IMO. The reps there were a lot nicer and more helpful than the other 2 stores I went to, so even though it still had that crappy demo software on it, I left happier because the internet worked and there were no zip ties across the demo unit.
Needless to say, whomever had the idea of putting demo software that you can't disable and just really make its miserable for anyone wanting to try the phone out for themselves needs to be terminated. Truthfully, it wouldn't be so bad if you could stop it from taking over every few minutes when you want to try the phone out yourself. I was not impressed with T-Mobile or the BlackBerry 9700 today.