What Grinds My Gears? Phones That Aren’t Good At Being Phones!

You need to be a PHONE first!
You need to be a PHONE first!

We all talk about our phones.

We talk about the apps, the connectivity, the specs, the storage, etc. But what we don’t often talk about is the actual “phone” part of the phone! In the “real world” phone calls are critically important.

I’m in business. I need to make mobile phone calls. I need the calls to my customers and staff to be solid, clear, and consistent, and I chose BlackBerry for their high quality handsets. So let’s talk Paratek…


On March 8th, 2012 BlackBerry (then RIM) acquired Paratek Adaptive RF, and on that day set upon a path that nobody else has or can travel. This antennae tuning technology allows BB10 handsets such as the Z30 and Passport to not only acquire a signal earlier than other handsets, but to maintain a weaker signal where others would drop a call.

Last week, a friend (who I will call Ross for anonymity) told me that the cellular reception in his house downstairs was terrible. His Samsung cannot hang on to a signal there for the life of it. Of course he knows what my mobile brand of preference is, so he decided to perform an experiment (he’s pretty much a geek like me). Ross asked to borrow a Z30 from another friend who happens to also be on Bell (and upgraded to a Passport).

Ross slips his Bell SIM into the borrowed Z30, and in his own words declares it as running perfectly fine. It has signal where the Samsung could not acquire or maintain, thus allowing the possibility of getting rid of his home land line and its costs. On top of that, he states quite clearly that the audio quality of the phone calls are demonstrably better. In addition, the people on the other end are shocked that the Z30 speakerphone sounds (to them) as if you are on the normal handset and not actually using the speakerphone!

Ross is now looking at a new Passport.

This is the real world.

The friend who he borrowed the Z30 from bought it so that she could actually have a phone that worked better as a phone. So delighted, she upgraded to the Passport! Her Samsung was no good either!

This is the real world.

Another buddy I’ll call Ron (for anonymity) got a Z30 and tells me it’s the best phone he’s ever had! He also had a Samsung. It pissed him off daily, and now he is happy!

There’s more, but the killer app is about being a phone. First and foremost a phone. It doesn’t matter if I’m calling a friend, family, workmate, or anybody. It has to work, and BlackBerry with Paratek technology is the best. The gold standard, like their security.

With best in class call quality and antennae technology built-in, and the fact that you get expandable memory (SD slot), full Bluetooth implementation, BBM voice and video with screen share, WiDi, Miracast, and hundreds of thousands of apps from BB World and Amazon it’s hard to find a better solution to your mobile needs.

Back to black is where it’s at.




Dave Matthews here. I'm a phone guy by trade supplying VOIP systems for business and industry. BlackBerry devices, playing PRS guitars in my band, golf, and RC flight are my current passions.

  • Robert

    When a device does what you need right out of the box, you know it’s the best choice.

    This is why #iChooseBlackBerry10

  • nnik

    Same reasons I first bought BlackBerry….and still do. They function as a phone. I hate talking to people on their iPhones. They are terrible. The ones that don’t sound like they are in a tin can on Mars pick up all the background noise near them.

  • jrohland

    This friend I’ll call me (for anonymity) took a customer support call in the datacenter with his Passport. If you’ve ever been in a datacenter you know the fan noise is VERY LOUD. The Passport active noise cancelation was working overtime and very well. I wish I could get my coworkers and boss to try using my Passport in the datacenter. Maybe then they would start to understand.

    • Canuckvoip

      I remember you saying that in a forum post! I also recall (I think) a story where you were on a ship approaching the mainland and yours was the first to get signal, minutes before others!
      Did I get that right? Was it the Passport, or Z30?

      • jrohland

        It was the Passport. I was only aware my Passport got signal sooner than my lady’s Z30. I have no idea what other phones did.

  • ray689

    So you mean to tell me the basic function of these devices is phone calls? Would have never guessed with the endless arguments about apps…eventhough that’s pretty much baseless now too.

  • Alan

    I can relate completely. I’m always telling people and promoting the importance of a phone as a phone. I always want the best reception, as well as the best clarity from my phone (it’s my #1 priority). That is why I am a proud owner of a BlackBerry phone. Happens to be the Passport at the moment. I have had no complaints from any of the people I call or who have called me. If fact, just the opposite. I’m often surprised, sometimes amazed how good the phone still sounds when I am reminded by the caller about the clarity even when I’m outside on busy noisy streets.

  • Anthony

    I agree, call quality in noisy environments is great. I don’t press my Passport against my head like I did with every other previous phone I owned because I couldn’t hear the call when (Eg) I’m walking along the sidewalk and a bus or large truck drives by. locco_smiley_10

  • Blackjack

    I think call quality depends more on the carrier than the phone. Wifi quality through Bbm on a z30 is better than a landline even when talking to an iphonian. The phone is capable. The carriers compress the **** out of it to cram in bandwidth.

    • Canuckvoip

      Definitely depends on the carrier!
      Many newer smartphones can utilize HD/Wideband codecs, which is what BB uses for BBM voice. If I’m not mistaken, BBM voice is a SIP call running a G722 codec (wideband). G722 uses approx. the same amount of bandwidth as a normal call but pack much more data into the packets.
      A wideband carrier call needs LTE, and a capable handset on both ends (if the carrier allows for it), and will operate across enabled carriers.
      BBM voice gets an additional boost by running through BB servers and benefitting from Qos/priority over messages and such.

  • Canuck, I couldn’t agree more. I need to have confidence in my phone as a business tool first. Thus, calls are critical for me, as well as reliable calendaring, contacts, tasks and memos. It’s not sexy, but I have a lot of important data on my BlackBerry and I need to have confidence that it’s secure in terms of privacy, but also in terms of reliably being available.

    I need to be able to get a prospect and a partner or resource on a conference call when I’m in or out of the office and have confidence in the call quality. I use my BlackBerry as my primary device for telephony even while sitting at my desk because I have a record of the call that way. I also give out my mobile number rather than land line, not only because it’s the best way to reach me, but because I have a chance that if someone calls me they may be in my contacts and show up with their name so I know who’s calling and can get mentally prepared.

    The speaker of my phone is also important. My Z30 and Q10 probably have better speakers than the Z10 I’m typing this on, but I’m still confident in it. In any event, being able to set my phone down on a table somewhere, and facilitate a conference call over the speaker is also important and something I’m confident in.

    I guess, you’re right that many forget the phone has to work as a phone, not just an app launcher. Overall, I see my BlackBerrys as tools first, and toys secondarily.