A smartphone

… continuing the story.

I clicked on Get started and provided all the info (email, phone number, address, nationality, etc.). Then, I was prompted to download the N26 app and finalize the process on my smartphone . . . oops . . . no smartphone, no N26 account!

It should just take 8 minutes to open a bank account online with N26; a four-step process indeed (see A “real” bank – N26). First, you provide your personal details (on their website). Second, you download their app (on your smartphone). Third…

“I don’t know… I have never reached the third step.”

No smartphone, no N26 account!

How come I don’t have a smartphone, you may wonder. Technically, I had one, but not a compatible smartphone – one of the eligibility criteria to open an N26 account. Indeed, there are minimum requirements for all phones to ensure proper usage. These requirements are, for iPhone, iOS 11 or above and, for Android, Android 6.0. or above. That’s it!

“So, what’s the matter?”

All right reserved

The problem is that Blackberry is not listed; let alone my old BlackBerry Torch 9860 running under BlackBerry OS 7.1. What! Maybe, it was indeed time to consider buying a new phone.

Which phone?

Before describing my quest for a new smartphone, let me remind you of two important constraints. First, I had no time to review all the phones to decide on the best option (see When all the crap hits the fan at the same time…) – no time to “cogit…” indeed! Second, given my limited budget, thinking of one of the top-tier phones was not conceivable – not even in dreams!

Which OS?

When I bought my phone – way back when there were still four major operating systems (OS) – I hesitated for a while before opting for Blackberry. Back then, Android was still the new kid on the block, with a fast-growing market share, though. Windows phone was highly criticized; still, it would have offered the best integration with my Microsoft computing environment. The corollary of the latter was to discard iOS; not to mention the price. As for BlackBerry OS, it had the strongest reputation for security and was ideal for multi-tasking. Concerning the limited number of applications available, it was never a concern for me.

Nowadays, when you go to buy a smartphone, you have only two choices: Android or iOS.

That decision was easy; it seemed the obvious choice.

Which brand?

Of course, I love (notice that I didn’t use the past tense) my Blackberry! Accordingly, my first thought was to go for another Blackberry. It’s not about their physical keyboard; it was not an attraction for me. On that matter, my BlackBerry Torch 9860 had a 3.70-inch touchscreen display. Don’t laugh, the iPhone 4S, which was launched at the same time (a month later, to be accurate), had a 3.50-inch touchscreen display. I think it was the OS1, and of course, the amazing design of the Torch 9860!

Now, I knew that BlackBerry abandoned BlackBerry OS 10 in favor of Android. However, what I didn’t know is that the last BlackBerry Mobile’s Android smartphone was released in 2018. Indeed, Blackberry had decided in 2016 to cease competing in the smartphone market directly, to focus on making security software. Damn!

On September 28, 2016, BlackBerry announced it would cease designing its own phones in favor of licensing to partners.Wikipedia

And now what?

However, the whole point was to buy a compatible smartphone. Now, I had already some brands – other than Blackberry – in mind, but I had to update my knowledge a bit – and fast! I will spare you the details. Besides, I don’t want – and I am not qualified – to review the different options. Quickly, I ended up with only five brands, but still many phones to choose from:

Google, Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi

The clock was ticking (see When all the crap hits the fan at the same time…). Reading reviews was helping, but having the phones in hand sped up the selection process. For instance, the Sony phones were looking great on paper, but their form factor (i.e. 21:9 display) was too disturbing. Anyway, 72 hours after my chat with N26 (see A “real” bank – N26), I was ordering a compatible smartphone.

Nokia 7.2

Briefly, its design was, and still is, great – the Cyan Green one, in particular – and the phone came with solid performance – without charging for up to 2 days – at a mid-range price. It had all the specs of a competent smartphone, good reviews3, and great benchmark scores. Here are some of the features that tip in its favor (beyond its look): Android One, Dual SIM, 128GB of internal storage (with support for up to an additional 512GB of external storage with a microSD card), and durability.

Inspired by Finnish design, Nokia 7.2 combines craftsmanship and quality materials in perfect harmony. A truly timeless design that isn’t just built to look good, but to last.Nokia

Of course, I could not rule out the involvement of some nostalgia – Nokia 3310 – in my choice. Anyway, I have not regretted my decision since; it’s a great phone. My only criticism is about the Google Assistant Button. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship. That being said, a simple way to disable it – only when the phone is locked – would have transformed the experience into a love story only (i.e. without the frustration). I do indeed miss the lock button, which was placed at the top of my BlackBerry Torch 9860. A detail, maybe, but a big one!

To be continued…

1 I have only one regret about my phone, or Blackberry, actually; I have never upgraded to Blackberry OS 10. As I said, I was so in love with my phone that I didn’t want to change it ‘for all the money in the world’; just an idiom, right! ^
2 On that matter, I have a little anecdote. I was asking for advice, in a phone shop, and I mentioned my interest in Blackberry phones – well aware that they were discontinued – to the salesperson. I was expecting him to warn me against this and to recommend me the latest OS/phone. Instead, this crooked salesperson went into the backroom of the shop and was about to fence me an unsold, old Blackberry. Seriously! ^
3 One of the main issues reported was disappointing camera performance, especially concerning the ultra-wide camera. As far as I am concerned, when it comes to pictures, I use a camera, not a phone! ^

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