SanDisk's Connect Wireless Flash Drive is a USB memory stick with a difference: it has built-in WiFi capability and can serve up files wirelessly for up to eight different devices at a time, such as Android and Apple smartphones and tablets.
The device (pictured below) is actually more of a pocket-sized wireless server that uses micro SD flash cards as its storage medium. But it is pretty much the same size and shape as a USB memory stick, and plugs into a computer USB port or USB power adapter from a phone to charge up its internal battery.
When connected to a computer's USB port, the SanDisk drive acts just like a memory stick, allowing you to read and write files in the time-honoured fashion. When used wirelessly, however, the device can be accessed via a browser or by using an app, with SanDisk providing app support for Android devices and Apple's iPhone and iPad.
The battery inside the Connect Wireless Flash Drive is a lithium polymer type of unspecified capacity, but SanDisk claims it will give up to four hours of continuous access. The unit can alternatively be powered by a USB mains adapter if it is turned on before being plugged in.
When charging, an amber LED on the device lights up, turning off again when the battery is full. Once unplugged, the Connect Wireless Flash Drive is powered up by holding down the silver button half way along its length until the amber and a blue LED both flash three times. Afterwards, the blue LED indicates the WiFi is active.
We tested out the Connect Wireless Flash Drive by downloading SanDisk's Wireless Flash Drive app from Google Play onto an Android smartphone, although the app should work exactly the same on tablet devices.
The app automatically turns on your device's WiFi if it is not already on, and scans for nearby SanDisk devices. This can take a few seconds, after which you tap on the device name to connect to it. The Connect Wireless Flash Drive itself has a wireless range of up to 160 feet (50m), according to SanDisk.
Once connected, the app displays a list of available files on the Connect Wireless Flash Drive, or more accurately on the micro SD card it contains. This came already formatted on our test device, with folders for Documents, Music, Photos and Videos.
We were able to access files that we had previously dragged and dropped onto the device using a Windows PC, including video files and documents. However, there is a short delay as the app has to copy any file across before it can be opened, which contrasts with storage directly connected to your phone or tablet.
The app lets you rename the Connect Wireless Flash Drive and add a password for access control. However, it also prevents you from using the device's own WiFi to access the internet while connected to the Flash Drive, unless you set this option explicitly in the app.
One neat touch with the Connect Wireless Flash Drive is that the plastic collar that slides back to expose the USB connector also doubles as a kind of stand, enabling you to position it upright on a desktop or other surface. This makes it easier to see the blue status LED, and also possibly makes it more prominent than if it were lying flat on the table, so you will be less likely to accidentally leave it behind.
Overall, we found the Connect Wireless Flash Drive fairly simple to use, although we are not sure exactly who the device is aimed at, since it would be equally easy to share content with friends or colleagues by uploading it to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox. However, the device does not require an internet connection to operate, of course, as you link directly to it via a peer-to-peer WiFi connection.
The Connect Wireless Flash Drive ships with either a 16GB or 32GB flash card already fitted in the device's micro SD slot, with the 32GB version listed on Amazon.co.uk for £49.90.
13 Nov 2013
Since the iPad Mini 2 was unveiled in October, businesses and industry commentators have been obsessed with the question of how it will compare to its key rival, the Google Nexus 7.
This focus has led many potential buyers to overlook another key Android competitor challenging the new Mini – the Amazon Fire HDX. The latest Kindle Fire falls in the same size bracket as the iPad Mini and has a few custom Fire OS 3.0 Mojito software features that could appeal to business buyers.
iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g
Kindle Fire HDX: 231x158x7.8mm, 374g or 186x128x9mm 303g
The Kindle Fire is available in 7in and 8.9in versions. Both are slightly thicker than the iPad Mini, with the 8.9in measuring in at 7.8mm thick and the 7in an even chunkier 9mm. The two Fire HDX tablets are also confirmed to mainly be made of polycarbonate, not metal. This means the Mini will likely be more robustly built and feel more top end in hand.
iPad Mini 2: 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display
Kindle Fire HDX: 8.9in, 2560x1600 pixels, 339ppi display or 7in 1920x1200 323ppi
The 2013 Mini is the first small-form tablet from Apple to come loaded with Retina display technology. However both the 8.9in and 7in versions of the HD feature fairly impressive displays that also break the 300ppi count. In the past we've found picking between tablets with 300ppi-plus screens fairly difficult and are guessing any difference will be negligible.
iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
Kindle Fire HDX: Fire OS 3.0 Mojito Jelly Bean, customised
Kindle Fire tablets all run using a very heavily customised version of Google Android. The HDX series is no different with both versions coming with Fire OS 3.0 Mojito Jelly Bean preinstalled. At its heart, this is a heavily customised version of Android Jelly Bean.
The iPad Mini comes loaded with iOS 7. At first glance this makes the iPad Mini look more enterprise friendly, with iOS to this day remaining blissfully malware free and boasting a host of productivity features. However, for its latest version, Amazon has added a few useful business-focused features that make it on paper similarly enterprise friendly. These include Exchange ActiveSync support for corporate email access, encryption of the user partition of the device to secure data, support for Kerberos authentication and a native VPN client.
iPad Mini 2: A7
Kindle Fire HDX: Quad-core 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
The iPad Mini comes loaded with the same A7 chip used in the iPad Air and iPhone 5S. Apple made a big deal about the A7 chip at the Mini's unveiling, claiming that it will offer users radically better performance. Having tested the chip on the iPhone 5S and Air we did notice an improvement. However, being powered by a quad-core 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 the Kindle Fire is also fairly powerful and could very well match the Mini's performance.
iPad Mini: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP HD FaceTime front
Kindle Fire HDX: 8MP autofocus rear, LED flash, 720p front
The Mini comes with the same 5MP rear camera as the Air, which was fairly average when shooting in regular light. For this reason, we're thinking the Fire's higher-specced 8MP rear snapper may offer users superior image quality.
iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Kindle Fire HDX: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
The Apple iPad has more storage options, but is more expensive than the 7in version of the Fire. The WiFi-only 16GB Mini costs £319. Moving up the scale the larger 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions cost £399, £479 and £559 respectively. Pricing for the 7in Kindle Fire HDX starts at £199.
iPad Mini 2: 10 hours
Kindle Fire HDX: 12 hours
The Kindle Fire is listed to last two hours longer than the iPad Mini. Check back for a full review soon for accurate battery times once we've had the chance to test them. Based on previous battery tests of iPads and Kindles, we'd expect Mini to outlast the Fire HDX, despite the quoted figures.
On paper the Apple iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX both have a lot to like about them. The iPad has a more compact and potentially better built chassis, while the Kindle Fire HDX offers a more diverse and affordable set of options to business buyers. As a result, we're putting our hands up in the air and admitting it's too early to say which is the better choice for businesses.
Check back with V3 later for full reviews of the Apple iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
12 Nov 2013
Apple unveiled its latest iPad Mini 2 and iPad Air tablets in October. The iPad Air originally dominated the headlines, offering business buyers a streamlined new design and host of upgraded internal specifications.
However, with the iPad Mini's UK launch now upon us, business interest has turned to the Air's smaller sibling. To help businesses know which iPad is right for them, we've broken down the two tablets' key specifications.
iPad Mini 2: 200x135x7.5mm, 331g
iPad Air: 240x170x7.5mm, 469g
As you would expect given their names, the iPad Mini is smaller than the Air. The only differentiating factor is that the Air has a more updated design, with Apple having worked hard to make it look every bit as sleek and light as its similarly branded line of laptops. The Mini, by comparison, has a fairly similar design to older iPad models.
iPad Mini 2: 7.9in, 2048x1536, 326ppi Retina display
iPad Air: 9.7in 2048x1536, 263ppi Retina display
Both the iPad Air and iPad Mini come with Apple's Retina display technology. However, thanks to its smaller dimensions the Mini's display has more pixels per inch, which means icons and text should appear slightly crisper on the Mini. Both tablets have in-plane switching (IPS), which is designed to improve clarity and colour balance.
iPad Mini 2: iOS 7
iPad Air: iOS 7
Both the Mini and the Air run using Apple iOS 7. This is no bad thing as the operating system is Apple's most secure to date, with 41 security upgrades and fixes. This, combined with recently made free Apple apps, such as Pages, means both the iPads should be great productivity boosting tools.
Despite its positive points, many users have lodged complaints about iOS 7, arguing its smaller fonts and updated menu systems make it more difficult to use. Some have gone so far as to report suffering motion sickness when using iOS 7 devices. Apple has worked to fix a number of these issues in its recent iOS 7.0.3 update.
iPad Mini 2: A7
iPad Air: A7
Both the iPad Mini and Air run using Apple's brand new A7 chipset. Apple claims the chipset will offer users faster speeds and improved power efficiency. Having tested the chipset during our iPad Air and iPhone 5S reviews, we found there is some truth to Apple's claim. For this reason we're expecting similar top-end performance from the new Mini.
iPad Mini 2: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP HD FaceTime front
iPad Air: 5MP iSight rear and 1.2MP HD FaceTime front
The Air and Mini come with identical camera setups, and they should offer reasonable, but not great performance. While usable in regular light, image quality on the Air's camera rapidly deteriorated when shooting in dim conditions.
iPad Mini 2: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
iPad Air: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Both tablets come with the same storage options, though the iPad Mini is the cheaper of the two. The WiFi-only 16GB Mini costs £319, going up to £559 for the 128GB version, and £659 for its WiFi and 4G-enabled equivalent. Air pricing starts at £399 for the basic WiFi-only 16GB model and goes up to a massive £639 for the 128GB and £739 for the WiFi and 4G-enabled 128GB version.
iPad Mini 2: 10 hours
iPad Air: 10 hours
Apple lists both iPads as having 10-hour battery lives. In the past we've found Apple's quoted battery lives are, in general, accurate. This means both the Mini and Air should last longer than the average tablet off one charge.
On paper both the Mini and Air offer top-end performance, featuring identical A7 chipsets and running on Apple's latest iOS 7 software. But despite having a smaller form factor, the Mini does have a slightly crisper display and is up to £80 cheaper. This means the iPad Mini could be a better option for businesses on a budget.
Check back with V3 later for a full review of the Apple iPad Mini.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
11 Nov 2013
It's been a couple of months since Apple unleashed iOS 7 for its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, and after a couple of updates, it's fairly certain that the firm has taken a ‘like it or lump it' mentality.
One area where that's more apparent than most is the Calendar app. While Apple has certainly given it a new lick of paint to match the rest of iOS, there are quite a few oddities about the app which need explaining.
In iOS 6 it was fairly apparent as to where you could find the "list" view in the calendar app. Inexplicably, Apple has in effect hidden this feature behind the search function. To get the list view you know and love, simply tap the magnifying glass logo at the top right of the Calendar window, next to the + button for adding appointments.
To find specific events, simply tap in the search bar and type away.
Month events view
It may have been to make things less cluttered, but some people really liked seeing all of their events from the month view section of the calendar app. That's gone, and there's no way of getting it back. This is particularly unhelpful if you're like us and have events and appointments on pretty much every day of the week. However, the above method of viewing the list view is probably your closest way of getting it back. Or, try accessing week view - see below.
Week/five day view
There's no obvious week view option in the iOS 7 Calendar app on the iPhone, but it's simple to access. Turn the phone on its side (landscape mode) and you'll see multiple days and their corresponding events. It's not great on the iPhone's tiny 4in screen, however, so we'd recommend using the list view instead if you're on anything other than an iPad.
If you do for some reason want to access the week view on your iPhone, you'll need to make sure screen rotate is on: swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access the quick access options menu, then simply select the rotating padlock icon on the right.
That's it, a few of Apple's slightly-obscured-for-some-reason Calendar features.
04 Nov 2013
Rumours have been circulating for weeks regarding Google's new flagship Android phone. The Nexus 5 is finally here with a £299 price. So how does it stack up against its iPhone 5C rival?
iPhone 5C: 4in 640x1136 361ppi Retina display
Nexus 5: 5in 1920x1080 445ppi display
The Nexus 5 is bigger, with full HD on an IPS screen, greater pixel per inch (ppi) density and Corning Gorilla Glass. Some people prefer Apple's Retina display, others Super Amoled, but statistically speaking, it's a walkover.
iPhone 5C: Dual-core 1.3GHz Apple A6 processor
Nexus 5: Quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
Four cores instead of two, twice the clock speed, enough said. The Nexus 5 also has an Adreno 330 GPU clocked at 450MHz. However, we would expect this from what is supposed to be Google's flagship, whereas the iPhone 5C is Apple's 'budget' model.
Memory and Storage
iPhone 5C: 1GB RAM, 16GB and 32GB internal storage models
Nexus 5: 2GB RAM, 16GB and 32GB internal storage models
Twice the memory, and honours even on internal storage. There remains a glass ceiling on internal storage, and the Nexus 5 doesn't appear to be the one to crack through it. That 2GB of memory will come in very handy though in keeping Android Kitkat running smoothly.
iPhone 5C: 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, 1.9MP Facetime HD camera
Nexus 5: 8MP rear facing camera with optical image stabilisation, 1.3MP front-facing camera
It's evens for the two here. Slightly higher specifications on the front facing camera for the iPhone 5C, but that's rarely a showstopper for the average shopper.
iPhone 5C: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
Nexus 5: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10, WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19, LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41
Pretty much the whole gamut of mobile connectivity. Nothing to see here, move along.
iPhone 5C: iOS 7 mobile operating system
Nexus 5: Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system
Both are new here, and while other devices will be receiving the Android 4.4 Kitkat update, just as previous iPhones have had iOS 7, it will be all about how they perform on these devices. The Nexus 5 will also be the first device to run Kitkat, making it an attractive proposition for Android fans, while iOS 7 has attracted as much criticism as praise.
iPhone 5C: 124x59x8.97mm, 132g
Nexus 5: 138x69x8.6mm, 130g
Despite that extra inch of screen, the Nexus 5 is lighter than the iPhone 5C.
iPhone 5C: 10 hours of talk time on 3G, 250 hours on standby.
Nexus 5: 17 hours of talk time quoted by Carphone Warehouse, 300 hours on standby
Of course, battery life is a very subjective thing, depending on what you use the device for and how much you keep switched on, but Google makes some bold claims.
On paper, the Nexus walks away the winner, statistically speaking. And of course there will always be the argument that Apple concentrates on worrying less about what they have and more about how they use it.
We should point out that at £469 for the cheapest configuration, the iPhone 5C is much more expensive than the Nexus, but for our money, the contest is going to come down to how well Android 4.4 Kitkat and iOS 7 perform on their respective devices.
01 Nov 2013
Google took the wraps off its latest flagship Nexus 5 smartphone this week, hoping that its high-end specifications and mid-range price will make it competitive against the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The firm is looking to attract geek fans of the Android platform too, as the Nexus 5 is the first device to run the Android 4.4 Kitkat version, and will also be among the first to receive future iterations of Android. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S4, it also features a non-customised user interface, which can complicate future upgrades.
Measurements and weight
Google Nexus 5: 138x69x8.6mm, 130g
Samsung Galaxy S4: 137x70x7.9mm, 130g
The Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 are nearly identical in size, with both phones weighing 130g and boasting almost the same dimensions. The Nexus 5 is slightly chunkier, however, measuring 8.6mm thick, compared to the Galaxy S4's svelte 7.9mm profile.
Google Nexus 5: 5in full HD 1920x1080 IPS 445ppi display
Samsung Galaxy S4: 5in full HD 1920x1080 Super Amoled 441ppi display
Not only are the Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 nearly identical in size and shape, the two rival smartphones also have very similar displays.
Both sport full HD resolution. While we're yet to size up the the screen on Google's latest flagship phone, it very slightly pips the Galaxy S4 in pixel density, but might fall short in vibrancy due to its lack of Amoled screen technology.
Google Nexus 5: Quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 processor
Samsung Galaxy S4: Quad-core 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 processor
The Google Nexus 5 beats the Samsung Galaxy S4 in processing power, on paper at least. While both handsets have Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, the Nexus 5 chip is clocked at 2.26GHz compared to 1.9GHz on the Galaxy S4, and is likely to offer an even smoother experience.
Google Nexus 5: 17 hours' talk time on 3G quoted by Carphone Warehouse, 2,300mAh battery
Samsung Galaxy S4: 17 hours' talk time on 3G, 2,600mAh
Despite having a smaller 2,600mAh battery, the Google Nexus 5 matches the Samsung Galaxy S4 in battery life, with both phones promising up to 17 of hours talk time on 3G. We are, of course, yet to put Google's claims to the test.
Google Nexus 5: Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system
Samsung Galaxy S4: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system
For fans of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Nexus 5 trumps the Galaxy S4, with the handset running Google's newly unveiled Android 4.4 Kitkat release. The Samsung Galaxy S4, on the other hand, ships with Google's Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean release, and can be upgraded to the Android 4.3 and possibly also Android 4.4 release.
Google's Nexus 5 also features a completely vanilla user interface, as opposed to Samsung's custom Touchwiz user interface.
Google Nexus 5: 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera
Samsung Galaxy S4: 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
The cameras on the Google Nexus 5 don't match up to those on the Samsung Galaxy S4, with the Nexus handset having an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 1.3MP camera on the front. Unlike the Galaxy S4, however, the Nexus 5 camera comes with optical image stabilsation, which is likely to make for sharper images.
Google Nexus 5: 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM
Samsung Galaxy S4: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, microSD card slot for expansion up to 64GB, 2GB of RAM
The Nexus 5 will be made available only in 16GB and 32GB models, compared to the Galaxy S4 that is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage models. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also comes with a microSD card slot allowing users to expand the phone's memory, whereas the Nexus 5 does not. However, given the difference in the smartphones' prices, this was likely a cost cutting measure.
Although the Google Nexus 5 doesn't quite match the Galaxy S4 for its cameras and storage, it matches the flagship Samsung handset in nearly every other category, be it size, display or battery life. It also has a faster processor, and gets one up on the rival handset as it's the first smartphone to ship with the Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system.
Since Google's Nexus 5 smartphone is over £200 less expensive than the Galaxy S4, it looks like Samsung should start worrying.
31 Oct 2013
For years now Google's aimed to beat Apple by releasing affordable smartphones with top-end internal specifications. The Nexus 5 is the latest step in this strategy, with the premier Android handset featuring a number of top-end specifications unheard of in its modest sub-£300 price tag.
However, with the Apple iPhone 5S already having captured the hearts and minds of many buyers, many will question if value alone is enough for the Nexus 5 to beat Apple in the top-end market.
Measurements and weight
Apple iPhone 5S: 124x59x7.6mm, 112g
Google Nexus 5: 138x69x8.6mm, 130g
The Apple iPhone 5S has a close to identical design to the iPhone 5. This means it is significantly lighter and smaller than the Nexus 5. However, weighing 130g and being just 1mm thicker than the 5S, the Nexus 5 is hardly a back breaker.
Apple iPhone 5S: 4in 1136x640, 326 ppi Retina display
Google Nexus 5: 5in, full HD, 1920x1080, 445 ppi
When Apple first released its Retina display technology it was the best on the market. However, in recent years it has begun to show its age, with numerous Android phones boasting 400ppi displays offering superior colour balance and brightness levels.
For this reason, while the iPhone 5S 326ppi Retina display is still very good, it probably won’t be able to match the Nexus 5’s 445ppi screen.
Apple iPhone 5S: A7 chipset
Google Nexus 5: Quad-core 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Apple made a massive deal about the iPhone 5S A7 chipset and having tested the device we can understand why. However, powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 800 chip, the Nexus 5 may well be able to match, if not beat, the iPhone 5S performance.
Apple iPhone 5S: 10 hours' 3G talk time, eight hours' 3G internet usage
Google Nexus 5: 17 hours' talk time quoted by Carphone Warehouse, 2300mAh
The Nexus 5 has a bigger battery than the 5S and the added boon of wireless charging. Considering how useful we found the Nokia 920's wireless charging feature we're pretty excited about the Nexus 5.
Apple iPhone 5S: iOS 7
Google Nexus 5: Android 4.4 KitKat
Picking which of Apple and Google's mobile operating systems is better is close to impossible. This is because the answer is largely determined by which PC operating system you are in. Mac OS users will find iOS better due to its iCloud and iTunes integration, while Chrome OS and Windows will find Android better because of its open, cross-platform nature. Furthermore, those already embedded in the Android or iOS ecosystem will no doubt prefer to stick with the platform they have no doubt spent money on apps for.
Apple iPhone 5S: 8MP rear-facing camera with f2.2 aperture 1.2MP front-facing camera
Google Nexus 5: 8MP rear facing with Optical Image Stabilisation, 1.3MP front facing
On paper the iPhone 5S and Nexus 5 are fairly similarly matched camera-wise. For this reason the answer to which phone has the better camera is fairly difficult to know without a fair amount of real world testing.
Storage and price
Apple iPhone 5S: 16/32/64GB, no microSD slot, 2GB RAM. Pricing starts from £549.
Google Nexus 5: 16GB or 32GB, 2GB RAM. Pricing starts from £299.
Summing up, on paper the Nexus 5 offers buyers great value for money, offering users top end specifications while costing just £299. However, with the iPhone 5S having similarly impressive specifications and better synchronisation features for Mac OS, we're not convinced it will win over many Apple fans.
30 Oct 2013
After a long wait, it is finally time to welcome to iOS and Android smartphones the most notorious instant messenger of them all - the one that allegedly was at the centre of the London riots.
Perhaps that's a little harsh because Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was a hugely innovative alternative at a time when most smartphone users were still battling Windows CE and Symbian.
However, its release now means that Blackberry has decided to wade into a market already successfully occupied by Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Facebook Chat, Chaton, Whatsapp, Kik, Tango, Viber and at least a dozen more. We still think it deserves a fair trial because, to be fair, it's not a bad app.
Unlike Blackberry users, users of Android and iOS devices are required to use their email address as their user name. You're also required to think up a password, a password reminder question and a password reminder answer. Finally you're given your PIN, which consists of a not-so-catchy eight character letters and numbers combination. Then you're ready to add some friends.
Except, if you've never had a Blackberry, probably very few of your friends or contacts ever had a Blackberry, and even if they had, you wouldn't know their PIN, so why would you? Fortunately Blackberry gives you the option to invite people by email, barcode, SMS or social media. So what actually happens is that you spend the next 20 minutes telling your friends that they can chat with you on BBM, by chatting with them on Facebook or Twitter or whatever other social network you use.
And therein lies the rub. The need to communicate with people across networks has overtaken the decision to create and release this app, and therefore rendered BBM a bit pointless, because there are plenty of alternatives that are well established at doing just that.
Of course there are some nice touches. Group chat and broadcast messages are useful features, but you'd need a big group of contacts to consciously decide to switch to it as your main form of messaging, and there just isn't enough here to convert anyone.
We like the fact that you can see when a message has been delivered and read, but many IM apps already do that, and besides, there's a very good way of telling if someone has received your side of the conversation, because they start talking back. That's how conversation works.
We also like the fact that you can instantly become BBM buddies with someone using NFC over Android, though this could cause an interesting long-winded turn of events when it suddenly becomes clear you've spent the last 10 minutes trying to NFC to an iPhone.
The user interface of the BBM app is reasonably smooth, but lacks a little spit and polish. In some cases avatars failed to appear for our contacts, and there's an irritatingly persistent notification at the top of the screen that adds little except to stop the BBM app from being automatically closed by the system, a problem that most apps overcame several years ago.
In summary, any kudos that Blackberry deserves for the introduction of BBM as a cross-platform messaging tool is outweighed by the fact that while it might have been a hugely popular app a few years ago, it now seems like just another messaging app. At the moment, we can't see BBM making the impact that Blackberry might hope for. This app needs not just to be good, it has to be game changing, and there is little sign of that.