Review: Soti Pocket Controller Pro for BlackBerry

BR-Screen shot 2010-10-29 at 8.59.56 PMReview: Soti Pocket Controller Pro for Blackberry
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆
Web site: http://www.soti.net/PCProBB/Default.aspx (Trial available)
Price: $35.95

I have used Soti’s excellent device management tools on other platforms for a long time. Soti Pocket Controller for Windows Handhelds was ever present on my work desktop. For those of you who are not familiar with Pocket Controller line of products, Pocket Controller allows you to control your handheld device via your desktop. Pocket Controller has evolved quite a lot over the years and it gets better with every release. For a $35.95, you get desktop and handheld components and 1 year of free upgrades.

First you install the software to your desktop. Then it will guide you on how to install the agent on the handheld. Once this is done, you are ready to go. You can either connect via USB or Wifi (an update is in the works to support Bluetooth).

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If you have a password set up for your Blackberry, it will ask it, before proceeding.

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Then it takes a few seconds to connect and download a skin matching your Blackberry. Here I noted two issues. First one, you have to be connected to Internet, if you are not, there is no skins bundled in the app. Of course this does not prevent any functionality, program still works fine. The second, the skin too large and it has no scrolling options:

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This is what I can fit onto my screen on the laptop. Soti is working on this to fix it. They are great people to work with, very receptive to suggestions/criticism. The home tab provides several options. Explore gives you a file explorer view, where you can manage files. System provides basic system information, such as software versions, IMEI numbers, battery level, etc.:

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The tasks button shows you the current applications running, this can be very handy:

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Another nice feature is listing the service books, you can quickly browse through them:

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The Sync gives you option to sync files between desktop and handheld. Shell drops you to a dos like command prompt and Restart is pretty straightforward Smile. The next tab is View, where you can enable/disable the skin, hide window, change your background, rotate, draw on the screen and adjust zoom. Draw can be useful, where you are sending a screenshot to somebody and want to point out certain things.

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The capture tab allows you to take snapshots or even better record videos. And there is even an option to directly print the view.

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If you are not using the skin view, the next tab will come handy – Buttons. It has the buttons off the phone and they are also mapped to keyboard shortcuts. In skin mode, you can actually push the buttons on the Blackberry skin, so you don’t need the buttons tab.

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As a final test, I plugged in the Sprint 9670 (watch out BerryReview for a full review of it) and it was not detected. Considering the phone will be officially released tomorrow, it is not a surprise. Pocket Controller Pro presents you a list of skins to choose from when it can’t find your phone in the list.

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I couldn’t find a skin to match the screen size, but this does not prevent you to connect, as Pocket Controller Pro works well with 6.0 OS as well.

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Overall, I love the software. It is a lifesaver for doing reviews, testing or simply remotely accessing the device. You can be on your desk, BBM messaging to your friends, without even touching your phone. Oh, the possibilities, but I’ll give you a hint, start thinking of them Smile

Highly recommended !!!

Pros:

  • Simple to setup
  • You can remotely access your device from your desktop
  • Ability to save not only images, but videos. Perfect for training.

Cons:

  • Price tag is a bit high for consumers.
  • Only 12 months of free upgrades, with this price, I wish they provided lifetime upgrades like many other software companies do.
6 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I’m a little confused why this product wasn’t compared head to head with Impatica viaDock. These 2 products seem to do about the same thing for about the same price. Right?

  2. @rocky – ’cause it’s not a comparison article – it’s a review! For whatever reason the author decided to do a review. A comparison would also be an interesting read, but that doesn’t take away from the value of this review. Instead of complaining about this not being a comparison, try both out and offer your thoughts. From what I’ve seen, viaDock has an ugly interface and offers limited support from the vendor. Pocket Controller is easy on the eyes and has a much better upgrade/support period.

    Anyone used Pocket Controller over WiFi? I’m interested in how easy / quick it is to connect? Do I have to wake up my device first in order to get it connected? Or can I just sit down at my desk and connect right away?

    • JJ, I had the phone charging in the office and I connected to it via my laptop in the living room. It was darn fast and stable. I even had troubles at times with USB, but with Wifi, it was always stable and fast.

      I had the device just laying (black screen, keyboard locked). If I turn the phone off, of course the wifi is off with it, so I’ll have to cut it back on, but I rarely do that. I leave the phone with screen off and keyboard locked all the time, so it really isn’t an issue for me.

  3. @JJ But of course comparisons are far more informative than reviews. So, viaDock is inferior in all respects to Pocket Controller?

  4. Good write-up Remzi. The price is a little high but I may look into it. Has some great features.

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