BlackBerry 8700g pumps up the power

Intel XScale processor boosts speed of RIM’s new wireless handheld multifunctional device

The BlackBerry 8700g wireless handheld device from Research in Motion (RIM) can’t mow the lawn, but it does offer plenty of ways to ask your boss for a raise so you can hire someone else to do it for you.

You can use the 8700g to place a voice call, write a blog entry on the Web, send an e-mail or instant message, assign a task, or set a calendar appointment.

And you can quickly perform all of those tasks because the device contains an Intel XScale processor and runs on T-Mobile’s high-speed Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution network.

The 8700g also features quad-band worldwide phone support on T-Mobile’s Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service network.

It also helps that RIM has increased the memory to include 64M of flash memory and 16M of synchronous dynamic RAM, which translates to faster performance.

That may not always apply to Web browsing, though, depending on the page you’re trying to access. We found that some Web pages loaded quickly and others took as long as 10 seconds. Of course, it’s hard to say whether the BlackBerry or the Web sites caused the delays.

Several new phone-related features make calling more convenient. The device has designated keys for enabling its speakerphone and muting, sending and ending calls. The 8700g also supports MP3 ring tones.

Composing e-mail messages is also easier because of a new feature that displays a drop-down list of address book matches when you start typing a contact name in the address field. Once the list appears, you can use the scroll wheel to select a contact.

Aside from that new feature, the 8700g offers the same e-mail functions that BlackBerry users have come to know and love. You can access as many as 10 e-mail accounts from the device, including corporate and personal accounts.

If your agency uses the BlackBerry Enterprise Server for corporate e-mail, you’ll receive your messages in real time, thanks to RIM’s push technology.

For accessing personal accounts or connecting to corporate e-mail without the Enterprise Server, you can use the BlackBerry Internet Service.

We used the service for our testing. One primary difference between it and the Enterprise Server is that there is a slight delay receiving messages. While Enterprise Server users receive e-mail messages in real time, the Internet Service synchronizes new messages with the device within three minutes. If no new messages are present, the service synchronizes other changes, such as read/unread status and deletions every 15 minutes.

If you use the Internet Service and want to synchronize more frequently, you can use the Reconcile Now menu command. But this function does not retrieve new messages. You must still wait for the three-minute updates to receive new e-mail messages.

For Internet Service users, Reconcile Now performs a one-way synchronization from the BlackBerry to the source inbox, such as a Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo account. It synchronizes read/unread status changes, places deleted items in the Deleted Items folder, places sent items in the Sent Items folder and erases messages marked for deletion.

For Enterprise Server users, the Reconcile Now command initiates a two-way synchronization on the BlackBerry and the source inbox. The function updates changes on the BlackBerry to the source inbox and vice versa.

The BlackBerry 8700g supports an impressive number of attachment formats.

You can also view embedded images, footnotes and tracked changes within a document.

We were glad to see Bluetooth included on the 8700g so you can use the BlackBerry with devices such as hands-free car kits and wireless headsets.

We also liked the user-programmable convenience keys, which are a handy way to open your favorite applications with the press of a button.

The BlackBerry 8700g costs $300 with a two-year service agreement from T-Mobile USA and $350 with a one-year service agreement.

BlackBerry 8700gResearch in Motion
(519) 888-7465
www.blackberry.com

Price:
The BlackBerry 8700g costs $300 with a two-year service agreement from T-Mobile USA and $350 with a one-year service agreement. Internet service plans range from $30 to $80 per month.

Pros:
The 8700g supports quad-band international phone calling and has a faster processor and more memory than previous versions have. It also has new convenient calling features.

Cons:
The thumb keyboard can be difficult to use.

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