Blackberry 8700 (from T-Mobile)

My Review: 7 blackberry_8700_t-mobile.jpg

So, this is my first Blackberry. My first smart phone as well for that matter. First impressions: this is a sturdy, powerful device. Now I went for utility rather than sex appeal. The Blackjack, the Sidekick 3, the Blackberry Pearl, and numerous other devices offer more fun features (like cameras, music players, expandable memory, etc.) The 8700 is a pretty utilitarian, no frills smart phone. It has a kick ass QWERTY keyboard that makes it super easy to type. It has a large screen making reading emails and even web-browsing totally tolerable. And the UI is straightforward and simple.

My feelings in choosing this device were as follows:

  1. I want a phone
  2. I want email on said phone
  3. I already have a good MP3 player (or 3) – so I don’t need a crappy one
  4. I already have a good digital camera – so I don’t need a crappy one

In my experience hybrids rarely perform well. You can buy a mountain bike or a road bike, and find one that works great. Buying a hybrid bike that attempts to do both usually results in poor performance everywhere, instead of excellent performance somewhere. I employed this same logic in choosing this device. Expandable memory matters if you are carrying large files (or lots of files) like music, photos or video. I wanted this device to do two things well: make/receive call and receive/send email. It does both par excellance.

That being said, there are a couple of small drawbacks. I am now a “Blackberry guy.” I mostly hate those guys. And I am putting my foot down on the holster. Not happening.

Also, it is a bulky mother-trucker. It’s not too heavy, but it is wide and pretty thick. In a jacket pocket, this isn’t a big deal. On a warm day, in a pants pocket, it feels a little awkward. The Pearl is a great solution to this issue, but I really like having the full keyboard and the track wheel on the side. It’s a trade-off (size vs. keypad) but I want to be able to send a message easily when I want to.)

But, overall, I am pretty pleased. There is a USB connection to sync it with the desktop software, and you can export contacts and calendar information in MS Outlook format if that’s your thing. I live my life with a little less organization than that, so I am holding off for the time being.

Also, incidentally, I have to say that T-Mobile is a cool company to work with. I know they get a lot of grief regarding the quality and breadth of their coverage areas, but I am lucky enough to live in an area (San Mateo, CA) that is well covered. And they offered to buy out my contract from Verizon and discount the device. As far as customer service is concerned, they have all the other networks I’ve worked with beat.

So, I give the Blackberry 8700 from T-Mobile a 7. Not that much style or sex appeal, but a reliable device with exactly the features I need.



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