Moving on to the screen, the news just keeps getting better. The RIM BlackBerry 8700c boasts a beautiful 2.5-inch-diagonal display that shows off 65,000 colors and a fine 320x240-pixel resolution. This in an improvement upon past BlackBerrys, and the change is noticeable. Viewing Web pages and images is more enjoyable, as text and images are clearer and more defined. Plus, you can change the font type and size under the Settings menu. The 8700c also features a new light-sensing technology that automatically adjusts the backlighting of the screen and keyboard according to your environment--a nice touch.
Also new are the dedicated Talk and End keys, as well as the customizable soft key, which are all found just below the display. Although these buttons made their first appearance on the BlackBerry 7100 series, the RIM BlackBerry 8700c marks the debut of this feature on more traditional-type BlackBerrys. Finishing out the face of the smart phone is a small LED in the upper-right corner that blinks different colors for network activity (green), message notification (red), low battery (yellow), and Bluetooth connectivity (blue). Other features on the 8700c include a headset jack, a USB port, and a customizable shortcut key on the left spine, while the right side holds the familiar jog dial and the Esc key for easy navigation of the menu. There's a power button and a Mute key on top of the device. To turn on the speakerphone, which is located on the back of the 8700c, there's an activation key in the lower-right corner of the keyboard, but you can use it only once you're on a call.
RIM packages the BlackBerry 8700c with a USB cable for charging and PC synchronization, an AC adapter, and a belt holster. More accessories are available for purchase, such as a car charger ($28.99) and various headsets, both wireless and wired.The RIM BlackBerry 8700c is distinct for a couple of reasons. It's the first BlackBerry powered by an Intel processor--a 312MHz PXA901 processor, to be exact--and it's also the first EDGE-enabled BlackBerry. With this combination, you should enjoy faster Web browsing and download times, as well as quicker overall performance, which, on the whole, we found to be true (see Performance).
Of course, BlackBerrys are known for their e-mail prowess, and the RIM BlackBerry 8700c doesn't disappoint. With the help of your IT department, the smart phone can sync with your company's BlackBerry, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise server to deliver corporate e-mail in real time. The BlackBerry 8700c also supports up to 10 personal/business POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail accounts; we set up our device to receive messages from our POP3 account, and after about 20 minutes of tinkering, we started getting our e-mail, with the smart phone checking for new messages every 15 minutes. The 8700c also features enhancements to attachment viewing. You now can view Excel documents as spreadsheets rather than in plain text, and you have more image-editing options at your disposal. You can rotate, as well as zoom in and out, and once you've zoomed in, you can use the Enhance function to recalibrate the image to reduce pixelation. Throughout our test period, we received and opened various documents without any problems. The BlackBerry 8700c also supports text and multimedia messaging, as well as instant messaging. However, the latter is limited to a BlackBerry Messenger, so you can communicate only with those who use that proprietary client.