Pros stable OS, quick response on web due to EDGE
Cons keys are too close together, a little pricy
Summary I went from a Treo 650 to a BlackBerry 7290 to now a Blackberry 8700c and I can honestly say that this handheld is amazing. The Treo is deceiving because although it has all kinds of gizmos and extras, the phone quality is terrible plus its operating system is quite clumsy and freezes up more often than anyone should have to tolerate (even though there have been multiple firmware updates). It just seems that PALM tried to incorporate too many good ideas without really planning them for compatibility. WHen I got fed up with the Treo, I switched to the BB 7290 which was much more stable, the keys were easier to use, it was cheaper, and for the most part, did almost everything the Treo did. In addition, the BB devices are more IT Helpdesk friendly than the Treos because they don't require Provisioning.
Today I just picked up my BB 8700 and it truly seems like it was sent from above. It has the stability and simplicity of the 7290 plus the additional perks that the Treo was supposed to have been known for such as great resolution (320 x 240 on 8700c), ability to send multiple SMS messages, seperate talk/end buttons, 2 customizable keys, and automatic backlight that turns on as it senses darkness. The only downside I see to the BB 8700c is that the keys are a little too close together (not as good as the 7290 but not as bad as the Treo 650) and the device is a little pricy. I was expecting to pay about $300 - $350 but right now it is going for $450 (no contract committment). Other than those two minor details, I absolutely love it.
"Great PDA/phone"on by dferguson
Pros Fast browsing, acceptable phone
Cons Still BIG, still shaped like a PDA instead of a phone
Summary I returned my 7100g within Cingular's 30-day buyer remorse period to get the 8700c. I was happy with the 7100g (I'd rate it a 7), but this is far better. Web browsing is now fast enough to be useful. I haven't noticed some of the audio problems I found with the 7100, but I expect I'll still be using a Bluetooth handsfree quite often. I've noticed several welcome incremental improvements over the 7100: larger SEND and END keys, 2 programmable convenience keys, *optional* (as opposed to unavoidable) annoying blinking LED (no need to cover it with electrical tape like on the 7100). All in all, I REALLY like having a full QWERTY keyboard, the screen is great, browsing is quick (especially for WML pages), and I expect I'll be happy with this device for the next several years. Price might be an issue for some people - not the purchase price but the data plan price (I think I'm paying ~$40/month for unlimited data). I have zero serious complaints thus far with the device and just one with the service provider (Cingular). I was left on hold for 1 hr 40 mins before my call was dropped when their customer service call center closed for the evening.
Pros Speed, ease of use, one hand operation, screen, size
Cons not much noise cancelation
Summary I have had approx 10 phones in the past year, from sprint, verizon and Cingular and I do not buy cheap phones, all windows based or palm. I truly love this phone, the size and the speed are truly amazing, not to mention the screen resolution. The bluetooth works so awesome, it works without static and it works well. I had a ppc-6700 and it is like a brick and it was pretty quick but it is cumbersome putting info in and making appointments on the fly. No sliding keyboard to fuss with and no hard to type keys. I am truly impressed with this Blackberry and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a true business tool, not a video player or junk camera.
Pros Great Email service. Smooth operating system, easy to use and quite stable. Great display - bright when it needed to be (the automatic dimming feature is really nice too).
Cons Weak address book. The phone quality was horrible! I had multiple people ask me to call them back from a land line.
Summary Sadly, I had to return this phone. I rely on my cell phone for a lot of different things (no land line, and lots of business and personal calls). I really liked the email and internet functionality of this phone but I had two major problems that led me to return the BB8700c.
First, the address book. I come from the palm world of smart phones, which has a pretty darn nice phone book, in my opinion. The palm address book is really easy to use, you can categorize your contacts and easily sift through your categories with the touch of a button. With the blackberry you can categorize your contacts but you must use there filter in order to view only those names whom you've specified to be in a particular category, which removes 90% of the convenience of having categories in the first place. Another thing, when you are looking at all your entries in your phone book, they aren't that easy to read. Palm does a nice thing by highlighting every other line in grey. I also like seeing a phone number or email address next to the name of the person when I'm browsing my address book. And finally, there was no quick way of calling anyone using the phone book (unless you use the quick dialing which I used for certain numbers but obviously not everyone in my phone book). So now that you have finally found the name of the person you'd like to call in your address book (if you have over 200 contacts in your book, it's not a quick process) now you must click the wheel and scroll down to "call John Smith's mobile" and then click again. It doesn't sound that bad on paper, but when you are driving it's a real pain. Again the palm has a cool feature where you can specify the default or main number as the one to dial automatically. If these were the only problems with the phone, I would have kept it because honestly they are all very minor points. But there was another, much bigger issue...
The phone quality SUCKED! The microphone was way too sensitive. It picked up every single ounce of background noise. It picked up background noise that I didn't even hear myself. It seamed to me that for some reason the engineers at RIM decided that they didn't need any kind of filter for their microphone. In fact it sounded as if the amplifiers they were using weren't even optamized for voice (i.e. they were amplifying the background, low or high frequency noise just as much if not more than the voice frequencies). It's not hard to do this, cell phone companies have been doing this since the beginning of time! RIM needs to hire a few more cell phone oriented electronics engineers to get this right. Also, the speaker was crappy as well. Everyone I spoke sounded like they were calling from a tin can (it was a very hollow sound). It was hard for me to recognize and differentiate peoples voices. I couldn't take this at all. The sad thing is that I doubt that these problems can't be fixed. I'm sure RIM will release an update to the phone that will address these issues, but I couldn't take another minute of it. So until they fix this, I'm staying far away from this device (I can't even call it a phone).
Honestly, it was very hard returning that device. I liked it a lot. It was a tolerable size and it did everything I wanted it to do. I even liked the calendar program - I thought it was thoughtfully laid out. Interfacing with the control panel was easy with that scroll wheel and escape key - I liked that a lot. It had a speaker phone too (but no voice dial). It looked sleek too. The keyboard was easy to type on. I didn't think the keys were too close together at all. Oh and the best part was that it is cheap - don't settle for anything less than $150. I was able to bargain with the cingular people to this price point. I think they wanted to charge me $350 (they said, “it's regularly $450, but you get $100 off for starting a new contract with us”). Check Amazon and some of the other vendors on this website that advertise it for $149. Either buy it through them or do what I did and print out the Amazon website and make the cingular guy meet the price.
Bottom line, if you already have a cell phone and are looking for just an email/internet/organizer gadget - this device is amazing! But if you are planning on using it for voice as well, you might want to wait and see if they can fix the noise problem. That's what I'm going to do.
"One Step Closer"on by calancaster
Pros Size, Screen Resolution, Edge
Cons No Carrier Support for Ringtones & Themes
Summary I've been using a BlackBerry for 2 years and I support over 1200 BlackBerrys within my company. I've gone from a 6230 to a 7230 to a 7100 to a 7290 and FINALLY the 8700.
The smaller size (smaller than the 7290 but bigger than the 7100 series) is a definite plus and so is the improved screen resolution. And even though the keyboard is slightly smaller, typing is not a problem for me even with fairly large fingers. All in all it handles corporate email as well as its predecessors, but now in a more elegant and user friendly package. The extra features such as the auto backlight, programmable buttons and MP3 ringtones just make it a much nicer all around device. And with EDGE, surfing the net is much more tolerable.
RIM took a VERY GOOD product and by listening to it's user base improved upon it. For the time being, I think this is a GREAT device. Will other devices come along that are better? Absolutely, but that's evolution. I would definitely recommend this device to any business person looking for an email-centric phone. I would rate this device an 8.
P.S. If Cingular's MEdia Net and mMode would support included features such as ringtones & themes I'd give it a 9.