By Sascha Segan  |  Posted 2007-02-12 Print this article Print

The new Blackberry 8800 brings Pearl style and media features to a professional class Blackberry, but its missing one key feature that may cause power-users to bury this berry: 3G wireless data.

The 8800 is good looking, if a little thick around the middle at 4.5 by 2.6 by 0.6 inches, and has a truly gorgeous 320 by 240 resolution screen. I thought the 8700s display was nice, but wow – this may be the brightest handheld screen Ive ever seen. Plus, like on the Blackberry Pearl, the screen brightness adjusts automatically depending on ambient light.

Keys on the device are relatively small and close together, but parts of the buttons are carved out so you can feel spaces between the keys. As a phone, calls seem loud enough, with a sharp, trebly sound. You can assign any song in the device as a ringtone. I hooked up a Plantronics Voyager 510 mono headset without a problem, and I was able to initiate VoiceSignal voice dialing through the headset. A Plantronics Pulsar 590 stereo headset, on the other hand, couldnt launch voice dialing, and theres no stereo Bluetooth music support here anyway.

Software-wise, its a Blackberry through and through, meaning it is stable, smooth, fast and easy-to-use. RIM adds TeleNav GPS and music and video players (but not a camera) to the traditional e-mail, PIM, and Web functions. The GPS acquired a signal startlingly quickly, but I found maps took a very long time to load over the stuttering EDGE cellular connection. Third-party applications designed for the 8700 series, such as Opera Mini and WorldMate Professional, may not work with the PC-based installer but download and run fine if you download them directly to the device.

E-mail functions are the same as on the Pearl, and you cant underestimate the usefulness of being able to scroll horizontally with that cool little trackball. I set up Yahoo! Mail, POP3, and Outlook Web Access accounts quickly and easily from a Web interface. Although the 8800, like the Pearl, can view JPEG attachments and listen to sound attachments, Microsoft Office, and PDF attachments come through in a stripped-down form.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: Blackberry 8800

Sascha Segan is PC Magazine's Lead Analyst for mobile phones and PDAs. He is responsible for testing, benchmarking and evaluating mobile phones and other handheld devices. Sascha joined the magazine in 2004 after covering consumer electronics for technology, travel and lifestyle publications, and editing the now hard-to-find book, 'I Just Got a Cell Phone, Now What?' He once helped cover an election in Africa using only a PalmPilot Professional with a modem and attachable keyboard as his traveling gear.

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