Productivity apps

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2005-01-31 Print this article Print

The 7100t includes pretty much the same BlackBerry mail tool that weve seen in RIMs devices during the past few years. Teamed with RIMs BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the 7100t does a good job with mail and other PIM-type data, all of which may be synchronized over the air to keep mobile workers connected to vital data.

Alternatively, RIMs desktop redirector software, which worked well for us in this and previous tests, will push e-mail messages out to the 7100t. However, with this option, users must synchronize locally using the devices included Intellisync software to access PIM data.

The Treo 650 ships with PalmOnes VersaMail e-mail application, with which we could access our IMAP mail account to retrieve and fetch messages. We were pleased with the network performance we experienced, even while pulling down fairly large attachments. (We tested all three devices from various locations near eWEEKs San Francisco offices.)

The Treo 650 ships with DataViz Inc.s Documents To Go, which allowed us to use the device to open, view, modify and send attached Microsoft Office documents. Also impressive is this versions compatibility with the over-the-air ActiveSync functionality in Microsofts latest Exchange release, a useful capability that the MPx220 also shares.

The BlackBerry 7100t operates on T-Mobiles GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network, which in our recent review of wireless data services stood out for the high latencies and low speeds we experienced during tests. The speed issues were less pronounced with the 7100t, which doesnt consume bandwidth the way a notebook computer can. However, the latency issue did rear its head in the form of sluggishness while browsing the Web.

The Treo 650 operates on Sprints CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) network. We experienced better performance with the CDMA network than with the T-Mobile network on which the BlackBerry 7100t ran.

The MPx220 we tested was linked to Cingulars GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)/GPRS network, and page fetching seemed snappier than with the BlackBerry 7100t. Overall, however, our browsing experiences with the MPx220 were limited by its small display, particularly since we werent able to increase the font size in the devices Pocket Internet Explorer browser.

We could opt for a larger font in most of the MPx220s screens, such as in its messaging application, but this font change wasnt reflected in the browser. We experienced eye strain every time we read something on the device that was longer than several paragraphs.

The version of Pocket Internet Explorer that ships with the MPx220 doesnt support pages with frames, which isnt too surprising given the small size of that units display. However, we would have liked to see the MPx220 handle frames in the same way that the similarly frames-challenged BlackBerry 7100t does—by offering a list of a pages frames and asking which to display. The Treo device served up frames pages normally.

The BlackBerry 7100t ships with 32MB of flash storage and 4MB of memory. RIM wouldnt tell us what sort of processor powers the device, but we found the 7100t fairly responsive. However, we did experience occasional lags while switching between applications and while waiting for certain interface elements, such as menus, to appear.

We experienced similar lags from time to time with the MPx220, which packs a Texas Instruments Inc. OMAP 1611 chip, and the Treo 650, which runs an Intel Corp. 312MHz PXA270 processor. Overall, though, we were pleased with the responsiveness of all three devices.

Next page: Expansion.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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