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

The BlackBerry 7100t lacks any sort of expansion slot, which makes the unit a lot more attractive as a client for custom-built applications.

The Treo 650 ships with a slim 23MB of flash memory, available for storing data and new applications. In addition, like the PalmOne Tungsten T5 handheld that we recently reviewed, the Treo 650s new nonvolatile storage will retain data even with a complete power loss.

However, also like the Tungsten T5, the Treos new file system is less efficient than those in previous Treo units, so the unit should really be paired with an SD (Secure Digital) card for the 650s built-in expansion slot. (PalmOne is offering free 128MB SD cards for Treo 650 owners; check out web.palmone.com/support/sd.jhtml for more information.)

The MPx220 sports a mini SD slot on its right side. This slot, along with the MPx220s 64MB of flash memory, gives the device a generous pool of available storage.

All three devices we tested include Bluetooth radios. The BlackBerry 7100ts radio was the least functional of the three, being limited to use with wireless headsets or hands-free car adapters.

With the Bluetooth radios in the Treo 650 and the MPx220, we could also connect to a PC for synchronization and, potentially, for dial-up access to the phones cellular radio to reach the Internet from a Bluetooth-enabled notebook. (This scenario depends on a data access plan offered by each carrier.)

The issue of providing wireless Internet access for a notebook PC or handheld computer with a Bluetooth-enabled phone is currently much too murky. Even if devices are capable of providing this sort of Internet access, carriers often dont make it easy to configure. Organizations that wish to maximize the data capabilities of their wireless handsets in this way should discuss this issue with their carriers when setting up service contracts.

None of the devices we tested features a Wi-Fi radio, an omission that can be attributed to the small size and tight battery-power limitations of these units.

However, with its included SD card slot, the Treo 650 would have been a good candidate for Wi-Fi expansion, using the SD Wi-Fi card that PalmOne sells for some of its other devices. However, the 650 isnt built to work with that card.

Moving forward, PalmOne and others will have to address this limitation, particularly as Wi-Fi availability and use broadens. For now, sites that wish to outfit workers with Wi-Fi-equipped smart phones should look to the larger Pocket PC Phone Edition devices.

The BlackBerry 7100t ships with a removable lithium-ion battery, which, according to RIM, delivers up to 4 hours of talk time and eight days on standby.

It always puzzles us why device makers—PalmOne and Motorola, to name two—insist on creating unique connectors for their devices when small and standard connectors such as mini USB (Universal Serial Bus) exist. So we really appreciated that the BlackBerry 7100t uses a mini USB connector both for connecting the unit to a desktop machine for synchronizing data and for charging the unit from the PCs USB port. The 7100t also comes with an AC adapter that we could plug our USB cable into to charge the 7100t without a computer.

The Treo 650 is powered by a removable rechargeable lithium-ion battery that, according to PalmOne, delivers up to 5 hours of talk time and up to two weeks of standby time. The MPx220 is powered by a lithium-ion battery thats rated at 5 hours of talk time and just more than eight days of standby time.

With all three devices, battery mileage will vary depending on use—voice use, in particular.

The Treo 650 includes a 0.3-megapixel camera. As with most phone cameras weve tested, it didnt knock our socks off with its picture quality. The MPx220 has a built-in camera that boasts a flash and much higher resolution—1.2 megapixels. However, we dont see the usefulness of either of these devices cameras to most enterprises—certainly not enough to hold the BlackBerry 7100ts lack of a camera against it.

Next page: See where they run.

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 jbrooks@eweek.com.

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