The BlackBerry 7100t from T-Mobile looks like no other BlackBerry and packs more power than any BlackBerry has before. If youre OK with the odd keyboard, this is an exciting and satisfying e-mail device.
The 7100t is the first BlackBerry to look, feel and work like a phone. Measuring 4.7-by-2.3-by-0.7 inches—just a smidgen larger than a palmOne Treo 600—and weighing 4.3 ounces, the 7100t fits in your hand and in your pocket. The phone has a high-quality speaker phone and supports Bluetooth wireless headsets. Because its a quad-band GSM phone, you can use it overseas. The 2.1-inch, 240-by-260 color display is one of the sharpest weve seen, with a powerful backlight.
All the familiar BlackBerry applications are here, including very easy-to-use e-mail and PIM applications, plus two major new ones: a cross-platform IM application for AIM, Yahoo, and ICQ, plus a full HTML Web browser. Unfortunately, neither of those applications worked on our late-beta test unit.
The 7100t can hook up to corporate BlackBerry servers, Exchange and Lotus Notes e-mail (via a desktop redirector program), and T-Mobiles Web client, which integrates up to 10 POP3, IMAP, AOL or Hotmail e-mail accounts. The included desktop software syncs contacts, calendars, notes and tasks with a wide range of desktop apps quickly and easily.
To make the device smaller, RIM ditched the usual full keyboard for a strange, 20-key hybrid keypad in which the keys are small, flat and close together. Most keys have two letters and a number on them, but the keys are in familiar QWERTY order.
Yes, the 7100t uses predictive text, but stifle your groans. RIMs SureType is a giant step ahead of any predictive text youve used before. It learns new words after one try and automatically integrates all the names in your address book. After 15 minutes on this keyboard we were typing with ease.
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