New Blackberry 8700c Boosts Browsing

Analysis: The BlackBerry 8700c Wireless Handheld device improves upon the previous model.

Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry 8700c Wireless Handheld device improves upon the previous model with a higher-resolution display—240 by 320 pixels versus 240 by 160 pixels—and a speedier EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) radio, replacing the GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)radio in the BlackBerry 7100 we reviewed last year.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs review of the BlackBerry 7100t.

The BlackBerry 8700c provides e-mail, phone, Web browsing, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), SMS (Short Message Service) and organizer applications. And while the BlackBerry 8700c performs its e-mail and light Web browsing duties more prettily and with greater speed, all the BlackBerry basics remain, including the thumb keyboard and the scroll-and-click interface.

However, a faster radio makes a big difference: Our tests with the BlackBerry 8700c marked, by far, the best experience weve had hitting the Web with a BlackBerry device. Helping matters significantly were improvements to RIMs Web browser, which did a good job of squashing down standard Web pages to a handheld-friendlier format.

Although e-mail is the main attraction of the 8700c, the device serves well in its voice duties, with good quality and a surprisingly functional speaker phone mode.

The BlackBerry 8700c is available through Cingular Wireless at a price of about $300 when purchased with a two-year service contract (and, annoyingly, after a mail-in rebate). Data plans range from $35 per month for 4MB of data to $45 per month for an all-you-can-eat plan.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.