The 411: BlackBerry choices

Every week, CNET editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones and their accessories.

Welcome to the 411, my Q&A column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have the same questions, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at nicole.lee@cnet.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

Thanks to Bonnie Cha for her help with the first couple of questions!

I am thinking of getting the BB Tour or the HTC Touch Pro 2 from Sprint. I was wanting to know, if you were going to purchase one of these phones, which one would you choose and why? I know the Pro 2 has Wi-Fi and may offer an OS upgrade later. Do yo think this would make a better phone than the Tour? -- Bruce, via e-mail.

It depends on your preference. For a simple messaging e-mail device, the Tour is probably the better handheld, since the interface is a little easier to understand. The Tour is also better if you want a world phone that you can use in any country on the globe. If you don't plan on using the phone outside the U.S. and you want a smartphone with a little more multimedia power, the HTC Touch Pro 2 is definitely the better of the two. The Touch Pro 2 offers Wi-Fi while the Tour doesn't, and the wider touch-screen interface on the Touch Pro 2 is also more conducive to video playback.

My cousin would like to get the Blackberry 8900 (I'll have to unlock it, of course) to use overseas, so I was just wondering what was the big difference between AT&T's 8900 and T-Mobile's 8900 , because there is a $240 difference between the price on Best Buy Web site. Is there really a big difference between them just because AT&T calls theirs the Javelin and T-mobile's the curve? The specs look the same to me? -- Damion, via e-mail.

In terms of specs, both the AT&T and the T-Mobile version of the BlackBerry 8900 are about the same. The only differences are the carrier offerings. For example, AT&T has AT&T Music and AT&T Navigator on the 8900, while T-Mobile's version has UMA support so you can make calls via Wi-Fi if you have a T-Mobile HotSpot @ Home plan. But if you're going to unlock it and use it overseas, then it doesn't matter which one you go with, since you probably won't be able to use those services anyway. P.S. "Javelin" is just an internal code name, I believe.

Any comments on the Jabra Halo ? I plan on using it mostly with my iPhone, (for hands-free driving), as well as for music enjoyment when not driving. Would you recommend this stereo Bluetooth device or suggest another? -- Frank, via e-mail.

I have to be honest, Frank: I wasn't a huge fan of the Halo. In fact, I didn't like it much at all. It just didn't sit well on the ears and the call quality was subpar. The best things I can say about it is that it's very attractive; it folds down to a more compact shape; and it does play music as promised. Even if I did like it, though, I wouldn't recommend using it while driving; I think only a mono headset is allowed in that scenario. If you want a headset that can be used in both stereo and mono, take a look at the Samsung WEP870 , the Plantronics Voyager 855 , or the Jabra BT8010 for starters. Do note, though, that the new iPhone OS does not have full AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Profile) support. This means that even though you can stream music from it, you can't control the music playback from the headset--you still have to play/pause and advance tracks on the phone itself.

 

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