Of course, BlackBerrys are known for their e-mail prowess, and the RIM BlackBerry 8700c doesn't disappoint. With the help of your IT department, the smart phone can sync with your company's BlackBerry, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise server to deliver corporate e-mail in real time. The BlackBerry 8700c also supports up to 10 personal/business POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail accounts; we set up our device to receive messages from our POP3 account, and after about 20 minutes of tinkering, we started getting our e-mail, with the smart phone checking for new messages every 15 minutes. The 8700c also features enhancements to attachment viewing. You now can view Excel documents as spreadsheets rather than in plain text, and you have more image-editing options at your disposal. You can rotate, as well as zoom in and out, and once you've zoomed in, you can use the Enhance function to recalibrate the image to reduce pixelation. Throughout our test period, we received and opened various documents without any problems. The BlackBerry 8700c also supports text and multimedia messaging, as well as instant messaging. However, the latter is limited to a BlackBerry Messenger, so you can communicate only with those who use that proprietary client.
RIM throws in other useful applications for the mobile professional. There's a calendar, a task list, a memo pad, and a calculator. A couple of demo apps that we enjoyed and may be worth the download were Quotestream Wireless and AskMeNow. Quotestream allows you to receive wireless-streaming stock quotes right on your 8700c, while AskMeNow gives you quick access to weather, sports scores, flight information, and more. It also has an Ask Jeeves-type functionality called Ask Anything, where you can input a question, and you'll receive the answer in your in-box. We asked a sports-related question, "Where did Peyton Manning go to school?" and lo and behold, within five minutes, we had our answer along with some other useful information--pretty neat! One final noteworthy addition is the ability to toggle between applications. By holding down Alt, then pressing the Esc key, you can quickly access your messages, your home screen, your phone, your messenger, your Web browser, or your WorkSpace CRM, rather than tediously backing out of several layers of apps.
Moving to the phone aspect of the BlackBerry 8700c, the mobile's address book is limited only by the available memory (an additional 250 names can be stored on the SIM card), and the device comes with 64MB of flash memory and 16MB of SDRAM, which is a nice bump up from the car kits, but unfortunately, wireless data transfers and syncing are out of the question.. For each contact entry, you can store up to eight numbers, an e-mail and a Web address, home and work addresses, job titles, and notes. You get 35 polyphonic ring tones, and there's support for MP3 ring tones, as well as a vibrate mode, conference calling, call forwarding, speed dialing, and smart dialing. Finally, there's Bluetooth support for wireless headsets and
As a businesscentric device, the BlackBerry 8700c doesn't give you too many entertainment or multimedia functions. The BlackBerry 8700c doesn't have an audio or video player, but it does come with three games: BrickBreaker, Texas Hold'em King 2, and Bass Assassin. Customization is limited to a handful of themes, but more options--ring tones, wallpaper, games, and so on--are available through Cingular.Using Cingular's network, we tested the quad-band (GSM/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) RIM BlackBerry 8700c in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and call quality was generally good. We had no problems hearing our callers, although they sounded slightly hollow at times, but it didn't prevent us from holding a conversation. On the flip side, callers said we sounded clear, but they could tell we were on a cell phone. Speakerphone quality was even better. Callers said they couldn't even tell we were on speakerphone, and volume was plenty loud. In fact, we were a little embarrassed when we activated the speakerphone in a public place because our caller's voice boomed throughout the room.
Wireless functions on the RIM BlackBerry 8700c were admirable. We had no problems pairing the device with the, and we were talking, hands free, within minutes. Call quality did suffer slightly, however. Surfing the Web on the 8700c was relatively painless, and the EDGE support helped with faster upload times, but we did encounter some delays and formatting issues with graphics-intensive sites such as CNET.com.
The RIM BlackBerry 8700c is rated for 4 hours of talk time and up to 16 days of standby time. In our tests, we managed to get 5 hours, 40 minutes of talk time, while the standby time fell short at 7 days.