BlackBerry 8703e (Verizon Wireless) review:

BlackBerry 8703e (Verizon Wireless)

One great advantage of the Verizon BlackBerry 8703e is the EV-DO capabilities. With the support of the carrier's 3G network, you'll be able to connect and browse the Web at almost broadband-like speeds. While data speeds can reach up to 2Mbps, you'll probably experience more in the 400Kbps to 700Kbps range. You can also use the 8703e as a tethered modem for your laptop using the included USB cable, but you will need to sign up for Verizon Wireless's BroadbandAccess Connect service in order to do so. If you already have an unlimited data plan with qualifying voice plan, you can get unlimited BroadbandAccess Connect for $15 a month, otherwise, it will cost $30 a month. The 8703e also has integrated Bluetooth 2.0 (no Wi-Fi) but it's limited to wireless headsets, hands-free kits, and synching with Bluetooth-enabled PCs. It does not support the object exchange (OBEX) profile.

As a phone, the address book is limited only by the available memory, which tops out at 64MB Flash memory and 16MB SDRAM. For each entry, you can store up to eight numbers, work and home addresses, e-mail and Web addresses, company information, and notes. In addition, you can assign them to a group category--business or personal. You get 32 polyphonic ring tones with support for MP3 rings tones, as well as a vibrate mode, conference calling, speed dialing, call forwarding, and a speakerphone.

The RIM BlackBerry 8703e does not have any multimedia capabilities, such as an audio or a video player or a camera). You do get one game (BrickBreaker), as well as a number of PIM tools, including a calendar, a task list, a memo pad, and a calculator.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO) RIM BlackBerry 8703e in San Francisco using Verizon's network, and call quality was a bit of mixed bag. While our friends said they had no problems hearing us and were impressed by the clarity of the phone call, we thought they sounded a bit muffled and had some difficulties hearing our callers. On a brighter note, speakerphone quality was great on both ends of the conversation. We also had no problems pairing the phone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

Armed with an Intel processor, the BlackBerry 8703e was responsive and speedy as we opened and worked on various apps. Also, thanks to the EV-DO speeds, the Web browsing experience was great as pages loaded quickly.

The 8703e's battery is rated for 3.3 hours of talk time and up to 8 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get a solid 5.2 hours of talk time before having to recharge. According to FCC radiation tests, the BlackBerry 8703e has a digital SAR rating of 1.44 watts per kilogram.

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