RIM BlackBerry 8820 review: RIM BlackBerry 8820

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Easy-to-use trackball; good screen; Wi-Fi and GPS.

The Bad No 3G support; no HTML support for email; no camera.

The Bottom Line With its neat combination of Wi-Fi, GPS and mobile emailing features, the 8820 is an excellent communications tool for business users. Next time, however, we'd like to see support for 3G added into the mix

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7.5 Overall

The BlackBerry 8800 was well received, but one of the complaints levelled against it was that it lacked Wi-Fi. The 8820 answers that criticism by including Wi-Fi alongside the more usual messaging, GPS and multimedia features.

So, is this device, which is available for free on contract, now the ultimate mobile emailer for business users?

Strengths
In design terms, the 8820 looks almost identical to its older sibling. It shares the same elegant black and silver colour scheme and the large, crisp colour screen. As with all the latest BlackBerrys, this one includes a mini-trackball on the front, which makes it easy to scroll through Web pages or to select the various icons in the BlackBerry's intuitive menu system.


The full Qwerty keyboard makes answering emails a breeze

Setting up the Wi-Fi connection is a piece of cake. You just access the dedicated Wi-Fi icon from the main menu, select the network and then enter your password. You'll really notice the difference in speed when browsing the Web -- pages load much quicker than they do over the mobile GPRS connection, and the browser generally feels far more responsive when working via Wi-Fi.

Support for mobile push email is where the BlackBerry range has always excelled and this model is no different. The email application is easy to use and although the small keys on the Qwerty keyboard take a while to get used to, once mastered they make composing replies to messages much faster than the usual T9 predictive text used on most mobiles.

This handset also has a built-in GPS receiver and includes the BlackBerry Maps application for navigation. It's a tad slow to lock on to satellites, sometimes taking five minutes or more, but overall the navigation software works well.

The device's battery life greatly depends on how much you use the GPS receiver and the Wi-Fi features, but on the whole it was pretty good. You can expect to get around six hours of talk time out of it and it'll keep ticking over for nearly three weeks when left on standby.

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