The Good Compact; color screen; nice built-in keyboard; real-time e-mail; Web browser; Java support (J2ME); compact travel charger and syncing cable; decent battery life.
The Bad Lacks speakerphone and memory-expansion slot.
The Bottom Line So long as you have decent T-Mobile coverage in your area, the BlackBerry 7230 makes an excellent smart phone.
RIM BlackBerry 7230 (T-Mobile)
Research in Motion's (RIM) early attempts at mating its popular wireless e-mail device/PDA with a cell phone didn't turn out as well as the company had hoped. But the BlackBerry 7230, RIM's first color-screen model, is a different story. Offered by T-Mobile in the United States for a reasonable $400, the 7230 combines a GSM/GPRS world phone, a PDA, and wireless e-mail capabilities in a slim, 4.8-ounce unit that doesn't require an earbud to talk on. The only potential drawback is T-Mobile's service; if the carrier's GPRS coverage is not widespread in your area, you'll have a tough time getting e-mail on the go.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
Some jokingly refer to the 7230 as a BlueBerry rather than a BlackBerry because of its blue casing. A bit shorter and thicker (4.4 by 2.9 by 0.94 inches) than RIM's stalwart 957, the unit is compact for a smart phone; male buyers will probably wear it clipped to their belts using the included swiveling holster.
The high-resolution, 240x160-pixel color display supports 65,000 colors and is the same width but a shorter length than the 957's screen. Though not as bright--even with the backlight on--as the displays found on Pocket PCs or Palms, the screen is readable and is made for viewing in direct sunlight. As for the keys, they're slightly bigger and more raised than the 957's, making them more tactile. Either way, the 7230's minikeyboard is among the best available to date and certainly superior to the ones found on Handspring's Treo models.
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