BlackBerry 7100 review: BlackBerry 7100

As always, e-mail remains at the forefront of the smart phone. For business users, the BlackBerry 7130c is compatible with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, and Novell Groupwise, so with the help of your friendly IT department, you can set up your device to receive corporate e-mail in real time. In addition, you can access up to 10 POP3/IMAP accounts and use the included Internet browser to check Web-based e-mail, such as Yahoo and Gmail. For our tests, we logged onto the BlackBerry Internet service using our PC and entered our SBC Global account information. The process was painless; within a few minutes, we received an activation confirmation e-mail on our 7130c, and we started getting e-mail messages within 20 minutes. If you receive attachments with your e-mail, no problem--the 7130c can open and view Word and Excel documents, PDFs, images, and more. The EDGE support also helps to reduce download times.

Despite these great e-mail capabilities, we're disappointed that the 7130c doesn't come with an onboard instant-messaging client. You can, however, download BlackBerry Messenger and GoogleTalk for free from BlackBerry's Web site--it's an extra but minor step. The 7130c also handles text and multimedia messages.

Other features on the RIM BlackBerry 7130c include a WAP 2.0 Web browser, a calendar, a task list, a calculator, a memo pad, and an alarm clock. Like all BlackBerrys, however, the 7130c is a business-oriented device, so multimedia features are sparse. There's no camera or MP3/video player, though the absence of the former will suit users who work in security-conscious environments. The only source of entertainment is the standard BrickBreaker game. Of course, you can download more games and applications for your amusement and use. For example, our test unit came loaded with extra apps, such as Texas Hold'em King and PocketExpress.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) RIM BlackBerry 7130c in San Francisco using Cingular's network, and call quality was excellent. Voices sounded clear with ample volume, and our callers reported the same. They added that they couldn't even tell we were using a cell phone. Turning on the speakerphone diminished the sound only slightly, but still, we give it high praise. And we had absolutely no problem pairing the 7130c with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset; we had them connected in less than a minute.

The Web-browsing experience on the 7130c was good. With EDGE support, Web pages loaded quickly, as did e-mail attachments. We had no problems opening up Word documents or JPEG images on the device.

The RIM BlackBerry 7130c is rated for 4 hours of talk time and up to 18 days of standby time. In our tests, the 7130c beat the rated talk time by an hour. According to FCC radiation tests, the 7130c has a digital SAR rating of 1.09 watts per kilogram.

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