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BlackBerry 8700g (T-Mobile) review: BlackBerry 8700g (T-Mobile)

The differences between the 8700g and the 8700c center mostly on the e-mail and messaging departments. The smart phone can still sync with your company's BlackBerry, Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise server to deliver corporate e-mail in real time, and it continues to support up to 10 personal/business POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail accounts. However, the 8700g makes it easier to set up e-mail accounts right out of the box, thanks to the BlackBerry Internet E-mail service. A utility on the device, aptly named Set Up Internet E-mail, guides you through the whole process, and it doesn't involve much more than inputting your e-mail address and password. We used it to add our Yahoo account, and it was a snap--decidedly easier than with the 8700c. We received messages in our in-box after about 20 minutes. Also, e-mails sent and received from personal e-mail accounts are now reflected in the source account. In other words, if you use the 8700g to send a message from your Comcast account, the message will also be in your Sent folder when you log on from your PC; you also have the option to delete messages on your handheld or on your handheld and in-box. And there's some extra good news for Yahoo users--thanks to RIM's expanding partnership with Yahoo, you can now enjoy the joys of push technology and receive your Yahoo mail in real time.

The proprietary instant-messaging client was one of our consistent complaints of past BlackBerry models, but that ends with the 8700g. We're glad to see RIM add support for popular IM apps, such as Yahoo, ICQ, AOL, and MSN. Google Talk is also available for download, and the 8700g supports text and multimedia messaging as well.

Of course, to get work done, on-the-go mobile professionals may need more functionality than e-mail, so the BlackBerry 8700g's attachment viewer opens popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Corel WordPerfect, PDF, JPEG, GIF, and more. You can also see tracked changes and embedded images, as well as zoom and rotate documents. We had no problems viewing several Word and Excel documents; however, the PDF file gave our device some problems, as formatting was lost and the full document didn't load. Other applications on the 8700g include a calendar, a Web browser, a tasks list, a memo pad, an alarm, and a calculator. There is no audio or video player, and games are restricted to one title (BrickBreaker). Alternatively, more titles, as well as ring tones and wallpaper, are available through T-Mobile's T-zones.

We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) RIM BlackBerry 8700g in San Francisco using T-Mobile service, and overall, call quality was good. There were occasions that our callers sounded somewhat garbled, but for the most part, conversations were clear and volume was adequate. Though callers said they could tell we were using a cell phone, they had no problems hearing us. The speakerphone was also excellent, performing just as well as the regular phone, if not better. We had no problems pairing the 8700g with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset, and though audio quality diminished a bit, this may have to do more with the headset than the phone itself.

The Web browsing experience was decent. The EDGE support helped with faster speeds, although graphics-intensive sites took a bit longer to download. As with all handhelds and smart phones, viewing Web pages on such a device takes some getting used to and requires quite a bit of scrolling.

The BlackBerry 8700g is rated for 4 hours of talk time and up to 16 days of standby time. In our tests, the 8700g battery lasted for an impressive 7 hours of talk time.

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