BlackBerry 8800 review: BlackBerry 8800

Other phone features include a speakerphone, voice-activated dialing, smart dialing, conference calling, speed dial, and world roaming. The phone book is only limited by the available memory with room in each entry for eight phone numbers, e-mail addresses, work and home address, job title, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo to a contact as well as a group category--business or personal.

Wireless options on the 8830 definitely trump those on the BlackBerry 8800. First, there's integrated Bluetooth 2.0 for use with wireless headsets and hands-free kits. Unfortunately, there is no A2DP support for Bluetooth stereo headphones, but you can use the BlackBerry 8830 as a wireless modem for your laptop--particularly handy since the 8830 supports Verizon's EV-DO network. This means you can enjoy data speeds of up to 2.4Mbps in bursts, but in reality they'll average more around 300Kbps to 600Kbps. Currently, the BlackBerry 8830 does not support Verizon's V Cast services or VZ Navigator, but the carrier said it is planning to add this functionality in the future.

The RIM BlackBerry 8830 continues to offer the tried-and-true push technology and can sync with your company's BlackBerry Enterprise server with support for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise to deliver corporate e-mail in real time. All in all, the device can support up to 10 accounts, including POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail accounts, and there is an e-mail wizard on the device to guide you through the setup process. An attachment viewer is also onboard to open popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Corel WordPerfect, PDFs, JPEG, GIF, and more. Other messaging options include text, multimedia, and instant messaging, although the latter is once again limited to the proprietary BlackBerry Messenger client.

The 8830 also is Verizon's first multimedia BlackBerry. You can use the built-in media player to listen to music (MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, and MIDI formats) and watch video (MPEG4, WMV, and H.263 files). We should note that there's about 64MB of flash memory available, but we suggest using a microSD card to store such larger media files.

The music player is pretty basic. Aside from standard stop and play functions, you can create playlists as "folders" and shuffle and repeat songs within a certain folder. It also displays some track information, such as title, artist, and album art if available. There's also an option to set a song as your ringtone. What's more, you can continue to play music as you use the device's other apps, and if you happen to get an incoming call, the BlackBerry 8830 will pause the music and pick up where you left off after you hang up.

For videos, the player has play and stop buttons, and you can fast forward and rewind clips by clicking the trackball and scrolling right or left. There is also a full-screen mode. In addition to moving pictures, the BlackBerry 8830 has an image viewer that lets you peruse your favorite photos. However, as a business-centric device, there is no camera on the 8830, so you'll have to get your images onto your device another way, whether it be via USB, multimedia message, or such.

Finally, the RIM BlackBerry 8830 World Edition includes a number of PIM tools for the business users, including a calendar, a tasks list, a memo pad, an alarm, and a calculator. Of course, you can always download more applications; check out CNET for some ideas.

We tested the dual-mode (CDMA 850/1900; GSM 900/1800) RIM BlackBerry 8830 in San Francisco on Verizon Wireless CDMA network, and call quality was excellent. Voices sounded rich and we enjoyed clear sound with very little background hiss or noise as we talked to friends, and they reported similar results. We also called a bank's automated voice response system, and it had no problems understanding our voice commands. Speakerphone quality was also good, although the audio wasn't quite as crisp. Still, it wasn't anything that prevented us from having a conversation. We were able to pair the 8830 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset with no problems. Unfortunately, we were not able to test the world-roaming capabilities of this phone.

General performance on the BlackBerry 8830 was snappy. We didn't experience any noticeable delays when opening or working in various apps. With the boost of EV-DO speeds, browsing the Web on the 8830 was a much more pleasurable experience than on the EDGE-only BlackBerry 8800. Even graphics-intensive pages like and loaded quickly. We were also impressed with the multimedia performance. Music playback sounded decent over the phone's speakers, producing a richer sound than other smart phones we've tested. We do wish, however, the 8830 was equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack like the BlackBerry Curve. Watching video clips in short, few-minute spurts is fine.

The RIM BlackBerry 8830's battery is rated for 3.6 hours of talk time and up to 9 days of standby time. In our battery tests, we were able to get 4.3 hours of talk time on a single charge. According to FCC radiation tests, the BlackBerry 8830 has a digital SAR rating of 1.46 watts per kilogram.