Today is the last day of the BlackBerry 8700. However knowing that I won’t be able to get the next device until Monday October 9 (after I arrive to San Francisco), I will be using the BlackBerry 8700 for the remainder of my trip.
The BlackBerry 8700 in summary
When we compared the handheld devices (in our current handheld device selection workshop that we have available online and which will be updated after the 81-day-experiment), we gave the BlackBerry 7200-7700 series the “Best Business Device” award.
These earlier BlackBerry models performed the key business functions that you would expect in a business smartphone extremely well (ranging from e-mail, to contacts, calendar, tasks, and memos). With the e-mail “push” technology, the overall streamlined navigation, and ease of use of the Trackwheel and Escape key, the QWERTY keyboard which was for a while unique to the BlackBerry devices, these BlackBerry devices excelled at what they do.
The BlackBerry 8700 lives up to that tradition (being a robust business device that excels at what it does), and brings several improvements to the table including the following:
- A much brighter screen and colorful icons, which means improved visibility and usability.
- The battery life seems to be as good as ever. So even with the brighter screen and other improvements, power management is still at its best.
- The device is more stylish than earlier BlackBerry 7200-7700 models (even though this is not its strengths and a matter of personal taste).
- A host of usability improvements were introduced including a) having a phone button (green button on the front of the device) to quickly get to the phone application, b) having the red button to disconnect, c) having a mute button to quickly mute instead of having to navigate to the profiles, d) having the power button better positioned on top of the device, and c) having a convenience button on the left side of the device which by default brings up the profiles.
- Another minor but important usability improvement is the ability to pull the device out of the holster more easily and without accidentally pressing the Escape key or the Trackwheel (and therefore disconnecting a call or making a selection inadvertently).
- Speakerphone and Bluetooth capabilities are now standard (they used to be available on certain 7200-7700 models but not all).
- Last but not least is the high-speed internet connection using the EDGE network (for providers such as T-Mobile and Cingular) and using the EVDO network (for providers such as Verizon). This makes browsing the Internet actually usable.
- And actually one more added benefit is the ability to use the BlackBerry 8700 as a high-speed modem to the laptop.
Will the BlackBerry 8700 win the “Best Business Device” award again?
While it is likely to win this award again, I will wait until the end of the 81-day-experiment before making this conclusion. First of all, we have more devices coming up in the next few weeks, and second, it still remains to be seen if the criteria for this award need to be updated based on the findings from the 81-day-experiment and the conversations with users.
One thing that is for sure however is that the BlackBerry 8700 has proven to be a robust business device that performed its functions extremely well, both locally and internationally. Coupled with the T-Mobile international network coverage and support, this made the BlackBerry 8700 an ideal device for my trip, and a device for international business travelers to consider.
And a few pictures from the places where the BlackBerry 8700 has been