Monday, December 12, 2005

BlackBerry 7290 Review: Outstanding convergence device

I'd heard lots of complaints about the 72XX's abilities as a phone. It's definitely not an ideal form-factor, but it works. And with the hands-free device (included), you should have very, very few issues.

As an email and web-surfing device, it excels. While it may not have the full GUI of the "brick-style" (heavier and larger Windows Mobile) devices, you get most of what you really need without having to download entire attachments. That's right, the BlackBerry server will download and read the attachment and send only the fraction you need to see on your display. It works seamlessly and saves a lot of time and effort - there's no need to download an entire file when you just want to read the first page or two.

I've played with all the latest devices (even new Windows devices that haven't come out yet) and I wouldn't trade any of them for the BlackBerry 72XX. It's lighter, smaller, and easier to use. The convenience of the thumbwheel acting as a selector and the button next to it "escaping" out of any menu is something that 98% of all other devices haven't figured out yet.

A couple of nits to pick: the earpiece on the hands-free needs a better way to attach firmly to your ear. In addition, I haven't yet figured out how to keep my place on a web page and check my email (without backing out of the web page). Maybe there's a way, but no one I know has figured it out either. Other than that... great device. Highly recommended.

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