Reviewed: O2 Blackberry 8700g

Stuff exclusiveEmail access is like lifeblood to some misguided individuals. They are called businesspeople, and Blackberry has been exploiting their

Stuff exclusive

Email access is like lifeblood to some misguided individuals. They are called businesspeople, and Blackberry has been exploiting their addiction for the last few years. Now, thanks to the 8700g, they can get more email more quickly and seamlessly than ever before.

Blackberry is positioning the 8700g as a kinda hybrid of the 7100 - he of the famed two-character-per-button keypad - and the classic 7290 QWERTY shape. Surprisingly, it combines the talents of the pair to yield the finest Blackberry to date.

As well as a keyboard you can type easily on, the 8700g is blessed with a to-die-for QVGA screen and dedicated call answering buttons, cruelly lacking from the 7290 device. The other big enhancement is the new 312MHz Intel processor it packs, which allows it to tear through tasks other Blackberrys would have struggled or completely failed to complete. Other nice touches include:

  • 64MB Flash memory for file storage – twice that of previous devices
  • A light-reactive screen, which automatically adjusts its backlight settings depending on conditions. It also has far better contrast than the 7290’s screen.
  • Better Bluetooth. This Blackberry can be used with handsfree in car kits, as well as Bluetooth headsets.
  • Full HTML web browser. This is particularly good for those lucky enough to have EDGE supported networks – no help to the UK, mind. Even on GPRS it runs surprisingly quickly, and the screen makes for a more than palatable browsing experience.
  • Enhanced attachment viewer. You now get Excel spreadsheets with charts, Word files with character formatting and Powerpoint slideshows with all of their graphics.

Functionality that remains from previous Blackberrys includes support for 10 personal and corporate email accounts, with the now legendary Push technology. This provides instant wireless access to your email as soon as it lands in your inbox. Business travellers will love the 8700g’s quad-band network support, too, and its PIM functionality is as solid as ever.

But like other Blackberry device, the 8700g isn’t for everyone:

  • There’s no camera. You can download JPEGs over USB, but the 8700g isn’t a device for documenting your travels.
  • MP3 ringtones are supported, but the 8700g is no music mobile. That 64MB memory isn’t supplemented by a memory card slot, either.
  • It’s 2.5G. Other devices of this size can stream media and make video calls thanks to their high-bandwidth 3G radios.

Of course, this is the kind of functionality average business bods won’t miss. The bottom line is: if you want something with multimedia pedigree, look elsewhere. If you’re after a portable email device, the 8700g is as good as it currently gets.

Pop to O2 for more info.