Color BlackBerry wins with wireless

SAN FRANCISCO (10/27/2003) - Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIM) popular BlackBerry communications device is now improved with a color screen and wider global reach for wireless voice mail and e-mail. I tried a shipping (available with T-Mobile service plans) and was generally impressed.

In my tests, the quality of phone calls placed within the U.S. and to Europe was good; RIM says you can use the 900-, 1800-, and 1900-MHz GSM/GPRSa-enabled 7230 as a phone in more than 100 countries. The battery lasted for over 3 hours of talk and data time; sans calls, it survived several days without recharging. Weighing just under 5 ounces, the US$400 7230 totes easily and comes with a pleasant 65,000-color, high-resolution (240-by-160-pixel) screen. But its transreflective display and organizer software can't compare to those of new personal digital assistants such as the color Palms. And in difficult viewing conditions, its backlight bumps up only a tad.

Using the BlackBerry Web client to sync Outlook e-mail was a snap, but employing it to integrate my business Lotus Notes e-mail took more time. The mail connector software, a separate download, initially refused to operate; I also had to keep my PC on and Notes open for as long as I wanted to receive e-mail on the 7230, which is not ideal.

Still, if you want to be able to connect almost anywhere your business takes you, this BlackBerry is ripe for picking.

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