Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry 8700c Wireless Handheld device improves upon the previous model with a higher-resolution display—240 by 320 pixels versus 240 by 160 pixels—and a speedier EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) radio, replacing the GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)radio in the BlackBerry 7100 we reviewed last year.
The BlackBerry 8700c provides e-mail, phone, Web browsing, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), SMS (Short Message Service) and organizer applications. And while the BlackBerry 8700c performs its e-mail and light Web browsing duties more prettily and with greater speed, all the BlackBerry basics remain, including the thumb keyboard and the scroll-and-click interface.
However, a faster radio makes a big difference: Our tests with the BlackBerry 8700c marked, by far, the best experience we've had hitting the Web with a BlackBerry device. Helping matters significantly were improvements to RIM's Web browser, which did a good job of squashing down standard Web pages to a handheld-friendlier format.
Although e-mail is the main attraction of the 8700c, the device serves well in its voice duties, with good quality and a surprisingly functional speaker phone mode.
The BlackBerry 8700c is available through Cingular Wireless at a price of about $300 when purchased with a two-year service contract (and, annoyingly, after a mail-in rebate). Data plans range from $35 per month for 4MB of data to $45 per month for an all-you-can-eat plan