Everyone at PC Advisor has had a gawp at the latest BlackBerry, and it would be fair to say reactions have been mixed. And that should give you an idea of how it will go down with the wider world.

RiM (Research in Motion) has designed the svelte 7130g – basically an update of last year's 7100 candy-bar handsets with more memory and an increased processor speed – so it can be used single-handed. Characters double up on the combined qwerty keyboard and numerical pad.

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However, the two-tone keys draw your eye to the numbers rather than the letters, so it can be confusing composing a text message or email – especially if you're used to the alphanumeric format of mobiles. As a phone it's well constructed. Zipping between applications is a doddle.

02 blagged the rights to be exclusive vendor of the 7130, so you get a smart aqueous background and a vertical application list to scroll down, rather than the left-to-right menu of the original BlackBerry screens.

RiM continues to target its products at business users. It claims corporates' need for security precludes them from signing up for handsets with built-in cameras. So you don't get one of those. Nor is there an MP3 player. But you can kill time playing BrickBreaker or Texas Hold 'Em.

More usefully, you get some third-party eOffice software. There's only a trial of the Excel, Word and PowerPoint-esque applications, but enabling you to write and edit documents on the go is bound to appeal to RiM's business-focused customer base.

It's harder to scroll around the screen than with the HP reviewed below. We like the fact that you don't need to fiddle with a stylus, but on Google Maps – helpfully pre-loaded – you have to use the down key in tandem with the scrollwheel. We got impatient with the GPRS connection updating the map, but getting online this way is far easier than hunting Wi-Fi zones.

BlackBerry 7130g: Specs

  • 31MHz quad-band GPRS, Edge and GSM phone
  • WAP browser
  • Bluetooth
  • push email
  • SureType keyboard
  • four-hour talktime
  • 18-day standby
  • 64MB flash memory
  • 16MB SDRAM
  • 2.5in QVGA LCD display
  • web browser
  • eOffice (trial)
  • Google Maps
  • 56x18x115mm
  • 126g
  • 31MHz quad-band GPRS, Edge and GSM phone
  • WAP browser
  • Bluetooth
  • push email
  • SureType keyboard
  • four-hour talktime
  • 18-day standby
  • 64MB flash memory
  • 16MB SDRAM
  • 2.5in QVGA LCD display
  • web browser
  • eOffice (trial)
  • Google Maps
  • 56x18x115mm
  • 126g

OUR VERDICT

If you want phone, email and contact functionality and a large screen for viewing messages, maps, websites and documents, then the 7130 is ideal. It isn't as fully featured as the iPaq hw6915 – which we've reviewed here – but its initial costs are lower.

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