It's hard to imagine life before the BlackBerry. Well, maybe that's exaggerating. But it's certainly true that properly pocket-sized devices that fulfil the vast bulk of our communication and contacts needs have quickly become something that mobile business users depend upon.

BlackBerry developer RIM (Research In Motion) has licensed its 'push email' client on a range of devices, giving models such as PalmOne's Treo 650 a run for their money.

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The 8700g, RIM's latest BlackBerry, is marginally less broad than its predecessor, but features the same slick clickwheel beloved of gadget fans. This time you get to enjoy a glorious 320x240 colour screen with a 64K resolution, as well as a faster processor, supplied by Intel. And it uses Edge, a technology that pushes the boundaries of GPRS wireless connectivity.

Customisations include a handful of background themes – we were impressed by the Insight Icon option, which was cleaner and more compact than the default.

You have decent control over other settings, too. Wireless can be turned off to preserve the battery life, but you'll need the radio function to be active if you want to communicate via GPRS, the technology that enables you to send and receive emails while on the move. However, the BlackBerry's batteries have some serious staying power: it was ready for action even after it'd been on standby for over a week.

For those who don't require the Enterprise email setup, there's an option to redirect email to the device. Be aware, though, that messages deleted from this setup are not retrievable. Internet access, full phone functions, searchable contacts, memos, task lists and Bluetooth are all included – plus t-zones content if you subscribe to a T-Mobile contract.

RIM BlackBerry 8700g: Specs

  • Quad-band mobile phone/PDA
  • Intel XScale processor
  • 64MB internal flash memory
  • 16MB SRAM
  • 320x240 light-sensitive backlit 64K colour display
  • GPRS and Edge wireless connectivity
  • Bluetooth
  • internet and enterprise email access
  • qwerty keyboard
  • scrollwheel
  • USB 2.0 charging/synching port
  • 69.5x110x19.5mm
  • 134g
  • Quad-band mobile phone/PDA
  • Intel XScale processor
  • 64MB internal flash memory
  • 16MB SRAM
  • 320x240 light-sensitive backlit 64K colour display
  • GPRS and Edge wireless connectivity
  • Bluetooth
  • internet and enterprise email access
  • qwerty keyboard
  • scrollwheel
  • USB 2.0 charging/synching port
  • 69.5x110x19.5mm
  • 134g

OUR VERDICT

Strong email and browser features, helpful memo lists and the speakerphone function are the BlackBerry 8700g's key strengths. These, combined with a reduced-size qwerty keypad and the familiar scrollwheel, along with the ability to load extra apps, make this a solid business communications tool.

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