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Blackberry 5810 Review

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Mobile Devices | Posted on 12-05-2002

Blackberry, the always on email PDA and phone combination offered by AT&T and Voicestream was released recently. We haven’t had a geek toy posted to the site in quite sometime, mainly because their haven’t been any worthy of writing about. Check out our review before you consider purchasing one of these. Who knows, we may just change your mind. 

Blackberry Review

I recently stopped by Voicestream (my mobile phone provider) to check out the new Blackberry 5810. It is nice they included a keyboard and there are some apps which come with it out-of-the-box (java based).

The Good

Although I feel the Blackberry is not worthy of purchasing it does have some good qualities such as the built-in trackwheel. The trackwheel is how you navigate through the built-in applications. The trackwheel is clickable so it activates drop downs and menu items. If you have ever used a PDA such as the Handspring or Palm you are probably familar with using the pen to navigate around. The Blackberry 5810 eliminates the use of a pen altogether. This is a nice feature in that you can use one hand to control the device.

Always On Email

The Blackberry 5810 is praised at being “always on’. For example, Voicestream gives you unlimited email and 1MB of what they call iStream data. IStream is a fancy way of saying connecting to the internet, whether you are browsing web pages or whatever. The always on email is a great bonus, especially if you are like me, constantly writing, responding and reading email. When I played with the device though I didn’t find it to be as quick as just sitting down on a keyboard with a real email client. If you are buying it for this feature alone then the Blackberry might be worthy of consideration (and to send AIM messages). Just don’t expect it to replace your desktop anytime soon.

The Bad

Reasons not to consider the Blackberry outweigh the reasons to buy one. It is one of those devices that would be fun for a week, but then I know I would wind up going back to using my old cell phone just because the usability on my cell phone is easier. For example, picture you are driving down the road and you want to dial a number NOT in your address book. If you notice the picture on the Blackberry, you’ll notice that there are no numbers on the keypad so you have to dig into the phone dialer and dial the number that way. In my test at the store it took me over 3-4 times to dial a number that I knew but something that wasn’t in my phone.

Another negative feature of the device is the backlight. Have you ever noticed that by default cell phones always give you a backlight so you can see in the dark? The Blackberry doesn’t.

This one goes without saying but the weakest part of the device is it phone capabilities. I am sorry, but I refuse to stick something in my ear to talk on the phone. If I am playing disc golf or whatever, I am not going to walk the course with a thing in my ear. Of course if you don’t, when the phone rings you have to dig around in your bag or fumble with getting the ear piece up to your ear. Having tried this with the Visor Phone plugged into a Handspring for a few weeks I can honestly and 100% say THIS DOESN’T WORK!

Next up in the “bad” review is upgradability. Unless I overlooked it, I haven’t seen much of anything in terms of adding new features. For example, my Ericson T28 World phone can adapt as a MP3 player, FM Radio, and has tons of other cools gizmos and gadgets which can be plugged up to it. There are a lot of software packages listed on the Blackbery web site for viewing. They are mostly geared toward corporate users. Personally I don’t care to purchase CRM applications.

Final Thought

Ok, so you know I wouldn’t buy one. The question is would you though? Is the always on email a feature that will make you go out and get one of these from either AT&T or Voicestream? I’m betting no. If you have any thoughts on the device let us know.


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