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BlackBerry 8820: All Business

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BlackBerry 8820

BlackBerry 8820 Smartphone

RIM

When the BlackBerry 8820 was launched in late 2007, it was the first BlackBerry phone that supported Wi-Fi networks. Today, however, many BlackBerrys and other smartphones include support for wireless networks. So is there a compelling reason to choose the BlackBerry 8820 instead of today's newer, fancier smartphones? Business users may think so.

AT&T is offering the BlackBerry 8820 for $300; a mail-in rebate will get you an AT&T promotion card for $50, too, bringing the price down to $250. T-Mobile, meanwhile, is selling the 8820 for $150, plus a $50 mail-in rebate, which brings the price down to $100.

Design

PROS: The BlackBerry 8820 has a sleek, square look; it's an attractive phone. The full QWERTY keyboard is small, but very easy to use for typing. And navigating through the phone with the trackball, which sits right underneath the display, is quite easy.

CONS: The 2.4-inch screen looks nice, but it feels a bit small. And it can't compare with the stunning screen found on the newer BlackBerry Bold.

Making Calls

PROS: The 8820 offered very good voice quality; my callers sounded very clear and they said the same about me. The speakerphone was easy to access and provided plenty of volume. The T-Mobile 8820 also can use wireless networks to make voice calls; this allows you to save your monthly allotment of voice minutes and place calls where you have access to a wireless hotspot, but where a cellular signal may be weak.

CONS: The 8820 can feel a bit boxy when held next to your ear.

Browsing the Web

PROS: The ability to surf the Web using wireless hotspots makes for a much speedier experience.

CONS: It's a good thing the 8820 supports Wi-Fi, because it lacks support for a true 3G network. It runs on AT&T's EDGE network, not the speedy HSDPA network. And it features an older version of the BlackBerry browser, which can make Web pages difficult to view.

Messaging

PROS: The 8820 is an awesome messaging phone. It will support up to 10 personal or business e-mail accounts, and adds support for consumer instant messaging applications, too.

Software

PROS: You get access to AT&T's TeleNav navigation service, which delivers turn-by-turn directions (for an extra monthly fee).

CONS: Unlike some of the newer BlackBerry phones (like the Bold or the Storm), the 8820 does not include a productivity suite. So, if you'd like to edit Office documents, you'll need to provide your own software application.

Multimedia

PROS: The 8820 comes with access to AT&T's Mobile Music service. This lets you access subscription music services like XM Satellite Radio. You also get a basic MP3 player.

CONS: The 8820 lacks a camera.

Business users will like the BlackBerry 8820's excellent messaging options--especially if they work an in an environment that forbids camera phones. But consumers looking for a phone that knows how to have fun should consider the BlackBerry Curve or the Bold instead.

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