Yesterday I tossed over the Samsung a900 I’ve had since December in favor of the even more provocative Cingular/at&t PDA BlackBerry 8700c phone and here’s why: While I love the sleek and small feel of the Samsung a900, I live via email and the a900 is more of a multimedia phone than a text device.

My lovely wife Janna is also big on email and she needs to track three email accounts while she’s out in the world away from her computer 12 hours a day. We both need a phone with a keyboard because the a900’s T9 predictive text isn’t cutting it as a vibrant writing tool.

As you can see below, the BlackBerry 8700c — currently only available in the United States from Cingular/at&t — is made for total communication with that beautiful screen and keyboard. If you do a lot of email and web work — you want the BlackBerry 8700c as your communication mainstay.

BlackBerry 8700c

You can pull 10 different email accounts into your main BlackBerry Inbox so that gives you complete control over a total of 11 email addresses. If, however, you want instant email, use your BlackBerry email address.

Your other outside email accounts will only be polled for new messages every 15 minutes and the 8700c seems to respond better and faster with LED flashing and other forms of notification when the email arrives from the BlackBerry system instead of your outside email. Cingular/at&t have spent a lot of money in the New York Metro area to improve their service level and you can immediately feel the speedy, stinging difference in the responsiveness of the network.

Cingular Logo

Here’s what Cingular/at&t say on their website about the improvements:

Two leading independent research companies have concluded that no wireless market has fewer dropped calls or is more reliable in the New York metro area and In 2005, we invested over $500 million and added more than 270 new cell sites in the NYC metro area to upgrade our network and bring you: Greater service coverage Enhanced voice quality Fewer dropped calls Improved access to advanced data services

Of the three wireless services I have lived with over the past fifteen years or so I’d rank Cingular’s EDGE system first, Sprint EV-DO second and Verizon’s high speed network — whatever they’re calling it now
— last.

EDGE provides superfast data and all your voice calls are clear and crisp and neither Sprint nor Verizon can match Cingular in value — with Rollover minutes each month — or in outstanding quality of voice and sound reception. I get 4 of 5 bars of EDGE signal strength IN MY BASEMENT that is surrounded on all sides in bedrock with one shallow window for light and emergency egress. Talk time on the standard 8700c battery is an amazing four hours while on the EDGE network.

Purchasing the Phone I was enticed into this move by the tricksy Amazon.com. This week they were having a special where the $350.00 USD BlackBerry 8700c was on sale for $149.99 with a rebate of $150.00 USD for a two year contract which — if you do the fast math — means you get the BlackBerry 8700c FOR FREE if you are a first time activation with Cingular/at&t! I added another phone for Janna to the plan and that mean we paid $75.00 USD for each BlackBerry 8700c. I challenge you to find a better deal than that for two new 8700c phones. Before I ordered the phone from Amazon, I called Cingular/at&t and asked them if they could match that Amazon price.

The guy on the phone laughed at me because he didn’t believe me. I sent him to Amazon and when he saw that deal he said under his breath, “I can’t get that price with my employee discount.”

The best deal he could offer was a couple of $50.00 USD rebates to lower the price of each phone to an astronomical $250.00 USD. You also sign up for a service plan on Amazon when you place your order for the phone and on the Cingular/at&t FamilyTalk Nation plan you can add a second line for $9.99 USD. All calls to other phones on the Cingular/at&t network are free and do not count against your national minutes. You are also required to purchase the BlackBerry data plan for the 8700c at $44.99 USD per month.

On that plan you get unlimited email and unlimited web browsing on the high-speed EDGE Network. You must provide personal information for an impending credit check during the Amazon signup process that includes your Social Security number and your Driver License. I had my phones in hand the next day. Currently there is three day delay on Amazon for ordering the BlackBerry 8700c and you now only get $99.00 USD back from Amazon in a rebate instead of $150.00 USD.

Keep your eye on the Amazon site because these phone offers seem to change each week.

Getting Service Setting up the phone was a bit of an event. Amazon “includes” a Cingular/at&t SIM card for instant activation of the phone but when I say “include” I really mean “tossed haphazardly in the shipping box.” I would have missed the SIM cards if I didn’t pull the box apart to find the SIMs stuck between the shipping tape and the hard place of the box flap.

The SIM card is a smaller card stuck in a larger credit card size card you punch out of the larger card. The SIM card is the size of an SD Card and you push that SIM card into your phone to get registered on the system. Be sure to clean the contacts on the SIM card because my card had a hard time registering until I rubbed the contacts with the business end of a pencil eraser.

Cingular SIM card

That SIM card is the key for communication. Without it you will not be able to unlock the phone. The great thing about your service on Cingular/at&t is your SIM card is you and not your phone. That means you can take that SIM card and pop it into another phone of your choosing and that new phone will be auto-registered on the Cingular/at&t system. The 8700c instructions say your phone will auto-register in 15 minutes after inserting the SIM card.

Beware that the icons you see when you start up your phone for the first time are not all the icons you will have available to you. After your phone “finds” its home on the Cingular/at&t network and gets registered you will see other icons begin to appear on your phone and those icons represent your web browsing tools. I just happened to be looking at my phone when those new icons appeared and it was wacky watching each icon pop up from some hidden somewhere.

HOONS

Hoons” are the speedy spectacular things about the BlackBerry 8700c that one cannot now live without after having the phone for a day.

1. The BlackBerry 8700c is fast and EDGEy! It zooms. It spins. It speeds! YOU CAN TALK ON THE PHONE AND BROWSE THE WEB! If you are browsing the web YOU CAN GET A PHONE CALL! You can truly multi-task with the 8700c on the EDGE network from Cingular/at&t. I have been able to get into the secure areas of this blog, my bank and a hunkered down State of New York email system with the 8700c so doing “Power Browsing” business online is not a problem.

2. The speakerphone sounds great and is easy to use.

3. Setting up your phone online is a fine experience because the BlackBerry portal is excellent. You can fine-tune filters and change your password and do lots of other interacting with your phone from any computer in the world.

HAINTS

Haints” are the ghostly things that are neither here nor there. We can take these BlackBerry 8700c features or leave them.

1. You can download themes and ringers. That’s okay but not spectacular. There isn’t much online for download and the game embedded with the phone is pretty awful — it’s a version of the game where you bounce a ball with a paddle to break bricks. I also had some trouble getting LED and ringer notifications when I switched from the default Cingular/at&t theme so my advice is to keep the default theme active and not to bother downloading any new themes.

2. There’s no camera or video capability in the 8700c. I don’t miss those features but, for some, that feature loss might be a deal breaker. For others that means the 8700c is tiny and lightweight. The whole phone fits snugly into the center of your palm and it stays there all day long.

3. The Desktop software is ugly. It works, but it’s Ugly! I thought it would be a beautiful reproduction of the BlackBerry’s enticing interface on my desktop but it’s really just an ugly conduit for moving contacts and tasks and other Outlook-related information onto your 8700c. You can also backup all your settings and that’s nice, too, even though the experience is pedestrian and ugly looking.

HAGS

Hags” are the witchy and hateful things about the BlackBerry 8700c that makes us want to toss it out the window.

1. I am going to rip the haggy battery door off the thing with my teeth because it never opens kindly on its own even when you follow the illustration in the handbook. If you need a handbook illustration on how to open the battery door the battery door is too complicated and needs to be redesigned!

2. The holster is awful. You have to pinch a tab to get the 8700c out of its holster? Isn’t that like squeezing a bicycle tire while trying to fill it with air?

3. The BlackBerry 8700c does not like my stereo, TV or computer. I can wave it like a wand in front of the TV and there will be interference; waving it next to a stereo speaker brings a harsh white noise that will rattle the Haints!

My computer LCD screen kind of vibrates in waves when the phone is nearby. Everything still works together in the same room it just makes me wonder what the BlackBerry 8700c is invisibly doing to my innards as I hold it next to my ear canal and provide a direct path into my brain while speaking softly and carrying a big EDGE.

BEWARE You know there are a lot of people who use their BlackBerry phones so much for emailing that, in the street, the code name of the BlackBerry is “CrackBerry!” You have been warned! The 8700c is addictive and, for me, it is a laptop replacement on the road. I can do all my email and web business on a tiny phone.

There is also something known as “CrackBerry Thumb” and that starts to happen when you use the scroll wheel so much your right thumb begins to throb. It happened to me the first day! Janna had one of the original BlackBerry pagers way back when and the scroll wheel was on the face of the pager instead of the side where it sits today. Having the wheel on the face is much more thumb-friendly than forcing your thumb to scroll and then press in an uncomfortable side direction.

The solution to “CrackBerry Thumb” is to learn the keyboard shortcuts. The ENTER key is the same as pressing in the scroll wheel and that saves a lot on thumb wear and tear. The space bar also helps you jump around. Holding down key chords will make you scroll your thumb less and get all your fingers involved in the action.

Memorize the color Navigation tear-out included with your Getting Started Guide. ALT+SCROLL will be your new best friend. Also beware of the Auto Backlight feature. It is confusing. Sometimes the BlackBerry will give you a bright screen. Other times it will decide to dim automagically for you.

This is supposed to be what I call “anticipatory environment technology” where the BlackBerry self-modifies its behavior based on the ambient light around you but I find the screen changes annoying. I want my screen on full bright at all times but I can’t figure out a way to make that behavior the default so right now

I’m stuck with a ghostly screen that brightens and dims on its whims.

Phone Features

Here is more obligatory hardcore information that will take you even deeper into the world of the CrackBerry 8700c:

* Email, phone, Internet, SMS, and organizer applications in a single device

* Full 35 key QWERTY keyboard

* Bluetooth® connectivity for connecting wireless accessories

* GPRS/EDGE High-Speed Data Access

* 850/900/1800/1900 MHz – Quad-band for international compatibility

* Large 320 x 240 pixel color display

* Integrates with enterprise email account or up to 10 outside email accounts

* Speakerphone

* Polyphonic/MP3 ringtones

* Embedded RIM® wireless modem

* Memory: 64 MB flash memory, 16 MB SDRAM

* Processor: Intel PXA901 at 312 MHz

* Warranty: 1 yr on the phone and accessories

User Interface: Backlit, Clock, Text Message Indicator, Voice Mail Button, Voice Mail Indicator, Volume Select/Display, Signal Strength Indicator Display Size: 15 lines Size & Weight:
4.4 x 2.9 x 0.94 inches
4.9 oz.

Advanced Messaging: Numeric Paging Web & Data Features: Call Restrictions, Lock Alarm Power: Battery Strength Indicator Minimum Rated Standby Time: 240 hours Minimum Rated Talk Time: 240 minutes Battery

Cell Composition: Lithium Ion Charging Time: 2.0 hours Extras: Personal Information Manager, Headphone Jack, Alarm Components: USB Cable, Battery, Travel Charger, holster w/ Belt Clip

Final Call

The BlackBerry 8700c is the multi-tasking phone you’ve been waiting for since the debut of the Treo 650 two years ago. The phone is beautiful; the Cingular/at&t network is EDGE-ready and powerfully fast; the 8700c is light in your hand and heavy in helping you leverage the never-ending tasks of your evergreen workday.

121 Comments

  1. It is pretty fast email, tajuki. You can’t force a mail check as far as I can tell but the time between a regular email hitting my BlackBerry address and a BlackBerry address hitting my BlackBerry address is no difference at all — the email arrives within a minute or two with notification.

  2. And there you are, Janna Marie!
    Love the new Gravatar! Harr!
    The phone is made for email and text communication. It really does messaging really well and the fact voice is good too is a an extra bonus. You should write your own review of how you plan to use your BlackBerry in your hectic life.

  3. And there you are, Janna Marie!
    Love the new Gravatar! Harr!
    The phone is made for email and text communication. It really does messaging really well and the fact voice is good too is a an extra bonus. You should write your own review of how you plan to use your BlackBerry in your hectic life.

  4. Bye!
    I think your old BlackBerry would indicate if your messages sent via the BlackBerry network were read yet or not by the other person.
    I miss that feature because I never know if you’re ignoring me or if you just haven’t checked your 8700c for new messages.

  5. Hi Gordon!
    I think Cingular will become, on April 22, “at&t” (reincarnated with the small letters!) again and the place will rock even more than it does now! “Cingular” is one of the ugliest names to pronounce and spell in the history of the free world!
    😀
    EDGE is the future and it covers more of the nation than Sprint’s EV-DO system. That means you can talk fast and do messaging and email all at a fast pace.
    I was with Verizon for over 10 years — stretching way back in spurts and spats when they were still Bell Atlantic Mobile — and I never thought the service was that great. These newer high-speed networks have great building penetration and a fabulous persistence of connection unlike the old, scratchy, analogue days of yore.

  6. Great review, nice looking phone. We have cells as part of our phone/DSL package/cell, we tend to only use them to call & email each other.
    I’m still hoping I get given a “Crackberry” at work as they are introducing them. You can tell who is from the IT dept. as they use Razor scooters in the hallways while using their Blackberry’s.
    Mik

  7. Mik!
    Yeah, the CrackBerry is the semiotic for being a Hepcat and cutting edge! It’s always sort of been that way with the RIM devices. They find a hardcore audience that loves them and sleeps with them because they cannot live without them!
    I hope you get an 8700c – that’s the latest and greatest of the CrackBerry bunch!
    😀

  8. Here is a Review Update for the 8700c:
    1. The battery is phenomenal. We get 4.5 hours of Talk Time as well as an hour of web surfing as well as getting and sending 40 email messages a day in the New York City Metro area and it all happens on a single battery charge! The EDGE network protocol is the reason for the stellar battery performance.
    2. You can turn off the “Automatic Backlight” by going into Options and turning it off. Now I have a steady, bright, screen at all times without the BlackBerry deciding for me when it thinks I want a dim or a bright screen. I can’t imagine any scenario that a person would not always want a bright screen, especially with the longer battery life.
    3. I set the “Backlight” to say on for 60 seconds up from the default 30 seconds. That helps a lot when you’re doing web stuff and reading and responding to messages. The strong battery made that change a non-issue.
    4. I also changed the day and time to be kept by the Network instead of the Blackberry. That means if I travel into another time zone or when Daylight Savings Time kicks in the EDGE network will auto-update my phone and I don’t have to worry about digging into Options to set the time and date.
    5. Cingular currently allows you to switch Minutes Plans without re-setting your contract. That all changes April 1, 2006 — probably when Cingular officially becomes the new lowercase “at&t” — and if you move from one plan to another you will be re-setting your contract. In the case of 2 year contracts that change can have long-lasting aftereffects so make sure you’re on the right plan. If you need to move up to more minutes or down to less minutes DO IT NOW before it’s too late!

  9. REVIEW UPDATE:
    1. When your phone’s battery is “low” your phone’s indicator LED will flash between green and red. The red indicates a low battery state.
    2. When you miss an alert (messages, voice, calendar), your LED will flash red.
    3. A steady green LED means your phone is soundly operating.

  10. Nice review. Here’s a question for you. After years of losing my address book data stored on different platforms, apps, gadgets, etc., I settled on keeping it in plain ol’ excel. Do you know of any way to import from excel into the Blackberry address book? I have of course structured the data carefully. Is there an xml schema into which I could suck the spreadsheet data, then pump into the Blackberry?

  11. Hi bob and welcome to this forum!
    Thank you for the kind comments on the review.
    I would think you’d need to import your spreadsheet into a supported synch program found in the BlackBerry Desktop software — like Outlook — and then do a transfer into Outlook and then do the synch.
    Perhaps someone else reading this will have a better solution for you.

  12. I’m a newby to everything but my beloved old Palm Zire. (I like the calendar on my desktop). Finally moving into the modern age, I’m switching to Outlook for my real estate business and am about to buy a PDA phone. I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Blackberry 8700 or the Treo 650. (I have to use Cingular or Tmobile because I need to roam internationally). I’ll mostly want a good Palm substitute for contacts/calendar and lots of emails. Minimal web browsing and NO games/movies/etc. Any strong feelings towards one vs. the other? I really don’t understand the pros or cons. Working in a typical Microsoft business enviroment I guess I should want a Treo 700 but does windows mobile really matter that much? HELP Please!

  13. Hi lacorsa and welcome to the forum!
    The Treo 650 is old technology. It should not be on your plate of thought.
    The BlackBerry 8700c and the Treo 700 are in the same league at least. The Treo 700 is Windows on a tiny screen and you click this and tap that to get stuff done. The 8700c is a much friendlier user interface.
    You want the 8700c. It was made for email, voice and then web browsing. You don’t have to worry about games or any multimedia stuff.

  14. Thanks for that quick reply. One further question please. Does the BB 8700 work well with Outlook? Is it easy to synch (or whatever it’s called now)? I found this one of the only informative forums after HOURS of reading articles about all this on the web.

  15. Hi lacorsa —
    Yes, the first thing I did with my BlackBerry 8700c was synch it up with all my Outlook 2003 data via the Desktop Manager software included with the phone. There’s a more up-to-date version you can download from the Blackberry website. Not a problem at all synching data from Outlook to 8700c and back all day.

  16. When you add the phone to your shopping cart you’ll then be presented with the Voice Plans. You’ll choose one and then the mandatory BlackBerry unlimited data plan will also be added to you account. It’s all pretty slick. I never thought I’d ever buy a phone through Amazon.com!
    You only pay for the phone on Amazon — though you sign up for everything there — Cingular will bill you for all the non-phone service stuff.
    The current Amazon deal is still pretty sweet, though compared to buying the phone direct from Cingular.com last time I checked…

  17. Actually not if you really pay attention to the details of the plans. Cingular gives you a $5 per month discount off the combined voice/data plan. Over 24 months that comes to the approx. $150 you save buying the phone thru amazon. Bottom line – Cingular is offering the same service and the same phone for the same price. I’m still not sure why the 8700 is better than the Treo anyway.

  18. REVIEW UPDATE:
    1. Messaging is incredibly fast. I hit Google Mobile from the 8700c’s web browser and logged into my Gmail account. Then I composed an email message for my BlackBerry email address and before the Gmail account finished re-loading the page to tell me my message was sent, my 8700c notified me a new message — the message I had just sent myself — was waiting for my in my Inbox. That is truly “instant messaging” in a wild email-only sort of way!
    2. Shortcuts are great. They really do save your thumb.

  19. So there, indeed!
    Posting that message was fun and easy and the BlackBerry browser keeps you logged in from session to session so you don’t have to keep logging in unless you choose to do so.
    High marks, RIM, high marks!

  20. So there, indeed!
    Posting that message was fun and easy and the BlackBerry browser keeps you logged in from session to session so you don’t have to keep logging in unless you choose to do so.
    High marks, RIM, high marks!

  21. David:
    I set up my 8700c thru the bb enterprise server and have a question.
    I use exchange for our corporate email. I can get connected to our exchange server to deliver to the bb enterprise server for delivery to my 8700c, however, I can not find out how to sync the emial I update from the 8700c.
    I have tested a Treo 700 and it sync’s with the exchange server. When I open an email, the exchange server shows it as opened.
    Can I set anything up to have the 8700c sync the email in a bidirectional mode?
    Thanks
    Wallace

  22. David:
    I set up my 8700c thru the bb enterprise server and have a question.
    I use exchange for our corporate email. I can get connected to our exchange server to deliver to the bb enterprise server for delivery to my 8700c, however, I can not find out how to sync the emial I update from the 8700c.
    I have tested a Treo 700 and it sync’s with the exchange server. When I open an email, the exchange server shows it as opened.
    Can I set anything up to have the 8700c sync the email in a bidirectional mode?
    Thanks
    Wallace

  23. Good review — unusually good quality images, too.
    I just got a 8700c and I have some questions:
    1. No voice dialing . . . ? (This is astounding. It is like buying a new car and finding out that it doesn’t have reverse gear.) The Cingular salesman told me that the Motorola 850 Bluetooth earpiece would “provide voice dialing.” I can’t imagine how this could be done with the earpiece. Am I now correct is believing that voice dialing is simply not possible with the 8700c?
    2. Is there a way to use a desktop computer to enter phonebook data and then upload it to the BB? I installed the software for syncing but there are NO apps listed. (Note: I don’t use Outlook and I don’t want to.) I thought that I could use a computer to make entries in all the internal BB apps like notebook, phonebook, ToDo, etc (like I used to be able to do with a Palm) and then transfer the updated information to the BB. Is that possible? If so, why don’t the apps show up on my computer?
    3. I do not subscribe to the BB email service. Is is possible for me to access my standard email service to send and receive email? If so, do I need a special email app for that?
    If anyone can guide me, i would be grateful.
    AJ

  24. Good review — unusually good quality images, too.
    I just got a 8700c and I have some questions:
    1. No voice dialing . . . ? (This is astounding. It is like buying a new car and finding out that it doesn’t have reverse gear.) The Cingular salesman told me that the Motorola 850 Bluetooth earpiece would “provide voice dialing.” I can’t imagine how this could be done with the earpiece. Am I now correct is believing that voice dialing is simply not possible with the 8700c?
    2. Is there a way to use a desktop computer to enter phonebook data and then upload it to the BB? I installed the software for syncing but there are NO apps listed. (Note: I don’t use Outlook and I don’t want to.) I thought that I could use a computer to make entries in all the internal BB apps like notebook, phonebook, ToDo, etc (like I used to be able to do with a Palm) and then transfer the updated information to the BB. Is that possible? If so, why don’t the apps show up on my computer?
    3. I do not subscribe to the BB email service. Is is possible for me to access my standard email service to send and receive email? If so, do I need a special email app for that?
    If anyone can guide me, i would be grateful.
    AJ

  25. Thanks for the kind feedback, AJ and welcome to the blog!
    1. No idea about Voice dialing. I prefer the speed dial buttons because it is faster for me.
    2. Yes, when you set up your Desktop connection for the first time you’ll have to click on a list of programs to use for synch.
    3. I think all the email is serviced through your BlackBerry.net account.
    I’m sure there are others here who know much more than I have shared and they will enlighten us.

  26. David,
    1. Voice dialing would allow a user to initiate a call from the Bluetooth earpiece by just clicking and saying a name. When you’re driving or walking, etc, it seems much faster than speed dialing because you don’t even need to have the BB out of your pocket.
    2. When I installed the desktop software, there were no usable programs available to click on. That was my point. I thought the BB software would include a basic address book, to do list, etc software that can be used on the desktop. I’m amazed that it doesn’t and I’m even more amazed that there doesn’t seem to be a third party app to do this.
    After spending hours on the web searching for answers and talking to the Cingular tech people, I think no one really knows much about how the BB operates without BIS and MS Outlook. I must be the first user without those.
    Thanks,
    AJ

  27. I’m with AJ–Amazed with the 8700, then baffled by the retrograde Blackberry desktop application and the first generation website for email, calendar, etc. I have 100s of addresses to add, and there’s no app to do that other that Microsoft? Wuzzup wid dat?
    Anybody know how I back up all the stuff on the device to the Blackberry web application for contacts, calendar, etc? I see my emails, but how do I get the other data onto the website, so that if the device bites the dust, I don’t lose everything.
    B

  28. Hey Bob,
    From my experience, you won’t get any answers — just blank looks and shoulder shrugs from BB/Outlook users who can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to do things differently.
    I dumped the Blackberry for a Treo 650 and I like it much better. The 650 is Palm OS based and it actually comes with a very simple and usable desktop interface.
    I think the BB is really suited for corporate use where everyone uses the same MS Outlook based mail server. I still can’t understand why no one has created a standalone desktop app for it. But now I don’t care.The Treo seems to do everything I need.
    AJ

  29. REVIEW UPDATE:
    1. BES is a terrific feature that updates your phone with email messages with a nearly real time “pulse” effect.
    2. PIN messages between BlackBerry devices is divine. PIN is the only way to go! You bypass the mail servers. It’s like “Direct Connect” for text messaging.
    3. Blackberry Messenger is an outstanding program for live chat between BlackBerries.
    4. Google Local rules! You even get satellite views on the BlackBerry. You’ll never get lost again!
    5. Bluetooth works surprisingly well. I like the flashing blue LED indicating Bluetooth is active because it is much less bright than the obnoxious green LED service light. The Plantronics 510 Bluetooth headset is fantastic and it will only cost you $50.00 USD. The sound and voice experience via a Bluetooth headset is cleaner and stronger than using the BlackBerry without a headset or even with the included wired headset. Amazing!
    6. The extended battery for the 8700c is a must. It gives you days of furious service even with Bluetooth active and enabled and chat active and enabled. It does not add much weight or bulk to your 8700c experience.

  30. To AJ’s point above: Having been down the Palm path twice before (the original US Robotics Palm 5000, and a later one about three years ago) I wanted to go the BBerry for a change. I’ll stick with it –I dug up an old copy of Outlook, exported a spreadsheet of all the fields, and reformated my own excel contacts list to be able to load it in. I have figured out how to backup using the BBerry Desktop (which not infrequently crashes my machine). I am still lost however on backing everything other than email to the BBerry website and how to type a number of contacts into a form there rather than using my thumbs. There’s gotta be a way. Switching topics…

  31. Cases and Protectors
    About twice a year I would inadvertantly drop my cell phone and send it skittering across the pavement, only to brush it off and make a call. That simple can’t happen with the BBerry.
    In an effort to avoid dropping the BBerry, I bought one of the Motorola bluelight ear thingies (with the matching usb charging mechanism!) which I would have otherwise sworn that I would not be caught dead with (due to the sheer robo-trekkie idiocy of it).
    But what about a decent case? The 8700 case just doesn’t look durable. The blue metallic finish It has already started to flake off at one edge, and I don’t carry it around with change or keys, etc. For the time being, I put it the case for my HP calculator, which works fine. It’s rare that I will wear the BBerry on my belt. Instead I carry it in my the front pocket of my pants. So I need a very thing case.
    I have looked at the aluminum cases on eBay. I had one a while ago for an aforementioned Palm, and it worked reasonably well. I will probably go with that again. But I would also like a small form factor case to use. What’s the best case to get to carry the BBerry in you pocket?

  32. Bob3 —
    It sounds to me you want a dedicated BES solution from a place like http:///www.mailstreet.com where you can wirelessly manage and update your calendar, contacts and other events. It’ll run you $20.00 a month but all your troubles will vanish.
    I carry my BlackBerry around in my pocket and I don’t notice any telling wear and tear. You can’t get thinner than that.
    😀
    If you’re still having trouble, sounds like you need a skin like this:
    http://www.seidioonline.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=286
    They should have an 8700c version coming out soon.

  33. Whoa…cool skin…that’ll be perfect. Seido said they should have them in a 2-3 weeks (i.e. end of April).
    The Mailstreet site reflects the kind mature ecosystem that I would have expected to develop around the BB. I had not yet come across this before your suggestion, which maybe shoes that BB is still primarily oriented at corporate users and not individuals. Thank you.

  34. Hey bob —
    Yes, Seidio has a great reputation in the PDA community and they are active in responding to user needs.
    I am on Mailstreet BES. It is head and tails above the Cingular BIS you are using. You finally have power and “pulse delivery” of email on your side. I’m not hosting any of my domains mail over there — I just do a straight forward of the accounts I want to monitor and then I reply with my Mailstreet address as needed. There are several BES “exchange client” services out there but Mailstreet is the oldest and the best.
    BlackBerries are powerful — but when you’re an individual with corporate needs without a corporation behind you — a solution like Mailstreet is a godsend.

  35. An FYI to those who are interested in getting the 8700c. I found the best deal. Its at Buy.com. You put out 300$ initially, but there are two 150$ rebates, and you get a Motorola HS820 bluetooth headset for the deal….free. My set is on its way right now.
    Hope to have the same wonderful experience as the rest of you. Especially with my past phone being a sidekick 2, which just rocked. I am leaving the sidekick fold because I actually work for ATT and get a small discount on service with cingular. That and my sidekick is dieing a slow death.
    Cheers!

  36. Thanks for the heads up on the Buy.com deal, Archanum, and welcome to the blog!
    It’s good to know you’re a Sidekick convert. I never really quite understood the appeal of that device for people over 18.
    :mrgreen:

  37. Well, for me it was that I was able to do aim, email, web, calender, all in one device. And it does multi-tasking as well. That and I wasnt really into the windows type phones. When I was initially looking for a phone that did the work of a pda and phone and did it well, the sidekick was the only thing that I could find that worked well….that and a lot of my friends recommended it. But recently with having to look for another phone I did research and found that with the 8700c a lt of previous BB bugs were worked out, and a lot of “wants” had been added. And with the great reviews I have seen and the fact that I can get service from my company….well this is where I ended up.
    :mrgreen:

  38. Well, first impressions….its very cool. I like how its setup and how quick it is, especially on the internet. The one thing I don’t like though, is the size of the keyboard compared to the sidekick. My thumbs are having a lot more trouble on the BB than I did on the sidekick, but I think it will just take some getting used to. Overall, I like it though.

  39. Thanks for the update, Archanum. My thumbs were a little sore the first week getting everything set up. Then everything calmed down and the thumbs are fine. The extended battery also helps with the thumbs problem because it givesyour BlackBerry more of a backside to hold onto while typing. It makes a wonderful difference having that extra heft and size.

  40. 1.I was told that there was a voice activated dialing feature available on the 8700c through Cingular ? Does anyone know anything about this?
    2. I keep getting messages on my current Blackberry that I am about to exceed my quota or have exceeded my quota. When this happens e-mails are bounced back to the sender as not being able to be delivered. What can I do about this and how?

  41. Just got my 8700c a few days ago and love it. Your information here helped me make my decision.
    I had Palms over the past few years and phones, but this thing does it all!
    I bought mine through Amazon and was wondering if you had a problem getting the rebate? I assumed you transported your cell number from another carrier? They say the rebate is void if you do that, but who doesn’t have their own number they would like to keep? A 13 year old?
    On another topic…I am purchasing espell ($29.95) to make sure I don’t send out IM type messages to my clients by mistake. Have you heard anything about espell?

  42. Hi Susan!
    Welcome and thanks for the kind comments!
    I do not yet have my rebate. I think my fine print said I had to be active for three months with Cingular before the rebate kicks in — I don’t think there was a requirement for me to use a Cingular number to get the rebate. Because those offers change a lot you should check with Amazon to see what’s happening.
    I haven’t heard of Espell — let me know how it works for you!

  43. I love my Sony Ericson s710, but the phone GUI locks up once a week, pauses frequently, and the bluetooth range is lacking. That said, it is a 10 slot EDGE data modem and works over bluetooth with my laptop using Cingular’s Connection Manager.
    Will the 8700c function as a bluetooth EDGE modem? I’ve asked several Cingular, or at&t, or, well, whoever they are now, reps. But got glassy eyed stares from all.
    I’d also like to know if there is any sort of personal ‘push’ software out there I can run on the network at home for collection and rule based forwarding to the BB. Do I understand that otherwise, it works like any other online mail reader and does not go get mail until prompted by the user? Does the BB email account that comes with it have smart filtering and collection options?
    I gota have a new toy, and I think this is it, but no wireless modem would be a dealbreaker. I guess it will be a treo 700 otherwise. I hope the quality control on them is better than on the Tungsten C… Awesome toys, terrible touch screens.
    Nice thread, thanks to all for the info.

  44. Hi Gordon!
    Did you get an 8700c?
    Is it new or used?
    Who is your carrier?
    The battery door is tough to work. Read the manual. They actually have an illustration on how to take it off if I remember right. Just make sure it doesn’t jump out of your hand. I usually put the whole thing on my thigh and then gently press down on the door release with one hand and then kind of slide/push the door down with the other hand.
    I have the big battery with the bigger door and it seems to work much better than the standard door.

  45. I got it new through buy.com – transferring my service to Cingular. I actually have to go to a Cingular store tonight because buy.com told cingular my carrier was Sprint which was not at all what I told them it was, and so now I have to get a new SIM card.
    I just hope they will be able to help me – I’m transferring a 646 phone number. I’ll find out soon enough.
    I ended up using a key to push down on the button and it slid off with no effort. I think the key (no pun intended) is to push that button just right.
    I guess I will get the bigger battery so I can have a bigger door. 🙂

  46. I got it new through buy.com – transferring my service to Cingular. I actually have to go to a Cingular store tonight because buy.com told cingular my carrier was Sprint which was not at all what I told them it was, and so now I have to get a new SIM card.
    I just hope they will be able to help me – I’m transferring a 646 phone number. I’ll find out soon enough.
    I ended up using a key to push down on the button and it slid off with no effort. I think the key (no pun intended) is to push that button just right.
    I guess I will get the bigger battery so I can have a bigger door. 🙂

  47. I just spent one and a half hours at the Cingular store because they still hadn’t properly ported my number.
    I had to change my home address to one of the ones I had when I was living in NY because otherwise, it wouldn’t work.
    I’m looking forward to tomorrow night, when my phone is fully charged (does it really take 24 hours?) to use it 🙂

  48. David,
    Your comments are well written, in depth and well thought out.
    I am a current Bbry 7250 user and separate phone (Verizon). Love the 8700c, but have heard repeated complaints about the microphone picking up too much ambient noise.
    People on other end of call say sounds like we are in a train or wind tunnel.
    Is there a fix or is it luck on which individual 8700c one gets?
    Thanks in advance

  49. Hi Marty!
    Thanks for the comment and welcome!
    Yes, there is background noise on the 8700c that can be annoying and it’s a feature, not a bug. Upgrading to the Bharti OS seems to solve the problem for some people. You can root around here for more information:
    http://www.blackberryforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=52
    Using a good noise-cancelling Bluetooth headset helps, too.
    Talking in a quiet room helps.
    Jersey City is painful for hearing someone while they’re on the street talking. Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska are better. Queens, New York is slightly better than Jersey City. I think it depends on the cell tower you’re using and how condensed the traffic is on that site.

  50. Just switched from a Verizon 7250 Blackberry to a Cingular 8700 Blackberry. After having had the Verizon phone for about 6 months, made the switch solely to use the new 8700 with Cingular as an international phone which Verizon didn\’t offer.
    Just 5 days into my new service with Cingular and I HATE it! I live in Boston and can\’t get reception anywhere! And when it shows that I have a signal, it attempts to call 5 times before ever processing the call. Every call I\’ve made (about 1/10 what I\’d have made with my Verizon Blackberry) is of terrible quality, extremely echo-y, and almost every call has been lost or dropped at some point in the 1 to 2 minute conversation.
    So far, I\’m VERY dissapointed with the Cingular service. This isn\’t to say that the 8700 isn\’t a great phone because my friend has it with T-Mobile and it works great! SO what\’s up with Cingular claiming they have fewer dropped calls than any other provider? Or are they basing that solely on the New York metro area?
    Either way…I think I might end up going back to Verizon. Oh the headaches…

  51. I just got my 8700c and when I place it in the carrying case, the window pops up that asks me if I want to make the “P key a speed dial key.
    Does the window have to be turned to the inside of the case e.g. where you can’t see it unless you take it out of the case? This is reversed my the blackberry my wife has.
    Thanks

  52. Iam thinking about buying a BB off of Ebay. I already have a cingular phone with a Simm card. Do I have to buy a upgraded plan If I dont want to use blackberrys email?
    thanks

  53. I just upgraded from the 7290 to the 8700c. Really like it. One thing that’s different and marginally annoying is in phone dialing. I’m integrated with my Outlook contacts. When I go to make a call, and the cursor is on the first of my recent call list, how you select someone to call is different.
    On the 7290, I would start typing letters and it would go to the matching contacts, and then I’d hit enter and call them.
    On the 8700c, I have to click the wheel, choose ‘call from address book’, then find the person.
    Is there a way to make the 8700c work like the 7290 in this regard?
    Thanks. This is a great forum.

  54. Hi David,
    I’ve been thinking about picking up a Blackberry 8700c after reading all of the great things about it here.
    The Motorola Q is attractive, but the Blackberry with Cingular service is a better deal because it’s available for free after rebates.
    It would be nice to be able to use the data services while out on the road and be able to always check in on this blog, as well as my blogs without the need to lug around a heavy laptop (which I always try to avoid doing).

  55. Hey Chris!
    Wow! You can’t beat free!
    I love my BlackBerry 8700c and I use it every day. The new BIS 2.0 from Cingular — the online panel that lets you set up outside email to read and reply to on your BlackBerry is much improved over the old 1.8 version.
    Background sound can be an issue in a noisy environment when you’re doing voice. Find a quiet place to make a call and the sound is better.
    It’s so great to do email and web — the web is a little slow — on the BlackBerry. I can post and reply and do Admin stuff. Very cool!

  56. Thinking about using a cell phone to do all of this even 10-years-ago would have been unimaginable. I remember having a work cell phone when I worked at another place that didn’t do text messaging in the early 2000s.
    Just think how far technology will advance in 10 years!

  57. Just to correct you on your comment about “browse the web and talk a the same time”. If your phone is sending data over the edge network, you cannot call out or recieve calls. This is a limitation that cannot be overcome by changing the brand of your phone. Perhaps the 8700 is more efficient in switching between voice and data?

  58. I am reading through this blog, trying to find a solution to what seems to be a more simple problem. Maybe someone can help me. I have an excel spreadsheet w/ my phone list on it. I have a blackberry 8700c and I’m trying to get the detailed phone list I already have onto my blackberry as easy as possible. If anyone could help me out it would be great. Thanks.

  59. What’s the scoop with the software upgrade that came out in mid-June. When I first looked at it, it seemed like a way for Blackberry to get out of maintaining browser based access (and storage) of all BBerry email messages, with very little upside. (Viewing PowerPoint does not seem equal to losing browser based access and backup for email.) As a result, I declined to upgrade. Who has had good/bad experiences witht he upgrade? Thanks.

  60. David — you noted that you were able to get your 8700 to automatically update the date and time when you traveled. I’ve tried setting it as you described, but it does not update…just got back from LA and my Bberry still thinks it’s on Pacific time — I had to set it manually back to the East Coast. Can you share more detail? Thanks!

  61. I got an 8700c a few days ago. I switched from a Motorola razr. I am using the 8700c for mostly personal/recreational use. It’s a great tool. No complaints so far. The phone is a little larger than I am used to, but I’ll get used to it. I have a little side business, so it’s nice to be able to keep it separate from my professional career.

  62. I HAVE 8700C. i use outlook on desktop to sync with. my bb won’t sort my tasks by priority, due date, etc.(only alphabetically) even though there are options to do so. i believe it was doint so. Why not now?

  63. Great info – Question: What’s your take on RIM Pearl or the Samsung Blackjack? I’m definitely more of a business user and I’m pretty sure that i will be picking up the 8700 but i am curious if you think either of those compete.

  64. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Chris, and the questions you ask are quite fine.
    If you are dead serious about email and communications you still cannot beat the 8700. It has the best keyboard and form factor.
    The Pearl is cute but reminds me of the Sidekick: It’s a toy for high school kids and it doesn’t have a real keyboard layout with dedicated keys.
    The Blackjack just feels cheap and uncomfortable to me. My 8700 has never failed me, it is strong and the keyboard is nothing short of wondrous.
    Your mileage may vary — but I’m sticking with the 8700 until a true and better replacement hits the air.

  65. Guys thanks for all the excellent info on my first Blackberry. Just activated it 3 days ago. I must say the so called owners manual leaves a lot to be desired. Can you help me with this quetion? How can I transfer all the phone contacts from my Cingular Nokia phone SIM card to the Cingular Blackberry SIM card?
    Thanks for the help

  66. Guys thanks for all the excellent info on my first Blackberry. Just activated it 3 days ago. I must say the so called owners manual leaves a lot to be desired. Can you help me with this quetion? How can I transfer all the phone contacts from my Cingular Nokia phone SIM card to the Cingular Blackberry SIM card?
    Thanks for the help

  67. Hello,
    I am having the same problem as SBBAXTER, but I have a BlackBerry 7105T. I cannot sort my tasks in the BlackBerry even though the option is there to sort. When I sort, nothing happens. Can anyone help with this, it’s very, very annoying. Thanks!

  68. Hello,
    I am having the same problem as SBBAXTER, but I have a BlackBerry 7105T. I cannot sort my tasks in the BlackBerry even though the option is there to sort. When I sort, nothing happens. Can anyone help with this, it’s very, very annoying. Thanks!