by Volker Weber

I have had the pleasure to test quite a few phones in the last weeks, some of them new, some of them even unreleased in the german market, amongst them the Treo 750v. I have also used all recent BlackBerrys, from the 72xx series, the 8700v, the 8707v, the 8700g, the 7130g, to the 8100 a.k.a. the Pearl. Since I occasionally post some quick reviews on this site, I have been asked by many people which device they should get for themselves. This is a hard question to answer.

What I can tell you however is what I am carrying in my pocket.

blackberry pearl

Big surprise: It's the Pearl. A surprise because I did not like SureType when I tested the 7130. I still do not like it very much, but I learned to live with it. The Pearl makes it worthwhile to learn, since it is so tiny and unobtrusive that I really want to use it. This is what I like:

- Push mail
- Ability to type short mail messages
- Small and lightweight
- Sufficient talk time, great standby (with BlackBerry service running)
- 4-band GSM/GPRS/Edge (850, 900, 1800, 1900)
- USB charger
- Vodafone theme, hacked to make it work on my unbranded Pearl

Things that are ok:

- Camera built-in, not great, but useable in daylight
- Syncs with the Mac over USB through PocketMac 4 (currently in beta)
- MicroSD (I currently down own any)

Things that need improvement:

- Obsolete BIS on O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone

In conclusion: The Pearl wins the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. Which does not mean the other ones are bad. Some honorable mentions:

The 8700g (T-Mobile) has Edge support on the german T-Mobile network. Almost as fast as UMTS, with better standby than the 8707v and a fast CPU. The 8707v can be used as a tethered UMTS modem. Very useful for a PC user, rubbish on a Mac since there is no support from RIM. Standby times are OK, the keyboard is excellent, almost as good as on the 72xx series. :-)

The Treo 750v is the nicest Windows Mobile phone I have seen so far. But it's not good enough that I could live with it. Standby times are abysmal with Exchange ActiveSync turned on. Without you don't get push mail, since the mail client cannot use IMAP IDLE. Like all the other Treos, the new one has this wonderful mute switch on the top: Ring or vibrate without going through menus or profiles. The keyboard is better than the Pearl, but worse than a 870x. Screen res, although at 240x240, is working well with email. Browsing mail is quick, actually very quick.

Stefan let me play with a Nokia E61. He does not like it, I actually like it a lot. It is surprisingly big, larger than a BlackBerry or a Treo, but quite thin. The body is all metal, so it feels good. Slow as all S60 devices, but I could live with it. There is BlackBerry Connect (BBC) available now, but I don't have any data, how much standby you get.

I am going to revisit the 750v again, when BBC comes out, which should be Real Soon Now. I will also use it next week at an Exchange event. Maybe I can learn something I do not know so far.

The world has not come to an end for Palm OS lovers. There will be another Palm Treo this year, which looks just like the 750, but will run on Palm OS. From what I hear I conclude that it won't have a UMTS radio, but it should still compete nicely with the 750v.


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