Second look at the BlackBerry 8800

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry 8800 and Pearl

After having played with the 8800 for almost a week now, I have a few observations. First of all, the build quality is not the same as the Pearl. It may be due to the fact that my device is from a very early production batch, but I find that the 8800 squeaks if you press the sides as you hold it to your ear. It is solid in the lower half, but squeaks if pressed in the upper half.

Typing is obviously easier, since the device does not have to use predictive text to find out what you want to write. I find myself correcting the Pearl still way too often. However, I am also making quite a few typos on the 8800. The keys are not spaced like on older BlackBerrys so I am hitting the wrong key more often than I expected. I may get used to the new keyboard over time and improve my typing skills on it.

Having a GPS receiver with you all the time, is a rather nice thing. You don't have to prepare yourself for a field trip. Just load BB Maps, start the GPS and it will tell you where you are. I will have to use this feature a bit more to find out what works well, and what does not, but at least the idea is really nice. The best thing is, that you don't have to preinstall any maps. It will download vector-based maps over the air.

I am stumped about one thing though: I have two SIMs from Vodafone and O2 which are "BlackBerry-enabled". If I put the O2 SIM into the Pearl and the Vodofone SIM into the 8800, both devices work just fine. If I swap the SIMs, the Pearl will use the Vodafone SIM just fine, but the 8800 is unable to connect to the BlackBerry APN on O2: "data connection refused". Both devices are unlocked and will place and receive phone calls just fine. Only the 8800 will not switch from "gprs" to "GPRS".


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