RIM BlackBerry 8820 review

£20
Price when reviewed

Owning a BlackBerry was once the only effective way to get email sent direct to your phone. These days, every man and his dog is offering push email, but there’s still a lot to be said for sticking with BlackBerry if email is your priority.

RIM BlackBerry 8820 review

In terms of sheer convenience, there’s a lot to be said for “always on” QWERTY keyboards that don’t slide away, and the one on the 8820 is particularly good. The keys look a little weird with their curved ridges, but our test panel confirmed that these make it very easy to get up a reasonable head of steam on the device. And you don’t sacrifice too much in terms of size, either – the 8820 is just 14.5mm thick and a good deal more pocketable than the E90, E61i, Palm Treo 680 and Toshiba G900.

Ease of use is excellent, too. Instead of four-way directional buttons or a thumbwheel, the 8820 is equipped with a clickable mini-trackball that sits above the keyboard, which makes moving around the interface a breeze. Other great features include intelligent contact look-up – on the home screen, you can start typing someone’s name, and matches from your contact book pop up automatically – and impressive levels of customisability, which allow different ringing and alert profiles to be set up on a per-contact or per-account basis, as you see fit.

The 8820 also comes stacked with high-end smartphone hardware. You get Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth and a GPS receiver, too. The phone includes BlackBerry maps to take advantage of the latter, although this doesn’t feature driving guidance, so you can’t use it in the car unless you opt for a full-blown satnav package such as Telmap.

It’s not all good news, however. Although the office documents from our test suite were dealt with competently, we couldn’t edit them without adding to the on-device software – and, neither could we open zip or pdf files.

Also, with only GPRS and EDGE connectivity, downloads are limited to a theoretical maximum of 200Kb/sec compared to the 3.6Mb/sec you get with an HSDPA-enabled device such as the TyTN II.

Despite these faults, however, the 8820 gets things largely right. Its ergonomics and usability are supreme, and it’s reasonably pocketable, too.

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