Another reason that I wanted to cover the 8700g is that T-Mobile (who supplied me with this review unit) is offering some very attractive packages right now that could well suite the small business or even sole trader, meaning that you don’t have to be a corporate high flyer to have the latest BlackBerry in your pocket.
There are some obvious improvements over the 7290, but the one that grabs you straight off the bat is the screen. The 2.4in colour screen has a resolution of 320 x 240 and to be blunt it looks great. The colours are vibrant, the icons are vivid and detailed, and it’s viewable in almost any lighting condition. The latter is partly due to the new ambient light sensor which adjusts the backlight according to how bright your surroundings are.
With such a great new screen it comes as no surprise that you can now set photos as backgrounds on the home screen, but it’s worth noting that as soon as you dip into a menu, that image disappears and you’re back to a bland white background. The screen also highlights one of the major missing features on the 8700, a camera.
As luck would have it, I managed to spend some time talking to the folks at RIM today while I attended the launch of the BlackBerry 7130g (a full review will follow shortly). I was told that the corporate clients that make up the vast majority of BlackBerry users simply don’t want a camera imbedded into the device for “security reasons”. Now I accept that some companies specifically forbid camera phones on site, but surely the answer would be two models – one with a camera and one without?
It’s not even as if you can get your mate to send you over some pictures from his phone. Although the 8700 has integrated Bluetooth, you can’t actually use Bluetooth for file transfer. I asked RIM if the lack of Bluetooth file transfer was a hardware issue, or whether network operators were disabling it to encourage WAP downloads. Surprisingly I was told that the 8700 is capable of Bluetooth file transfer, but RIM had disabled it, once again for “security reasons”. This means that you’re gong to have to hook the device up to a PC to transfer anything to it, or try to send yourself files as email attachments.