RIM BlackBerry 7100g

Blackberry 7100Disconnecting for the weekend? Forget about it — your neurotic urge to stay online won’t let you. And besides, your inbox is a cruel mistress. But the Treo 650 costs too much, and, frankly, you spend more time reading e-mail and web pages than writing.

Meet your new phone: The BlackBerry 7100g, which combines the slim profile of a candy-bar phone with all the e-mail and internet savvy of other, less stylish, BlackBerrys. Granted, the 7100g is a bit wider than most phones, but it fits comfortably in a pants pocket, and you won’t feel like an idiot holding it to your ear in a bar — or the office.

The 7100g’s compressed QWERTY keyboard sports two letters per button. The phone’s SureType software does a good job of figuring out which letter you intend for each button press, so you can type fairly quickly. However, we found the keypad disorienting at first, and URLs are tricky to enter. The screen is bright and crisp, making reading web and e-mail a pleasure.

As a phone, the 7100g is solid, with decent if somewhat crunchy sound and a respectably loud and clear speakerphone. The keypad is extremely easy to use for dialing numbers; and combined with the excellent BlackBerry contact manager (which syncs with your PC), the 7100g is a top-notch communicator. Add a calendar, USB for syncing, Bluetooth for wireless headsets, and 36MB total of memory for holding data and running Java applications, and you’ve got a sleek, powerful, portable organizer, too. -Dylan Tweney

Best Feature: Bright, readable screen
Worst Feature: No built-in camera

RIM BlackBerry 7100g
Price: $250
Weight: 4.4 ounces
Size: 4.5 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches
Specs: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS; 36MB of memory (32MB flash, 4MB SRAM); 260 x 240-pixel, 2.3-inch color TFT; Bluetooth
www.blackberry.com
www.cingular.com

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RIM BlackBerry 7100g