Comparison with the Palm Pilot
I've been a PDA fan for a long time. I started with a Newton 110,
progressed to a
Palm III, V, Visor Prism, Tungsten T and finally a Clie UX-50.
Obviously, I like Palm OS quite a bit. My biases explained, let's
proceed with the opinions.
7510 Hardware mini-review
The hardware is generally excellent. The screen in particular is
outstanding. Transreflective, supremely readable in all lighting
conditions including direct sunlight. Anti-glare coated,
non-touch-sensitive. (All input is via trackwheel and keyboard). The
backlight is dimmer than I expected, but well tuned to low-light
situations. The keyboard also illuminates and is very usable in the
dark. The unit is well-shaped and sits nicely in the hand. Great
attention has been paid to ergonomics, and it shows. The keyboard is
easy to use, and fairly fast once you've acclimated. The click wheel
takes a bit more force than I'd like, and is awkward if used
left-handed. It's primarily a right-handed device.
It's a bit thick at 1 inch, but I've gotten used to that. Since some
of the additional bulk is a speaker for the speakerphone, it's at least
useful. In other dimensions, it's comparable to older RIM units; quite
reasonable. Marginal for large pants pockets, but outsized for a dress
The default battery is specified to last 75 hours of standby; I get
more like 48. There is
a higher-capacity battery available for $70 that claims 110 hours.
I will probably end up getting one, just because the stock battery is
Hardware - good things
- One feature I really like is the charger/computer connection.
every cell phone maker on the planet, this uses a standard mini-USB
connector to charge and sync! They include two cables in the box. On
the plus side, this means you can leave the charger at home when
traveling, and plug it into your laptop instead. On the minus side, it
means you don't get an older-style cradle where the unit is plugged in
as soon as it docks. Overall, I rate this as a killer feature.
Additionally, the charger they provide has a standard full-size USB A
connector on it, so I can also use it to charge other stuff.
- The USB charge interface has another side effect: When
traveling, you can leave the charger behind and just charge from your
laptop. Since I
use this approach with my iPod and previous cell phone, I find it quite
convenient. The only AC adapter I have to carry is the laptops'. It
charges at half as fast while on the laptop - the adapter can deliver 1
amp, the laptop only 500mA.
- There's another clever feature I quite like with Blackberries.
holsters all have permanent magnets in them, so the unit can tell when
its holstered. Based on this, it will use a different set of alarms
(e.g. silent ring when holstered), auto-lock the unit if requested, and
turn off the display. Brilliantly simple, and I wish other makers
would copy or license the idea.
Hardware drawbacks and annoyances
- I wish that RIM would copy the dedicated applications buttons
are a fast way to get to the most-used applications and would help
- For some reason (Motorola, probably, who makes the iDEN cell
all Nextel phones have
extensible antennas. Even this blackberry, which makes it notably more
ungainly than its sleeker siblings. The antenna simply unscrews for
replacement, which is good because its probably easy to break. Lever
arms and all.
- In a feat of irony, the button for the backlight is not backlit.
is also flush with the surface,
and therefore quite hard to find. Since the backlight timer is
hardwired, this is often an
- No Bluetooth, and I miss it much. Found on the 7100t, so maybe
has seen the light.
- No camera, which is a bummer.
- I like the timed keyboard lock on my T68i, and miss it here. You
set it to lock when holstered, which is a half-way substitute.
- Ya know, I'm not looking for MP3 pop-tunes ringtones, but
single-voice FM? Cheesy and lame.
- Expansion slot. There isn't one, so the lack of MP3 playback is
of an issue since there's no where to store them.
New hardware from Nextel: Blackberry 7520
One and a half lousy
months after I got my 7510, Nextel discontinued it and introduced the
replacement 7520. As you can see from the
RIM specification page, it fixes several of my complaints.
Unfortunately, they wanted at least $200 to upgrade, so I'll keep the
7510 for the near future. Given the long list of improvements, its
worth getting the 7520 over the 7510 if you can.
- Brighter screen
- Double the memory (32 vs 16MB)
- Bluetooth (handsets only, alas.)
- Black instead of blue. OK, I don't really care about that part.
- GPS functionality
- Better ringtones. (Not sure about this, saw it on the BB forums)
I went ahead and got the extended life battery. I
can now go 2 days reliably, which is nice. Very little added bulk; the
newer back actually makes it slightly easier to get out the holster. I
don't know if the 7510 battery will work in the 7520.