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RIM BlackBerry 7290 review

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Let's first get two things out of the way here – there is no speakerphone or camera on this phone. A camera I can live without for business use. Nowadays mainly due to privacy concerns, many companies do not even allow camera phones in the building. As a result of being a camera-less unit do not expect any sort of built in multimedia package aside from a basic picture viewer. On top of this the 7290 does not provide any voice recording/playback. Keeping on this note do not expect the ability to voice dial. So even though you can now use a Bluetooth headset, you will still need to remove the phone from your pocket to place a call.
Without a built-in speakerphone, the 7290 has obviously taken some steps forward and a few back in trying to suit all business users.
However, the 7290 does have many great aspects. Right out of the box this device can easily be set up and used to its full potential. I was able to sync with outlook and import my complete contact list in seconds! By simply logging onto t-mobile.com/bwc (note: NOT compatible with Firefox), you can set up to 10 email accounts to be synced with the 7290. Incompatible email services include free versions of Hotmail and Yahoo!. However, you can still access these services via the web browser and third party applications. While we are on the web browser, I have noted a slightly quicker speed than previous versions (when actually getting a strong enough signal), but still is not in the league of its competitors. The browser does support JavaScript, but beware viewing pages with frames as navigation can be troublesome and views are not optimal for web surfing and viewing dynamic pages. This is a drawback on the device for a more casual user community. The browser is not robust enough to handle web browsing habits of a user who will be using this device as a web surfing utility.

phoneArena.com – Built-in browser has trouble with complex pages, frames and multiple image layouts.

RIM BlackBerry 7290 review

A built in IM client is not included, but T-Mobile provides an easy client on their site at http://www.t-mobile.com/services/messaging_instant.asp. Their messaging client seamlessly integrates with the BlackBerry device and supports AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.

Email and SMS are both easy to use with always on BlackBerry “push” technology meaning messages are automatically retrieved without having to manually click “send/receive.” Email supports attachments including but not limited to: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, PDF, JPEG, GIF, BMP and more. The email application on the 7290 may be one of the best I have used to date for easy and fast transmission of routine emails. RIM has done a great job in making most of their built in apps as straightforward as possible for all users to integrate this device into their daily life.

RIM BlackBerry 7290 review
RIM BlackBerry 7290 review

The QWERTY keyboard utilizes AutoText, which is an auto complete wizard to make typing full emails a simpler task. AutoText has a dictionary of many commonly used words and can be customized to your needs. It is a great feature and even adds apostrophe's to your words when needed. Overall it is wiz at completing words and even better in my opinion when remembering previously entered web addresses. The true mark of the 72xx series is the full QWERTY keyboard with the AutoText functionality and should be taken into consideration when deciding between these models and the more recently released 71xx series.

The address book integrates seamlessly with Outlook. The average user will have no trouble setting up their new device – no learning curve needed! The address book dubs as the phonebook on BlackBerry devices. This means from a single menu once you highlight your contact you have the option to SMS, email or call the choice selected. The device detects whether or not your contact has any or all of these fields filled out as they are optional when providing choices. The keyboard makes searching for a contact a breeze. You can enter any combination of their first or last name and find who you are looking for effortlessly and within a few keystrokes. With the 7290's upgrade to 32mb on-board memory you can now fill your device with more contacts and applications than ever before. The calendar also acts in the same fashion when syncing with your PC. With the ability to import and export dates from Outlook it offers top notch PDA functionality.

RIM BlackBerry 7290 review
                       
RIM BlackBerry 7290 review
A task manager is also incorporated into the application list. It does provide an easy interface for setting important events to remember from your handheld, but with the multi-faceted capabilities of the calendar feature it may rarely be used. 

RIM BlackBerry 7290 review

The 7290 also includes an alarm which is very customizable. You can choose the time of day, occurrence, snooze and more. The tones included are snooze worthy at best, so be sure you set you alarm to the longest possible length and volume.

RIM BlackBerry 7290 review

Other applications on the device include a handy memo pad to jot quick notes; a necessary accessory considering this device does not come pre-equipped with a voice recorder. The memo pad is simple and straightforward – a plain white text editor that allows you to assign a title to each separate memo and robust search functionality similar to the address book. When using the memo pad, task manager and other apps you will notice when you exit out you are always presented with the option to “Save,” “Discard,” or “Cancel.” This option is a lifesaver when you find yourself going back and forth between applications, phone calls and web browsing which is inevitable with such a versatile device.

RIM BlackBerry 7290 review
RIM BlackBerry 7290 review

The Bluetooth enhancement on this device is only for hands free headset use. Do not expect Blackberry to come equipped with Bluetooth data transmission (corporate security may be a reason for this). Third party software does not mark this as an impossibility, as developers are finally coming to BlackBerry user's aid in creating more apps then previous years making them a strong competitor to the Treo650 and other PalmOS designed devices.

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Display240 x 160 pixels TFT
Size4.50 x 2.90 x 0.90 inches
(113 x 75 x 22 mm)
4.90 oz  (139 g)
Battery1000 mAh, 4 hours talk time

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