Vodafone Blackberry 7100v

Will it charm European emailers?


Pocket-Lint.co.ukReview Blackberry's dominance in the push-email arena seems to be letting up not one little bit, and its popular 7230 QWERTY keyboard-equipped handset also seems to be finding its way onto the belts of business users around the world, writes Stuart Miles.

Vodafone-RIM Blackberry 7100vSo when Research in Motion, Blackberry's manufacturer, announced an exclusive Vodafone handset that shrunk the keyboard into half the size we must admit we were sceptical. We're big fans of the original unit and wondered how the folk over at RIM would be able to pull this one off.

Still on the large size, at least for a mobile phone, the Vodafone product, dubbed the 7100v, comes in silver and sports a large bright, clear screen. The QWERTY keyboard has been shrunk to fit across five columns of keys four rows deep. The standard ten-key number pad sits in the middle and is differentiated with darker keys.

RIM has managed to get the number of keys down to only 20 on the new unit by forcing, in most cases, two characters on each key instead of one. What this has created is not only a smaller keyboard than the traditional more familiar Blackberry model, but a unit that looks, at first glance, a pain to use.

Other than the 20 keys on the front of the unit the main control mechanism is a jog wheel and additional escape button on the side of the unit. Synchronisation and charging is performed through the handset's USB socket.

When it came to using the 7100v and in particular typing on it, we took a couple of attempts to master it. Once we had got past the notion that it wasn't a mobile phone keypad, even though it looks like one, and that we should type like it's a keyboard albeit using our thumb instead of our index finger, things became somewhat easier.

With two characters per key the software is a big factor in making this unit work and here the 9000-word predictive text dictionary, as long as you spell the word correctly from the start, makes a good stab at understanding what you're trying to say. Where there are multiple options, you use the scroll wheel to select the correct word and continue typing.

Brief emails, text messages, contacts and calendar entries are all short enough for this to work. However, unlike the larger version we don't think that you'll be typing out long essays anytime soon.

Email is sent to your phone from a Vodafone mobile email account, which you can set up via your PC. There is currently no Mac support. You can also specify up to ten email accounts for the device to poll. The unit will then pull in new messages in those accounts and allow you to reply to them. Although messages are routed via the Vodafone email account, you can set up the device so that replies appear to have come from the relevant POP account.

Unlike business Blackberries and the enterprise email system sitting behind then, rather than storing and forwarding emails, Vodafone has implemented a 3-15 minute email check cycle for this consumer friendly version.

The system checks for new messages every 15 minutes, if it receives mail within this time period, then it will check again after only three minutes. If it receives mail in this time period then it will check again after another three minutes has passed, and so on. If the 7100v doesn't receive any mail it reverts back to the 15-minute check period

Either way, three minutes isn't that long, unless you're waiting for an important email. After all, you could boil an egg in the same time. What makes this slightly worse is that you can't force the 7100v to run an email check, something which we think undermines its usability.

Pitching itself as a business tool rather than an entertainment device, and rightly so, the unit doesn't include a digital camera or the ability to play MP3s. However, what it does offer is quad-band support for worldwide coverage and Bluetooth - though not for data, so you'll only be able to connect to headsets or car-kits.

Verdict

As a unit for checking your emails on the road, the 7100v is a good unit. However, we have to admit we prefer the 7230 even though it lacks the Bluetooth and quad-band radio. The keyboard is easier, the internet browser a definite plus and, overall, you are more likely to be happier replying to an email. It's a shame, because we were hoping for so much more from the 7100v. The size is obviously a definite plus, as is the clear screen. Perhaps if we hadn't used the original, then the story would be different. For now, we want our 7230.

Vodafone Blackberry 7100v
 
Rating 70%
 
Pros — Clear screen; more mobile phone looking.
 
Cons — Keys can be confusing at start; emails only arrive every 15 minutes.
 
Price Free to £50, dependsing on contract (£18.50-85)
 
More info The Research in Motion website
The Vodafone website

Recent Reviews

Mio 8390 smart phone
PalmOne Tungsten T5
Creative Zen Touch 20GB music player
Danger Hiptop 2
HP iPaq h6340 Wi-Fi, GSM PocketPC
Olympus Mju-mini digicam
Intel 3.46GHz P4 Extreme Edn and i925XE chipset
Orange Mobile Office 3G data card


Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022