08-15-2005, 10:41 AM
Thumbs Must Hurt
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Hmm, this has been a popular question since the 7100 series came out. The most popular answer I have seen, which I tend to agree with, is the following: If you plan on using your blackberry more as a phone than as a mobile messaging device (i.e., you spend most of your time on phone calls and don't compose that many "mobile" emails in comparison), then get a 7100 as you will appreciate the more phone-like form-factor and the dedicated call/hangup buttons. If you expect to use the blackberry for a lot of mobile email and sms, then get the 7290 with the traditional form-factor and full-size keyboard.
I've been using a 7100t on T-Mobile and have generally been happy with the device. The suretype system works reasonably well, but still doesn't compare to having a full-size keyboard (it's a real pain when your typing away and after a word or two you realize that the suretype has messed up and picked the wrong word, you then have to go back and correct it, which is a real nuisance). The screen on the 7100 is also much more difficult to read in daylight (at least compared to the 7250). On the plus side, the 7100 series has a speakerphone that works reasonably well, and a polyphonic speaker that can produce extremely loud ring tones. The 7200 series does not have a speakerphone, and has (at least in my opinion) pathetically inadequate ring volumes.
That being said, I'm currently in the process of switching to a 7250. This is because I live in an area that is cell phone hell. Verizon and Cingular are not offered here, and Sprint and Nextel have been plagued with problems in this region. T-Mobile has generally been ok, but I get terrible coverage at home and at my parents place up north. Alltel has great coverage, but only just started offering their first blackberry, the 7250. I know I'll appreciate the full-size keyboard more for data entry, but will be frustrated with the lack of loud ring tones (no more using the phone as an alarm when I travel).
Thus, my suggestion is that if you plan on composing a lot of email and sms, get the 7290, if you mainly plan on using it as a phone and to receive/read email, consider the 7100.