Yeah - if one want a good compromise of a PDA that's also a cellphone and really great email device -- and want something almost military spec WITHOUT looking like ugly army green or UPS brown, BlackBerry is the device to get.
Model 7230 and 7280 are the most rugged, the 7510/7100 are much more fragile, the 7520 is better. (But 7520 isn't even the most ruggedized model).
9 feet drop to concrete - survived
Falls down 1 storey of concrete stairs - survived
1 week outdoors on the curbside - survived
. Thread: The "BlackBerry Abuse" Thread: Amazing BlackBerry Survival Feats Here
The good news is that the 8700 is starting to look good; at the moment, nobody on BlackBerryForums has yet broken an 8700 yet by dropping it from 3 or 4 feet high yet: Thread: Well, it happened. I dropped my 8700 [And it survived!]
Be warned that some models are more fragile than others. I have heard of more people breaking their 7290's than 7230's and 7280's. The 7100 is also reported more fragile, but many of them have survived. And the antenna on 7510's were fragile, so they got strengthened in the 7520's which survives abuse much better. The glass screens on BlackBerries are shock mounted, so as long as nothing strikes the screen directly (obtrusions, etc), the BlackBerry is likely to survive regular drops to concrete from holster height. On the 8700, the screen is now behind plastic.
Looks are really deceiving -- the plastic casing of a BlackBerry is a very good shock absorber. Not as sexy as a metal cellphone but it pays for itself if you have a few broken cellphones, Treo's or other devices you're tired of breaking from drops.