Nextel has come out with another Blackberry to add to its line of cell phones, the RIM Blackberry 7100i is the latest and greatest Nextel cell phone available to users. The 7100i is much like its predecessors in design and features. It is a slim, stream lined phone, with a crystal clear display, and a quasi-QWERTY keyboard with SureType technology. One added bonus feature most Nextel users will love is the added support for Nextel’s walkie-talkie service. This with the Blackberry’s push email technology with make the 7100i one of the most sought after phones in the Nextel line. Pricing at a steep $199.99 (if you get rebates) the 7100i is a pretty darn good deal.
The style of the RIM Blackberry 7100i is very similar to other models and is almost identical to the Blackberry 7100g. The 7100i’s dimensions are 4.7 by 2.3 by 0.9 inches and only 4.2 ounces make it a small and light phone, easily carried in you pants pockets. The phone is small and easy to hold, feels quite comfortable, and doesn’t bother me to hold it to my ear for a long time. The only bad thing about the 7100i’s design is its plastic casing feels cheap.
The 7100i boasts a 2.25 inch screen and displays 65,536 colors with a pixel resolution of 240×260, which allows for a clear screen with easy to read text. I liked the functionality of the phone’s screen; you can change text size, type and style of the font, and also the backlight time and brightness. Just below the screen you have your shortcut keys which are customizable and then talk and end keys.
The keypad is one of the special parts of the RIM Blackberry 7100i; it has a modified QWERTY keyboard, which has two letters per key instead of one. This allows for the 7100i to be smaller and more phone like. The two letter key design takes some getting used to, especially if you had a full keyboard Blackberry before, but the new SureType technology makes writing text simple once you get the hang of it. SureType technology is a predictive-text entry, once you start typing a word it will present you with a list of possible words that you can select to use. After some time I was able to type like a pro and didn’t mind the new keyboard.
On the left side of the 7100i you have your typical 2.5mm headset jack and rubber walkie-talkie button, and also a USB port for using the 7100i with your computer. The 7100i also has a scroll wheel and escape button on the right side of the phone. The speaker phone button is in its usual place at the top of the phone, also accompanied by the on/off button. The speaker for the speakerphone is on the backside of the phone as usual.
New to the Blackberry line the 7100i’s feature set includes the walkie-talkie services, it also support TalkGroup services, which allow you to talk instantly with up to 100 other Nextel users who are on the same fleet or Nextel network. This is a great addition to the 7100i and was the sole reason I bought one.
The RIM Blackberry 7100i has your typical set of features including a gigantic address book that is only limited by the amount of memory you have. The 7100i can also store up to 8 numbers for a single contact, as well as home and work addresses, a website address, notes and much more. It also has integrated Bluetooth, so you can connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth technology.
The RIM Blackberry 7100i also has Blackberry features which means it’s compatible with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, and Novell GroupWise, so you can setup the device to get corporate email. You can also access 10 POP3/IMAP accounts and use the included browser to check Web-based email. The 7100i also has software so you can view attachments in the most common formats. It does have a messenger client but you can only use the Blackberry messenger program. The 7100i also has a WAP 2.0, a calendar, task list, memo pad, alarm clock, calculator, password keeper, and the BrickBreaker game. The 7100i also is GPS-enabled if you want to pay for the service.
The call quality on the 7100i is astounding with very little interference and no problems hearing what callers say. The speakerphone sounds just as good and people can’t even tell when I am using it. I usually get 3 hours of constant talk time and 3 or 4 days of standby time.
The 7100i is a great phone for anyone who wants a phone with cell phone quality calls, Nextel’s direct connect walkie-talkie service, and email all at the tips of their fingers. The phone is a little pricey but worth every cent.