BlackBerry 7230 Review

Click here if this is your business
★★★★☆
3.6 / 5
From 9 reviews
89% of users recommend this
Click here if this is your business
  • Screen Quality

  • Battery Life

  • Features

  • Reception

  • Style

  • Value For Money

adicos's review of BlackBerry 7230

★★★★☆
BlackBerry 7230

“This is a review for a Blackberry 7230 on Vodafone for...”

Written on: 03/11/2004 by adicos (6 reviews written)

Good Points
- Easy to use, it's ideal for people who travels a lot, they will have everything "on the go", without the need to connect remotely via the laptop to the network. You can reply to e-mails while you're in places where no connection is available. You need to have only a GPRS signal - the device uses GPRS for connection
- The quality of the display is very good
- The delivery of the e-mails is very quick
- You can see attachments
- The connection to Internet is quick and pages are quite easy to view.
- The battery lasts a reasonable amount of time (but honestly, less than what they said)
- The sever side management software is easy to use and set up and very reliable (not a single problem since initial installation !)

Bad Points
- No bluetooth and no intention from the makers to develop one in the future. Instead, they launched recently two models of Blackberry phones (7100r and 7100t), with bluetooth. These models are not yet available for business in UK. They will be at the beginning of December.
- No car-kit available - again the new Blackberry phones WILL HAVE this feature. This is the reason that all the Blackberry handheld devices will not be sold so well in the future in favour of the bluetooth & car-kit available Blackberry phones. We, as a company, are already thinking changing for the new Blackberry phones.
- Not too much documentation about it - this was 6 months ago, recently I found much more
- The wireless Calendar synchronization doesn't work all the time from the device to the mailbox, so the users needs to synchronize it manually. From mailbox to the device works all the time.

General Comments
This is a review for a Blackberry 7230 on Vodafone for business use. The previous two opinions were about personal use, but Blackberry was designed actually for business use, due to its excellent integration with the corporate mail systems (such as Microsoft Exchange).



The Blackberry is in our company for about 4 months now, after 2 months of trial. I was responsible of setting the Blackberry infrastructure on our network.



I will start the review by telling you few things about the Blackberry itself, then how this can be integrated in a corporate environment and then what is good and what is not so good about it.



Blackberry



So, what is a Blackberry? Is a device produced by a Canadian firm called research in Motion especially for corporate users. It is sort of an Palm/iPaq combined with a phone with the next features:



- Phone, email, SMS, browser and organizer applications in a single wireless handheld

- Dimensions are 11.3 x 7.5 x 2.0cm (LxWxD)

- A standard QWERTY keyboard (even if the keys are too small, they are still workable)

- A High Resolution 240x160 display supporting over 65,000 colors. The pictures quality when browsing the Internet is quite good

- It is a Tri-Band handheld, operates on 900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS wireless networks, allowing for international roaming between North America, Europe and Asia Pacific

- It has an integrated attachment viewing (more about it when explaining about integrating in a corporate network, but basically you can see Excel and Word files, as well as .pdf files and a few more)

- It is a Java development platform based on open standards, which means you can download Java applications on the device

- It has an integrated earpiece and microphone, hands-free headset (as they say it, but actually is not a proper hands-free, it is just an earpiece, and on the British roads you cannot use it while driving !! - that is a bad bit about this device)

- A lithium-ion rechargeable battery, they say about it that can last up to 5 hours talk time and 10 hours standby time - it is sort of incorrect, none from the many I've tested lasted more than 7 days !!

- It has a memory of 16 MB flash memory plus 2 MB SRAM

- You get a belt-clip, an installation CD, a cloth to clean it, a charger with plugs for Europe, UK and US and two connection cables, one for the standalone charger, the other if you want to charge the device through your PC - via the USB port



As about the menus, it has:

- E-mail - you can get your e-mails here, either from your Enterprise account, or up to 10 personal accounts. Everything is done wirelessly - no need for manual synchronization

- Phone - you can phone someone or send an SMS

- Contacts (this folder is similar to the Contacts folder in Microsoft Outlook) and actually it synchronizes with it, but manually

- Calendar - similar to the MS Outlook calendar, it can synchronize with it wirelessly - an excellent feature, but more about it in the Enterprise integration section of this review

- Tasks - again, similar to the Tasks in MS Outlook, but it needs to be done manually

- Services - you can browse the Internet from here.

- My Applications - by default there is a Calculator and a game, but you can download more applications if you want, only that they need to be compatible with the device (Java compatible)

- Memopad - similar to the Notes in MS Outlook

- Profiles - you can set up different settings for each profile (there are four of them: Loud, Discreet, Quiet and Default)

- Keyboard look - you can lock your keyboard

- My office - save your bookmarks here

- Settings - for setting up the device, there's no point in listing all the settings

- Saved messages - you can save on the device the e-mails you get

- Vodafone - this is added by Vodafone, there are several Vodafone features

- Alarm

- Wireless off

- Power off - it can be set up to Auto Power-off and Power-on at specific time of day/night

The Blackberry operates via a wheel on the right side of the device, you can navigate through menus and when clicking on the wheel, you'll access it. There is another button on the right side, which is like the "Esc" key on a normal keyboard, when you want to stop something or go back to the previous screen, click this button.

In order to turn on the device, you need to sue the "Backlit" button in the right hand side of the front of the device, just under the QWERTY keyboard.



Integration in a Corporate environment



In order to use the Blackberry devices in a Corporate environment, you need to install a separate server (which is required to be quite a powerful machine). This Blackberry server stays as a middleware between the devices and the Mail server (in my case a Microsoft Exchange 5.5). On this server you set up users lists and for each list you can set up a policy, which allows or not the users in that list to do specific operations with the Blackberry.



How it works?

First of all you need to install the Blackberry on each user's machine (desktop or laptop, but mostly laptop), when doing so, an encryption key is generated and the Blackberry device gets a unique ID, so the server knows that this specific device connects to this specific user's mailbox.



When a user gets an e-mail on the Exchange server, the Blackberry server monitors the users mailboxes registered for Blackberry and pulls the e-mails from the mailboxes, forwards them to the European Blackberry Server (which deals with all the European traffic) and that server forwards the e-mails to the device. Similar, when an user send an e-mail from the Blackberry, the e-mail goes to the European Blackberry Server, which recognizes from what network the device is, and forwards the e-mail to the server in the local network, which in turn passes it to the Exchange Server. Everything happens the same for the wireless Calendar synchronization



This is the process, I tried to explain it so it can be understood even by the non-technical people (no offence, really !!). I don't bother you with all the bits and pieces about setting the Blackberry server on the local network, there are two manuals, each with around 400 pages about the conditions on the network, about what can be installed on the Blackberry server, etc, etc - everybody will get bored about it if I will list everything here !! One thing needs to be known: it the company has a firewall, a port needs to be opened on this firewall, to permit the traffic between the local Blackberry server and the European one.



Once everything is set up, the user will start getting e-mail and getting his calendar updated wirelessly, so the tool is ideal for the sales people, never miss an e-mail again.



The device can be controlled also from the software which installs on the user's machine when registering the device, but in our case I decided to manage almost everything at the central level, on the server. The only think an user can do is synchronize his Contacts, Tasks and Notes when connecting the Blackberry to the machine via the USB cable.



It is very easy to manage such an environment, once it is put in place. All the access rights is controlled via the IT Policy on the Blackberry Server. You can split users into different lists and assign an IT policy to each lists (as in the Managers will get more rights that the sales guys and the IT guys will get everything ) Very easy if you're an IT administrator.



You can install additional features, such as:



- Mobile Data Server - can be installed on the same server or on a different one and enables always-on / push-based access to enterprise applications and information using the BlackBerry device, browser and software development tools. It provides HTTP/HTTPS connectivity as well as an open, extensible and secure interface for extending corporate applications and the corporate intranet based on existing web standards. Through the Mobile Data Service, BlackBerry users have the ability to access existing corporate data stores and enterprise applications, such as CRM, ERP, business intelligence and document management systems wirelessly.

- Attachment Server - which allows users to view the attachments from e-mails on the Blackberry device



Good things about the Blackberry



- Easy to use, it's ideal for people who travels a lot, they will have everything "on the go", without the need to connect remotely via the laptop to the network. You can reply to e-mails while you're in places where no connection is available. You need to have only a GPRS signal - the device uses GPRS for connection

- The quality of the display is very good

- The delivery of the e-mails is very quick

- You can see attachments

- The connection to Internet is quick and pages are quite easy to view.

- The battery lasts a reasonable amount of time (but honestly, less than what they said)

- The sever side management software is easy to use and set up and very reliable (not a single problem since initial installation !)





Bad things about the Blackberry



- No bluetooth and no intention from the makers to develop one in the future. Instead, they launched recently two models of Blackberry phones (7100r and 7100t), with bluetooth. These models are not yet available for business in UK. They will be at the beginning of December.

- No car-kit available - again the new Blackberry phones WILL HAVE this feature. This is the reason that all the Blackberry handheld devices will not be sold so well in the future in favour of the bluetooth & car-kit available Blackberry phones. We, as a company, are already thinking changing for the new Blackberry phones.

- Not too much documentation about it - this was 6 months ago, recently I found much more

- The wireless Calendar synchronization doesn't work all the time from the device to the mailbox, so the users needs to synchronize it manually. From mailbox to the device works all the time.





I am sorry that I will not tell about price plans, but this is because we are on a business account with Vodafone, therefore is not the same as for the personal use. You can still set up personal e-mail accounts on the device (such a Yahoo or Hotmail one) , but our policy was not to do it.



Blackberry is a very successful device, being sold at a rate of 250,000 devices per month !!!



So, it's not only me who thinks is quite a very good mobile device

  • Value For Money

  • Battery Life

  • 1 - 6 Months

    Time Phone Owned

  • Screen Quality

  • Features

  • Reception

  • Style

If you are commenting on behalf of the company that has been reviewed, please consider upgrading to Official Business Response for higher impact replies.
Report this review