Treo 750 755 vs. Blackberry 8800 vs. Centro

I've been receiving quite a few questions about how the Centro or Treo 755 compare with another slick gadget, the Blackberry 8800. For anyone in the market for a Treo 750 series or Centro, the 8800 series needs to be considered if you are in an area with decent Cingular coverage and a change would be practical.

It comes as a Blackberry 8800, 8820, or 8830.

At face value, the 8800 appears to be a larger Centro or a sleeker 755. The exact specs have it about 1 - 1 1/2 inch taller and wider than the Centro, but very thin. Its thickness of just .55" beats both the Centro and the Treo. Think of the face of the 8800 as very similar to a Treo, except the thickness of the 8800 is significantly smaller.

I was able to get my paws on an 8800 and use it as a business user for a few hours. It didn't rest in my pocket as easily as the Centro, and those who read this blog will know that having a thin, sleek phone is a big deal to me. It is great to have functionlity, but what about the rest of the time when the device is just weighing in your pocket. But its thinness is very impressive.

Email is great with Blackberry's. I use Palm products because my firm has not licensed the Blackberry Enterprise Server, which they need to do in order to have full synchronization with their email domain. Be sure to check email compatibility with your firm's email server if you consider going with a Blackberry. If I could use its email, I would strongly consider making the move to Blackberry for ease of email and all of the aftermarket applications targeted at business users who rely on Blackberries.

The keyboard on the 8800 was good. It cannot be overstated that Blackberry did themselves a huge favor by finding a way to get a full QWERTY keyboard on such a sleek device. The 8800's younger brother, the Pearl, doesn't achieve this. Not as big and comfortable as the Treo 750 or 755, but a step up from the cramped keyboard of the Centro. It also uses a tracking ball, something that you don't miss if you never had, but for those who have grown used to the Blackberry navigation, it is very awkward to go without it.

I have to say I've grown very used to the Centro and Treo's touch screen capabilities. You see the application you want to use, you touch it, and it is ready to go. Blackberry still hasn't gotten to this yet, but most Blackberry users I know are so in tune with the trackball that it doesn't bother them.

Battery life on the Blackberry 8800 is great. 23 days of standby and 5 hours of talk time. That is much better than the Centro, and better than the Treo. For a business travel, battery juice is a big deal. You ever been stuck in the Cleveland airport without a phone connection?

I like Palm's products, and I like Sprint and Verizon. But if you are in a good Cingular coverage area, the 8800 series is definately worth considering.

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