Australia, Funds Management, Personal Finance - Written by on Tuesday, January 1, 2008 16:31 - 0 Comments

Smart Investor: Up to speed – January 2008

Smart Investor magazine, Up To Speed column, January 2008

GIZMO

I like my Blackberry. In fact I’m pretty much married to it. Mine is one of those old blue ones, the 7290, designed to keep you in touch with your email and to let you get really good at that Brick Breaker game, but not something you could ever hope to use effectively as a phone.

 But the Blackberry has grown up. The newest version, the Pearl 8120, has its sights set firmly on being one of those uber-gadgets: something that can do everything you want, from taking pictures to playing music to streaming video.

 From a quick demo, Gizmo can report that the 8120 does plenty. It has multimedia features to rival most of the snazziest phones and PDAs on the market, it can play and record video as well as take pics (2 megapixel camera with five times zoom), and it has a voice recording system. It also has WiFi, and can support (but doesn’t automatically feature) GPS.

 Gripes? Well, my biggest one probably just shows my age, but I loved the fact that the old one had a Qwerty keyboard. This one has two letters per key and uses predictive text. For this reason alone, I’m not upgrading. But for those happy with that, the trackball system is handier than the wheel thing you use to navigate your way around the old model; it’s much smaller and lighter; and I’m told the battery power is just as good as on the old one, lasting a few days on a single charge for moderate use. I found the square screen a bit tricky to see video on – but again, I’m getting old.

 So the new version is funkier, better-looking and smarter than its predecessor. But damn I miss the old ugly one, just for the keyboard.

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