Three major new products appear on this month's chart: Motorola's Q, Palm's Treo 700p, and T-Mobile's Sidekick 3.
The Treo 700p replaces its predecessor, the Treo 650, atop the chart. Despite a steep price ($650 with a two-year contract from Sprint) and unimpressive battery performance, the 700p wowed us with its thoughtful design and lightning-fast speed. Like the Windows Mobile-based Treo 700w (number four on our chart), the 700p includes support for high-speed EvDO networks, which makes surfing the Web using its Blazer Web browser a real pleasure. The unit also features a speedy 312-MHz Intel XScale processor and 128MB of total on-board memory, making the device feel noticeably faster than the 650 at most tasks. But, as noted, the 700p offers mediocre battery life: It lasted just under 5 hours in our battery tests.
The number two-ranked Sidekick 3 performed much better in our battery tests, offering a robust 9 hours of talk time. Danger's latest iteration of its messaging-geared device impressed us overall, and T-Mobile offers the device for a reasonable $300 (with a two-year contract). Its swivel design opens to reveal a remarkably comfortable QWERTY keyboard that plays to the Sidekick 3's data-first strengths. Composing e-mail and instant messages is a breeze. Using the device as a phone is less pleasing: You have to swivel it open to dial a number, and then swivel it closed to talk.
Motorola's superslim Q came in at number five on the chart. This sleek Windows Mobile smart phone looks great, but we were less impressed with its design for day-to-day use: The BlackBerry-like scroll wheel felt stiff, and the keyboard was tough to navigate. Starting up the device and accessing the Internet also seemed a bit sluggish. At 4.1 ounces, it is easy to carry around, but given its lackluster battery performance of just 5 hours, 38 minutes in our talk-time tests, you might want to consider toting a charger along as well. Priced at only $300 (with a two-year contract from Verizon Wireless), the Q is a bargain for a PDA/phone.
We tested one other new hybrid model that just missed our chart: RIM's BlackBerry 8700g. The device does offer some notable improvements over the 8700c, which we tested for our June chart. The 8700g works with T-Mobile's speedy EDGE network and adds support for popular IM clients, including AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. Its talk-time battery life also proved quite good at 9 hours, 35 minutes. Unfortunately, this $400 unit--like all BlackBerry devices--lacks a camera.
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