|Rim 957 Review|
I have had a brief but disappointing experience with the wireless web using the very limited web access on my Sprint PCS phone as well as the Palm 7 handheld. Both units were very limited as to the number of sites that could be visited. They give you what is called "best of the web" which amounts to sites they feel are most often visited but do not allow access to all sites. I used the Palm 7 only for two weeks and then the internal transmitter failed and I just returned the unit for a refund.
I read about Go America's service which for $9.95 (Go Lite) allows a measured access and $59.95 allows unlimited access. They had the Rim957 on their site which appealed to me with an alpha keyboard as opposed to having to use the touch tone keys on the PCS handset or the stylus on the Palm 7.
I received the RIM 957 via Airborne Express and after opening the box read that the unit had to be charged. I was a little disappointed thinking it was like most cordless devices that must be charged for 24 hours prior to use but read the manual and found that a full charge can be accomplished in 3 hours and should last a week.
After charging the unit, I set the clock, the calendar and clicked on the "G" (Go Web) application. I found the standard "Best of the Web" applications listed and then "Choose your own destination" with http:// already filled in for me.
I manage several internet message boards that require me to monitor and delete certain messages throughout the day. I entered the url for one of the sites and it loaded quickly. None of the graphics were present, but a full text copy of the board with all of the clickable links displayed and allowed all of the functionality that I have using a regular pc. I was very surprised to see that the browser accepted cookies which keep track of items I have read, messages displayed etc. I bookmarked the site and continued. I also subscribe to several usenet news groups and use newsfeeds.com which has a web to news application. This allows me to read text only groups via the web without the need for special newsreader software such as Agent. I accessed that site, entered my password and usercode and was able to retrieve all of new articles quickly. The first group of messages I looked up came up with the message "display limit exceeded". I looked that the manual and found you can set the amount of data displayed. I changed the settings, reloaded the page and this time all came up with no problem.
Next, I tried the email application. When you sign up for service with Go America, they assign you an email address. My ISP allows for email forwarding so I forwarded mail from my regular box to the Go America address. Within a few minutes, the unit beeped and a red led flashed and it showed 1 New Message. I went to the main menu, selected new messages and was able to read the message and with a click of the thumbwheel reply as well.
I then sent myself a message and attached a 4 page text attachment. The mail arrived and I was able to display the full attachment.
Next I thought I would try my bank www.wellsfargo.com - I received the message that the browser was not compatible, 128 encryption required. I also tried to access my Schwab account and was allowed to login but it displayed a blank screen which would not allow me into any of the menus.
My first impression is very positive. Things I like:
Great screen size 16 line display.
Automatic notification when new e-mail received.
190 page Rim 957 manual and 27 page Go America Users Guide. If I recall, that is one of the problems with the Palm 7 was their lack of and poor documentation.
Unit is always on (can be turned off if you wish though). Has a menu that will automatically turn it off and on at certain times and also has a separate setting for weekends.
No flimsy antenna (like on the Palm 7) to raise and lower.
Came with a good quality belt/purse pouch..
Has several tone settings for message notification as well as vibrate.
Has some organizer features such as calendar, alarm clock, calculator, memo, to do list that can be synced with the pc via the charging cradle (have not loaded that software yet)
Things I don't like:
When browsing links that contain email addresses, if you click on the email address instead of bringing up the mail program, you receive a "link not found" message. It would be great if they could incorporate the web browsing and e-mail links somehow.
Thumbwheel has to be used for scrolling, no up and down arrows.
No page at a time scrolling while in e-mail.
Tomorrow or Friday, I am going to take the unit on a road trip to Los Angeles (I am located in Southern Orange County California) and will try it in a few buildings in various locations.
Once again, this is only my first day with the device, but so far I am much more pleased than I was with the Palm 7 and it puts the PCS wireless web to shame.