For the past several months I have been shopping cell phone providers and deals. My contract with Verizon expired so I’ve been a free agent. With Verizon, every time you sign a new contract you get a deal on a new phone, but what I wanted was a plan that includes web & email access. I’m on the go all the time so that would be pretty handy.

I shopped online quite a bit so when I finally went to my local Verizon rep I was pretty knowledgeable on what’s available, and I worked him for at least an hour. I already had a Treo that I was happy with so I wasn’t interested in a new phone. We looked at several plan options, all of them were more per month. I finally gave up, thinking that it wasn’t going to happen. Finally as I was walking away, he said “if you sign up for a data plan, I’ll give you a BlackBerry.” Um. Okay. I can work with that. I am paying more per month, but since I can work from anywhere its a wash for me. And, the phone is suh-weet.

The model I have is the BlackBerry 8830. I had never messed with a BlackBerry before, so I didn’t really understand them until I had one. Email is pushed to the phone, so it ALWAYS shows up there first. And, when I send email you can’t tell that I wasn’t at my computer.

Its smaller and lighter than my Treo. The keyboard is a little larger, which makes it easy to type with your thumbs. Each key has a little ridge on it, so its not super comfortable to type on, but I can type messages in faster than I could on the Treo because each key is a little larger.

Calls are great, volume is loud, I have good reception everywhere so I haven’t dropped many calls, and the speakerphone is better than I remember on previous phones. Bluetooth connectivity with my headset is flawless. The ringer volume is problematic, its not easy to adjust and I’ve missed a few calls due to this. Finally after surfing in BlackBerry forums I’ve figured out a solution for this.

Surfing on the go is awesome. I’m now updating my Facebook and Twitter accounts more frequently because its so easy. I can check scores, weather, movie times, etc super easy. The BlackBerry maps thing is awesome as long as you know where you are and where you want to go.

And, I get my email everywhere I go. Truth be told, this is the exact reason that we were able to go to an Austin City Limits taping last month. I was fast in replying to the email because I saw it mere moments after it was sent. I figure it paid for itself because of that. And its already paid for itself this month, too.

I like my new phone.