Getting a new BlackBerry is one of those little pleasure in life that we, as BlackBerry addicts, look forward to from the moment we spot an initial leak article on the web. This week, I did just this. I finally got rid of my Bold and ‘UPGRADED’ to a brand new, BlackBerry Pearl 8220 Flip. Now I think it was the waaay too long hype period for the Bold mixed with my chosen carriers (Optus Au) absolutely appalling 3G network (I had to eventually drop the device down to 2G so as not to drop every second phone call) that led to my disappointment with the 9000. (That and the sheer physical size and weight of the device)
I wont hold back here. I’ve always been a big fan of ‘flip phones’ before the BlackBerry bug bit. I think I’ve still got my old Motorola V600 somewhere deep in the depths of my junk drawer. When I first heard that RIM were going to release a flip version of the Pearl I was wrapped. Best of both worlds.
First up. I think this is just about one of the best looking devices to come out of the big Canadian. (I know,I know, it’s made in Mexico ). Closed, it looks sleek and the overall weight is very surprising. It’s a real lightweight unit, especially when compared with the Bold. Open it up and you are confronted with the familiar BlackBerry layout that most of us are used to. There is a sunken area around the trackball that actually makes for a better user experience than the setup on the Bold. The keyboard is a little, hmmm, how can I put this nicely, cheap ?? It’s your standard BB ‘SureType’ layout although the keys are larger than the standard Pearl we have grown to love over the years. The keys just seem a little more lightweight that the original.
The outer screen is a very handy addition. (Could be a little higher resolution though… But that’s just me whinging really) You can preview your unread email as they come in as well as all the standard notification features. (IE; Bluetooth status, Alarm icon, Battery and signal strength and clock with time and date). Above the outer screen is the camera lens, flash LED and status LED. The battery cover has been jazzed up with a little chrome BlackBerry logo (very bling RIM). The right hand side has your standard volume up/down buttons, a smart key and a micro-SD card slot. The left hand side just has the one smart key, headphone/headset outlet and micro-USB (yep, not mini-USB as all your previous BB devices so that’s another cable that you’re going to need to carry around with you. Doh).
Straight out of the box I did what any good CrackBerry addict does and upgraded the firmware before I even had a chance to have a play. The v184.108.40.206 seems to be fairly good so far with the only glitch so far is the status light not operational as soon as you come out of ‘Bedside’ mode. The rest of the applications are as per any Pearl running the latest firmware.
Overall, great device. RIM is on a winner with this new version of the Pearl. I don’t think it will replace the old model as you will always have your traditionalist that prefer the candy-bar design. This just compliments there overall growing arsenal of devices we are seeing from them. I would recommend this one to business people that are on the go all day, students, or generally people who would prefer a smaller, lighter, more phone like BlackBerry than either the Curve or the Bold. It’s a definite keeper for me and I’ve already ‘fired’ my Bold… at least until I can get hold of a Storm……