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Home > Hardware Reviews > Mobiles

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Blackberry Pearl

1. Introduction

blackberry logoThe Best SmartPhone I have Ever Used

That is quite a bold statement. I have used pretty much every Palm OS and Windows Mobile Smartphone out there over the past few years. If I haven't tested and reviewed them, I have played with them in the stores. There are some SmartPhones I have loved and some I have hated, but none than I craved more than the one I have been testing for the past three weeks - The BlackBerry Pearl.

This is, hands down, the most amazing piece of SmartPhone hardware (with very capable software) that I have ever used. Read on to see why this little "Gem" of a Phone is so incredibly cool.

My SmartPhone of choice over the last several years has been the tried and true Treo 650 with the old, but stable Palm OS. Recently, I felt that both the Motorola Q and, even more impressively, the Samsung blackjack had eclipsed the Treo for the title "Best Smartphones" available.

I had certainly played with a BlackBerry or two over the years - but I never actually had one in my hands to configure and really learn about. A brand spanking new White BlackBerry Pearl showed up three weeks ago and it has been an eye-opening experience for me.

I was, admittedly, skeptical of the BlackBerry experience and the BlackBerry user. I never did understand the "CrackBerry" label applied to its users. Now I do.

If first impressions are made on looks - this was love at first sight. This thing is just beautiful to look at and to hold and use. Chrome accents, a rich White Metallic luster and the little "Pearl" - a small trackball that sits front and center (more on that later.)

My Test unit is a T-Mobile branded White BlackBerry Pearl. The "Pearl" is also available in "Black" on both T-Mobile and Cingular.

OK - let's get started. Here is a little background on Research In Motion.

About RIM

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including e-mail, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM’s portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the BlackBerry® wireless platform, software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. RIM is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market (Nasdaq: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM).

Here is the "Official" line on the "Pearl" from Rim's Web site:

The BlackBerry Pearl At A Glance

Size (LxWxD)

4.2” x 2” x .57”/107 mm x 50 mm x 14.5 mm

Weight (battery included)

3.16 oz/89.5g


64 MB flash memory

Expandable memory

Micro SD (amount of storage is determined by card capacity)


High resolution (240×260) portrait TFT color display.  Supports over 65,000 colors


Snap and send with a 1.3 MP camera with flash, self portrait mirror, zoom


SureType QWERTY keyboard with SureType software

Dedicated Keys

Send key, End/Power key, Mute key, Left programmable convenience key (Preprogrammed as VAD), Right programmable convenience key (Preprogrammed as Camera), Volume/Zoom key


Trackball, ESC key, Menu key

User Interface

Intuitive icons, menus and flow


Tone, vibrate, on-screen or LED indicator.  Notification options are user configurable


Polyphonic – MP3, MIDI

Voice Input/Output

Integrated earpiece and microphone, hands-free headset, integrated speakerphone


Bluetooth v2.0; headset, hands-free and serial port profiles supported


Stereo headset capable

Battery Life

15 days standby and 3.5 hours talk time


850/900/1800/1900 Mhz GSM/GPRS and EDGE networks

Media Player

Supported audio formats: MP3, MIDI, AMR-NB, AAC/AAC+/eACC+.
Supported video formats: MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.263

Attachment Viewing

Full HTML Web browsing

  • It’s a first-rate phone with Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ring tones, speakerphone, smart dialing, conference calling, speed dial, call forwarding and Bluetooth® support for hands-free use with headsets and car kits.
  • It delivers the popular and proven BlackBerry experience that users have come to know and love.
  • It is incredibly sleek and exceptionally powerful small enough to take anywhere and powerful enough to handle all of your communication and information needs.  It’s the ultimate combination of brains and beauty.
  • It is incredibly easy-to-navigate with a new and intuitive trackball navigation system.
  • It is the first BlackBerry to offer a camera with built-in flash and zoom – just snap and send. It’s easier than ever to share pictures with your friends and family right away via email, MMS and BlackBerry Messenger.
  • It features a large, ultra-bright 240×260 color display that brings images to life.  Its innovative light sensing technology automatically adjusts screen and keyboard lighting for indoor, outdoor and dark environments.
  • Enjoy all the power of BlackBerry and the convenience of a built-in media player – now you can listen to your favorite songs while browsing the web or reading an email, all from a single (small) device.
  • It supports a micro SD card allowing lots of storage space for pictures, ringtones, audio and video files, and other third party data.
  • It supports EDGE and features the highly optimized BlackBerry wireless platform, allowing fast performance for web browsing and other applications.
  • It features RIM’s popular SureType™ keyboard technology that makes typing amazingly quick and easy on such a small handset.
  • It’s easy to stay on top of important personal and work communications with the ability to access up to ten personal or work email accounts such as Yahoo!® and Microsoft® Exchange.

On to the Review.


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