BlackBerry 8100 Pearl Review

I bought a new toy. I told myself, “hey, you spent a lot of time watching TV and sitting around over Winter Break, you deserve it, buddy.” And who am I to argue with myself? I’ve always been a big fan of bar phones (as opposed to flip, slide, and anymotionthatmaybreaksomeday phones). So, I went over to my T-Mobile retailer and asked them for my 11 month upgrade to a BlackBerry Pearl

Wow, I love this phone. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now. As a T-Mobile customer I’ve purchased the unlimited data plan ($20 per month for unlimited PUSH email, web browsing, MMS, etc.) and I’m on a MyFaves plan (pick five people to get free calls to). With that said, here are my thoughts on the phone’s features.

After playing with it for a few days it became so terribly easy to get around. The Pearl (horizontal and vertical scroll ball) makes things very easy to get to and move around. In fact, once you get used to the sensitivity (which can be changed) I can scroll down to a particular menu item with decent accuracy.

Other little things are nice. You can use the 3 and 9 keys to scroll down pages. You can also type a letter when in a menu to jump to one of the items. For example, I press ’7′ (also letters C and V) and it goes to Close.

The home screen makes things very easy to get to, as well. I can start dialing a number or type a name (just start typing and it’ll assume both) and pick an option to call them or send a text message. Very easy!

Keyboard typing

At first I was struggling. I had become so used to the alphabetical typing that other cell phones use for messaging. Now I had to somehow imagine my keyboard on my phone. Additionally, there are two letters per key. Sound complicated? It isn’t.

As you start to get the feel for which letters are shared you realize you can type lightning fast. Plus, the BlackBerry is super smart and knows the words you intend to type.


Wow, this 1.2MP camera takes excellent mobile photos. I expect to take tons of pictures because the quality is not what you’d expect from a phone. Plus, it makes for the perfect Flickr resolution. Check out these shots from Denver International Airport I took last night. Sending the shots as an email (only available with T-Mobile’s data plan) is so easy.

Mobile web browsing

I had never seen a website on a phone before. It amazed me how many companies and websites had mobile versions of their sites. It’s awesome, really. A lot of people will sit and think “unnecessary, useless” but it can be quite convenient. Ten years ago people probably thought a cellphone was unnecessary and useless too.

Google Maps has been extremely useful for finding stores and directions. The BlackBerry has a Maps program built in but takes a bit more fiddling to get to what you’re looking for.

Bottom line?

There’s no need to wait for the iPhone, this BlackBerry does quite well for accomplishing most things. The size is perfect. It even weighs less than my old RAZR. I have zero complaints — seriously. I tried to find something but I haven’t. Put simply: awesome phone, awesome service.