RIM has finally updated all their lineup to trackpads which include the Curve, Bold and finally, the Pearl. As you may have heard, the BlackBerry Pearl name has been revived and renewed with the new 9100 model which includes incredible features from both the Pearl 81xx and the Bold 9700. In this review, we’ll explain to you why it’s one of the best candy-bar phones out as well as one of the most attractive and sleek smartphones out. Don’t like the BlackBerry name? We can change that. Read on…
Pricing & Features
Parents and teens can benefit with Rogers cheap pricing when it comes to signing a contract. You’ll only pay a price of $49.99 on a 3 year contract with a data plan which can be costly depending on how much you use, or you can always buy out the phone for $424.99 which is quite expensive.
For those who have handled and understood the old BlackBerry Pearl phones, you might have remembered the candy-bar style and the SureType keyboard. Well both are still available and very popular. New to the Pearl is the trackpad which is now available for every BlackBerry model. If you’ve owned the 81xx you might have noticed the dirty and stuck trackball. Well this isn’t a problem anymore. Also new is the upgraded 3.2 megapixel camera with a bright LED flash and 3G connection. Yes, we said 3G. Finally RIM has integrated 3G to the Pearl and boy we were glad they did. You’ll also get the standards WiFI, GPS, and Bluetooth technology all integrated to the 9100.
What can we say about the new design? Well it’s a love or hate thing. I personally love the two-tone black and red color effect. I find it very sexy and a Rogers original signature design. I also enjoy the dark chrome color bezel that wraps the phone. On the left of the phone, you’ll find the MicroUSB vs the old MiniUSB in the 81xx along with a left convenience key and the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the right is the dedicated volume keys and the camera key and on the top of the phone is dedicated multimedia keys which can pause/play music as well as back forward button. The pause/play button also acts as a keyboard lock button. On the rear is the 3.2 megapixel camera and a bright LED flash.
Call Quality & Signal Strength
When it comes to BlackBerry. Call Quality is beyond superb. Nothing beats the clarity of what BlackBerry has to offer and the ability to enhance the audio quality by boosting the bass or treble when making calls is a great feature. I also found the speakerphone quality to be decent. You can’t really avoid echoing sometimes but that being said, it’s still better then most smartphones out.
With 3G available on the Pearl. Signal has been boosted much higher compared to the previous 81xx pearl’s. Not only do you get great signal but you also get great speeds when surfing the net and sending files through email or BlackBerry Messenger and other social clients. 3G should be a standard now a days and RIM has made the right choice and come through with that decision. While they might have been a tad late, they always come out good.
The Pearl 9100 keyboard is what expected from a Pearl. The people who’ve had it before and love it will still love it, but those who hate it will absolutely hate it. SureType keyboard is what RIM calls it and what they do is instead of sorting the keys T9 style, they sort them like the QWERTY way but have 2 letters per keys. If you’ve used a QWERTY keyboard before, it’s not too hard getting use to. If not, it might confuse you for a while. This SureType keyboard comes to good use in the social clients that BlackBerry provides with the phone and there are a lot more social clients available on the App World.
Camera & Battery
When I first played with the BlackBerry 9100. I assumed it was just a 2.0 megapixel camera like the Curve. Why? Because there is absolutely no labeling of how many pixels the camera is. After using the camera, you realize that RIM has tricked you and that the camera is in fact an amazing 3.2 megapixel camera with a bright LED flash, even brighter then the Bold 9700. Pictures are the exact same quality though. It has auto focus and takes brilliant and vibrant pictures. It’s whats expected from RIM.
Battery life on the BlackBerry 9100 is also quite good. While it isn’t as good as the old 8100 mainly because there is 3G now, it still performs very well and lasts longer then the BlackBerry Bold 9700, about 15 hours of surfing the web, taking pictures and doing some calling and texting.
With all the new phones being released this summer by Rogers it’s no surprise that this one attracts many teens, especially with the low price tag, it’s a steal for parents. While it may not be the hottest BlackBerry out, It does what it’s suppose to do. Messaging on a BlackBerry is a breeze, camera is superb, and the 3G speed helps out a lot. If you don’t got money for the Bold 9700 or Curve 9300 or just don’t like the size. You can be sure that you’ll enjoy this phone. I’d highly recommend this for those who don’t enjoy the wide BlackBerry’s or just don’t want a touchscreen smartphone.