Jan 16

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Considering the Blackberry Pearl

whiteblackberrypearl.jpgResearch in Motion is dropping prices and going white with the Blackberry Pearl according to a press release. Available only on T-Mobile, the white Pearl is going to now be $149 ( less than a third of the price of the cheapest iPhone). It's definitely worth considering.

I want to be able to easily type on my phone (T-9 doesn't count), surf the web, send email, text, add apps of my choosing and sync. I loved my Sidekick, but I left them soon after getting my eighth(!) handset; Danger's closed platform also didn't do much to make me want to stay with them. I am now using Windows Mobile 5 on a PPC-6700 (catchy name I know). It has that familiar bar of soap form factor of the Sidekick, software from third-parties, and good connectivity, but overall I find it incredibly frustrating due to odd UX choices and unresponsiveness (my friends all know I am using my phone when i suddenly sound like a sailor). Overall I dislike the phone, but I have learned to live with its quirks and until recently I hadn't seen anything worth breaking a contract to own (which will now be even easier with Cellswapper, the cell phone contract marketplace).

That brings me to the Pearl. I wasn't interested in it until I handled it. Easy to type on with SureType (that adds two columns of keys to the standard dialpad and overlays a QWERTY keyboard on them), third-party applications, lots of integration points and as a bonus it is very slim. It has an SD slot for music (if I wanted this) and a decent camera. The price is also right if I decide to break my contract.  I've been waiting to hop for a variety of reasons, seeing what Apple would do was definitely one of them. In all it seems to me that the iPhone is not a compelling enough package. It's closed. It's way more expensive (and I already have a number of MP3 players). I am concerned about how easy it will be to type with. I would love to have video (but can wait) and would also like to have their web browser (but again can wait).

What do you think of the Pearl or iPhone? Are these the two phones you would consider?

[via SFGate]

tags: mobile  | comments: 14   | Sphere It

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Comments: 14

  evermore [01.16.07 03:52 PM]

I've had my Pearl for over 6 weeks now. It works well as a phone, the camera is decent (and the option of immediately emailing the pictures makes it actually useful!), and typing is easy to get used to. It is my first blackberry and suretype is easy to pick up. The key for me is the googlepack, especially gtalk. I spend considerable time IMing at a cafe or who knows where using this. The built-in AIM support works only part of the time and I therefore dont use it. For all intents and purposes, this is a broken feature.

  Deepak [01.16.07 07:17 PM]

Though Samsung (or is it Cingular) has managed to screw up the Java VM, the Samsung Blackjack is an excellent alternative. It's sleek, looks good, feels good and has an excellent phone. If you don't mind Windows mobile, it should definitely be in the running.

  Bill Peña [01.16.07 07:33 PM]

Go for it. I've had a Pearl for a month, and I LOVE it. There are lots of small touches that are too numerous to mention here (see David Pogue's review in the New York Times) that make using the Pearl a delight. Typing is very easy, and gets easier with a little use. Good camera, works great as a phone, and the PDA and Internet functions are very fast and useful. I spent a long time comparing smartphones out there, settled on the Pearl, and have been quite happy with it. Highly recommended.

The points you liked about the iPhone are not bad on the Pearl, by the way. The Blackberry browser is very good for a mobile browser, and you can also use Opera Mini 3. And, the Pearl does play video as well, albeit on a much smaller screen (great for YouTube clips).

I wrote a review of the Blackberry Pearl for another blog after I had it for 9 days; check it out if you're interested in more detailed pros and cons.

As for the iPhone -- no 3rd-party apps and no buttons, no thanks. It looks like a technological marvel, and I hope it advances the market as a whole, but those two things are deal-breakers for me. I mean, if I can't SSH from my phone, what good is it? ;)

  erick [01.16.07 10:34 PM]

I've owned the pearl since it first came out for T-mobile, and I love it. It's the device I've been waiting for, and it does most tasks flawlessly. Blackberry has the best push email of course, but the internet browser is great, especially when paired with the trackball interface, much better than paging around with a D-pad. The included mapping software is great, but I recommend installing the free GoogleMaps for mobile. Sure, the iphone is amazing, but the pearl gives you much of the functionality at a fraction of the price.

  /k [01.17.07 11:06 AM]

I am in a similar position, except I have the (poorly) aging Treo 650. I am down to the Nokia E61/62 (probably favoring the E61 even tho its much more expensive due to the wifi) or the Blackberry Pearl.

Leaning toward the Nokia E61 but need to field test the blackberry. The blackberry does feel really good in your hand.

  craig [01.17.07 01:21 PM]

If you want something easy to type on and T9 doesn't count then I can't imagine why you'd consider a Pearl which is exactly that. Yes, with more keys it's faster but it isn't a full QWERTY keyboard.

I use the Blackjack predecessor and I love it. I also have a Dash out on loan and it's great (and very similar). Each is roughly the same size as the iPhone and far more capable with the exception of the smaller screen. I briefly tried the Pearl and thought it was horrendous. Data services for the Pearl through T-mobile are distinct from every other phone and are more expensive. Skip the Pearl and go for the Dash or an unlocked Blackjack. WM5 on those is far better than you are used to.

  Santosh [01.18.07 11:12 PM]

Would anyone know if the Pearl allows data xfer over bluetooth (for example, contact syncing)?

The previous Berries did not ship with this.

  Bill Pena [01.22.07 08:55 PM]

Santosh: I haven't tried it myself, but looking at the Blackberry Desktop software, it seems that it can connect via Bluetooth and can sync via Bluetooth. The Pearl can also be used as a Bluetooth modem.

  Kyle [01.26.07 02:07 PM]

I just got my blackberry pearl two days ago and I am completely in love with it. I will NEVER get another motorola for the rest of my life. They are terrible phones and blackberry blows them out of the water. The only problem I've had so far is trying to activate Javascript. (So I'm searching it online and found this site.)

  Mikey [04.18.07 06:51 PM]

I've had mine since late last summer. It is bar none the best phone I've ever laid my hands on. The typing certainly seemed like it would be a chore with two letters assigned per key, but the QWERTY layout is remarkably easy to pick up.

The bluetooth-turned-modem function is a bonus, but you've already got email, internet and maps programmed right into the phone.

As an added bonus, the Pearl -feels- like a great phone: it's just the right amount of weight, hanging slightly heavy in its slim packaging. Like the iPod, it literally feels like it cost what you just paid for it. Satisfaction.

Software for Mac can be a bit buggy if you're using it to update a calender, but that's a small price to pay.

  Mike [06.21.07 08:42 PM]

hey, i've had my Pearl for a few weeks now, having upgraded from my venerable RAZR V3, and the difference is completely off the charts! The Pearl's keyboard makes texting and light data entry almost second nature, and the camera is very good for one that is on the back of a phone!
I love the ability to have my email piped directly into my message box.
I personally only sync to move files around, such as pictures and music files, but I do use the calendar on the phone itself extensively.
Long story short, I love my Pearl!

  chuck p. alien [07.20.07 02:14 PM]

the pearl is a sweet-feeling little phone, for sure. but it is a poor, poor, POOR substitute for an iphone... but oh so much cheaper.

and you CAN ssh from the iphone.

and if you can get used to the weird "double-letter keys" on the pearl, then you can get used to the iphone keyboard no problem.

  stephen collins [12.28.07 07:52 AM]

I've had an iphone for a month and i love it i think it is so much better than the blackberry pearl i mean think you hace internet ,youtube, itunes and it is a phone that is the best thing to come out

  kimberly borquez [08.12.08 12:58 AM]

i've had my pearl for about a month and its the best phone i've ever had. For one, the price was EXTREMELY reasonable. I got used to the truetype in a day and i can't text any other way now. the quality of pictures i get is very good. when i'm talking on the phone, the audio is incredible and i use the internet religiously on this phone. the one and only negative i would have about this phone is when it shuts off right when i'm in the middle of loading a video on the internet it shuts off to do security checks. but it only happens when i'm watching youtube vids on the phone. its an amazing phone and i'd recommend it to anyone!

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