Whether the problems have been down to network coverage in the area we test in, or just slightly dodgy reception for the handset itself, we're not sure, but 3G reception has been occasional, rather than the norm.

Doing a like-for-like test with another BlackBerry on the same network does show a slightly weaker signal for the Pearl 3G, which isn't promising.

That's obviously not a scientific test, but it does worry us slightly. Something perhaps to check out at your local phone dealer if you are considering a purchase.

Wi-Fi reception was good, though. Easy to set up, the Pearl 3G was happy to jump to the wireless connection as and when required, which certainly made browsing and downloading a more pleasurable experience.

The phone also comes with Bluetooth connectivity, which enabled us to pair up with a notebook without any problems, accepting a file quickly and without any problems. Or if you want to go wired, a mini USB to USB cable is provided to transfer data and media or to update the operating system.

Other features

As with all phones, the headline features are always matched with a host of minor features, many of which are worthy of a mention.

Games :

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Games always appear on handsets and the Pearl 3G is no exception. In this case we have a mix of arcade, strategy and cards, specifically Brickbreaker, Word Mole, Trooper Typing, Texas Hold 'Em King 2, Sudoku and Klondike.

All a little basic, but a good mix of games and, above all, full games rather than demos. We like that.

Applications:

BlackBerry pearl 3g

A throwback to business handsets, the Pearl 3G has a raft of productivity tools, some you might use occasionally (MemoPad, Tasks, Calculator, Password Keeper), others you'll probably ignore, especially with a screen so small (Word To Go, Sheet To Go, Slideshow To Go).

To be honest, the latter features are more like 'tasters' anyway. You can open a Microsoft-friendly document with them, but you can't create one without buying the full package. It kind of spoils the good will the games built up.

Voice notes are also included, so you can record your ideas on the go or do a quick interview. It's functional, but if you are serious about this, a standalone voice recorder might be for you.

Saying that, recording works fine, playback is decent and you can use your 'voice notes' as quirky ringtones too, so don't write it off completely.

Alarm clock:

BlackBerry pearl 3g

In a hotel with no clock and an early start required? Use your Pearl 3G. It's actually a decent little extra, throwing out a clock that fills the screen and offering up a loud alarm to get you out of bed.

BlackBerry App World:

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Okay, you've got your handset and you want to grab some extra apps, including the ones we've recommended in this review. Where to go? BlackBerry App World. It's a handset-based store mixing free and premium apps, all available to browse and download and with reviews from users.

As we've mentioned previously, the store isn't the biggest or best app store, but it does the job well, enabling you to customise your phone for next to nothing if you shop clever. Check it out as soon as you've got your handset charged up.