BlackBerry Pearl 3G review

Will a QWERTY-free, slimline BlackBerry make merry in the mass market?

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The standard BlackBerry browser has never been much to shout about, all too often having trouble rendering pages and in many cases, taking too much time to download content. Maybe, just maybe, RIM has started to deal with the problem, prior to actually bringing out a WebKit-based browser.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

We have used and tested a number of BlackBerry devices and always had some pages that the BlackBerry just doesn't like. This time, all of our favourite temperamental pages (and other more reliable content) passed with flying colours.

Of course, there's a 'but' coming here. In fact, there are two. Firstly, the small screen of the Pearl 3G makes the zoom function on the browser your best friend when it comes to web content. It will zoom in on the detail, but when you've got a busy or text-heavy page, constantly having to zoom is a real pain.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Secondly, that speedy loading is only when you've got a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. When you lose that, the page load times increase significantly. What took seconds suddenly takes minutes. We'll look more at the connectivity of the Pearl 3G later on.

Social networking

The BlackBerry range has long had decent apps for all the main social networks, two of which are included here as standard. No MySpace, but in 2010, are you really surprised?

BlackBerry pearl 3g

The Twitter app has recently gone official for the BlackBerry and we have to say, it works like a dream, integrating well with the wider BlackBerry messaging system.

If you are a regular Twitter user, you'll know what to expect – a box for your message, a screen to view all the messages of those you follow (complete with avatars) and a row of icons for everything from replies to people search.

If someone sends you a direct message, that drops into your main message inbox like a new email, which is a nice touch. A well thought-out app and one that's a dream to use on the Pearl 3G.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Facebook is also represented here and it's a decent way to keep updated. Log on and you'll be greeted by your latest news feed, with options to comment or 'like' an update, upload a photo, send a message, write on a wall – pretty much everything you would expect.

Admittedly, it does look a little basic and a little cramped on the small screen, but if you can deal with that, the Facebook app here is more than adequate.


Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.