Battery life is one of the selling points here, with RIM promising up to five hours of talk time and up to 18 days of standby. Compared to, say, the 3G BlackBerry Bold 9000, that's light years ahead of the game.

BlackBerry pearl 3g review

Our experience is certainly promising, although battery life is almost impossible to benchmark when a smartphone is used in so many different ways by different people.

After a full charge, we made calls with the Pearl 3G, browsed a few sites, played music, hammered Messenger – the kind of thing anyone with a Pearl 3G would do – and found the battery performed strongly.

Admittedly, we've had trouble finding a decent 3G connection with the handset – if we had, things might have been a little different. But even allowing for that, we've not been reliant on the charger, which isn't always the case for a BlackBerry.

GPS navigation

GPS is always a welcome bonus and the BlackBerry Maps included here is reasonable for a finding your way around town. It picked up a satellite in seconds, pinpointing our location as well as panning round the area.

We do have to stress that this is just basic mapping included; don't expect to give your in-car unit the boot and replace it with this. That said, if you happen to be lost in a city, it should offer a helping hand.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

On the plus side, Google Maps is available as a free download for the BlackBerry. Again, it isn't going to replace your car satnav, but it does offer much more detail, and you should make it one of your first downloads.

Aside from that, geotagging and location finding in apps is a welcome bonus with the GPS on board.

Calendar

As you would expect from something keeping business on the move, the calendar on the BlackBerry Pearl 3G is an impressive tool.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Break down your tasks in days, weeks or months, view your wider schedule or agenda, organise appointments, set alarms for those appointments (when due or in advance), schedule conference calls, invite people to meetings, change time zones – it's all here and more.

Even better, you can sync it up with external tools (like Google Calendar, for example), should you and your friends/contacts be reliant on that.

The entire program is built for the busy businessman, so if you are buying the Pearl 3G as a 'social' phone, you can be sure it has all bases covered. In fact, on the Pearl, perhaps too many bases.