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BlackBerry Pearl 3G review

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

The definitive BlackBerry Pearl 3G review
The definitive BlackBerry Pearl 3G review

Using the BlackBerry OS 5.0, the Pearl 3G's interface is pretty much everything you would expect of a BlackBerry if you've used one before, but with a little added speed. If you've not used one, allow us to explain.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

The menu system on the Pearl is icon driven and using the optical trackpad, you can quickly flick through the icons on display, clicking on the one you require.

It's a method that has stood the test of time and with the new trackpad, is much improved from the temperamental 'ball'.

Around 20 icons will fit onto the Homescreen without the need to scroll the page, but if scrolling is good with you, you can have as many as you require.

Moving icons is easy, just click the Menu button for a range of options to move, delete or hide icons. So, for example, if you download anything new online or from BlackBerry App World, icons for the app will appear in your downloads folder.

Just move the new icon to the homepage via a selection from the Menu key and you can access it easily. Likewise, if you get tired of something or just don't need it, move it off the Homescreen, hide it or delete it.

BlackBerry pearl 3g review

At 'rest', or when you switch on, the Pearl 3G, by default, offers access to your most-used functions (known as Zen), the defaults being your mail, SMS, contacts, BlackBerry Messenger and Facebook.

Of course, if you want to replace them, that's fine too, just hit that Menu button again and swap it around in your options.

As we said, it's a time-served interface and against some of the more whizzy 3D efforts on the market, the BlackBerry OS might look a little tired and dated. But what it lacks in style it makes up for in functionality. We guarantee within five minutes of booting it up, you'll be flying around the menu like a pro.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Setting up is easy too. Pretty much everything is wizard-driven, so from getting the Wi-Fi connected to creating new email accounts, it's all just a matter of following the simple steps.

Different profiles are already preset, but you can spend time tinkering with the different tones for an individual fit. It might take you some time too – the Pearl 3G is packed with sounds and ringtones, with the option of using your own music too.

If there's a downside to the BlackBerry's interface it's the lack of quick access via the screen to the media functions – for us, at least two clicks too many. The top controls on the case are fine once you are in, but getting in is a real pain.

This isn't just a Pearl 3G issue, it's a wider BlackBerry issue, perhaps because for RIM, media has always been down the priority list for business devices. But with a non-business device like the Pearl 3G, it should be better.