Skip to main content

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

BlackBerry pearl 3g

SMS and MMS messaging is very straightforward on the Pearl 3G. No QWERTY, but text messaging is easy enough on the minimal keypad. Just select your contact, type the message, add a smiley if you fancy, then send away.

You can check the spelling if you're feeling pedantic and you can see any messages sent and received in the email-like SMS folder.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

MMS is just as easy – take a photo, select a contact, select the size/quality you wish to send and it goes. What more can you ask?

This is a BlackBerry, if it doesn't do email well, there's no hope for it. Just as well it does, then, but with a slight reservation.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

Setting up an email account is, by and large, a breeze. Whether it's a webmail account or something PC-based, just head to the email wizard, enter your account details and the Pearl 3G will set it up and, when available, work with your inbox to push emails to your handset when they arrive, so you are free to view, delete, forward or reply as the mood takes you.

Delete from your phone and it goes from your inbox elsewhere too. It's the reason why businessmen love a BlackBerry and if you lead a busy life, it should help you too.

You can add as many email accounts as you like to the phone, which you can oversee from one message inbox or from each individual address folder. Indeed, if you do use multiple boxes, you can add different tones for each account, just like you can with people in your contacts directory.

So if the email is so good, why the reservation? Well, that minor niggle is the BlackBerry SureType technology. Most BlackBerry devices have a QWERTY keyboard, so banging out a long email isn't much different to using a laptop. It's just smaller.

With the Pearl 3G, the keyboard is more like a traditional phone to fit the profile of the handset, but it also means a different way of text input.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

SureType is a form of predictive text, constantly second guessing your word choice, as well as spellchecking as you go. Like predictive text, it is both helpful and frustrating at the same time.

Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to fire out emails at a fair rate of speed, but if you've not used it before, be prepared for some very frustrating days and emails taking longer than writing and posting a letter, especially if they're beyond a couple of lines of text.

It might make you regret buying the handset, but stick with it – the fact that it learns from your more commonly-typed words really does add speed in the medium term.

Instant messaging

One of the selling points of the Blackberry is BlackBerry Messenger, but whether it works for you is dependent on the number of mates you have with the same make of device.

BlackBerry pearl 3g

It's simple to use – just enter the email address of your BlackBerry-toting buddy and if they approve you, instant communication is here.

Just type in a message to your contact or multiple group contacts like you would with any other messaging app, with BB Messenger informing you when the message lands. It's great – if you have BlackBerry-based friends.

If not, prepare to gaze at an empty screen. It's also where BlackBerry App World comes in. Other messaging tools are available to download, including Google Talk, so if you are the first to go down the BlackBerry route, you'll not be alone.

And who knows? Your mates might be impressed enough with your handset to buy one too.