Having previously used a plus-sized BlackBerry for work, this fruity little number from Research In Motion is sleek, light and girlie – without being silly. It’s for the girl (or pink-loving boy) about town who wants to stay in the loop – in all loops!

At its best, this phone changes the pre-conceived idea that a BlackBerry is a large cumbersome device for the 24-hour high-powered exec. The pearl is neat and funky – the size of a standard phone (indeed, smaller then some), which allows users to stay in touch on the next level.

So, does the smaller size mean this is still a ’Berry at heart? Well, it features the traditional easy-to-use roller ball and a smooth keypad. The keys are simple to adapt to for the masses used to predictive text, otherwise it takes a bit of practice and a few frustrations, before it eventually starts to feel normal.

Meanwhile, the receiver delivers a clear and sharp sound during voice calling, enabling you to hold a decent conversation even whilst standing on the busy streets of London.

The Pink BlackBerry Pearl also supports all the standard functions of a BlackBerry – email, web browsing, Facebook, Gmail Chat, Yahoo Messenger and BlackBerry messenger. It even comes pre-loaded with Google Maps software – handy when you’re looking for a great place to drink cocktails or just look über cool.

(Continued on next page)

{mosimage}{mospagebreak}

The handset also comes with a 2-megapixel camera and the option to shoot video – which are exclusive features to the BlackBerry pearl – as well as a voice recorder.

One downside to this little gem (or should that be pearl…) is that the new tiny size seems to somehow limit its power – despite it housing the same technology as the BlackBerry 8800 we remember so fondly! Whereas the 312MHz processor and 64MB Flash memory in the big, fat BlackBerry handled pretty much anything you wanted to do, instant messaging on the Pink Pearl was frequently interrupted by the annoying hourglass logo. We did also have one evening where IMs sent by friends didn’t appear onscreen. The device could see the person typing, knew that a message had been sent, but wouldn’t display it for us. This was despite them being able to read our replies…

Over a period of use we also noted a more alarming trend, as our email count drastically dropped until our whole Inbox disappeared quicker than Darren Day after a proposal. At one point Facebook also dropped out of the loop and we stopped receiving notifications. Neither the missing emails nor the Facebook data ever returned to the device, although new messages did start building up again. Sure our trusty PC had all those lost items stored if we wanted to access them later, but isn’t the BlackBerry supposed to be the PC-replacement in your pocket?

 

(Continued on next page)

{mosimage}{mospagebreak}

Another deal-breaker could be that this pink model is exclusive to Carphone Warehouse. That’s OK for the most part, but we have had some customer service issues with this chain in the past and this continued as we tried to get answers to our tech problems.

On the upside, though, the BlackBerry Pearl offered the option to install the new members lounge, which offers free games downloads, exclusive deals and discounts and all the up-to-the-minute BlackBerry news. This is most useful if you’re a gamer girl, but looking forward it could be something of interest as it builds up more varied content.

Overall, the Pink Pearl packs in everything we have come to expect from BlackBerry, but aimed at girls, and is great value on the right price plan. It’s also a whole lot cooler to pull this little beauty out of your handbag, compared with some of the ’Berry’s siblings. But a few usability issues – an hourglass logo is no good when you’re busy chatting with your BFF about how the new bloke’s working out – make this one for the patient.

VERDICT: 7/10

{mosimage}