The BlackBerry Pearl is getting on a bit, although Orange has gone for the 8120 model, which supports Wi-Fi. When you’re away from a hotspot, the GSM handset supports Orange’s EDGE network for the next best data service after 3G. It also has a 2-megapixel camera, with LED flash, Bluetooth and a media player – plus a memory card slot for adding memory cards up to 2GB in capacity.
£145 buys you the phone, and you then choose from one of the prepay tariffs offered by the network. However, to get the push email service (the whole reason you’d want to buy this phone), you also need to add the PAYG BlackBerry Internet Service that costs a further £5 per month.
The Pearl uses the SureType keypad, a variation of predictive text based around a standard QWERTY keyboard. What Mobile has always had a mixed opinion of the usability of this design, although with practice you can begin to enter text at a speed comparable to devices with full keyboards (e.g. the BlackBerry Curve or Bold models).
When we reviewed the handset in the February 2008 issue, we awarded it 4 stars (out of 5) and stated; “The incredibly slim design makes this the most pocketable BlackBerry ever. We can’t fault its instant email, so maybe it’s time to start practising on that keyboard”.
More info: Orange Shop
Update: We’ve also discovered that Carphone Warehouse has also begun to offer the BlackBerry Pearl in two colours on prepay, with a similar offering.