Way back in the day, right around the time we launched BBGeeks.com, we published an article called Why you want the Blackberry Pearl. It was a pretty basic article, touching on the reasons why the Pearl was/is in a class of its own. RIM just upped the ante yesterday, as they and T-Mobile announced the availability of the BlackBerry Pearl 8220 flip. So it only makes sense to talk about why you want the new Pearl.
It’s the most compact BlackBerry yet
No, it’s not by much, but the Pearl 8220 is the shortest BlackBerry yet. The previous versions of the Pearl measured 4.2 inches long by 1.97 inches wide by 0.55 inches (0.57 for the 8100) deep, and weighed about 3.1 ounces. That’s pretty small by BlackBerry standards. Compare it to my old 8830 (sayonara, buddy), which was 4.49 inches long, 2.6 inches wide, and 0.55 inches deep. Clearly, if you were going for the compact model, you’d be going for the Pearl.
The new Pearl flip knocks 0.22 inches off the length, measuring 3.98 inches top to bottom. It still has the same convenient 1.97 inch width, though is logically a bit deeper at 0.69 inches. You also get some extra weight, as the new Pearl is 3.6 ounces. You’ll get some extra bang for your buck with that weight, but we’ll discuss that later. For now, tough, we can just focus on the shorter length, somewhat offset by the depth, which makes this the shortest BlackBerry yet.
It has Wi-Fi
When you’re going with a non-3G phone, having WiFi can be an incredible positive. U.S. GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile make this even easier, as they have thousands of WiFi hotspots set up nationwide. Yes, you’ll have to deal with slow EDGE speeds outside of these hotspots, but they’re certainly a positive. The BlackBerry Pearl 8220 is just the second Pearl to come with WiFi. The other is the 8120, available through both AT&T and T-Mo.
The question, really, is whether there will be an 8210 which comes with GPS and not WiFi. We’ve heard such rumors, and it does make a degree of sense. Otherwise, why use 8220 as the model number, rather than 8200? I guess we’ll find out in due time.
Best Pearl display yet
Here’s the biggest upgrade from the older models of the Pearl: a high resolution display. The second generation Pearls (8110, 8120, 8130) had a max resolution of 240 x 260 with 16-bit color support. While that’s fine and good, it’s not quite high-res. The Pearl 8220? How about a 240 x 320 max resolution. That’s some serious pixelage. It’s one of the main advantages to designing this as a flip: There’s more room for the screen.
Not only that, but RIM put a decent display on the outside of the camera, maxing out at 128 x 160 pixels. No, you won’t be able to watch 300 on it, but you can still probably catch most of your friends’ picture messages.
The real story, though, is inside. Remember, the max resolution on the 8830 was 320 x 240, so we’re talking about the same, only inverted. This, in a phone that is shorter than even the original flip. The Pearl 8220 certainly packs a visual punch.
More memory capacity
There are two aspects when we’re talking about memory. The first is flash memory, and the Pearl 8220 has a leg up on that. While most older BlackBerry models have clocked in with 64MB of flash memory, the Pearl 8220 doubles that to 128MB. For you, that means more message capacity, more room for third party apps, and more time before your ‘Berry starts acting funny because you’re low on memory.
The other aspect is expandable memory. The newer lines of BlackBerry have had SD card memory slots, and the 8220 does as well. However, because of the OS, 4.6, it has support for up to 16GB memory cards, double that of the pre-4.5 models. So not only do you get more on-board memory, but you have the option to expand it to depths previously unknown by BlackBerry users.
All the things you love about BlackBerry
Don’t think that just because RIM included a few new features with the 8220 that they forgot about why people want a BlackBerry in the first place. It still has the infamous push email system which put RIM on the map. It still has Bluetooth, still has a speakerphone, and still has the organization features available on previous BlackBerry models.
Of course, coming with OS 4.6 is a major plus. You can upgrade your old Pearl to OS 4.5, sure, but this puppy was built to run the new OS. With economic hard times upon us, you might want to stick with your old Pearl. However, if you choose to upgrade to the 8220, we can’t blame you.