BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 review: Back in style

GSMArena team, 04 October 2010.
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Tags: BlackBerry

There are some games too

The BlackBerry Pearl 9105 has the same games as its 8900 Curve sibling – there are five titles, with the first two titles being a version of the all too popular Bricks game and Word Mole, where you have to compose words with the letters available on the board. We found Word Mole with its various bonuses and extra levels quite amusing.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105
Some of the preinstalled games

The rest of the titles include Texas Hold’em King 2 which, as the name suggests, is a mobile version of the popular card game, Sudoku and a typing game where you shoot paratroopers by typing the letters over their heads.

GPS navigation is BIS-only

As one would expect nowadays, the BlackBerry Pearl 9105 is equipped with a built-in GPS receiver and comes with A-GPS support. For navigation you get BlackBerry Maps preinstalled. Unfortunately it is yet another application that only works with a BlackBerry internet plan activated. This means that voice-guided navigation is out of the question for the ones that buy it SIM free and then use it with their regular plan.

BlackBerry Maps provide basic map functionality plus voice-guided navigation. You can enter an address straight from your phonebook and you can also save your favorite spots so you don't have to type them every time.

BlackBerry Maps allows you to send your location to anyone via email or SMS, and that rounds off a decent but certainly not spectacular application. Also, addresses that are included in messages are automatically detected and can be displayed on map the easily.

Final words

Let’s try and outline the profile of the likely BlackBerry Pearl 3G user. To begin with, it’s either a guy or a girl. That one was easy – business phones usually have unisex appeal. It has to be someone who absolutely needs the BlackBerry service for the corporate-grade security or whatever other reason. And they need to meet at least one of the following requirements: a) can’t afford the BlackBerry 9700 Bold or b) think the Bold and the Curve are too big and have too many buttons.

Now, this is no joke and we’re not in the mood to fool around anyway. The thing is, the Pearl 3G is made up of two different phones with completely different targets. If you answered yes to a and b above, and you’ve owned at least one BlackBerry phone, you’re most likely to go for the Pearl 3G 9100. That’s the one with the hybrid QWERTY keyboard - the proper BlackBerry, the one to make you feel at home.

The Pearl 3G 9105 on the other hand is perhaps for people who have so far snubbed BlackBerry for being too complicated, too corporate and uptight. Why wouldn’t they welcome something more mainstream, simpler and friendlier?

No, really. Why wouldn’t they? The Pearl 3G 9105 is no worse than the Bold 9700. It’s the usual solid service in a cool mini form factor. So, how bad can it be if you take the QWERTY keyboard out of the BlackBerry equation?

BlackBerry Bold 9700
BlackBerry Bold 9700

To be honest, it can be worse than the Nokia Eseries. The Pearl 3G 9105 has neither the design and build quality, nor the app catalog of a Nokia E52 or E55. It’s nearly twice as expensive with the higher-res screen the only thing to show for that. Even the Nokia E72 is cheaper than the latest Pearl 3G and it will gladly throw in a full QWERTY keyboard and a better camera to sweeten the deal.

Nokia E52 Nokia E55 Nokia E72
Nokia E52 • Nokia E55 • Nokia E72

But RIM seems to know what it’s up against. And with BlackBerry it’s always about the service and never about the device. The BlackBerry service will always be the key selling point for all BB phone but the Pearl 3G is trying to make a point that the Berry evolution is happening across the board, not just in the high-end.

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