RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8130 Review
This is where the Pearl line stands out from the rest of the BlackBerry family. Whereas pervious BlackBerries were strictly business devices, the original Pearl, and later the Curve, set out to be more multimedia friendly. For the first time a camera was included on a RIM device, and the Roxio-designed media player allows the user to play and manage music, videos, ringtones, pictures and voice notes.
The media player is good and simple to use, but not overly loaded with features. It supports folders, and will sort your music by Artist, Album and Genres. It also supports album art and playlists, which the user can create on the go, and the other options are Repeat and Shuffle.
Audio formats supported are MP3, AAC(+), WAV, and AMR, while the video formats are MPEG4 (H.263 profile 0, H.264 baseline) and WMV.
RIM has listed the following limitations for the supported videos:
• MPEG4/H.263 with AMR, EVRC, QCELP, AAC, AAC+, EAAC+: 30fps @ QVGA, 384kbps
• H.264 with EVRC, AAC, AAC+, EAAC+: 30fps @ 160x140, 384kbps
• WMV: 15 fps @ QVGA, 192kbps
• MPEG4/H.263 with AMR, EVRC, QCELP, AAC, AAC+, EAAC+: 15fps @ QVGA, 384kbps
• H.264 with EVRC, AAC, AAC+, EAAC+: 15fps @ 160x140, 384kbps
• WMV: 15 fps @ QCIF, 192kbps
2-megapixel camera performed very well. Pictures were crisp and color saturation was superb. They were just a little dark, but we really had to nitpick to find something wrong with it. Options are sparse, the only real adjustment is the white balance, but the results speak for themselves. Especially since the camera is almost an ancillary feature we were pleasantly surprised with its performance on the 8130.
Video performance was more pedestrian. It records at 240x176, and is more on-par with what you’d expect from a cell phone. Performance isn’t bad, it’s just not good. The only option is White Balance, and videos can only be recorded when using a memory card.
While it runs the BlackBerry OS, the Pearl 8130 does support Java applications. It has 64MB of onboard memory, and the microSD can handle up to 8GB of expansion. Third party applications can be installed, though not all are compatible. For instance, we were able to download and run Google Maps with no problems, but could not get Opera Mini to work.
BlackBerry Maps is included with the 8130, a program very similar to Google Maps. On the Verizon version the native GPS is locked, but it is not on the Sprint variant. While it does not offer voice prompts, it is a nice free GPS program and we are disappointed to see Verizon force their customers to pay for a service that should be free. We were of course able to purchase VZNavigator. The Sprint 8130 allows for free GPS that can be utilized by third party applications, and the Sprint Navigation program is included in the required data plan. The GPS of the Alltel variant also isn’t locked.
1. Paul (unregistered)
Actually you can change the shortcut items on the basic menu. If you move an application icon into the top five it will then display on the basic menu.
Trackball is not cumbersome at all, not sure how you managed that conclusion. Menu icons are hideable so they dont clog up your screen. How can this phone not be picked up and used... Its size and very useable UI are strengths.
I agree about the suretype being cumbersome at times, but that is the only real flaw that I notice. I didn't notice the browser being slow at all, it was much faster than other peoples phones that I compared it too. Overall a solid review though.
4. SQFreak (unregistered)
About connectivity, I notice no slowness. I think you're in a low-signal area, based on the fact that your screenshots alternate between 1XEV (broadband) and 1X (barely faster than dialup). Actually, my Pearl 8130 performs faster than my Q9m in almost every respect. Additionally, I use Outlook 2007 to sync with the BlackBerry with no problems.
Could you please tell me which U prefer... Moto Q9m (Q9c for me on SPrint) vs. the Pearl 8130?? I'm torn as this will be my 1st SmartPhone, and I'm a MS Windows PC user, etc. But I really do not plan to do much e-mailing on either as I want to keep my sanity & life. I want a great phone, easy to use & setup, easy to type w/o looking alot. Can you turn off The Pearl's guess-ahead typing, and put it into an ABC mode only?? Thx Much, tom
5. dragserb (unregistered)
You have to be pretty dense if you can't learn to use this phone quickly. It's not that hard for anyone who cares to read a little. The phone deserves at least an 8 not a mediocre 7.
6. Reviewer (unregistered)
@sq...The testing of the phone was done in many places, most of them strong EVDO areas. Where the pictures/video was taken the Pearl did jump between 1x and EVDO, but literally every other Verizon phone I've owned and tested (probably 15 or so) has had no problem not only pulling an EVDO signal, but a strong one at that. Air cards usually get speeds over 1Mbps
7. VZ Hater (unregistered)
Check your info guys, the Pearl launched on Sprint on Black Friday, as noted on many other blogs AND Sprint's own site. A comparo coming soon?
was the reviewer not smart...or maybe just missed some things the phone does? the BT is fully unlocked, I am able to send object via BT and receive them, fairly easily mind you as well. I can connect my pearl via BT to my laptop for syncing as well as modem(though modem via BT is dumb and slow, but more power to you). so the BT stuff is all wrong, but how about the rest of it? the main menu is the same menu you get on any BB phone, and you cna hide any icon you don't need or move things around. so the side keys can be made into anything you want. as to the trackball...do you have MS or shake a lot? because that thing is easy as hell to use. and no review of the new RIM browser? this thing blows the old ones out of the water. and have you never owned or done a review of a BB? all you realy did was get in there, and download an app and not try to use the standard browser. did you go to yoru website? it pulls up without issue, and you cna move to a pan and zoom way of looking at the webpage much like opra mini. every time any of you guys get a phone the first thing you do is suck opera mini's sausage by mentioning it, then complain about how the phone can or can't run it. wow this review is lacking on all front, facts, info, and apparently knowledge.
i tried one of these out in a verizon store and almost instantly i was flying with suretype, not sure how u can be slow with it
10. VZW Sales / Pearl Owner (unregistered)
Phonearena, why are you paying this guy? The suretype is faster than the full QWERTY or the T9 if you take more than 15 minutes to get used to it. I'm already faster on my Pearl (10 days into ownership) than I ever was on my EnV in the year that I had it. You -CAN- reorder the shortcuts on the main screen. I initially had the same problem with the BIS site blocking the Go To... option, but that was quickly resolved. Getting Opera Mini 4 to work was as simple as going towww.operamini.com on the phone's browser, choosing download, download high-memory version, and then choosing download. It downloads in a java file, not a .zip. Try it again. Valid critiques: the GPS is locked. The voice dial button is a little too easy to accidentally press. That's why I remapped it to lock the keypad. The internet is somewhat slow. It depends on the site - sometimes the Pearl stops using EVDO and drops down to 1X-RTT, and you have to yank the battery and reset it, but that's a periodic annoyance I've only had to do a couple of times. Phonearena, stop paying this slacker and hire me!
A tip for anyone who suddenly loses EVDO and reverts to 1X-RTT: Turn radio off in the settings, then on again. My phone was stuck in 1X out of the box, and doing this fixed the problem. There should be no need for battery removal. Also, keep in mind that cell towers will sometimes stop transmitting EVDO during brief maintenance cycles. I adore my Pearl. I use it as my primary connectivity device. Anyone complaining about the convenience keys should remap them.
11. jean (unregistered)
the suretype was quite easy to pickup. I had no problems and the trackball is great. Fast browser and this was my first blackberry phone. After 3-4 days i had the hang of it.
12. DDH (unregistered)
This is a great phone. It's my first blackberry and after owning a Q for the past year and several others windows smartphones this is a pleasant upgrade. Most other sites and reviews I've read gave this phone high reviews so disregard the inaccurate complaints from the reviewer. Suretype was easy to learn and the track ball is one of the best features on the phone.
Can u give me some thoughts re the Q9c vs the Pearl?? I'm trying to decide & this'll be my 1st Smart phone, and I'm not a gear queer... i just want to use them to get work done & be productive. I'm a Windows user on my NB & PC.
16. Jerry (unregistered)
CDMA Pearl for Verizon: After 2.5 wks, I feel that this phone has robust features coupled with serious flaws. If you are not a previous BB user, navigating through the menus is not intuitive. Suretype is a bit cumbersome, but you can setup shortcuts that really help you along. For example, I have setup "u" to correct to "you", "w" to spell out "with", etc... My biggest beef is the lack of memory and what happens when you run out. The Pearl literally starts randomly deleting your call logs and messages to free up space! Can you imagine telling a business counterpart that you will call them back in 2 min only to find out their number was erased from your logs! Ask me how I know. *L* Keep in mind that inserting a flash card does NOT help this issue. I have no media, pics, or music on my phone whatsoever. The cure? Believe it or not, you just need to reset your phone from time to time by pulling the battery which will take you a minimum of 4.5 min to bring the phone back up again. All in all, I give the Pearl for Verizon a 3.5 out of 5. We should all do ourselves a favor and buy the iPhone.