The small pearl has the ‘candy-bar’ design, standard for the RIM, and a built-in antenna like the other new models. But as already noted, it differs considerably in size – mainly the body thickness has been reduced, reaching 0.6’’ (14.5 mm), which is remarkable for a smartphone, adding up to the definite achievement in the remaining dimensions as well:

Size in inches

Size in mm.

Weight in oz.

Weight in grams

RIM Pearl

4.2" x 2.0" x 0.6"

107 x 50 x 14.5



RIM 7130c

4.5" x 2.2" x 0.7"

115 x 56 x 18



RIM 8700

4.3" x 2.7" x 0.8"

110 x 69 x 19



HTC Tornado

4.2" x 1.8" x 0.7"

107.5 x 46 x 17.5



Though the phone’s body is made mainly of plastic it does not look cheap – just the opposite: it is very pleasant to touch. The workmanship itself is of high-quality and the black mirror finish of the parts definitely contributes to the high-class appearance. To the disappointment of the users, though, finger-marks are easily left, thus staining the surface, which makes it difficult to maintain the phone’s perfect outlook.

The proportions of the device and its well-balanced weight make it very convenient to hold in each hand. Being ‘light-weighted’, it is also possible to carry it trouble-free in a pocket, where it does not feel rather heavy.

The screen has the same resolution as previous models with Sure Type keyboard – 240 x 260 pixels and capable of reproducing of up to 65000 colors. Its diagonal size is 2 inches, which is comparatively normal for a phone that big and with a keyboard of this kind. It is not very bright, just a trifle more than the touch-screen T-Mobile MDA has, but its colors are saturated and real with just a slightly accentuated tinge of red. The screen brightness is sensor-controlled thus ensuring prolonged battery-life, good visibility at various light conditions, and not irritating the eye with strong light when in dark environment. The adjustment to abrupt change of external light takes 3 - 4 seconds, which is normal. We expect this extra to be available from all phones of the mid to high-end.

What makes the appearance of Blackberry phones different from all the rest is their keyboard: having a small dimensions required the usage of a Sure Type keyboard, which is a hybrid of a normal numeric keypad and a real QWERTY. It is developed by RIM and contains 5 (instead of the normal 3) columns of keys, each of them having more than one character. However, unlike the standard numeric pads, the letters here are ordered as on a QWERTY keyboard.
The buttons are of normal size and you will be able to press all of them unless you have very big fingers. They are very tightly set to each other and this can lead to pressing the key next to the one you really need. The upper part of the buttons is less tall that the lower one, resulting in ‘flooring’ of the rows. Pressing is soft and precise – it is improbable that you press a key in vain. This can also be felt thanks to the good tactile response at pressing.

The service buttons are situated above the text-typing ones: they are very close to the latter and have almost the same shape and size. This seems illogical as they are pressed more often when using the menu and call handling buttons are of basic importance for a phone. In between them (in the center of the front panel) there is the new Trackball, used for phone navigation. It is a small brightly-lit white sphere (a pearl), which can be rolled in all directions. It looks very good and is an interesting idea with regard to navigation, but unfortunately not quite sensible because, apart from the main menu and a few applications, the main navigation directions are up and down. Its sensitivity can be set and you can feel certain weariness after a prolonged usage depending on the way you move it – especially true for numerous short motions of the finger. As this method to control a phone is rarely applied, for some users it will take time until they get used to it, and at first most people try to operate it by pressing as if it were a joystick.

On each side of the phone there is one shortcut button whose function can be set by the user. Two volume-control buttons are situated on the upper right side. Though all lateral buttons feature high relief and are easily felt even during conversation, they are equally hard to press and have no feedback whatsoever. The Mute button is on the upper panel.

Instead of buttons on the upper left side, there are the connectors. Standard ones have been used not only for connecting to other devices and charging, but for music as well: mini USB port and 2.5 mm stereo jack. This feature enables you to connect your Pearl to a computer using any available USB cable designed for different peripheral equipment, to charge it in the same manner, as well as to plug in various headphones or audio adaptors for the 2.5mm jack.
The service LED light is situated above the screen. It flashes in blue during active Bluetooth connection and in red during incoming calls (provided you have set it to do that beforehand) or unread message.

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