By June 17, 2010

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-mainThe BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 is one of a few new BlackBerry smart phones we should see this year. The 9105 is pretty unique though. As far as I am aware this is the first BlackBerry with a traditional style keypad. Yes, three letters on each key.

It is however a spin off of the 9100 which also has just been released overseas but this one has two letters per key like we have seen before on BlackBerry Pearls.

It is only the 9105 we will see here in the UK and this is clearly to offer people using a feature phone the opportunity to upgrade to a BlackBerry without them having to use a full Qwerty keyboard which does put some people off.

Is the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 a worthy contender up against all the other dozens of devices out there with a standard keyboard?

Read on to find out.

 

The ten second review:

Device: BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105

Cost: From free with a contract.

Summary: A slim and sleek BlackBerry with a standard keypad.

Best of: Messaging, Connectivity,

Worst of: Screen size is a little small for some features.

Buy it now from: TBC

 

BlackBerry 9105 Pearl 3G specification:

  • Processor Speed: 624Mhz
  • Battery:
    • Talk Time: 5.5 hrs
    • Standby Time: 432 hrs
    • Music Playback Time: 30 hrs
    • Capacity: 1150 mAh
  • Display: 360 x 400 pixels/2.2″
  • Camera: 3.2 mega-pixels (auto-focus)
  • LED Flash
  • Messaging: SMS / MMS (with video)
  • E-mail (POP3, IMAP4, Exchange, BlackBerry)
  • Instant Messaging (BlackBerry Messenger)
  • Memory: 256 (RAM) / 256MB (internal)
  • microSDHC (memory card)
  • Connectivity: 2G: 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz (Quadband) – 3G: 800/900/2100 (Tri-band)
  • WiFi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth (2.1)
  • microUSB
  • 3.5mm Audio Connector
  • AGPS
  • BlackBerry Maps
  • Light Sensor
  • Optical Trackpad

 

What’s in the box:

  • Phone
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Ear phones

As I mentioned in the BlackBerry 9105 unboxing video this particular device was not a retail unit so things may be slightly different.

 

General:

On the left side is the 3.5mm headset jack, the MicroUSB and also the left convenience key.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-left

BlackBerry 9105 Pearl 3G Left Side

On the right we have the up/down volume controls and the right convenience key.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-right

BlackBerry 9105 Pearl 3G Right Side

The top of the 9105 appears flush but does actually house media controls.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-top

BlackBerry 9105 Pearl 3G Top

On the back is the camera lens and flash.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-back

BlackBerry 9105 Pearl 3G Back

The front houses the speaker and LED alert at the top and the keyboard under the screen.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-front

BlackBerry 9105 Pearl 3G Front

 

Highlights:

  • Messaging (email and IM)
  • Integrated Facebook and Twitter
  • Small and sleek, perfect for one handed use
  • Connectivity

Lowlights:

  • Screen size
  • Felt a little cheap

 

Review:

Straight out of the box the 9105 is certainly a nice looking handset. It’s jet black housing looks sleek and snazzy. This review device I have does feel a bit rickety though. It certainly doesn’t have the same superior build quality of the BlackBerry Bold 9700. I would say it is more on par with the Curve 8520 but I am not too surprised as the Bold is the premium device.

It’s a lightweight feeling handset and with this combined with it’s nice rounded edges makes it feels great in the hand. Perfect for one handed use.

Luckily RIM have done away with the trackball and so we have the new track pad which can also be found on the 8520 and 9700. It is a real joy to use and makes for quick and easy navigation both around the menus and within applications.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-keys

I have to say that using the keyboard on the 9105 sure takes some getting used to when coming from a full Qwerty but that is to be expected. I would imagine that the people who buy the 9105 would not have used a Qwerty before and will be more used to a standard keypad. The keys themselves are nice to use. Like on a feature phone they give a proper click and are a decent size. The bottom row contains a back button, symbols, space, a key to switch between capitals and numbers and finally an enter key. All straight forward to use.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review-close

Like on most feature phones you have a couple of options when it comes to entering text and those options are having T9 on or off. It sure makes things easier for me having it on although it can be a bit frustrating when entering email addresses. Switching it off is only a quick key press away.

You can lock the keyboard to prevent dialling while the phone is in a pocket. This is achieved by holding down the * key briefly. Unlocking is just as simple. Just press the mute key on the top of the device.

If you have not used a BlackBerry before and are considering it let me quickly explain its benefits.

To sum it up, the BlackBerry is (in my opinion) the best and most efficient messaging device around. If messaging, whether it email, SMS, or instant messaging, is what is most important to you then a BlackBerry will be right up your street.

All BlackBerry smart phones will allow you to have up to ten email accounts set up on the device and emails will be pushed to you which saves the phone having to sync with the server every few minutes. This also saves on the amount of data you use.

Instant messaging is far more popular now than it used to be and as well as being able to install apps like Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo messenger you will have the bonus of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). This allows you to instant message your friends which own a BlackBerry as well as send photos and files. You can even create or join groups enabling you to chat with people that share an interest with you.

The BlackBerry is most definitely not the phone you want if you want to use it for playing games etc. If that is your thing then choose another platform. The BlackBerry will do gaming but the experience is not as good as on some other devices.

So if keeping in touch with your friends or business contacts is priority then the BlackBerry is well worth checking out and the Pearl 3G 9105 does it as well as any other BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry does pretty much everything you could wish for and most things it does extremely well. The beauty of it for me is that everything is simple and most tasks are just a click away.

Social networking is massive now and fortunately the BlackBerry is great at it. The 9105 comes with Twitter for BlackBerry pre installed and it is a great little app.

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review twitter

Keeping track of your Twitter friends and communicating with them is a piece of cake on the 9105.

From BlackBerry App World you can also download the Facebook app.

facebook

This works the same as on all other BlackBerry smart phones and out of all the platforms I have used, Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian and even iPhone, the BlackBerry one is the one I like best of all.

Facebook notifications are done within the app so if you do get a message the BlackBerry will tell you and you are straight into the app as opposed to some other platforms that send you an email.

You can do most things on the BlackBerry facebook app that you would do on the computer, such as find and add friends and even upload photos.

Again, using the track pad to scroll through the app is simple pimple!

Using the BlackBerry is also a great way of looking after your calendar and contacts. If you use the BlackBerry for business you can spend the day out and about entering contacts or appointments and then when you get home you can sync the BlackBerry with either a Windows computer or a Mac. It also works the other way round so you can work on the computer and transfer the info to the phone. Perfect.

As you can see below, creating a meeting or even just a reminder in the calendar is a breeze. You even have the option to share the event with someone so when the time comes for the meeting your selected contact will be emailed the details.

cal 1

The calendar can be viewed in various ways. Just choose the one that you prefer.

cal 2 cal 3

Like on all BlackBerry devices web browsing is not the best. RIM are working on a new browser but at the moment the one we have is a little dated. Don’t get me wrong, it works fine, just that it is not the best. Navigation is done with the track pad and so is zooming. When you see a little magnifier on screen you can press the track pad to zoom in. You can also zoom in and out within the menu.

web 1 web 2

Like all mobile browsers you can save your favourite websites to the bookmarks and these are dead easy to access. Within the menu you are also given a address bar with a Google search bar underneath.

Using the BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 for media is pretty decent. When viewing pictures you are presented with a gallery and here you can use the track pad to scroll around and find the image you want. Alternatively you can select an image and then you can scroll left and right viewing them all full screen. Photos look pretty nice on the 9105. Sharp and bright.

media pics

Watching video on the device is not the best but this is down to screen size. I don’t suppose anyone is going to watch a movie on a 2.2 inch screen but you can if you want. Video quality is average but the speaker is real good.

Using the BlackBerry to play music is great. The interface is simple and easy to use. Music quality is above average. The supplied headphones are not the best but as the 9105 has a 3.5mm jack you can use your own. Bonus. You also have some media controls on the top of the device. This allows you to skip tracks, stop and start without having to take the device out of a pocket or switch on the screen.

Like the BlackBerry 9700 this new Pearl 3G comes with all the top connectivity options. Like the name suggest it supports 3G which is great for using the web when you are out. It sure makes a big difference if uploading photos to Facebook or Twitter. You also have the option of using WiFi which will more than likely give you even faster speeds. Bluetooth is obviously present too although with a BlackBerry you will more than likely only use it for hands free calling in a car. The reason I say this is that it is so easy to send a file or image via email or instant message that you probably won’t even consider using Bluetooth.

Within the menu you will find an icon for BlackBerry App World. This is where you can download apps to your BlackBerry. There are a good selection of free and paid applications. Prices are higher than some other platforms and there are not as many apps within the store but as I said earlier, the BlackBerry is not really a great gaming device. If it’s social media, messaging and productivity you are looking for then App World will suit you just fine.

app world

Taking a look at the camera I was reasonably impressed. At just over 3mp it will never be the best but the photos I took were not bad at all. The interface is dead easy to use. Just point and shoot.

camera

 

IMG00004-20100612-1646

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Camera Sample

As expected the video was not as good. Like most phones the video looks great on the device but once on a PC it appears blocky or grainy.

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 comes with GPS built in so you have no excuse to get lost. BlackBerry Maps are pre loaded on the device and this is very similar to Google Maps. I actually prefer Google Maps but you can download that too. Just do a Google search from the browser.

maps

GPS is now also used more and more for some social media apps. Both Foursquare and Gowalla use it just to mention a few so if you enjoy using apps like these you won’t be disappointed with the 9105.

Conclusion:

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Is without doubt a good little phone. If you are currently a BlackBerry user I doubt very much if you will enjoy it as much as your current phone but for people looking to take the leap from a feature phone to a SmartPhone then the 9105 will be a great choice.

As I mentioned before the 9105 will give you high end smartphone features including email and instant messaging without you having to change the way you type on a phone. All these features may sound a bit daunting but believe me the 9105 is extremely easy to use.

As the device is not yet released as I write this I will be guessing at the price per month on a contract but I would imagine it will be available from £20 per month. Sounds a pretty good deal if you ask me.

Review by: James

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
Tags: , ,

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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