BlackBerry Pearl (formerly known as the KickStart) 8220 Hands-On Hardware Review

BlackBerry KickStart 8220 Smartphone Hands-On Review
By Kevin Michaluk on 23 Jul 2008 01:33 pm EDT

The Web's First Review of the BlackBerry KickStart 8220.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax! It's time for another hands-on review of a yet to be officially announced or released BlackBerry smartphone. We were the first to get our paws on the BlackBerry 9000, and we're doing it again with Research in Motion's BlackBerry flip phone, aka the KickStart.

While the last few weeks in CrackBerry nation have been primarily focused on the release of the BlackBerry Bold and the development of RIM's upcoming touchscreen device, rewind less than three months back to April 30th and it was leaked images of the KickStart that shocked the smartphone world and pushed RIMM stock up nearly 5% on the news and for good reason - it showed the world and investment community that RIM wasn't afraid of reinventing and targeting opportunities outside their norm. No, the KickStart doesn't feature the same high-end hardware and all-in-one functionality of the Bold nor have the same allure that a touchscreen BlackBerry proposes, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get excited about this device. It may not be something that existing BlackBerry or other smartphone users will flock to, but if it hits store shelves at a reasonable price it should be a top pick for flip phone lovers and feature phone upgraders, which should mean CrackBerry nation is about to get a whole lot bigger, and that is exciting.

As with our BlackBerry Bold review, keep in mind the device we're working with here is pre-release. While the hardware of our KickStart seems to be pretty close to (or perhaps actual) production caliber, and the OS is "close", it's possible (and in the case of the OS version guaranteed) things will change-up a bit by the time you can walk into your local carrier store and buy this device.

We're going to break this review down into a few parts. Today we'll focus mainly on the hardware and initial impressions after having used the KickStart for a few hours and in the days ahead we'll dig deeper into the KickStart's operating system and device features.

Read On For My Initial BlackBerry KickStart Impressions >>  

Start at the KickStart

Before we move into the hands-on, let's recap some of the discussion points and key features surrounding RIM's BlackBerry flip phone.

Background Info:

  • Originally branded with a device model number of 9100, this has now changed. The BlackBerry "KickStart" is now the 8220 and will feature WiFi, while the BlackBerry "SeaWolf" is the 8210 and will feature GPS. Several new policies in BES 4.1 SP6 refer to the 8220 and 8210 and make reference to the "external display" and "flip", providing further validation this is the case.
  • KickStart and SeaWolf as far as we know are still codenames. KickStart is a pretty cool name - but at this time we have no evidence that it is the go to market name.
  • Within the USA, the 8220 should be heading to T-Mobile while the 8210 should makes its way to AT&T
  • Target launch price for the KickStart has been rumored to be cheap (as low as $49.95 on T-Mobile with a 2yr contract). Should feature lots of accessories and personalization options. And like the 8320 and 8120, it should support calling via UMA.
  • A September Launch has been rumored for T-Mobile

8220 and 8210 Key Features:

  • Clamshell / flip phone form factor
  • Quad-band radios: GSM/GPRS/EDGE (no 3G)
  • 240 x 320 internal LCD (think Curve/8800 display flipped to portrait)
  • 160 x 128 external display
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • externally accessible microSD card slot
  • OS version 4.6
  • "Next Gen" SureType keyboard
  • 8220 will feature WiFi; 8210 will feature GPS

The device in possession features WiFi and the operating system features T-Mobile themes and features (MyFaves), making the unit in the pictures a 8220 KickStart. The OS version is and the Options > About screen is still labeled as BlackBerry 9100. Expect further OS revisions.

Initial Reactions and Observations

With the BlackBerry KickStart it seems RIM has managed to achieve a form factor that is both Small yet BIG. It's actually a little bit weird to experience at first. Sitting on the desk next to a pile of other smartphones (a few BlackBerrys, a Treo 680 and even an iPhone 3G) with its flip closed, the KickStart "seems" small. With the exception of the Treo 680, the KickStart is definitely the thickest of the bunch, but the width and height of the device is obviously much smaller and the black face with chrome-colored edging makes it look tight. Despite the extra thickness added to the device from having a flip, the KickStart should be small enough to fit into most people's pockets inconspicuously. Busting out the measuring tape, with the flip closed the KickStart comes in at ~ 4" long, just under 2" wide and about 11/16ths of an inch thick.

BlackBerry KickStart with Micro USB charge cables, skin, and wired microphone Still Fresh - BlackBerry KickStart with external display and camera

KickStart Side View: lanyard whole, mute key, 3.5mm headphone jack, Micro USB charging port and left side convenience key KickStart Side View: right side convenience key, volume up/down controls and externally accessible microSD card slot
The BlackBerry KickStart Unboxed!

Flip the KickStart open, which by the way is easy to do with one hand, and the KickStart looks MASSIVE. The internal LCD is big (a good thing), but there is a lot of "border" surrounding it which makes the top half of the phone appear large. On the base, the KickStart's "Next Gen" SureType keyboard features oversized keys -- we're talking literally twice the size of the keys on the Pearl -- and also features the same guitar-fret inspired row separators as the BlackBerry Bold. Even those with the biggest of hands (or is it fattest of fingers?!) should be able to text and email at speed on this thing, assuming of course they are willing to learn SureType. But below the spacious keyboard there is a lot of dead space, and above the trackball the flip's hinge takes up quite a bit room, making the base of the flip feel a bit empty. Holding the KickStart up to my ear, the phone's resting position feels natural - the angle of the phone sits well with my ear/cheek/mouth and the unit is easy to hold.

On the kitchen scale the KickStart weighs in at 100 grams (~3.5oz), which places it firmly in the lightweight division of smartphone competitors. Sum it all up and my first impression of the KickStart was more favorable than I expected (some of the earlier leaked photos had me a bit turned off). Sitting with the flip closed I really like the look - it's sort of elegant, understated, and futuristic all at once. With the flip open the KickStart appears a little big and a little plain, but the design makes the device easy to navigate and type on one-handed (an acceptable trade-off), and when I'm talking on the phone I can't see it anyways, so I'm not going to gripe too much. While definitely divergent from other BlackBerry smartphones on the market, it only takes a few minutes of use to realize this is still very much a BlackBerry, which is a good thing.

Hardware Observations

Though the KickStart is small and lightweight, it appears to be well-built. Unclasp the battery door (which features a sliding release mechanism vs. push-in button release) and under the small CM2 battery (same as the Pearl?!) the manufacturing stickers say "Made in Sweden." I'm pretty sure that's a first for a BlackBerry.

Overall build quality seems good, very good if the KickStart will sell for as low a price as we're hoping. With the flip closed there is a tiny bit of wiggle room on the flip's hinge (on this particular device anyways), which tightens up when opened and provides a very solid feel. The flip's materials are nice - the glossy black coating looks great, and the external display turns so "black" when it's off that you don't even realize it's there. It's actually surprising to see it light up to display the time, battery level, connection/signal, and message notification icons and incoming messages. The flip also features the KickStart's 2 megapixel camera with flash, and...I like this one... the good ‘ole LED notification light mirrors the camera flash's look and is mounted opposite the camera lens, keeping things symmetrical.

Build quality through the base of the phone is also good, though the material finish here doesn't seem quite as nice. The convenience key and volume control buttons and microSD card hatch seem a little on the plasticy/cheap side and the sliding action on the battery door release leaves a bit of room for improvement. Again, it should be noted this is a pre-release model, so this may change. Thinking back to the original marketing images of the KickStart that surfaced it was shown that the KickStart would feature a selection of material choices (ie. Soft touch black or metal battery door, or low gloss topcoat for graphics application). Come commercial release time, it's likely there will be more to the KickStart than currently meets the eye.

The view from behind: flip phone hinge action, redesigned battery door clasp KickStart ready for action and sporting OS4.6. SureType keyboard features Bold-like guitar fret styling

Under the hood: Made in Sweden?! Note the SIM card location The KickStart fills a niche in the BlackBerry smartphone family - looks pretty good sitting closed among its siblings!
More Hands-On With the KickStart!

Around the perimeter of the phone is the standard BlackBerry attire: left side and right side convenience keys, volume up/down controls, a mute button, a 3.5mm headset jack, externally accessible microSD card slot, holes to allow the speaker sound to escape, and like the Pearl, a small anchor for attaching a lanyard. There is one exception though - instead of the usual miniUSB charging/syncing port, the KickStart features a microUSB port.

With the flip open the LCD display looks good (definitely no Bold display though!) and is big. The OS4.6 Precision theme looks good on it. As mentioned, the SureType keyboard is massive, making it very easy to use. The least easy to use item on the KickStart is actually the trackball. On other trackball equipped BlackBerry smartphones, the ball is the highest point on the device - it typically protrudes higher than the keyboard and display. Due to the nature of a closing flip lid, the area around the trackball is actually dug out into the phone allowing the trackball to sit deeper in the device so it sits flush and doesn't hit the display when closed. This actually changes the trackball experience somewhat. Instead of using flat of the thumb to roll over the trackball, this design changes forces you to approach the trackball from a slightly steeper angle, putting the trackball more under the tip of the thumb. If you're an existing BlackBerry user it will definitely take some getting used to. It's not difficult to use, just different. Surrounding the trackball are the standard Send/End call keys and BlackBerry menu and back buttons, though instead of being placed on four individual buttons, they span two device-wide buttons.

Under the battery cover the biggest item to note is the position of the SIM card. It actually slides in horizontally into the device housing. Definitely a little unBlackBerry-like. It took me a minute of staring to figure out where it should go and how it should be slid in. There is an indicator that instructs the proper way to insert the card - it's just a little hard to see in my old age. :-)

All in all, the KickStart's hardware is good. I was a bit worried the introduction of a flip phone might cheapen the solid reputation of the BlackBerry brand, but based on what I've seen of the KickStart so far I think it's safe to lay that fear at rest.

KickStart My Heart? Flip Phone Comparisons

With such a divergent form factor from the existing BlackBerry smartphone line-up, comparing the KickStart next to the 8700, 8800, Curve or Bold seems a bit irrelevant. Instead, I headed to the mall and snuck a few comparison shots to provide an impression of how the KickStart stacks up to the flip competition.

The BlackBerry KickStart among a sea of flip phones Side by Side: BlackBerry KickStart vs. Motorola KRZR K1

Side by Side: BlackBerry KickStart vs. Motorola RAZR V3 Side by Side: BlackBerry KickStart vs. Motorola RAZR V3

Side by Side: BlackBerry KickStart vs. Nokia 6086 Side by Side: BlackBerry KickStart vs. Samsung A516
Comparing the BlackBerry KickStart to other Flip Phone Competition!

I don't know much about the other flip phones on the market (I don't know anything about them to be honest!), but walking through the stores and checking out the flips on display the KickStart looks like it should be able to hold its own in terms of both fashion and function.

Showing the KickStart off to a few store agents, the comments received back after the initial "WTF is that?!" we're pretty positive for the KickStart. My favorite was when one of the agents said, "If we start selling these (KickStart) and they're priced competitively, I don't think we'll be selling anymore of these" as she pointed to a couple of Motorola flips. Apparently a lot of the flip phone buyers these days are teenagers looking for a text messaging machines and the BlackBerry brand has a lot of respect among that segment as well (in North America anyways) - this marriage of BlackBerry and flip could be a big hit. This segment of the market is typically price sensitive though, so we may see it become the case that a lot of BlackBerry KickStarts get sold without a data plan. I guess time will tell!

BlackBerry KickStart 8220 vs BlackBerry Pearl 8120

The most relevant smartphone comparison for the BlackBerry KickStart is to its older sibling, the BlackBerry Pearl. The pictures that follow compare the KickStart to a BlackBerry Pearl 8120.

The BlackBerry KickStart features a bigger LCD and bigger SureType keyboard than the Pearl The KickStart actually looks pretty cool just sitting there - the external display when off is black, giving the phone a very non-traditional-yet-still-BlackBerry look

Side by side, BlackBerry Pearl 8120 and the KickStart 8220. Both pack WiFi. Note the recessed area around the KickStart's trackball The SureType keys on the KickStart are literally twice as big as the keys on the Pearl
The BlackBerry KickStart and BlackBerry Pearl Side by Side

Looking at these comparison shots, the KickStart has a lot going for it - bigger display, bigger/easier to type on keyboard and most important to some, OS version 4.6. I find the side by side keyboard shots to be almost comical - the KickStart's keyboard makes the Pearl's look like Mini Me in comparison. When closed, the KickStart is shorter than the Pearl but thicker. When opened, the base of the KickStart (the part that you hold in hand while using/typing on the phone) is thinner. Looks wise, to each his own, but I prefer the flip-closed look of the KickStart - the longer I look at it the more I like it. A lot of BlackBerry users love the Pearl because it's small and can be tucked away into a pocket - the KickStart should fit that bill as well.

With the flip closed the KickStart is thicker than the Pearl Air ports help get the sound/volume out of the KickStart

With the flip open, the base of the KickStart is thinner than the Pearl The KickStart's buttons are basic - no fake chrome treatment
Stacking up the BlackBerry Pearl and KickStart

While I think the BlackBerry Pearl is good for both the ladies and gents, one of the ongoing arguments in the forums is the notion that Pearls are for Girls. For any guys who actually worry about this, rest-assured the KickStart is a more masculine SureType option in the BlackBerry family.

Up Next - Using the BlackBerry KickStart

Precision Zen themePrecision Theme Stylings
Up Next: Using the KickStart and OS4.6

Stay tuned for more in the web's first review of the BlackBerry KickStart. Up next we'll dive into OS 4.6 on the KickStart and put its features to use. In the meantime, be sure to submit your reactions and questions in the comments! 


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Reader comments

BlackBerry Pearl (formerly known as the KickStart) 8220 Hands-On Hardware Review


I'm currently a Pearl user but I prefer flip phones because I worry less about scratching the screen (I've already had to replace my pearls screen twice, mostly because I hate any sort of scratches on my phone). I already have a contract with T-mobile but I'm hoping they will make me a deal so I can upgrade to this phone. Let me know how you like the new 4.6 os.

Looks like a cool phone. If the Bold doesn't work out (and I don't know why it wouldn't) I might get me one of these.

do not think i could ever go back to flip phones, but it sure blows all the other ones out of the water.

Looks like Kevin has done it again. Great review & fab looking BB. RIM is onto a big winner there in that market, they'll sell like hot cakes !!

I bet you have a Thunder & a Javelin under your desk too ;)

I think this should be a good thing for RIM. I could never move away from a full keyboard device, but I can see how with a cheap price and the flip form factor, they could have a huge audience for this with the young kids and other text obsessed people. You can also see professional parents with BB's buying these for their kids, sending them PIN messages. Plus, with the standard headphone jack and the ability to add a memory card of whatever size and just drag and drop mp3's straight to it.. it's the perfect multimedia phone too. I can imagine seeing a lot of ads on TV when these come out, aimed at the younger crowd and showing off those strengths. Also being that cheap, some companies that have resisted rolling out BB's because of price may reconsider when having the option of these 'budget' devices.

I really hope that the kickstart can take a bigger battery than the pearl. I guess there are benefits to standardizing on a battery size, but even with my after-market larger battery (bought at Crackberry, of course!) the Pearl needs pretty frequent charging.

The other point is that I guess this size phone just can't have both GPS and Wi-Fi? Like the Pearl, they will have models with each but not both. That's too bad.

The keyboard size looks great. The larger display looks great, but it looks like they could have gone larger if they'd wanted. Still, nice enough.

my guess is having only one or the other (wifi and gps) has more to do with keeping it competitively priced than space.

That is a really nice phone. I considered getting a Pearl because I'm concerned any other blackberry wouldn't fit in my pocket, but the KickStart looks a whole lot better. If it wasn't for the all-in-one appeal of the Bold I'd be getting the KickStart. Heck, I might buy the KickStart anyway.

I like it.... won't be for everyone but from RIM's perspective having something to offer to every consumers preference is just genius

when it is closed it does look cool but open it is just too big for me. what is with all that dead space at the bottom? Just yesterday at work i was talking to a co-worker and he commented that he really likes flip phones so that is the main reason he would not get a blackberry, so i told him that they were making a flip blackberry and boy did he perk up and get excited! that was a great review! i just love the precsion theme!

not something I would buy, but it's definitely exciting. This device (if priced right) will open the doors to a whole new market of consumers to the BlackBerry world. Maybe this could be the "kickstart" (hehe) the blackberry development world needed, since now you have the potential of reaching possibly 10s of millions of new consumers!

I think I'd rather stick with my Pearl, regardless of whether it is a chick phone or not. But, I do suppose it could open some market share for those with bad eyes, large fingers, or some inexplicable attraction to flip phones. Or Pearl users looking to mix it up?

This phone is definitely not for me. Having just entered into the world of Blackberry through buying a BB Curve, that is definitely the only type of phone I'll be buying from this point on, from RIM. I think the flip phone is a good idea though and should be a nice introduction phone for new Blackberry users, just to get use to the OS and such.


In the first comparison with the smorgasbord of Rogers flips: is that your lady modeling it? Thanks for the eye-candy! Her cleavage beats looking at this FatBerry! (no, no, don't go all ninja on me like you did on BG - I'm Aussie, so I can say these kind of things!)

I like it. The keyboard sure beats the hell out of a Pearl. Priced right, this is probably my next phone from AT&T. Although, I am thinking about maybe trying Verizon next time. We'll see.
Could RIM possibly be contracting these out to Nokia for the build??

Looks like a good step for RIM. Will bring more profit to RIM and hopefully more R&D for sweeter phones and more money to get OS's out faster!!! I'm going to pass on this phone though. I'm quite happy with my Curve. Thickness of the device is big for me and my 0.5 inch Curve is good. Plus what's up with all the dead space around the keys and screen? Either make the screen bigger or cut the dead space out. Makes it look tackier. Good review Kev!

It´s kinda cool!! I like the comparisons with the other flips, but i´m not a flip phone lover.

Still, good way for RIM to try and c'cathc' all smartphone consumers!!

The reason I switched to blackberry was because there was never a flip phone that had true PDA functions-that I could afford. This is what I've been waiting for, I would definitely check this out. This just might be my dream phone.

Man, Blackberry you're killing me... I'm a current Pearl user (8100 - Old one)and this is the one phone I wanted (well my whole family, wife, kid all of us) but NO 3G????? C'mon? I wouldn't want to steal any of the Bold's shine or Thunder's, well Thunder... but how can any data phone releasing this year NOT include 3G. It may be the very thing that keeps me from buying one of these phones.

My kids are going to middle school in a year, and I wanted to get them a phone so that I can let them know if I'm running late or If they want to go to a friends house. After having my curve for over a year, I wouldn't want to get them any other brand of phone. This one looks perfect for us.
Thanks for the great review!

I agree 110% with Phanntomsphan!! Spot on! Also, as one poster said, Bluetooth? Although I would never opt for a flip, RIM is covering all the bases, and I do believe this one will be a hit believe it or not.
Also, GREAT review Kev!!

I actually think it's a pretty nice looking phone. I'm now addicted to the full keyboard and may never go back to a flip phone, but it's a smart investment to create a phone that caters to the crowd that prefers one. I mean, most people I know and see still carry flip phones. Most I know prefer to keep it simple, and I feel this would appeal to them.

Also, nice review! I appreciate the detail and comparisons.

I owned the pearl for 6 months before I decided to get the curve, I thought being a full qwerty and all it should be better. Honestly using that phone for a month I decided to take it back and go back to my trusty pearl. I can actually type so much faster on it and felt much more comfortable. Although the gadget girl in me was a little sad to take my curve back it was a awesome phone. But it would be cool to try a blackberry flip. I wish verizon would get this phone also so I could try it out, but I guess I will be happy with the thunderstorm:)

I appreciate the way this review was delivered. It was informative on a Flip Phone, basis. That was good.
As for this phone... I love every Blackberry in thier own individual ways. This one however I am disowning. They need to do a lot of outter improvements before I'll accept that into my BB family.
Being part of the most amazing line of phones ever... you must truly stand out being the best in All aspects.
Maybe one day I'll have a lil Kick-whatever floating around :)

Yeah, I named my curve Sazzy... and she Rocks!!

Great review.... I can't say that i like it!!! The only cool thing about it to me is that it has a trackball :]]]..!!!

HAHA!! Leave it to Kevin to stroll into a Rogers store with an un-released BlackBerry in hand, ya know those reps are gonna be asking their RIM rep about it next time they pop in.

Let's see some browser action and new BBM action if possible Kevin.

Respects!! I was wondering when this was gonna show up on here...I think you'll start seeing 'em elsewhere in the wild soon...? ;) hehe

but this doesn't change my mind about picking up a Blackberry Bold! However, Kickstart should give RIM a big boost in the pre and teen markets, by introducing a smartphone to people who would not ordinarily have purchased one.

I know it is not a "traditional" looking blackberry, but this is a great idea. There are so many people who prefer a flip phone over bulky traditional blackberry's. I think this is a great move by RIM to enter a new market base.

Kevin, I think you hit the market segment correctly comparing it to the other flips out there. I can see this selling big in the teen and 20's crowd that message like crazy and don't really care about 3G (because they don't have or want to pay for a data plan.....funny, they could swap to a data plan and use BBM and they would get a lot more bang for their buck! Might actually pick one up for my wife.......

It looks like the trackball will be harder to replace. It's no longer just a metal ring but parts of it branch out to either side and I'm not sure if that piece can be removed.

The trackball gets dirty at some point and doesn't work as well and needs replacement or cleaning. Not being able to do so would be a major flaw IMO.

As a current MotoRazr user, I like what I see in the Flip. I was thinking about going with the Pearl 8110, but now I think I will wait and see what the Flip looks/feels like when it comes out. I like the bigger buttons, and the smaller size when closed. Time will tell.

Any idea on a possible release date for the 8210 from AT&T?

Excellent review.

I may actually get my own device now. I have a corporate device, but we don't allow cameras. Any idea if it has the ability to do video like the TM Curve? I wonder if it will work with the BlackBerry MediaSync solution.

I think it is great RIm is taking some chances and looks like they willpay off. This is not my preference of phones but it looks like a great offering.

Being as I haven't owned a BB yet merely for the fact that they don't have a flip... I love my RAZR2, but I'm thinking of jumping the MOTO ship for the Kickstart.

it looks great and it will hit th younger market with ease but where is the bluetooth rating and what about the video camera that is available on the 8110??

As far as I am concerned the only thing that could improve my Pearl is a Flip version!

Go KickStart!

I am tired of all these "I am waiting for the Bold release" comments.

Please, the Kickstart is a perfect phone.

Why not do like I plan on doing, and buy all 3 of them. Then you can have Thunder, Bold, and Kickstart. :D

Lovely phone, can't wait to see if Alltel/Verizon will offer it. I will agree with some of the negative user comments, though...there is a lot of dead space around the screen and keyboard that made it look unnecessarily bulky/goofy looking. It's going to be hard for this phone to compete with my Pearl 8130...but so far the pics/reviews have made me want it.

I've been using flip phones for the past 4 years (2 Nokia ones and then the Motorazr V8) only abandoning it 2 months ago for my 1st Blackberry. So, for someone like me this is the best news ever!

But I must confess your review has put me in a fix cos just before I read this I was looking at a review of the Storm and that one's quite neat as well.

Which one do you think is going to be better or are they too different to be compared?

It's about time...I've been waiting on a blackberry flip since I bought my first one...I'm pleased with what they've come up...sleek...sheek..cant wait to get hate those big block-phones and the small key pad isn't a big deal. I have a pearl now and this one will definitely be a keeper

Can't wait my husband has the curve. I have been waiting for a flip smartphone I wish it had a full keypad I have the LG AX490a now I have been waiting for Alltel to come out with something like Verisons Voger this one looks like it might be something I would like if the price is right and Alltel carries it

going to get this phone. I am Blackberry user and wouldn't be me if I didn't add this one to my collection. Congratulations Tmo for getting this one first! I can't wait...

I'm undecided... It looks awesome and if it has the exact same capabilities as the pearl 8120 I guess I'll be all over it. I wanna see it in action before I jump from my pearl 8100 to this phone...

By far the best phone I've ever owned. My pearl never fails me. The only thing I would change is that I wish it was 3G

I have never really been one for flip phones, if only because of the fact that EVERYONE has one, and I like to stand out a bit. But I'm absolutely willing to overlook this for this phone. It looks great.

What an Fantastic phone..... this is GOLD.

A texting phone aimed at the clamshell market, with all the goodness of a blackberry.

Wow...i can GPS track my son now....this is awesome....

What an Fantastic phone..... this is GOLD.

A texting phone aimed at the clamshell market, with all the goodness of a blackberry.

Wow...i can GPS track my son now....this is awesome....

Great review. I bought this phone without reading any reviews based on my prior experiences with a 7105 and Pearl 8100. I wanted a 8120 but the gal at T-Mobile told me to wait, and I'm so glad I did.

What can I say after owning it less than 12 hours? I love it!! I'm not crazy about flip phones but this one is quite attractive and easy to use. The recessed trackball takes getting used to but its not bad. It fits nicely into a jeans pocket and feels comfortable. The display and picture quality compared to the 8100 is amazing. While some might be waiting for a 3G phone to me that's not important.

I'm looking forward to really checking out the new features of the phone.. and after reading this review I'm glad I just went ahead and got it.


I wasn't up for my best price upgrade yet with T-Mobile, and it was going to cost me $300 to get it. However, knowing how awesome TMobile CSRs are, I decided to call them up and see what magic they can work for me. The rep I spoke to, managed to lower the price by half. Of course I had to extend my contract, which was okay because it was only extended by 10 months, and I really have no plans of switching out of TMobile in the upcoming couple of years. I should be receiving it by Wednesday, and I can't wait to check it out.


I own the new PearlFlip and like it.

However, it has a few issues I have tried to bring up in other forums like only to have my comments censored and never posted because, apparently, I'm a "ranter" and not a BlackBerry shill who gets paid to push products and muzzle anybody whose real-world experience gets in the way.

Anyway, assuming is a fair and balanced forum, unlike, I will proceed with my three issues, especially since the first has been raised on other forums and not answered.

This first issue is the UMA. There are a few problems with it, although I expect/hope/pray they will be worked out in time as my primary purpose for my PearlFlip is as a back-up phone riding off a secondary T-Mobile @Home service.

The second issue is that, the great review here notwithstanding, I found the PearlFlip to be a cheap build for the iPhone-like price. Love the form factor, and it will be awesome when Vlingo voice-to-text works on it, too. But hinged phones are more delicate to begin with, and I'm surprised that BlackBerry didn't go with the Swiss watch-like build of the Bold.

The third issue is my larger "rant" that everything I've been saying about RIM since I dumped my shares at $148 has come to pass. Today it closed at $48 and is a takeover target for Microsoft. Meanwhile, for the first time ever, Apple has surpassed RIM in sales, has no corporate debt, and has only been offering phones for little over a year compared to BlackBerry's decade.

My point? Every time I opened my mouth on other BlackBerry websites about the underwhelming devices RIM was rolling out this fall, I got vitriol and "BlackBerry-basher" and "iPhone-lover" crap dumped on me. And that was when I was predicting a RIM stock price of $70 let alone $50.

Blind faith doesn't work, BB fans. RIM has lost billions in market capitalization to develop the Storm 2 and Storm 3 and Magnum it is now touting for late next year. And you wonder why RIM is undercutting its current Bold and Storm devices in favor of "vapor-berries" in the distant future?

It's because RIM knows it got too cute in splitting key features among several devices -- 3G for Bold but no touchscreen, or touchscreen for Storm but no Wifi, etc. What they should have given us is the Magnum NOW. Not next year. That's why they're getting whipped.

Meanwhile, we genuflect before every new "yesterday's BlackBerry" like the PearlFlip -- which I like -- that mey tickle us fanboys but elicit not an ounce of interest from anybody else.

So I'm passing on the already 6-month-old Bold, the transitional Storm and 2G Javelin Curve and will keep my PearlFlip as a spare for a year until RIM finally gives us the devices they are capable of delivering and which we deserve.

That's IF RIM is still around. Oh, there will be BlackBerries, to be sure, but if RIM keeps going the way it is, those BlackBerries will be running Windows Mobile.

Once Verizon produces, I'm doing it. I had a Storm but gave it to my daughter and went back to my Pearl. Suretype has just too much to love. The Storm was hard to get used to, yes the keys clack when you press them, but I had to look at my hands to see what I was typing, and wait for the blue flash to tell me I had the right key. I've got motor skills issues and it took a lot of work for me to steady my hands enough to make sure I was pressing the correct keys. On the Pearl, I can type with one hand while looking, or fly with two hands and never look. I just felt like I didn't want to fool with it.

Passed it around the 'hood, let friends and family take a browse. Without prompting, most of them did not think they would fork up the dough for it, they all liked their Curve/Bold/Pearls.

My only beef with the Pearl is that it doesn't lock itself all that easily. Having a flip blackberry has been a fantasy of mine, and now seeing it come true is just too good to be true. Verizon goes where I go, so no sense jumping providers. Been with them since they were GTE,'on dudes at Verizon...flip a phone my way!

This is my 5th Blackberry. I never liked flip phones (always afraid I would rip it in half!) but I couldn't resist the PRICE! It's sleek cover makes it work. Kevin, this is the first review I've read ... truly, you are the bomb!! Awesome work!

I stmpped my toe the other day and was so furious with the pain that I threw my 8220 so hard against my hardwood floor I thought for sure it was a goner. The battery cover and battery popped out along with the Sim Card...besides that, not a scratch, not a crack, nothing. Phone works like new. I was amazed! I felt bad for it after... :o(

I've played with one and if you like flip phones, this is it but with the added plus of being a Blackberry. I'm an 8130 Pearl user(Verizon)plus I'm a guy and I love this freakin' phone. Just a lil short on memory (on-board)but it's great and I'm sure the Pearl flip will be the same. I can text just as quick with the sure type then any QWERTY. Folks just have to take the time to learn it. It's great plus it's easy to type with one hand vs.using both hands to use a full QWERTY. I'm 100% happy with the bar Pearl and I'm quite sure the flip Pearl will be just the same. If Verizon ever adds it to its line up; I just might get it. Also for those who like to hold the phone; head/ear and shoulders; it feels very good. You won't dump your phone in the dish water while talking on it washing the dishes! Thanks Blackberry, thanks Crackberry

Brand new mobile phones 12 months international warranty. This phone is unlocked and can be used with any SIM card. No activation required. All with GUARANTEE & WARRANTY Certificate.

( Buy 2pcs And Get 1pcs FREE )

Blackberry Bold 9000 at $300USD
Blackberry Curve 8320 at $220USD
Blackberry 8830 $230USD
Blackberry Storm 9500 Touch Screen at $350USD
Blackberry Curve 8350i at $220USD
Blackberry Curve 8330 at $210USD
Blackberry Storm 9530 at $300USD
BlackBerry Javelin 8900 at $320USD
Blackberry Thunder 9500 at $340USD
3G iPhone 16gb $350.00
3G iPhone 8gb $300.00
HTC Touch Diamond $300
HTC Touch Pro Unlocked $330
HTC Touch HD T8282 $350.00
HTC Touch Pro2 unlocked $400.00
Nokia N97 Multimedia Smartphone Black (unlocked) $500
Nokia N96 16gb Unlocked $400.00
Nokia N95 8gb Unlocked $300.00
Nokia E90 Communicator Unlocked $300.00
Nokia 8800 Arte Unlocked $400.00
Samsung i900 Omnia 3G 16GB $350.00
Samsung i900 Omnia 3G 8gb $300.00
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Unlocked Original $450.00

( Buy 2pcs And Get 1pcs FREE )


Brand new mobile phones 12 months international warranty. This phone is unlocked and can be used with any SIM card. No activation required. All with GUARANTEE & WARRANTY Certificate.

( Buy 2pcs And Get 1pcs FREE )

Blackberry Bold 9000 at $300USD
Blackberry Curve 8320 at $220USD
Blackberry 8830 $230USD
Blackberry Storm 9500 Touch Screen at $350USD
Blackberry Curve 8350i at $220USD
Blackberry Curve 8330 at $210USD
Blackberry Storm 9530 at $300USD
BlackBerry Javelin 8900 at $320USD
Blackberry Thunder 9500 at $340USD
3G iPhone 16gb $350.00
3G iPhone 8gb $300.00
HTC Touch Diamond $300
HTC Touch Pro Unlocked $330
HTC Touch HD T8282 $350.00
HTC Touch Pro2 unlocked $400.00
Nokia N97 Multimedia Smartphone Black (unlocked) $500
Nokia N96 16gb Unlocked $400.00
Nokia N95 8gb Unlocked $300.00
Nokia E90 Communicator Unlocked $300.00
Nokia 8800 Arte Unlocked $400.00
Samsung i900 Omnia 3G 16GB $350.00
Samsung i900 Omnia 3G 8gb $300.00
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Unlocked Original $450.00

( Buy 2pcs And Get 1pcs FREE )


You obviously don't know a thing about teenagers. They HATE flip phones. But they get them because they're cheap.

I got the pearl flip purely for the reason I wanted to try something new.

My mom has the curve. And its HUGE. I hate big phones. I need something that will slip right into my pocket and be able to squeeze into some tight jeans with me. Her curve just didn't cut it.

I had the pearl for awhile. Nice phone. Cute, small, handy. But the screen got scratched to bits, not to mention the OS sucked. (it wont be getting OS 5.0)

So I tried the pearl flip, if I didn't like it I could take it back within 30 days and get the classic pearl (which only came in some hideous eggplant color, I believe they called it "amethyst")

Well the screen is GORGEOUS. A lot bigger than the pearls, and well protected by the flip closure.

its very sleek. ( though mines pink lol )
The external display is great, when you get a text, the persons pic, name, and message preview pop up on the display. Which I LOVE lol.

Its so light weight!! And so comfy to talk on. You ever try talking on the curve? Well on the receiving end it sucks.

My mom calls all the time and I can't hear her what so ever.

Its really frustrating.

I just wish mine had wifi =/

In the what made me keep it was the fact it will be getting OS 5.0 when the other pearls wont.

Why doesn't mine have wifi?!??!? why???? why does rim change the phones for dif companies?!

Pisses me off.

Oh and screw you RIM for letting verizon buy the rights to the storm. They have enough good phones. Give USCell a break. Jerks.

pearl flip is awesome :)

I'm experiencing an unusual problem with my 8220. Received it as a Christmas present last dec 2008. Loved it however for the last 2 weeks, the battery is being drained in less than 24 hours, EVEN WHEN THE DEVICE HAS BEEN TURNED OFF!! Have a second battery. Same problem.Has anyone ever experienced this?

Thank you

I've had at least half a dozen of this phone. Each one within a few months of normal use will stop enabling Bluetooth and this function will no longer work. It's happened to me six times. I'm not the only one. Do a simple search of the forums for this phone here and on and you'll see this major problem pop up time and time again. You should review this problem and lack of responsiveness by RIM to recall this phone. While I always enjoy reading about the praises you guys have for RIM it's also your responsibility to hold thier feet to the fire when they make bad products.