Editors' note: The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 for Alltel is similar to T-Mobile's RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 in design. For this review, we will be concentrating on the different features and performance compared with the T-Mobile version. For a full description of the smartphone's design, please see our review of the RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 for T-Mobile.
The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 made its debut in October 2008, and some still wonder why Research in Motion even bothered releasing a clamshell device. However, the truth of the matter is there are some diehard flip-phone fanatics out there, and the company wanted to provide this design option to customers. T-Mobile was the first to offer it, and now, Alltel and Verizon Wireless customers have the choice of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip as well.
For this review, we took a look at the Alltel version, and while it shares a similar design with the T-Mobile BlackBerry Pearl Flip, there are differences in the wireless options. Alltel's model adds 3G and GPS support, which is lacking on the T-Mobile version, but as a trade-off, you lose integrated Wi-Fi. This isn't anything new with the Pearl series, and while the style isn't for everyone, the Pearl Flip does update the carrier's line of BlackBerrys by bringing some other nice enhancements, such as improved software, Documents to Go, and a better camera. The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 is available now for $129.99 with a two-year contract.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 using Alltel's roaming network, and call quality was good. Audio was mostly clear on our end with just some slight hissing in the background during lulls in the conversation. There weren't any problems that disrupted conversation or prevented us from using an airline's voice-automated system. In addition, we didn't experience any dropped calls during our testing period. Our friends also reported good call quality, though they said they could hear a slight echo when we activated the speakerphone.