BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 review:

BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220

Compare These
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars 3 user reviews

The Good Wi-Fi; 3.5mm headphone jack is a bonus.

The Bad Lack of 3G; camera could be better.

The Bottom Line RIM's attempt at cramming the BlackBerry into a clamshell isn't bad. At first we thought we wouldn't like it much, but after using the Flip for some time we realised it's actually very usable and performs well. Our only disappointments are that it doesn't have 3G and the camera isn't great

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall

RIM is guilty of sticking a little too closely to its guns when it comes to design, but every now and then it does something a little different -- this time it's plumped for a clamshell. The BlackBerry Flip does what it says on the tin, but we wanted to see if it still worked well as a BlackBerry device and if the clamshell design takes away from the user experience. You can currently pick up a BlackBerry Flip for free on a monthly contract.

If you're a BlackBerry veteran, the Pearl Flip might strike you as a rather unusual phone. Unlike any other BlackBerry to date, the Flip uses the clamshell format. We found the design rather chunky at first, but it's sturdy and houses a large, bright colour screen and a sizeable, easy-to-press keypad.

One of the main advantages of the Flip's design over the conventional BlackBerry candybar is that you can answer calls simply by opening the Flip up, and there's no chance of pressing the keypad by mistake when it's closed.

On the front of the BlackBerry Flip you'll find a 2-megapixel camera and small colour screen

Like the original Pearl, the Flip's keypad features two letters per key and typing long emails on it is easy, particularly if you use the SureType predictive-text system -- there's even a spell checker if you want to check your messages once you've finished. Above the keypad there's the Pearl's characteristic navigation ball, which allows you to scroll through menus by rolling it around. Some users may find it takes time to get used to using the trackball system, but once you do it's a great way of looking through emails.

On the top left of the Flip you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can plug standard headphones straight in. Next to that you'll find a micro-USB port for charging and connecting the Flip to a computer. Finally, on the front outside section there's a 2-megapixel camera nestled at the top. On one side of it there's an LED photo light and on the other an LED indicator that lets you know when you're low on battery, or charging is complete.

Underneath the camera on the front is a small colour screen that displays incoming calls, tells you when you've received a text message or email and what music is playing, among other information. Annoyingly, you can't control the music player when the phone is shut -- all you can do is put the volume up and down. We also think it's a shame that the Pearl isn't thinner, as we think it would make it look more attractive and fit better in a pocket.

The Flip's interface uses similar icons to the BlackBerry Bold and is relatively easy to get to grips with, but users who have never used a BlackBerry before may struggle at first. The menu system responds quickly, although at times we found it fiddly to navigate to the section we wanted quickly, such as getting to the 'compose SMS' option. Setting up work or personal emails (POP3 and IMAP4) is easily done via the BlackBerry Web-based service and up to ten different accounts can be set up.

You can receive emails and browse the Internet via GPRS, EDGE or Wi-Fi, which is reasonably fast, but it's a shame there's no 3G, which becomes noticeable when there's no Wi-Fi and you're out and about. The BlackBerry Flip's browser renders full Web pages, but doesn't support Flash. We recommend browsing the Internet using Opera Mini, which you can download by visiting on the Flip's browser. Opera Mini lets you see full Web pages and zoom in and out very easily and quickly.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Samsung Galaxy S7

    Starting at: £1.40
    4.5 stars

    We reviewed the new Samsung Galaxy S7 in London, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney. It's...

  • Apple iPhone 6S

    Starting at: £27.05
    4.5 stars

    3D Touch promises a new type of future input on iPhones. It joins an improved camera and...

  • Motorola Moto G4

    Starting at: £187.90
    4 stars

    The G4 packs everything you need from an everyday phone into a water-resistant body. And...

  • Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

    Starting at: £22.00
    4.5 stars

    With flagship specs compressed into a small body, the Z5 Compact is the best mini Android...


Discuss: BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220

Conversation powered by Livefyre