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BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 (Alltel) review: BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 (Alltel)

BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 (Alltel)

Bonnie Cha Former Editor
Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.
Bonnie Cha
3 min read

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.


BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 (Alltel)

The Good

The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 offers 3G and GPS. The smartphone brings an updated interface and adds Documents to Go and a better camera, while still offering solid e-mail capabilities.

The Bad

The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 lacks Wi-Fi. The SureType keyboard takes some acclimation.

The Bottom Line

The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 updates Alltel's line of BlackBerrys, but its clamshell design won't please everyone.

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.

We were able to pair the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones. The BlackBerry Pearl Flip is compliant with M4/T4 hearing-aid devices.

The BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 is equipped with a 3.5-millimeter jack, so we plugged in our Bose On-Ear headphones and enjoyed good sound quality when listening to various tracks, ranging from hip hop to classical. We also checked out a couple of MP4 video clips, and performance was a bit mixed. For the most part, playback was smooth, but there were a couple of occasions where the picture got choppy and sound was interrupted. The smartphone's smaller display also makes it less than ideal for longer videos. The smartphone's 2-megapixel camera took decent photos. Images were clear with nice definition; our only wish would be for a little more richness in color.

We were impressed with the clarity of photos, but colors were just a bit washed out.

While we're disappointed by the lack of Wi-Fi, Alltel's EV-DO network did an admirable job, loading CNET's full site in 50 seconds and bringing up CNN and ESPN's mobile sites in a blazing 9 seconds and 11 seconds, respectively. The smartphone's GPS took a little while to get a lock on our position. We waited up to 10 minutes for it to find our location, and while BlackBerry Maps provided accurate turn-by-turn directions, maps were slow to render onscreen.

The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 comes with a 900mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 3.5 hours and up to 9 days of standby time. The claimed 3.5 hours isn't very high, but fortunately, the smartphone beat the rated talk time in the battery drain tests by 2 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the Pearl Flip 8230 has a digital SAR rating of 1 watt per kilogram.


BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 (Alltel)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 7