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Editors' note: The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 for Verizon Wireless is similar to T-Mobile's RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220. For this review, we will be concentrating on the performance and different features of the Verizon version. For a full description of the smartphone's design, please see our review of the RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 for T-Mobile.
While the RIM BlackBerry Tour is currently the shining star in Verizon's lineup of BlackBerrys, one size does not fit all. The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 offers an alternative to the carrier's customers with its clamshell design. The smartphone isn't quite as feature-rich as the Tour, lacking world-roaming capabilities and having a lesser camera, but it still delivers the BlackBerry e-mail experience and plenty of other goodies--just in a smaller, cheaper package. Like the Tour, the Pearl Flip won't suit everyone but it's a great device for those buying their first smartphone or BlackBerry. The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 is available now from Verizon Wireless for $79.99 with a two-year contract.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service and call quality was mostly good. We enjoyed clear sound and plenty of volume with very little to no background interruption. On the other side, our friends were mostly complimentary, though there were some occasional complaints about some distortion that made our voice sound robotic. Caller were quite impressed with speakerphone quality, however, and said it was even better than regular voice calls. We were also quite happy, as the speakerphone delivered good performance.
We paired the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones. Using the phone's 3.5mm headphone jack, we also plugged in our Bose On-Ear Headphones for a pleasurable music-listening experience. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip does not support Verizon's V Cast music or video services.
The smartphone's 2-megapixel camera took OK pictures. There's a bit of shutter lag, so more often than not, we ended up with some blurry images. Colors were also a bit washed out. The smartphone offers downloads to Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr, so you can upload photos to these social networking sites. Other apps that ship on the handset include Documents to Go, five instant-messaging clients, and Visual Voice Mail (additional costs involved); the Pearl Flip also supports BlackBerry App World, which you can use to download more apps to the device.
The Pearl Flip features a full HTML Web browser, which is clunky to navigate compared with the competition, but Verizon's 3G network proved to be reliable and speedy here in San Francisco. CNET's full site loaded in 44 seconds while CNN's and ESPN's mobile sites loaded in 8 seconds and 13 seconds, respectively. The smartphone's GPS/A-GPS was also impressive as it found our position within in a minute and did an accurate job of tracking our location and providing directions via VZ Navigator.
The RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 features a 900mAh lithium-ion battery with a rated talk time of 3.7 hours and up to 9 days of standby time. The BlackBerry Pearl Flip offered 5 hours of talk time in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Pearl Flip 8230 has a digital SAR rating of 1.23 watts per kilogram.