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In 2006, the RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8100 premiered as the first small BlackBerry handset. Its successor, the BlackBerry Pearl 8120, added features like a 2-megapixel camera and Wi-Fi to the equation. Now, the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 puts GPS in place of Wi-Fi, making it easier to navigate your way around the UK. Does this new Pearl find its way with sat-nav or just get lost among its siblings?
The RIM BlackBerry 8110 is available on T-Mobile and Vodafone for free on a monthly contact.
Aesthetically, you'll be hard-pressed to pick the 8110 out of a Pearl design line up. Coloured in blue, black or pink, it's identical to the original Pearl 8100, so business users looking for a slim phone won't be in for any cosmetic shocks.
Adding onboard GPS functionality to an already good phone is a great idea and it's what makes this particular model interesting. Unlike the Pearl 8100 or 8120 with Wi-Fi, you can use this phone as a fully-fledged satellite navigation device while driving or walking.
We tested it out using Telmap Navigator on Vodafone and TeleNav 5.1 on T-Mobile and found it picked up satellites quickly. We found having GPS to be a really useful feature, particularly when we were lost in town.
The loudspeaker was loud enough to hear instructions clearly and if you needed to, you could always plug your headphones straight into the 3.5mm headphone jack. In terms of other features, it's similar to the BlackBerry 8120 -- minus Wi-Fi.
It seems that RIM is so chuffed with the original BlackBerry Pearl 8100's design that it's rehashing it over and over again. Are BlackBerry users starting to get glassy-eyed with this 'new' phone?
It's not that we're complaining -- we like the Pearl's design and think adding GPS to the whole package was an excellent step forward. But we do hope that RIM has some new ideas up its sleeve for future models, particularly 3G.
No 3G means that browsing the Internet can be sluggish at times. We also think that the 2-megapixel camera could be given an update and an FM radio wouldn't go unappreciated.
RIM hasn't gone down the all-in-one route and instead opted for adding one feature per Pearl, which we respect on some levels. Packing too many features into a phone can end badly, but we do fear that some BlackBerry users might expect more.
Design-wise, we'd really start to see RIM make an effort to do something different, even if it isn't much. Keeping the same casing for every model makes things confusing for everyone. However, the important thing to remember is that the 8110 does what it says on the tin and if you're looking for a BlackBerry with GPS, then your wait is over.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday