Review: BlackBerry Pearl
The screen on the Pearl is so bright that it's a good thing RIM includes both an ambient light sensor as well as a maximum brightness adjustment on the handset. It is plenty bright to read outdoors, even in bright sunlight, and indoors the screen looks brilliant. The resolution is decent enough that a fair amount of text can be displayed at once and photos look incredibly sharp.
The Pearl is probably one of the few smartphones we've tested that can hold its own against most high-end regular phones when it comes to signal strength. Even in spotty areas, it claims good coverage and can receive phone calls or emails. It can usually hang on to a signal on the edge of dead zones. But like most smartphones, the Pearl takes quite a while to re-join the network after losing signal. The Pearl failed the vault test as we were unable to do anything, even send a text message, once the Pearl lost a signal in the vault. We had to go outside and wait about a minute before the Pearl could be used again.
Either the Pearl is made for people who are losing their hearing or it proves - despite the difficult time have hearing most phones - that we're not going deaf. The ringing volume is quite loud, especially considering the port for the loudspeaker is two tiny slots on the top of the Pearl. We never missed a call, though the strong vibrating alert also contributed to that. The earpiece speaker is just as good, if not better. We rarely needed to use the speaker at above half of its maximum volume.
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Considering how large the battery is, it's not too surprising that the Pearl can go four days between charges. But having seen other phones with constant data connections perform much poorer, it's quite a luxury to be able to forget to charge the Pearl for a few days. Constant Bluetooth use or audio playback does shorten battery life a bit, but it's still longer than most smartphones, or even regular phones.