Verizon Holiday Phones
The RIM 8130 Pearl 2 is an update to the Pearl, which was initially released last year. Some of the biggest improvements are in the area of connectivity. The Pearl 2 has EV-DO data, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth and integrated GPS. This makes it a much faster and more capable handset compared to its predecessor.
The body of the Pearl is almost identical to the original. Perhaps the biggest difference is the keyboard and navigation cluster. The trackball itself has been embedded into the phone just a little bit (this was a failure point of the original), and its sensitivity seems improved. The navigation buttons to the left and right of the trackball are flatter and just a bit bigger. They are easy to use and offer good feedback.
The keypad is sturdier and less mushy than the original Pearl's was. There is more of a contour to the keys and there is less travel between them, which cuts down on the side-to-side motion of the keys. The amount of up-and-down travel seems about the same. Feedback could have been a bit better, but with the SureType system, we were able to peck out some test messages without making any mistakes.
We don't have exact dimensions of the Pearl 2 from RIM or Verizon, but it feels slightly thicker, perhaps a millimeter or two.
Other updates to the body are a 3.5mm headset jack along the side, as well as access to the microSD slot. On the original, the microSD slot was buried under the battery, preventing hot swapping. Now it is on the left side of the phone. All other aspects of the hardware are unchanged.
The UI has only slight updates, and they were not very noticeable. For the most part, the Pearl 2 looks like a 'Berry and acts like a 'Berry. It has updated the browser, but we were unable to check this out because none of the Pearl's were activated. Likewise, the messaging center was updated, but we only noticed a minor difference in the way messages appear in the in-box and how they appear on screen.
Rather then just see plain text when viewing messages, there are bubbles (similar to the Gmail client) separating the header from the body of the message, which is framed in a light blue color. According to RIM, there are different fonts, but they looked the same to us.
For Verizon Wireless users pining for the slim and stylish Pearl, you finally get one. It has marked improvements over the original and still looks good.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
We also have a quick video tour of the Pearl 2. You can watch it here:
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