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Review: BlackBerry Pearl

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Even though the Pearl is running on T-Mobile's EDGE network, browsing was relatively speedy most of the time. Most pages, even desktop web pages, loaded quickly. The Blackberry's browser is capable of navigating to both WAP and HTML pages. While WAP and simple HTML pages are drawn as expected, web content is re-formatted to fit on the Pearl's screen. You cannot control how the web sites are presented, but most were readable on the Pearl. A few stray web sites either loaded slowly or were too difficult to use after the browser ripped out all the formatting.


The Pearl comes pre-loaded with a wide variety of ringtones, most of which are full audio rings, but are still fairly conservative. It is possible to use any mp3 file as a ringtone or any other audio alert simply by copying it to the ringtone folder on the memory card and choosing it in the profile editor.

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The device comes with four themes, each of which features a distinct home screen layout and graphics. Additional themes can be downloaded from RIM's support site as well as third parties. Each theme also has specific shortcut key assignments, system fonts and orders of the application menu associated with them. This means every time you use a new theme, you will have to go through and customize all of these settings to your liking, even though you may have already done this for the theme you were previously using. Once you have customized all the setting for a theme, it is stored with that theme, so if you re-use at a later time you will not need to customize it again.

File Management

Blackberries appear to be the last smartphones that do not have a unified file management utility. Installing or removing applications is done through the sync client. Multimedia files such as music, pictures, and ringtones can be managed through the PC as well by putting the Pearl into mass storage mode when it is connected via USB or by using a card reader if items are stored on the memory card.

Multimedia files can also be managed on the Pearl itself in a limited fashion. They can be moved or deleted and sent - either by email or by Bluetooth. See the Bluetooth section that follows for more on this.

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