Blackberry 9100: Smart things can come in small packages

pearl 9100The Blackberry Pearl 9100 (3G) is RIM’s tiniest non-flip mobile phone. The 2.2-inch screen device has a semi-QWERTY keypad, central touch pad, and all the standard Blackberry capabilities.

PROS

Despite its compact design, the Pearl is well-built, feeling heavy and sturdy in the hand.

The Pearl boasts unexpectedly efficient typing. It’s between a cellphone that has three letters per button, and a full QWERTY keypad. It has two letters instead of one or three, and this hybrid approach actually lets you blur through words.

For example, type “busi” and the Pearl will non-obtrusively suggest “business,” letting you sweep your thumb across to highlight the full word. Press space to move onto the next word in half of the time it would have taken on a full keyboard.

Because there is a much, much higher probability of the device detecting the right word on a two-letter-per-button than a three-letter, and because it can sweep to complete long words, the Pearl performs very well in typing tests.

The device is affordable, half the price of a Bold 9700 ($100) and a quarter the price of a new Torch ($200) on a three-year term.

CONS

A smaller screen on a smartphone is counterintuitive (though it manages to fit everything you need sufficently).

The camera is only three megapixels, weak compared to today’s standard of five.

It doesn’t run Blackberry’s new OS 6 (only the Torch does currently).

Overall, this small but potent device gets the job done.

Device provided by Rogers Wireless.