BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 Review: Back In Style: BlackBerry OS 5, Phonebook, Telephony

By 09:46 Tue, 10 Aug 2021 Comments

BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 5: not quite the ultimate looker

The BlackBerry Pearl 9105 runs on the proprietary BlackBerry Operating System (OS) v5, which somewhat reminds us of a Hummer H1. It’s not the kind of vehicle you want to be seen in as it’s disastrously frightful but it will hold you everywhere you need to be.

Just as with previous versions of the BlackBerry OS, the functionality is mostly there but the design is not easy on the eye. Come to think of it, even the BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 6 didn’t deliver all the multimedia glamour that RIM promised so it would be foolish to expect such a thing from such an out-and-out BlackBerry device as the Pearl 3G 9105.

It’s not too poor on the surface but it gets really frightful as you dig deeper

It’s familiarity that counts here and we can guarantee that all current BlackBerry users will feel at home with this one.

The other side of the coin is that there are still tons of downcorrect frightful text-only submenus plastered all over the Pearl 3G UI. Even with the slickest theme selected you are still just a couple of clicks away from these eyesores.

Obviously this is another device suitable for hardcore businessmen who can live without eye-candy (as this one really offers none of it). Users were obviously supposed to focus more on the hardware updates than the software as otherwise they would be really put off by the RIM attitude. We are not saying every Operating System (OS) should become webOS when it grows up but the DOS era is long gone.

Here's a video of the user interface.

The Pearl 3G has the same menu structure as all other BlackBerries released over the past few years barring the Torch. It’s not exactly newbie paradise as the ideology behind it is rather different from everything else on the market.

The homeclassy screen has 5 shortslit buttons placed at the bottom and all the status icons are at the top. The profiles and the connectivity settings can be accessed straight from here, as well as two other features that you choose to assign to the convenience keys.

Alternatively you can pick the today layout, which gets rid of the shortcuts and give you messages, phone and calendar events on screen. Pressing one of them takes you to the full-fledged app.

The alternative today layout

Menu navigation on the Pearl relies on a single menu key for revealing all the contextual options and it’s an unusual experience for first-timers. Most other brands utilize soft-key based navigation with labels keeping all options in sight. There is no caption with BlackBerry here so you should check out what the menu key does in every situation. Come to think of it, Android follows pretty much the same logic.

A context menu appears once you press the menu key

You are free to rearrange icons, place them in folders or even cover them as you see fit. Just as we assumed at the beginning of the chapter – the functionality is all there. However even Symbian is a remarkable looker compared to the BlackBerry OS. Not to mention that the most popular smartphone platform worldwide also offers way more customization options.

It’s exactly this unwillingness to accept change that makes BlackBerry devices suited for a niche market only. They are more of a complement to the service that the company offers than worthwhile handsets themselves. It goes like that – if you need the service you will have to pick one of the equally handicapped devices available .

Back on the positive track the BlackBerry Pearl 3G performs rather decently with small lag and fine responsiveness. The Operating System (OS) is obviously well optimized or the 624 Mega Hertz (MHz) processor inside is really efficient.

And we’re kinda optimistic about the update to Blackberry Operating System (OS) 6 that was promised by the manufacturer.

Phonebook: not for the weak of heart

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G phonebook looks as something that came out of a bygone era of Windows Mobile PocketPCs and smartphones.

The fine news is that once you shake off the initial shock you realize that it does the job it’s meant to. You acquire virtually unlimited power and fine organization plus the feature set to suffice for the needs of 99 percent of the users.

A functional but hideous contacts manager

The contacts acquire listed alphabetically by first, last name or company in one of those black and white lists that we warned you about. You can search a contact by gradually typing the desired name like on almost any other phone.

You can put your contacts in categories (personal and business by default but you can create others) and then filter your phonebook accordingly. There is also grouping available and you can create as many groups as you like.

Categories are available

Editing a contact gives you a vast number of fields which are organized in several sub-groups. You can also replicate some of the fields (those that you are going to need to anyway) as many times as you like.

Editing Dexter’s info

Smart dial benefits telephony

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9105 did OK in its main duty – making calls. We didn’t experience any problems with reception or in-call sound quality.

While that might be expected and doesn’t bring any bonus points, Smart dial is certainly a remarkable asset. So fine in fact that there’s hardly much point in using the phonebook for dialing numbers again. And it works when inserting contacts in messaging too.

The Pearl 3G comes with smart dial

All you need to do is punch a few keys on the homeclassy screen and the names that have the typed letters will appear on the classy screen instantly. You can then select them with the trackpad and initiate a call – it doesn’t acquire any simpler than that, does it?

The in-call screen

Another worthy call feature is Voice dialing, which gets activated by pressing the left convenience key by default. The blank classy screen will bring back memories of Windows 3.11 but hey, it’s called vintage looks.

Alternatively, you can dial by voice commands

The BlackBerry Pearl 9105 did reasonably well in our traditional loudspeaker test too, producing a Good score. Still it might be a fine concept to haged it within sight in noisy environments, unless you want to discontinue up missing a call or two.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score

BlackBerry Torch 980065.965.565.8Below Average

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 910566.766.371.8Average

BlackBerry Storm2 952072.266.372.9Good

BlackBerry Storm 950075.865.072.7Good

HTC Touch HD77.773.776.7Excellent



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