Virgin Mobile Canada has released the BlackBerry Pearl 3G (9100). The Pearl 3G is an affordable $49.99 on a 3 year term or $349.99 on a 30 day agreement.
The smallest, lightest BlackBerry® smartphone is back and it’s better than ever. Say hello to the BlackBerry Pearl™ 3G. Jam-packed with everything you want in one hot little package, the Pearl comes powered up with a SureType™ keyboard with optical trackpad navigation, a 3.2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth™
Bad news for those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, because the Pearl 3G operates on Bell’s HSPA network it is currently no available for your provinces.
Rogers Wireless has officially released the Acer Liquid E powered by Android OS 2.1.
This Android 2.1 smartphone allows for easy integration with Google apps and your favourite social networks. The large 3.5″ touch screen enables viewing of high-definition videos and features a powerful processor, 5.0 MP camera, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS as well as 3G speeds.
Pick up you Acer Liquid E at your local Rogers dealer or online today for the following price points:
$49.99-3 year term
$324.99-2 year term
$379.99-1 year term
I have something to admit, I really like the Curve Bold and Storm 2. I also have to admit that I hate the Pearl. While I’ve never posted a review for the Pearl I did get one to review a while back and I hated it so much I couldn’t use it enough to post a review. It was slow, I hated the Sure Type keyboard, didn’t like the low resolution 240×240 display and it was just a very dated design (I was playing with a 8120).
While the Pearl 9100 is powered by a 624Mhz processor and packs 256MB of RAM (both identical to the Bold 9700) plus it has a 360×400 display. I have to admit I was still skeptical. After all it still uses Sure Type and still has a smallish display.
The silicon cases in my video don’t ship with the 9100 but are optional accessories.
The 9100 I’m reviewing is a HSPA phone on Telus though Rogers and Bell will also be carrying it as well.
As I mentioned the display has a resolution of 360×400 which it’s a huge improvement from 240×240. You get more than double the number of pixels! I did find the color to be slightly washed out though it’s not a huge deal.
The keyboard has 5 keys across and uses Sure Type predictive text input – new for the Pearl 3G is the 9105; a version with a keypad that is 3 keys across. While I haven’t used a regular keypad in a long time I’m sure those who are will appreciate the the more familiar layout. Personally I’m not crazy about the 5 row keyboard since I grew up with a steady diet of regular keypads, I’ve never used a 5 row keyboard till I used the 8120. That said SureType works okay most of the time. The 9100′s relatively fast processor makes it easy to use.
As far as WiFi goes the 9100 supports 802.11n. So while I highly doubt the 9100 can utilize the extra speed you get with 802.11n it probably does a better job of co-existing with 802.11n networks in that it won’t slow your other 802.11n stuff down.
The 9100′s main feature is its messaging capabilities. You can configure the 9100 to push IMAP, POP, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! or AOL mail to your device. There’s also Blackberry Messenger which you can use to message with other Blackberry owners. Blackberry messenger will also let you create chatrooms.
You can download Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, AIM, ICQ, Flickr, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and even a TiVo program all from RIM via the Blackberry App World program.
There are multimedia keys on top of the 9100 in addition to the volume buttons on the right. On either side are soft keys whose functions can be redefined (by default the right is a camera shutter button) while the left is a voice dial key.
There are multimedia keys to control music and video playback on top of the 9100.
Speaking about the music player I’ve always like one of the 9700 so I like the 9100′s. It’s easy to use and has just enough features to keep me happy.
You get around 256MB of storage built in which you can expand to 16GB using Micro SDHC cards (you get 2GB in the box). The MciroSDHC card is located behind the battery cover – you have to remove the battery to access it. As far as write speed goes I got around 5 or 6MB per second. I have a feeling I would have observed better numbers if I had a faster memory card.
When browsing the menus I noticed how similar the 9100 is to the 9700 menu wise. You get pretty much all the same programs as the Bold. It was hard finding differences so I checked the RIM webpage out. Apparently the 9100 doesn’t have Bluetooth DUN and plus you get some additional audio and video codec support.
I noticed you get a few extra games with the 9100. Besides Brickbreaker, Wordmole (my favorite), Sudoku and Klondike you also get Word Trooper and Texxas Hold’Em King 2.
You get a 3.2MP camera which is pretty standard fare. Image quality is not that bad for a 3.2 megapixel camera. The video camera records at 640×480@24fps which is actually higher res than the Bold 9700′s. Video quality is also not terrible.
The Achilles heel of the current crop of Blackberries is their browser. It takes forever to render web pages plus you can only view one page at time. On the upside once a page has been rendered the scroll speed isn’t so bad.
While the 9100 comes with a 1150mAh battery (1500mAh on the 9700) you do get a smaller display. Like most Blackberries battery life is measured in days.
To test RF performance I compared the 9100 head to head with a 9700. While both are close I found the 9700 to be slightly better. In an area with low signal I found the 9100 blanked audio more where the 9700 didn’t.
Sound Quality is good on the 9100. It has slight hiss and is ever so slightly harsh.
Now normally I find I tend to write a lot more for my reviews but for the 9100 I don’t have that much to say. I guess much of what I’ve said about the Bold 9700 applies to the 9100 as well.
So while I hated the original Pearl I don’t find the new Pearl 3G to be all that bad. Now that I don’t mind the keyboard I’m actually beginning to understand the appeal of the Pearl – particularly it’s form factor. It’s just slightly wider than a feature phone but still narrower and noticeably lighter than a regular smartphone. Another thing to consider is that horsepower wise you don’t lose anything over the Bold 9700. You get a the same amount of RAM the same speed processor and a 3.2MP camera. Of course the fact that you get so many of the Bold 9700′s goodies are a good sign that the Bold should be getting an upgrade soon (for example the Bold 9650 gets 512MB RAM).
In the past if someone said: “Howard you’re going to have to use a Pearl as your daily phone” I’d probably think about chopping my hands off to get out of it. With the 9100 though I wouldn’t complain much if that were the case.
Here’s the Samsung Messenger. It’s a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone with a QWERTY keyboard, 320×320 display and a 3.2MP camera. It’s available on Bell for $0 on a voice an data plan or $50 on Rogers.
With Windows Phone 7 just around the corner it’s hard to get excited about WinMo 6.5 phones. That was my initial reaction when I got the Messenger (I took it out of the box and then forgot about it). Later I realized some people are used to WinMo 6.5 personal/Microsoft Smartphone and aren’t interested in moving to a new platform.
Like I mentioned the Messenger runs Windows Mobile 6.5. I’ll be honest I haven’t used many WinMo Personal (MS smartphone) devices lately. I do own a HTC Snap but to be honest it was so boring I don’t remember where I put it nor do I remember anything about it other then that the the keyboard was nice. The last MS Smartphone I used for a time was a Motorola Q9h which was running 6.0.
Smartphone has not aged well at all and while it has decent basic functionality it feels really dated. It’s like when my sister in law makes a big turkey. First we all enjoy it, then after 4 days of eating turkey left overs we’re sick of it. That’s how I feel about Smartphone.
While it’s powered by a 528Mhz processor (standard stuff), device speed feels adequate to slightly sluggish at times. I do wish it would scroll faster in Internet Explorer. One nice upgrade is that you get a 320×320 display instead of the usual 320×240 – so you can see 33% more. It’s still not enough but it is a welcome change.
Check out my unboxing and hands on video to see the Messenger:
The keyboard is very good. The keys stick out a lot and have a nice feel to them. I thought about the keyboard a lot about how the keys stick out compared to the keyboard on a Blackberry Bold 9700. At first I thought I liked the Samsung’s keys better but after typing on it for a while I realized the 9700′s fretted keys are better for fast typing because it’s harder to accidentally press neighboring keys. I wish there were a few more shortcut buttons as I’ve always found Smartphone’s menus to be a mess so being able to skip the menu is always a nice thing.
The home screen is customized with Samsung’s WizPro (sounds like something you’d find in a men’s bathroom) software. With Wizpro the home screen is split into different sections which you can scroll between sideways. There is a home section, communities, contacts, music, photo, shortcuts, settings Yahoo finance, Yahoo search and AccuWeather.
The home section shows information like the date/time, new text messages, missed calls, new emails and Windows Live messenger messages. Communities has a link to a Facebook application along with links to the Friendster, Myspace, PhotoBucket, Flickr, Picasa and YouTube websites. Contacts is actually more of a speed dial where you choose your favourite contacts. I find the contacts feature to be pointless since typing in someone’s name on the today screen is faster. Shortcut allows you can define your own shortcuts to any programs on the Messenger.
While I didn’t fall in love with WizPro it isn’t a bad feature -especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of time setting up your phone. That said I did find it slightly laggy at times plus it also makes the home screen a bit of a mess.
Like I mentioned you can start typing in a name or number from the home screen and the Messenger will automatically search your phonebook for matching results.
Samsung includes some extra programs:
Alarms (so you don’t have to go into settings to setup an alarm)
Anniversary (no idea why Samsung included this since there is already a built in Calendar which syncs with Exchange)
Smart Converter (a unit converter)
Smart Reader (business card scanner)
I tried Smart Reader and got mixed results. It works really well with simple business cards but doesn’t work so well with cards that have backgrounds. That said it tends to save time if you get a lot of business cards.
The camera has a resolution of 3.2 megapixel with no flash. You can start it up using the camera button on the right side. Image quality is not terrible but the autofocus takes a very long time to focus. There are a lot of camera functions available including burst mode and ISO settings. The camcorder records video at a resolution of 320×240 so it’s nothing special.
After you’ve taken a picture you can do basic stuff like email, MMS, or Bluetooth it. With the communities app you can also upload them to Picasa, Facebook, MySpace, PhotoBucket and Flickr.
The Messenger is a WinMo phone so you get the standard Exchange and Hotmail push email support plus IMAP and POP. There is support for threaded SMS.
Browsing is handled by Internet Explorer. While it’s better than nothing I found it to be slow at rendering pages plus it’s very slow at scrolling.
You get Mobile versions of Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Word which are useful for editing and viewing attachments.
Like I mentioned before the Messenger lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack so you’re stuck using micro USB headphones (or using a microUSB to 3.5mm adapter).
Battery life is not terrible, you should get about 1.5 days to 2 days of battery life so it’s best to charge it each night.
I found the Messenger sounded a bit fuzzy. Maximum earpiece volume is good.
I compared the Messenger’s RF performance with a Motorola Milestone. I found that the Milestone was noticably better in areas with weak signal. When I simultaneous placed calls and went somewhere with poor network coverage I found the messenger would blank audio where the Milestone still sounded fine.
In the end if you’re someone who really likes Microsoft Smartphone/Windows Mobile Personal, Maybe you have a HTC Maple/Snap, HTC S620, Motorola Q9h, Samsung Jack, etc and don’t really want to switch platforms give the Samsung Messenger a shot. The bigger screen alone makes it worth the upgrade. That said that that doesn’t describe you then you’re probably better of trying something else.
Sprint has just announced that it will be releasing the first 4G phone in America, leading the evolution of wireless into 4G technology. The HTC EVO 4G is now listed on the Sprint website for pre-orders ahead of its June 4th launch.
The HTC EVO 4G is powered by Android and will feature a 4.3″ screen, dual cameras (8.0MP primary/1.3MP secondary), WIFI and of course 4G download speeds which are 10 times faster than 3G. The EVO 4G is currently priced at $199 after a $100 mail in rebate.
Although the Samsung Messenger is currently listed on the Rogers website the full QWERTY device is currently out of stock. The messenger should be arrive at your local Rogers retail location in the coming days.
The Samsung Messenger ensures you stay productive wherever you are. This Windows Mobile is perfect for the mobile professional looking to keep connected to emails, edit documents and manage your calendar. It comes loaded with a 3.2 MP camera, GPS and Wi-Fi and 3G speeds.
When the Samsung Messenger is available in retail location and online it will set you back:
$49.99-3 year term (select plans)
$299.99-2 year term
$349.99-1 year term
Follow the “more” link for two enlarged photos of the Samsung Messenger.
You can now pre-order your iPad on the Apple website in advance of the Canadian launch of May 28th. Although the iPad 3G will be compatible with all three major Canadian carrier (Rogers, Bell, and Telus) Rogers is the only one to officially announce data pricing.
Earlier today the Apple website did mention a $20 option that would allow you share your existing data plan with the iPad, but that reference has since been removed.
I recently had a chance to play with the Samsung Galaxy S. It’s most noticeable feature is it’s amazing Super AMOLED display. It’s hands down the best display I have ever seen on a phone. I used to think the AMOLED display on my Nexus One was good and the SE X10a had a decent LCD. The SE10a looks really washed out compared to the Galaxy S, same with the Nexus One to a lesser degree. Compared to the Nexus one the Galaxy S’ display is quite usable in bright sunlight and it’s a lot less reflective.
Other things I noticed were that the Galaxy S’ 1Ghz processor (it’s NOT a 1Ghz Snapdragon, apparently it’s quite similar to the processor in the iPad and upcoming iPhone 4G) is very snappy. While I didn’t use the Galaxy S long it did feel much more snappy than my SE X10a and Google N1 both of which have 1Ghz Snapdragons.
The camera has 5mp of resolution but it can also capture high def (720p) video. Watch the video in high definition on YouTube. The video quality was okay.
The Galaxy S has Samsung’s Android customizations including some extra Samsung Widgets plus the bottom row of icons persists throughout the main menu (like the iPhone) which is useful since I don’t’ like hunting for the phone app on my N1 and X10a. There will be some social networking app from Samsung also but it wasn’t loaded onto the Galaxy S I tested.
All in all I can’t wait for the Galaxy S to be released. I will definitely getting one.