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BlackBerry Flip 8220 Review


BlackBerry Flip 8220 Review

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And thanks to that UMA support, the phone can be used on any available WiFi network for clear VoIP calls without worrying about any possible GSM reception issues.

The Pearl Flip's contacts system is top notch, and, thanks to the latest version of the BlackBerry OS, it even looks a bit better. The Pearl Flip can store most any data point that a PIM like Microsoft Outlook can throw at it. Contact searching works right from the standby screen - just start typing a first or last name (or both) and a list of matches appears.

The profiles system on the 8220 is a mixed bag. There are literally dozens of settings that can be adjusted for each of its 5 profiles. That configurability makes setting them up properly quite a task, though, and in spite of what the menu states, the "vibrate + tone" option really is a vibrate then tone setting. While there are probably some people out there that really need all of those options, a simpler view for the average user would be much more practical and usable.

The Pearl Flip user will enjoy a couple of options when it comes to accessing phone numbers quickly. For one, contacts can be assigned as speed dials to any of the keys on the QWERTY keyboard. Speed dials are accessed by long pressing the associated key. The 8220 also offers a nice speaker-independent voice dialing application from Nuance (formerly VoiceSignal). Voice dialing accuracy was spot on.

The Pearl Flip 8220 supports push email from POP, IMAP, Exchange (via HTTP), Outlook, and Notes/Domino servers, though some are easier to setup than others. Inbound and outbound email messages flew across the network with good speed. Keyboard shortcuts make quick work of most messaging tasks, an office document viewer is built-in, and there is a very powerful search system available. The only thing lacking is support for folders in IMAP based accounts. SMS and MMS messaging worked well, too. The SMS messages sent to and received from any particular user get threaded into IM-like conversations that make them far easier to deal with. The 8220 comes pre-loaded with real IM clients for AIM, MSN, and Yahoo!, Gtalk, ICQ, and BlackBerry IM services.

As mentioned earlier, the Pearl Flip 8220 does not support 3G data. With that said, we spent much of our time using it on a local WiFi network and never experienced any trouble. Even when using the EDGE network, email messages always arrived in a timely manner, so it didn't seem to be too much of an issue. It's worth noting that the 8220 supports USB and Bluetooth connections as well, which allow it to be synchronized with the BlackBerry Desktop manager.

Multimedia / Applications

The 2 megapixel camera in the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 is capable of taking decent photographs if given enough light. Even well lit photos tend to look over processed, though, so this won't be a camera that will cause you to leave your point and shoot at home. When the lighting gets a bit darker, the photo quality drops to an unacceptable level quickly - even the built-in flash can't help much. At least the camera is easy to use, though, and is capable of recording video clips.

The 8220's media player app is pretty reasonable. It organizes music by artist, album, genre, and song title - and even offers a search function. Playback audio quality sounded good in general when we tested the device with a pair of Bose QC2 sound canceling headphones, which plugged directly into the Pearl Flip's standard 3.5mm socket. Compared with some older versions of the BlackBerry OS, the music app on the Pearl Flip is easy to control with the trackball. It is capable of playing in the background while the device is used for other tasks, and the player can be quickly started and stopped with the Mute button that is located next to the headphone socket. The Pearl Flip supports the standard PIM organizer apps that you would expect in any smartphone. The calendar, task list, and memos (notes) all will synchronize with your PC via Bluetooth or USB, or with your corporate network if your company runs a BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The calendar program is reasonably flexible in use, and offers an "agenda" view that lists your upcoming appointments, even if they are days away. It also offers more traditional month, week, and day views.

Our RIM BlackBerry Pearl Flip came pre-loaded with 6 games, one of which is the normal BrickBreaker that we expect to find on all BlackBerry smartphones.

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