Mobile phones are used for business purposes more and more often. A growing group of consumers carries a business model in addition to their personal mobile phone. The requirements for business devices are usually more complicated than those for regular handsets. The 'on the road' aspect is gradually becoming more important. Employees, out of the office a lot, still want to be able to check their ever changing agenda or answer Emails. This requires mobile internet among other things, and a correct synchronization. There are various models of different brands available, however, BlackBerry is considered to be the leader in this field. Thanks to the extensive compatibility and the fact that BlackBerry specializes in business use.
Thinking of a BlackBerry phone, you'd likely picture a mobile phone of a larger size than average. The BlackBerry Pearl 8110 however has a modest and handy size (4,2 x 1,9 x 0,5 inches), yet all thinkable functions are available. The BlackBerry 8110 cell phone we tested has a nice blue colour with a few shiny silver accents. Personally, I find its look too fake for this kind of business phone, and it also gives the back some sort of plastic appearance. Furthermore, a QWERTY keyboard is visible on the front with a TrackBall to scroll through the menu functions. The BlackBerry Pearl 88110 handset is delivered including a battery charger, a data cable, a headset, manuals and Blackberry software.
TrackBall & QWERTY-keyboard
The striking front of the BlackBerry contains not only the standard buttons for the menu, answer and end a call, but also a QWERTY keyboard and a TrackBall. The TrackBall is a small ball placed in the centre of the phone to operate the menu and various other functions. Especially when using the Internet, where TrackBall serves to operate the mouse cursor, it works very conveniently as well as faster than using the well-known arrow buttons or a joystick. The QWERTY keyboard works a tad different than what we are used to from other phones. Since the size is compact and the buttons have not been made too small, some buttons carry two symbols. The T9 function lets you work swiftly with them. If you are using a second phone next to the BlackBerry, you will have to make a mental switch.
The main screen displays some quick access buttons, among which the installation wizard, the mailbox and applications. Clicking 'applications' on the main screen will open the menu and 35 icons will appear. This amount does not offer a well-structured menu overview. Everything is placed directly in the main menu, from camera to games. It would have been easier and more convenient if there had been some sub menus, or a number of categories. Still it did not stop me from finding my way through the menu quickly. And there is a possibility to hide icons you don't use often or not at all, which leaves only the necessary functions at hand. Graphically, the menu is not that special. The icons are quite neat although for example at 'settings' all you see is a piece of text on a white background.
The main function that differs the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 from a number of competitors is the support of Pushmail. The technology of Pushmail offers an alert on the BlackBerry as soon as you receive a new Email message, and you can open it immediately. This way you don't have to be afraid of reading a mail too late and you don't have to access your mail account too frequently in order to check if there's new mail. This is extremely convenient when you are on the road a lot. Attachments with an email can be opened immediately with the BlackBerry Pearl 8110.Standard support of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint is available. Also the Internet browser works fine. Navigating is extremely convenient with the TrackBall, as mentioned before. Some pages will be rendered in a different sequence however, if you select page reproduction you will see the full page and you can zoom in with the TrackBall. One thing that is missing on the BlackBerry 8110 is support for 3G and perhaps Wi-Fi. This would have been more convenient, certainly for the business user. Now the Internet connection is somewhat slow at times.
The built-in digital camera offers a resolution of 2.0 Megapixels and has a flash at its disposal. At the bottom of the screen, the settings of the flash are displayed, and there is also an alert visible for when it is too dark, to make sure you activate the flash.
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