"A Mixed Bag"3.0 starson by pcorning
Pros: * Clamshell design - finally, no more auto-on or auto-wake in the pocket.
* Larger keyboard - much easier to use for phone and typing, fewer mistakes
* Seems a little faster than the 8120
* Application / OS changes with BB 4.6 (minor improvements)
Cons: * Narrower screen than 8220 makes web browsing a little more difficult
* New browser has rendering problems, locks up phone occasionally (bad)
Summary: Upgrade from an earlier Pearl only if you really want the clamshell (great for the pocket), or if you want a larger keyboard. These are big improvements, make the Pearl better for email, much easier to dial.The Flip's web browsing is worse than the 8120 Pearl's. Graphics look bad, text is tiny (zooming doesn't help the experience) - rendering is bad overall. The narrow screen tweaks page layouts. Why are reviewers telling people the browser has improved? This will really tick off a lot of users.
The case is attractive and easy to hold, making typing easy enough. Side buttons are a little tougher to press, which is a good thing (earlier Pearls let you trigger functions too easily from the pocket, or while just holding the phone). Battery door is very flimsy - I'd guess RIM will see some requests for lost plastic here. It will be interesting to see how long the external screen resists scratches.
It isn't clear why RIM chose a narrower (than 8120) main screen for this phone, since the horizontal compression of web pages seems to screw up their formatting a bit. The browser itself seems to distort and pixellate images a little, making it difficult to take advantage of the otherwise beautiful screen.
New monochrome application icons are disastrous - no longer can you tell at a glance what the icons correspond to. RIM has also re-worked the main screen's directory structure to allow more downloaded apps. You'll notice that it takes longer to find a few favorites (Google Maps goes into a Downloads folder, so requires another click to get to it), but it may be easier in the long run.
Camera and video seem about the same as the 8120. Camera is OK. Video isn't great.
Speakers are substantially improved over Pearl 8120 - music and phone calls sound rich and clear. Nicely done here.
Updated on Oct 14, 2008
The black case shows fingerprints very clearly, and they will stay after a simple wipe on the shirt. Poor choice here for RIM.
Battery life appears improved over the 8120.
Voice quality is great.
Still happy with the upgrade, but I will gnash my teeth when using the web browser.
Updated on Jan 28, 2009After 3 months I am still mixed on the phone. Love the flip, and the larger keyboard. The phone still seems to start more slowly than others (though faster than the first 2 Pearls), and it bogs down occasionally despite once/week battery-out restarts (recommended for Blackberries to improve performance).
The glossy black (external) surface is getting scratched and pitted, despite fairly careful treatment. No big deal for me, but it will tick some folks off that this happens in 3 months.
I bought a higher-capacity battery (Seidio Innocell) that has increased talk/standby time by a lot. Worth the $35.
No rush to upgrade now, but I'm getting the feeling my next phone won't be a Blackberry.