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Old 10-26-2006, 11:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First time BlackBerry User. Review.

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Previous phone: Motorola Razr.

Prepare to read about the best phone currently on the market.

I never used a BlackBerry before due to their sizes. After reading about the BB Pearl a few weeks ago, I was hooked and drove myself to a T-Mobile store to check it out. Seeing the phone in person was amazing. It was smaller and weigh less then a Razr. I expected the phone to be heavier with all the extra features on it. I talked to the Reps at the store and wasn’t too happy with the price listed, $249 with $50 rebate.

So, like every other Fatwallet.com users, I called up T-Mobile’s Retention Center and asked for a better price. Since I am a customer for 4 years, they gave me a price of $149 with no rebate. I have a family plan, so I took two.

Fast forward 3 days later, I received my phone (October 25, 2006). Got home from work and was so excited (like a 7 years old boy on Christmas) about the phone. I opened the box and connected everything up and had the phone running in no time. Showed the phone to sister and she loves it (probably just getting on my nice side, since she is getting my Razr).

First glance and browsing around the phone:

The screen is amazing. Very bright and the fonts are easily read. Camera was decent for its purpose. Flashes weren’t that good, but what can you expect from a phone? Keypad was nice and only need no more then an hour to get use to. The only time it will be more then an hour, is that you have big fingers. The design is superb. Every buttons are located nicely on the sides of the phone. I have to thank RIM for putting a Mute button. The best and last feature is the trackball “Pearl”, hence where they got the name. This thing is awesome! It’s like one of that mouse with the trackball on the top. The trackball complement the phone and should be use on most Smartphones.

I skipped the software on the phone, since everyone knows what they are.

As a first-time user of a BlackBerry, I didn’t know you need other services from your provider in order to use all the features of a BlackBerry. I thought it would work right out of the box like every other phones. I was totally wrong. I went online and read all sorts of sites and signed up with many forums. I even went to Welcome to JBoss™ and watch the tutor video online (the video was on the CD that was included in the box). I kept trying to find the option of adding email and a browsing but got no where. I mentally thought to myself and said, “This is the most complicated phone I have ever set up.”

So, browsing online and I came to one of the best BlackBerry sites on the WEB, BlackBerryForums.com : Your Number One BlackBerry Community I search through their 8100 series section (Pearl is model 8100) and found some answers.


Getting Started:

1. Call up your mobile phone provider and have them activate the BlackBerry Internet Service package. It cost $19.99 from T-Mobile and you get unlimited data. The rep would tell you that, it will take 2-24 hours for the service to activate. Wait a few minutes after hanging up. Turn off the phone and turn it back on. The service should be there. You should get your provider’s name under the clock instead of “Data Connection Refused”. If DCF appears, then you probably have to wait longer.

2. Now, you should receive 2-3 messages saying that your service has been activated. When your service is activated, your WEB Browser icon will appears. You can also add your 10 emails on the phone now. Setting up the email was straight forward. I got my GMail to work instantly. I even tested it out, by sending an email to myself. The phone received it about the same time my GMail Notifier.

3. You can use BlackBerry Messenger, but if all you want is AIM like me, get Rambo. It is free and was straight forward in setting it up. Make sure you set up the TCP in the phone’s “Option”. For T-Mobile users, put wap.voicestream.com and leave the username and password blank. You can get the software at, Ramble™ Instant Messenger I downloaded it into my computer and transferred it to the phone via the Desktop Manager. You can also do it over the air by using the phone. The best tip in using this program is to “collapse” the “Online” section as soon as you sign on. This way, if you have a lot of friends like me, it would load faster and you don’t have to scroll like 50 times to get to one person. If you organized your friends in categories, use those instead. Much easier to find someone and less crowded on the screen. One thing I wish the creator put in the software, is a page up/down button.

4. For WEB Browsing, EDGE is fast enough. Pages loaded fast and nicely with pictures. Just wish RIM would include a browser that replicate an actual Internet Browser like on the computer. But you don’t have to worry, as these are sold by 3rd Parties. Go to your Browser>Option>Browser Configuration and checks everything. This will help you see the pages better.

5. For Maps, the one that came with the phone is decent enough, but you can get Google Maps. Google Maps offer Satellite Images, Traffic Condition (a Must for drivers) and finding local Businesses. You can get this free software at, Google Maps via your BlackBerry browser.

Now your phone is officially a BlackBerry. I hope this helps other first-time BlackBerry users like me. I will add more information and tips as I use this phone. Any other suggestions, please feel free to add on.

My T-Mobile plan:
Family $59.99 for 700 minutes.
$20 BIS for each phone
$100+ taxes per month.
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Glad you found the Pearl. Now you are part of the BB world, and will be joining the rest of us with sore thumbs.

Excellent review by the way.
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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good review. hope i can share the same joy for this device soon :p
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Very nice write up. Glad you enjoy the BB!
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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$150 no rebate but extended contract? You should have taken one or two more, unlock it and sell it on eBay. That would have paid for all four 8100s
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, but I have to open more lines and repay the early cancellation fees.
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh true. I was thinking of my family plan, we have five lines LOL.
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Family plans are awesome in saving money.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm seriously thinking of getting a Pearl.
How do you go about getting the Pearl for 150$?

BTW, GREAT SITE...........
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You call T-mobile and ask for Retention Center. These people are here to make you happy. Just make sure your contract is up. Tell them that you are thinking about going to another provider, etc. Make up something.

But if you are a new customer, head over to Amazon.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I've been with T-Mobile for about 1.5yrs. I think I have a 2yr contract.
Guess I need to BS to get it huh.

I currently have a 7100T.

Thanks for the quick respond.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I only had to be within a month or two of my contract end to get the deal so give it a whirl. the worst they can say is not yet!
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XyKo
Yeah, but I have to open more lines and repay the early cancellation fees.
But if you don't plan on switching carriers, this is quite a viable option. trust me I've done it LOL
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Owl: Oh Rly?
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:07 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBJT
I'm seriously thinking of getting a Pearl.
How do you go about getting the Pearl for 150$?

BTW, GREAT SITE...........
T-Mobile's hardware upgrade policies are (currently) - you get a full "new contract" discount after 11 months on a 1 year contract (new or extension) or after 22 months on a 2 year contract. I don't believe that these policies appear anywhere in your contract so they are probably subject to change without notice.

But, you can sometimes get a much better deal if you ask to speak to retentions. You may have to be with them for longer than just your first contract, but I've only been with them for 3 years and they offered me $149 with no rebates on the Pearl with a 2 year extension or $199 with no rebates with a 1 year extension. The typical deal from retention seems to be at least as good as the current "new contract" price minus the rebate without having to send in rebate forms - so they "do the rebate up front for you". If you've been with them longer then it might be cheaper than that.

Also, if you haven't exceeded your 22 months on a 2 year contract then they will give you a partial discount after 11 months. They didn't want to give any comparison data between the full discount and partial discount, but it appeared that the difference from the regular customer service personnel would likely be "whether or not you get the $50 rebate on regular (non-retention) upgrades". So, if I had been 11 months on a 2 year contract then I would have paid $249, but I would have gotten the rebate offer if I was 11 months on a 1 year contract. On the other hand, we know that retentions offers better discounts anyway and I wasn't able to get retentions to tell me how their offer would have been different.

Also, the typical difference in price for the extra year seems to be $50 which would suggest that it's mostly a wash (pay now or get an equivalently smaller discount later) if their pricing policies remain fairly standard year-to-year and you upgrade every year. If you don't think you'll upgrade for 22 months anyway then the 2 year extension pays off. I get the impression that there will be a hot successor to the Pearl by next year, though.
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Old 10-26-2006, 10:26 PM   #16 (permalink)
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nice review.....by the way signed up with t-mobile with 39.99 plan 600min. unliminutes on weekend and nights. Price for phone Free after rebates 50 dollars from t-mobile and 50 dollars from the vendor (hmmm will see). out of pocket was 108.99 they charged 9 dollar processing they wouldn't waive that.

ALso the 36 dollar activation fee will be billed to me on my first bill...oh yeah 1year contract......I hate 2yr contracts ( never had them).

peace out.

anyone try out the shildzone...something like that?
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