Although its kinda nice having the media functions and camera on my 8100, I prefer it over the other models because of its size. It looks and feels more like a traditional phone and less like the bricks of the other models. The Suretype keypad takes a couple of days adjusting to it, but after that, its got all the features you expect in your BB.
If you like the size, the Pearl is a good phone. If you don't mind the size, the 8700 is also a good phone. Just no camera.