So which one do I recommend ?
- Road Warriors - Curve or 8800. Depends on whether you can deal with the extra 1cm or so width. GPS or Camera ?
- Low-frequency users - consider the Pearl. Its nice..
I've now used all three handsets in anger, as my primary phone, eMail, web device. In various countries, and in various work settings.
Whats my opinions on the differences?
The Pearl is a gorgeous small-format phone, and has a small screen to match. Its keyboard maps two of the alphanumeric keys to each phone button - so it does use predictive text but since there's only two letters per key, is far better at predictive text than a normal mobile. Its very robust - especially with a "Skin" and happily hung around my neck at various trade shows.
It has a reasonable camera built in, and I quickly got addicted to taking pictures, and sending them via eMail to my Flickr account.
I recommend this as a device for someone who may require instant access, but isn't a completely addicted power user, likely to want to send humongous amounts of emails. In my opinion its the size of the screen that reduces the amount of eMails you can send as opposed to the button layout.
I then got an 8800. This is a physically wide device, and considerably heavier than the Pearl. In terms of robustness, I'm sure that I could have dropped it (I dropped the Pearl several times and it survived) and it would have been okay - just I really didnt want to.
It has a lovely huge screen, which after the Pearl is a real blessing. I used the full keyboard and the screen on this device to really use it as my primary eMail device.
This device doesn't have a camera, but has a built-in GPS. BlackBerry maps also made its scheduled appearance in the firmware revision of this device. Now. I didn't get that impressed with the GPS I must say. When it did work for me, it took a while to lock onto a signal. The mapping relies on a GPRS connection to pick up maps whilst its moving - which is pretty damn good most of the time. However, when I tried to use it to map an aeroplanes progress (which was quite naughty), the lack of GPRS connection meant that the map didn't update. Okay. Extreme case, but if you want to use it in emergency situations in low or no-coverage areas - this isn't the GPS for you. I actually started missing the camera.
The physical size of the device started getting in the way. I have small hands and found it difficult to stretch over to the "A" key on the far left of the keyboard, etc. I also started having to think about which pocket the device was in, in terms of weight and damage. With the Pearl, I just chucked it in a pocket..
So. Very good phone, gorgeous large screen. In the end, too physically big for me.
Now. This is a brilliant phone. When I first heard of it, I wondered if the folks at RIM were going mad. Clearly not.
Physically its roughly same length as the Pearl and the 8800, and is in-between the Pearl and 8800 in terms of Width. Think of it as a slightly wider Pearl, with a full keyboard, and a wide screen. The keyboard is really good - surprisingly - as its smaller than the 8800. If you have particularly far fingers - you might want to try one out in a shop before committing.
It also has a camera - a nicer one than the Pearl. Slightly faster, and more of these pixel things.
Also, it seems to be faster than both the 8800 and Pearl in terms of screen and keyboard response.
Given its much more palatable size, I'm currently very impressed with the Curve.
So which one do I recommend ?