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BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220

 BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 Discontinued
10th September 2008

RIM's first clamshell phone, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 is a quad-band GSM phone with GPRS and EDGE data plus WiFi connectivity, a QVGA internal display, 2 megapixel camera, multimedia player plus of course the messaging and personal information management tools that BlackBerry devices are famous for.

The Pearl Flip 8220 doesn't support GPS (perhaps there will be a 8230 in the future that may do), although it does have a mapping application built-in and can talk to a GPS accessory via Bluetooth.

It doesn't come with 3G support either. The lack of 3G in the Pearl range is a bit annoying - although strictly speaking the BlackBerry's push email system is efficient enough not to need it, it is nonetheless a shame that an otherwise very nice device like this is limited to GPRS or EDGE data if away from a WiFi connection. The two megapixel camera is also a bit basic, and if it is anything like previous versions of the Pearl you can expect the video capture resolution to be a bit miserable.

The unique selling proposition with the Pearl Flip is the clamshell design, which measures 3.9 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches (about 99 x 48 x 18mm) and weighs 3.6 ounces (about 102 grams). To put this in context, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 is about 7mm taller than the Nokia 6131 when closed and about the same width and thickness, while coming in 10 grams lighter. The 8220 is quite a tall device when closed - it's only 8mm shorter than the standard Pearl 8120 - but clamshell fans will know that this form factor tends to mean a larger screen and keyboard, and it also protects those delicate components against damage.

 BlackBerry 8220 Pearl Flip The 8220's WiFi access can be used for data, or alternatively for UMA access which will allow for VOIP (internet telephone calls), and also gives the opportunity to pick up email messages if out of the range of a GSM network.

The Pearl's multimedia support is pretty good, and the Pearl Flip continues in this tradition with a comprehensive multimedia player, now upgraded to include iTunes support. There's a standard 3.5mm socket so a standard stereo headset can be used with it.

We mentioned the screen earlier, and it is worth pointing out that the Pearl Flip has a higher resolution screen at 240 x 320 pixels than the 240 x 260 pixels  BlackBerry 8220 Pearl Flip found in the "candy bar" Pearl. There's also an external 128 x 160 pixel panel which in the press photos has a clock, connection status and new message count. Modern BlackBerry devices are well known for their very clear, bright LCD panels and we expect the 8220 to be just as good.

RIM say that the 900 mAh battery can provide 4 hours of talktime and 14 days of standby time. That's about the same as the Curve and the other Pearl handsets, but not as good as the 8800. We would have preferred a larger battery, but then that would have made the 8220 even bigger and heavier than it already is.

When it comes to raw technical specifications, the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 doesn't look very impressive, but BlackBerry devices usually make up for it with their messaging and PIM functions. If you work in an enterprise that uses BlackBerry push email, then you may well consider this to be a welcome addition.

RIM say that the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 should be available during the autumn, and one of the first carriers to have it will be T-Mobile USA. No pricing information was given by RIM, but we would guess that the SIM-free price may be around €400 / £300 / $600 at launch.

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BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220 at a glance


Q3 / Q4 2008


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900




240 x 320 pixels (main)
128 x 160 pixels (sub)


2 megapixels


Large clamshell
99 x 48 x 18mm / 102 grams approx



Memory card:







Not specified



Battery life:

4 hours talk / 14 days standby


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