Clearly focused on the consumer market, the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is a petite and good-looking smartphone. The Vodaphone version comes with Telmap navigation software and a special Facebook function.

Smartphones have gone from being corporate toys to office essentials for many workers, with internet access and the ability to pick up and to compose emails being critical elements. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion deserves much of the credit for the whole idea and it's pleasing to see RIM continue to enjoy success in this arena.

With the launch of the slimline BlackBerry Pearl 18 months ago, a bid for the fashion-conscious user became part of RIM's gameplan, with increased multimedia functions and the availability of BlackBerry handsets in colours other than its standard slate grey or petrol blue.

So it was that we found ourselves smitten with the purple BlackBerry Pearl 8120 when it came in for review back in November 2007.

A red BlackBerry handset soon followed, and the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 comes in a fairly muted pink should you dislike the shiny black finish of this Vodafone model. (Girls: the pink is cute, but I wouldn't trade it for the purple 8120.)

With the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 we really wanted to know not whether there was such a thing as a prettier BlackBerry, but whether the superb Telmap navigation software worked just as well on the smaller screen of the Pearl as it does on the BlackBerry Curve handset.

This is one of the key selling points of the Vodafone version of this BlackBerry Pearl 8110. Combined with a GPS receiver, you can now enjoy full turn-by-turn navigation rather than having to enter your current location and then map-read off your screen. You get a year's subscription the Vodafone SatNav service, which for some users will be a real boon.

We used it to great effect on foot in unfamiliar parts of London, but we are also impressed with the way Google Maps on the non-subscription smartphones. For example, we were able to pinpoint our current location just as quickly using Google Maps and entering destination locations is equally swift since it's the self-same keypad you're contending with.

The other point is that Telmap provides real-time navigation for the Vodafone SatNav service for the UK only. You can't use it outside Europe so you'll need to revert to Google Maps or use another satnav device when using the quad-band handset abroad.

NEXT PAGE: the Facebook application, web browsing and our expert verdict > >

For more mobile phone news, reviews and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, in association with BlackBerry

Clearly focused on the consumer market, the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is a petite and good-looking smartphone. The Vodaphone version comes with Telmap navigation software and a special Facebook function.

The other addition of note to the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is the Facebook application. If you're the sort of person who likes to be able to update the world on your frame of mind, location and plans to attend or snub other friends' social events at every possible instance, this applet will be of use. Updates and notifications arrives as a tiny F for Facebook icon

We're surprised a more business-focused networking service such as LinkedIn wasn't featured, though with a microSD card slot – the presence of such a card is necessary if you want to use the Pearl's video-recording function – and a 2Mp camera with 5x zoom, the consumer market is clearly the BlackBerry Pearl 8110's target.

The BlackBerry Pearl 8110 still doesn't have a good web browser and it's a dog to use for anything except rudimentary web page navigation. This, really, is the BlackBerry's main failing – and one that this handset shares with its siblings.

For more mobile phone news, reviews and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, in association with BlackBerry

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For more mobile phone news, reviews and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, in association with BlackBerry

Clearly focused on the consumer market, the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is a petite and good-looking smartphone. The Vodaphone version comes with Telmap navigation software and a special Facebook function.

BlackBerry Pearl 8110

BlackBerry Pearl 8110

For more mobile phone news, reviews and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, in association with BlackBerry

BlackBerry Pearl 8110: Specs

  • Quad-band GPRS/Edhe smartphone
  • up to 10 emails supported (main account locked to handset)
  • 12-month Vodafone SatNav UK subscription
  • Google Maps
  • Yahoo
  • Facebool
  • web browser
  • 2Mp camera with 5x zoom
  • VGA video recorder (requires micoSD card)
  • music and video player
  • photo viewer
  • voice recoder
  • 88g
  • 107x50x14mm
  • Quad-band GPRS/Edhe smartphone
  • up to 10 emails supported (main account locked to handset)
  • 12-month Vodafone SatNav UK subscription
  • Google Maps
  • Yahoo
  • Facebool
  • web browser
  • 2Mp camera with 5x zoom
  • VGA video recorder (requires micoSD card)
  • music and video player
  • photo viewer
  • voice recoder
  • 88g
  • 107x50x14mm

OUR VERDICT

We found the Vodafone interface slightly less straightforward than the standard BlackBerry one, mainly because we wanted to lock the keypad and prevent accidental calls. Email support is superior and the mapping capabilities are also strong. The BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is a very good BlackBerry model – but the competition is snapping at its heels.

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