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Jewish World Review
March 2, 2007
/ 12 Adar, 5767
Blackberry Pearl, V-Moda Vibe Headphones Are Each Small Wonders
Research in Motion's BlackBerry Pearl, a $400 list price
cellphone/PDA, is smaller than older BlackBerry models, smaller than Palm
Inc.'s PDA/phones. An intensive bit of work with the device convinces me I
wouldn't want to see the Pearl get more than five inches away from me.
Diminutive aptly describes the Pearl, which is about the size of a small
business card case, and has the feel of a TV remote, though smaller than
most of those. You get full sound from the device, however, and it holds a
lot, both on the SIM card provided by your wireless carrier, either
Cingular/ATT Wireless or T-Mobile, and on a "microSD" memory card,
which can run as high as 2 Gigabytes; a 1 GB card was installed in my test
unit, giving it storage 100 times that of my first 10 Mbyte hard drive
Voice quality, as mentioned, is excellent, and the phone is Bluetooth
capable, which lets you use wireless headphones and the like, as well as
standard wired ones. The phone is a four-band GSM/GPRS cellular phone,
which means roaming should be possible in North America, Europe, and the
Asia Pacific region; I wouldn't be surprised if it worked well in places
such as Turkey and Israel as well.
There are several e-mail and messaging features, including one to link the
Pearl to a "BlackBerry Enterprise Server" if your organization has that
software installed. But I was impressed - astonished, actually - to merely
enter my e-mail address and password and then have the device set up an
e-mail account; no other configuration necessary. It's also nice to be
able to read Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF files on the device,
though PDF files can be a bit tricky. Word documents are as clear as can
be, minus fancy formatting. It's good enough to review something quickly
in what would otherwise be non-productive time.
The 1.3 megapixel camera produces very sharp, clear images that can be
easily exported to a desktop computer or e-mailed. Finding the pictures
once you've snapped them can be a challenge, though: neither BlackBerry's
desktop software, available only for Windows computers, nor Corel's
PhotoAlbum 6 downloader, could find the photos on the miniSD card.
It was only by going through the Windows file browser that I was able,
ultimately, to find and download about 11 snaps that I wanted to keep.
Web browsing is also a bit hit-and-miss. Some sites come up nicely, such
as CNN or AccuWeather; others not so well. If you need a site which
doesn't display properly, you might be stuck using this device. In
fairness, I should note that no cellphone/PDA combo I've yet tried,
BlackBerry, Palm or Windows Mobile, has done a good job with all sites.
The BlackBerry Pearl is a great device which I'd like to hang on to: it's
sleek, useful and feature-packed. Refinement in its desktop software is
necessary, however, along with a tweak to the built-in Web browser.
Details at www.blackberrypearl.com.
At $101 list - and available online for less - the V-Moda Vibe headphones
seem an extravagance, until you slip them on. Once in your ears, the
headphones are super-comfortable, and produce a sound fidelity that is
amazing. Bass sounds are very rich and deep, and the overall experience
rivals more expensive headphone such as the Bose QC3 on-the-ear model. If
you have one of the new red Apple iPods, there's a Vibe model to match
that color, too. The V-Moda folks pride themselves on designing and
releasing stylish products for the fashion-conscious.
These V-Moda Vibe headphones sound better than they look, and they look
very, very good. Once you sample these wonders, you'll agree that top
sound isn't an extravagance, but a necessity. You can learn more at
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2007, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com