First look: Blackberry Pearl

It’s been mocked by the fashion phone gang as an office drone, but now the BlackBerry’s snapped and gone for an image revamp. Say hello to

It’s been mocked by the fashion phone gang as an office drone, but now the BlackBerry’s snapped and gone for an image revamp. Say hello to the slimline, multimedia ‘Pearl’.As you can see, the 8100 hasn’t ditched its business suit for a sombrero and hawaiian shirt. It still looks very much like a BlackBerry, but what the photos don’t show is that the new boy is just 14.5mm thick and has a 90g body that feels feather-like in the hand.Its main new brag is the camera – a BlackBerry first – which is a basic 1.3MP affair with flash but no autofocus. It’s no Sony Cybershot killer, but you do get the option of sending your snaps as attachments with your e-mails.Then there’s the new media player, which lets you play MP4 videos on the lovely 240x260 screen and listen to MP3s or AAC music files, as long as they’re not copy protected.The new svelte design has claimed one big casualty – the thumbwheel has been replaced by a glowing and, yes, pearl-like trackball on the front. 'Crackberry' aficionados may require intensive training to stop reaching for their missing wheel.You now get a MicroSD slot for extra storage and Bluetooth 2.0 for hands-free headsets, although support for A2DP stereo music is missing.In all, the 8100 marks a welcome if not radical step from email drudgery towards social acceptability. 

Essentials Blackberry PearlPrice: £TBA On sale: OctoberContact: BlackberryRelated stories:Video review: Samsung X820