Hands on with RIM's BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220

RIM today used CTIA to launch their first BlackBerry flip phone, the Pearl Flip 8220 (formerly known as the KickStart), bringing it to the floor for the world to see.

Just like the original Pearl, the Pearl Flip uses the two-letters-per-key SureType QWERTY setup. Combined with predictive typing, I was able to two-thumb type at a speed just a tad bit slower than I would on a standard QWERTY handset. According to the BlackBerry rep, keeping your eyes off the screen is the best way to speed up typing. As SureType is constantly guessing at what you’re trying to type, it’s going to look completely wrong until you’ve pushed all of the proper keys. The speaker was surprisingly loud during media playback – loud enough that I was able to hear the song (though not clearly, of course) over the murmur of a thousand convention goers. Functionally, I wasn’t able to find anything wrong with the phone in the 10 minute I spent with it.

Visually, however, I’m not impressed. Sure – it’s got a nice screen, and the handset is actually fairly good lookin’ when it’s closed. Unfortunately, the drop-down hinge makes it look pretty dang ugly as soon as you pop it open. Where as the Moto RAZR’s infamous microphone chunk is like a gigantic messed up chin on an otherwise lovely lady, the Flip 8220’s hinge is like a massive, lop-sided arse that you just can’t pull your eyes off of.

Check after the jump for a full gallery.