Blackberry Pearl Cell Phone Review for the Sandwich Generation

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After a wonderful experience with the Pantech Duo, my poor phone started giving me some grief. This could have had something to do with my dropping it a couple of times, due to the occasional arthritis twinges that crop up in my hand. 🙂 As a senior home care giver for a senior mom and for grandkids, I definitely need to have a phone that works well at all times, so it was time for a new phone!

As I wrote earlier, I replaced it with the Pantech Matrix Pro which I also really enjoyed, for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, its antenna is apparently a bit on the weak side and it did not work properly in the first floor of my three-story building. I could literally call myself and watch it never ring! That left me with an unreliable phone – never a good option for a multi-generational caregiver. Back to the drawing board I went!

The only other small phone option that worked well with my hand and wrist issues was the Blackberry Pearl. The AT&T service technician explained its antenna was stronger so hopefully it would work well for me and overall, it does. I do sometimes have to go to the patio or take a walk, to hear well, which has actually led to me getting lots more exercise. A very good thing for caregivers in general and for caregiver stress, as well! I have to confess, I miss my Pantech Duo. I liked the slide-out keyboard better than any other cell phone I’ve ever had. But the Blackberry Pearl is not bad.


  • It’s a SmartPhone – giving me a computer as I travel, along with my email, contacts, etc.
  • It’s one of the most customizable cell phones I’ve ever had.
  • The size is great for those with arthritis and/or carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • It has an excellent antenna.
  • It’s easy to Twitter on it. I ended up using TwitterBerry and have been quite pleased with it.


  • Its internet access is nowhere as neat or easy as the Pantech was or the iPhone seems to be. On the other hand, the iPhone is wider and heavier which I would prefer to avoid.
  • Because of all the customization options, it’s easy to get lost trying to figure out how it works and how to make the exact changes you want.
  • The keyboard is small and partially colored pink, making it one of the hardest keyboards I’ve ever tried to read. The joys of older eyes.
  • It has a small screen which also is harder for me to read.
  • It calls 911 WAY TOO EASY! I keep the cell phone in my pocket and try to remember to lock it. Even locked, it has called 911 two times from my pocket! After doing some research, I discovered this was a common problem for many. I found two fairly good solutions to this, although they do require extra steps making it a pain in the neck. You can keep the Blackberry Pearl in the little holder when not using it. Alternatively, you can lock the keyboard AND press STAND-BY (the key at the top left of the Blackberry). It will appear to be off, however it can still receive calls. The remembering-to-do-it is the hard part. 🙂

Overall, now that I’m getting more used to it, I do like it. But I have to admit, it would not be my first choice. I still prefer my old Pantech slider and will give them a try again in a few years, if my living quarters change. If that fails, I may break down and get the iPhone and just always use a wired earplug (I lose the wireless earphone way to easy!).  If that doesn’t work either, then the Blackberry Pearl is not a bad option for this Sandwich Generation caregiver.