Verizon launched their version of the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8230 this morning, and being the BlackBerry addict that I am, I had to get my hands on one. I was wondering the same thing that I'm sure some of you are curious about: how different is the device over the 8220? Did they just churn out a CDMA version of it with little to no changes, or are there significant improvements in the device?
The answer to that question is yes and no. There are few changes, although the changes that were implemented contribute (in my opinion) to an overall better experience with the device. I'll cover them below:
- Improved software build: This is by far the most notable improvement on the 8230 over its GSM counterpart. The Verizon 8230 ships with OS 22.214.171.124, whereas the 8220 offers 126.96.36.199 out of the box. The difference is like night and day. Things that took 3 seconds to load on the 8220 now take 0.5-1 second on the 8230. It's faster, and simply makes for a more pleasurable experience.
Granted, you can upgrade the 8220's software to beta builds using various methods, and I'm not discounting that. But what most of us fail to take into consideration is that the average user doesn't think about upgrading their firmware on a regular basis. Thus, I'm referring specifically to carrier-supported solutions.
- Keyboard: Though appearing identical to the 8220's keyboard, the 8230's keys are glossy as opposed to the regular keys on the 8220. Some will like them, some will hate them. Personally, I found it easier to type on the 8230's keyboard. Of note, the glossy keys seem to apply to the Verizon version only, as I have tested Alltel's 8230 and can confirm that its keys are similar to those of the 8220.
- Cosmetic appearance: This is kind of a given, but it's still worth mentioning. Much like other Verizon BlackBerry devices, the trademark silver is found on the 8230. It still looks professional, but provides something fresh and different over the other versions.
- General notes: If you own (or have owned) an 8220, you're probably aware of the lack of press surrounding the device, particularly when compared to other BlackBerry phones. Several users on forums like Crackberry have discussed the issue, and rightfully so, as it's challenging to find themes and other content for the device. With the launch of the 8230, I see the device becoming more mainstream, as it is now available on a well-known nationwide carrier with 80 or more million subscribers. With that being said, it's my hope that this will become less and less of a problem as time goes on.