We were really glad to see a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Flip. It may be a small feature, but it's lacking on so many other phones and means listening to music is that little bit more convenient. Having said that, the music and video player aren't the best on offer -- you get a simple interface and there are no dedicated media keys, but it does the basics well enough and supports various formats, which you'll find in the specs section of this review. There's no FM radio.
We were disappointed by the Flip's 2-megapixel camera. It takes acceptable shots for MMS messages and small prints, but it doesn't produce the level of quality we're becoming accustomed to from today's camera phones. Its options are limited too -- you can adjust picture size and quality, but there's no face-detection mode and only an LED photo light, which doesn't produce the same level of illumination a xenon flash would.
If you fancy playing some games, don't expect anything too fancy. There are a few simple BlackBerry classics, such as BrickBreaker, that will keep you entertained on the train. Other noteworthy features include the ability to download IM clients for Yahoo, Windows Live and Google Talk, so you can stay in touch with friends and colleagues over IM. There's also a Facebook app you can download to give you quick access to all your Facebook updates.
Audio during calls isn't the best we've ever heard, but it's acceptable and loud enough. You may find it distorts every now and then, but that could have just been our review model. Battery life is quoted at 14 days standby and 4 hours talk time and we found that the Flip lasted for over two days of use. Of course, it depends on how many features you use throughout the day, and for how long.
We started out thinking the BlackBerry Flip was just another chunky clamshell, and to some extent it is, but it's redeemed by its large screen and easy-to-press keypad. The 3.5mm headphone jack is always a bonus, and the interface is snappy. We don't prefer it to the BlackBerry Bold and think its lack of 3G or GPS is a real handicap. It works well for emails, however, and using services over Wi-Fi, such as browsing the Web.
If you want something with a little more oomph, we would recommend checking out the BlackBerry Bold, which comes with a large colour screen and full Qwerty keypad. It isn't a clamshell, but it is much easier to email with. If you have a penchant for touchscreens, but need to stick with a BlackBerry, you could always give the BlackBerry Storm a go -- you may not like its clickable screen, so try before you buy.
Edited by Nick Hide