I've had the Blackberry for a few days now, and here are some thoughts on it.
I really like that Blackberry includes a headset with the Pearl. Also, the battery charger and I/O device is simply a powered USB mini-B cable. No special adapters, cradles, any of that stuff - this phone can charge from a computer or through the included powered cable.
The Pearl is slimmer than the other Blackberries, and is comfy to hold in either hand. Instead of a scroll wheel mounted on the side, the Pearl has a small rollerball in the middle. This makes it as easy to use right handed or left handed, another plus. Screen and sound quality are fine.
Unlike the other Blackberries, the Pearl doesn't have a separate key for each letter. Instead, the QWERTY style keyboard is distributed across the number pad and an extra column on either side. The text entry is predictive (RIM calls this SureType) or tap (hit a key to cycle through the letters), where the default for text entry is predictive but it toggles to tap for passwords. If you prefer tap all the time, you can set that.
I found the predictive entry works well to figure out what you are trying to type. As you enter text, various alternatives show up which you can select with the rollerball (i.e. you help steer towards the correct choice).
I configured mine to check my yahoo and gmail accounts, but not hotmail. That's because hotmail turned into my catch-all address over the years, and now I get so much junk there, even through the spam filter, it is too noisy to check regulary.
When mail arrives, it is copied to the Pearl. After I'm done, I can save the mail, delete it on the handheld, or delete on both the handheld and online. So this is handy in that I can treat the mail that shows up on the phone separately.
How do I like getting email on the phone? So far I really like it. Obviously it is difficult to compose lengthy responses on the device, and emails with elaborate formats don't display properly, but it is very convenient to have access without a computer.
I can also surf the web, but so far I've stuck with reading news off Google using their mobile app. I need to search for a good game because sometimes I want to kill some time!