A Hands-On Review of the Sprint BlackBerry Style 9670
At first the idea of a flip style BlackBerry actually appealed to me because I work with children and my phone is usually in my pocket the majority of my day. The first few pictures released of the rumored device were UGLY and I couldn't possibly see me owning one. Then a few more pictures leaked out showing a sleeker looking Style and I began to reconsider. When CrackBerry announced that Sprint was allowing reservations of the device at the same time I was eligible for an upgrade, I thought I'd try it out. Worst case scenario, I use the Sprint 30 day guarantee and return the device if I absolutely hate it. I can now say the Style has won me over, and will be joining the rest of the BlackBerry devices in my collection. Read on to see the rest of my review.
When the FedEx box arrived with my new Royal Purple BlackBerry Style, I opened it with some hesitation. There was a slight expectation of disappointment since I had pretty much made up my mind that I wouldn't like this device already. First thing I noticed upon opening the box, the color of the 9670 is nothing like the official video and pictures released. I had expected a matte purple color and ended up with a metallic magenta. The color in Kevin's BlackBerry Style first impressions video is pretty true to the actual color:
Inside the box with the device were the standard manual and quick start guide as well as the new wall charger (plug and detachable USB cable), earbuds, 8GB microSD card (already installed) & battery. There are charging contacts on the bottom of the device so I'm hopeful that a charging cradle is on the way. The placement of the USB charging connection seems to be in the perfect spot to allow the user to still use the device when it is charging.
The size of the 9670 is slightly smaller than the 8330, 9650 & 9800 that I have. I was pleasantly surprised at how light it felt in my hand. The phone rests easily on your shoulder while talking on it which I couldn't do with the candy bar style BlackBerry devices. It was nice being able to just slide the Style into my pocket or purse without having to lock the keypad. I worried at first that the constant flipping open to answer a message or call would drive me crazy but then I reasoned out that with my Torch I'd have to slide out the keyboard so it really wasn't that big of a deal. When I'm sitting at my desk or a table, I just leave the device flipped open and it sits perfectly without tipping over & I can easily press a button for quick access. When the Style is closed I can see what messages are coming in on the external display. With BerryBuzz installed, I know if it's something I can wait to look at or if it's important enough to chance incurring my husband's wrath. One thing that did disappoint me was the fact that there is only one convenience key. I'm used to having one set for my camera and one for quick access to my contacts.
The startup time after rebooting is minimal (about 2-3 mins) and I have yet to get the hourglass icon for more than a second or two.
The sound quality during a call on the Style is great and I have had no complaints from anyone about not being able to hear me. The speaker clarity is fantastic during calls and while playing music. It is actually a crisp clear sound quality that seemed to have disappeared from some of the previous BlackBerry devices.
Trackpad - I didn't notice any "twisting" of the trackpad on the Style like some reported having on their 9800s. It's very responsive and allows the user to navigate through OS 6 with ease.
Keyboard - I love that the Style has the full QWERTY keyboard. The nice wide keys make typing easy but I personally would have liked them to curve a bit more like the 9650 keys. Overall typing experience is great on the Style. The shape rests comfortably in your hand while typing.
Screen - With the internal screen size only being 2.7" (360x400 pixels), I was pleasantly surprised with how big it seemed. Even while scrolling through websites, I didn't have an issue reading what was on the screen. I will say that the zooming in option takes a bit of practice. One thing that disappointed me with the 9800 was the fact that I couldn't get one of my most used apps, CardStar, to work. Even when using the handheld scanners I couldn't get my Torch to allow the barcodes to scan. On the Style, I had no problems using the app.
The Style comes with an 1150 mAhr rechargeable battery which made me think I'd have the battery dead by noon. My BlackBerry usage is constant (some would say it is borderline obsessive) throughout the day. On day one I started up the Style at 6 AM and didn't get the red battery icon until 8:30 PM. I felt that was pretty impressive on the first run since even my 9800 didn't last past 5 the first day. On day two I only made it to 6:30 PM and on day three it lasted until 7 PM.
The Style has 512MB internal flash memory plus the included 8GB microSD card. It runs OS 6 smoothly with plenty of extra space for all your favorite applications & themes (once there 6.0 ready that is).
The Style has a 5.0 MP camera with flash and takes some pretty nice pictures. There does seem to be a bit of a delay when pressing the trackpad and the camera actually snapping the picture. The biggest issue I have with the device is why the camera is where it is. I would have preferred it be in the same place as the Pearl Flip which would have made taking pictures a lot less awkward. I'm still trying to figure out why someone thought the back of the bottom half was the best place for a camera.
Video quality on the Style is adequate (yes, we all know it could be better) for every day videos.
Unfortunately a lot of BlackBerry applications aren't ready for those devices running OS 6 but here are some of my favorites that are OS 6 ready.
- Mobile Checkbook - Available for purchase via ShopCrackBerry.com for $4.99.
- Datepedia - Available for purchase via ShopCrackBerry.com for $4.99
- OurGroceries - Available FREE.
- CardStar - Available FREE.
- BerryWeather - Available for purchase via ShopCrackBerry.com for $9.99.
- Evernote - Available FREE.
- Wallpaper Changer Pro w/CB Wallpapers - Available for purchase via ShopCrackBerry.com for $2.99.
- QuickPull 5 - Available via ShopCrackBerry.com for FREE.
- BerryBuzz - Available for purchase via ShopCrackBerry.com for $5.99.
I love BlackBerry devices in general, but the new 9670 Style has won a special place in my heart. It does everything the other devices do and even eliminates one step for me, locking the keypad. I know there are some who say this device is outdated and the form factor is obsolete, but in all honesty, I disagree. It works for me. I've gotten compliments while using the Style out and about with many loving the form factor. With OS 6 and all the other recent improvements on the BlackBerry devices, I think this little jewel will surprise you.
- Fits comfortably in the hands both when open or closed
- No pocket dialing!
- 1st CDMA device pre-installed with OS 6
- External display allows for the option to scroll through message notfiers
- Tons of memory space
- Camera placement
- Video recording could be a bit better
- Both external & internal screen size could have been bigger with better resolution
- Only one convenience key
- Not a whole lot of applications or themes available for it just yet
Related BlackBerry Style links: