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Sprint BlackBerry Style 9670 review

BlackBerry Style 9670 Sprint
By Kerri Neill on 10 Nov 2010 12:48 pm EST
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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.

Body Style

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.

BlackBerry Style 9670 Review

 

Startup

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.

Call Quality

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/Keyboard/Screen

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.

BlackBerry Style 9670 Review

Battery

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.

Memory

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).

Camera/Video

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.

BlackBerry Style 9670 Review

Video quality on the Style is adequate (yes, we all know it could be better) for every day videos.

Applications

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.


Final Thoughts

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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:

Reader comments

Sprint BlackBerry Style 9670 review

49 Comments

My five year old "owns" his own Bold 9700, complete with data plan and shared minutes. He has is own customized phone number (has his name in it) via Google Voice; has is own Gmail account and Facebook. Mostly, though, he plays games and I post the occasional FB update for him and new games and the privilege of playing them are incentives. He also knows how to call his relatives such as the grandparents and us, his 'rents.

And, now he has a phone number that was easily memorized to give to his classmates.

Nice review. The wife and I just got the Style about a week ago. I agree your comments. Pro's/Con's are right on.
My old eyes make it VERY difficult to read the outer screen when messages come in, but not a big deal. Love OS6 so far. Quite an upgrade from 4.5 on my old 8330! The Style is a keeper! Can't wait for a cradle also.

This reply seems to be a bit "lashing". I don't know what's Frshman Class, but I've had Berry's for 6 years and would have written an review in the same way.

Unless I am missing something, seems like you dissed her :-(

Aloha Joe used the term Freshman Class, as the reviewer, Kerri Neill is one of the new writers on CB, fresh from the CB Idol contest that took place over the summer. :-)

for the comment and I can see how some would take it as AJ dissing me. The majority of us Idol Contestants have become friends and stay in touch regularly via BBM/Twitter. It was meant as a good comment :-)

Sometimes taking a step back helps to move forward. So for RIM let's hope this works for them. I love the style and i think it has a place in today's world.

I'm on my 5th or 6th type of Blackberry and I initally said what is a flip berry going to do for me... But the color lured me in and seeing all of the reviews from ppl that like me, hated the idea, had be turned around and loved it. I went to the store and held it and played with it for a while and i said this is really cool. And liek you said, people see it and play a lilttle with it and they all say "this is neat". Again, I am loving the color. All ,y berry's were black and I had a burgundy/red Curve. But the Metalic Magenta is very Diva Style... All in all I am loving this phone. I ran OS6 on my Bold 9650, a leak, so I am familiar with it. Made things earier for me.

But I am happy, I am enjoying my phone. However my battery drains very quickly and I used my phone moderatley. A full charge becomes a half charge in just a few hours. Maybe its my battery.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my BB Style 9670! It is better than I imagined it would be!! I totally agree with this review! The pro's and con's are spot on!

I don't know why everybody says that the clamshell is an outdated style...I see MANY people using them everyday. They are great for in purses, pockets, briefs, etc. Keeps the screen nice and no accidental dialings. They feel good holding them while you are on a call.

I think the reason everyone says it's outdated is that the Style is the first clamshell SMARTPHONE in a long time &everyone just assumed that because it wasn't the same form factor as all of the other popular smartphones it would be destined to fail.

I'm still enjoying my second new style (first one developed some hardware and software issues).

This device also seems to be growing on me. It's not yet come to the UK and once it does I'd definitely check it out to see it person. Not sure the screen is big enough for me after using a Storm2 though.

Way to go Kerri! This is a great review of the Style. If I wasn't chained to AT&T right now I'd switch to Sprint to get one :) I saw it in the store and it just felt right in my hand. Couldn't see the camera placement but I agree DJ the screen looks a little small especially after working OS 6 on the Torch.

gives the impression of being larger than it really is. If you took the 8330 screen and turned it sideways, you'd have the same size screen as the 9670 but it seems bigger.

This device would have made an excellent candidate to be RIM's first Video Chat device. Just put the FF camera on the lip of the upper clamshell by the earpiece. Otherwise I love the fact that the Style has won over so many people. It's the Bizarro Storm 1.

So today I went through a phase of really liking the concept of this phone (After about a Month of Debating it)... So I went into Sprint and came to the conclusion that I could not get past all the wasted surface space and general Size of this Brick! I feel like RIM could have done Much Better!

I agree. I feel like they did a pretty good job with the Torch, and but not so with the Style. I saw one in real life for the first time, and it just looked huge. I know that by specification it's not that much bigger than a bold, but it was just the styling (no pun intended).

I was surprise to see it cheaper then the bold 9650 at Best Buy. It was 50 dollars cheaper then the bold even know it has Os6 pre-loaded and a better camera.

I think this phone looks really fun. I can't wait to get my hands on one to take it for a spin. Great review I loved reading it, the only question I have is why do you "have to slide open" your torch to answer it...push the green button like every other BB you have ever used.

Thanks for asking so I can clarify. I meant answer texts, emails, etc...I hated the on-screen keyboard of the Torch and found it easier to use the slide out keyboard.

I feel you there, I do not use my on screen keyboard very often. If I am answering a quick text message or sending a video or photo to type a name is about it, other than that I slide it open...anyway back to the Style that is what this page is about. I could see the Style running into the same sort of issues, but the thing that would limit me from ever using the Style as my "main device" (other than Sprint isn't available where I live) would be the small keyboard, the reason I never went from my 9000 to the 9700, and the small screen size. I do own a 8220 Pearl flip which I got from ebay for $40 that I use if I don't want to take my main phone with me. But you seemed to love the keyboard, maybe I just need to go out and try this one out.

actually holding a device in your hands before even considering purchasing. The keyboard is one of the things I like most about the Style. It's the almost the same size as the 8330 and the keys are actually bigger.

My best friend has been holding onto her 8330 in the hopes Sprint would get the Torch or it's on version. She tested the keyboard on the 9650 and hated it. We had both joked around about how ugly the Style looked when it first leaked out. After I got my Style and told her how surprised I was with it, she went in to her Sprint store (she's in Washington & I'm in Illinois or I'd have let her use mine). Both her and her husband are now Style owners. There really is just something about the device that feels right in your hand.

Nice review Kerri. If the Style comes to Verizon, I will probably upgrade from my Pearl Flip (which I love for its form factor & size, but hate for its sluggish operation). I am curious where you feel the Style falls on the BlackBerry spectrum. Is it a clamshell Bold, a flip-open Curve, or something in-between? Also, can it be left open halfway like in the promo pic at the opening of the article?

Kerri,

Welcome aboard, and thanks for the very thorough review! I'm really glad you found the flip form factor to be so useful – that’s what we were striving for. As many mobile phone users consider joining the ranks of smartphone users, we definitely see the Style as a way to provide a familiar design to ease the transition.

Cheers,

Douglas 'tron' Soltys
Blog Manager, RIM
http://blogs.blackberry.com
@tron / @BlackBerry / @BlackBerryBlog

If/when this comes to Verizon, it will be a consideration for my wife, along with waiting to see what happens with Apple and any new RIM offerings.....

A great review, I enjoyed reading it. Your reviews are always real life based instead of technical specs thrown in your face, and I love that. My wife also loved your review. Thanks for making Crackberry a little less geeky :)

I hate to be the grammar police, but the line under memory "(once there 6.0 ready that is)." should use "they're 6.0". Other than that, a very nice article!

I'm waiting for this in Canada - my husband and I live and work in different provinces and I'm looking at changing him up to a 'smart' phone. I have the BB Pearl currently and am looking at the Torch, as I have changed my position at work and now need a full service BB. My husband is a little tech resistant, and working in the field a clamshell is the perfect form factor. I saw this in the coming soon ... and new it would be the perfect way to introduce him to blackberry and then we would have the perfect long distance communication tool. Don't look at cell service in Canada...it's nasty! Your review covered everything that I needed to know prior to picking up one of these phones as soon as they are available here.

thanks muchly!!!!

I've just ordered one. Ready for a change in "style" for my smartphone - perfect timing to check it out since I'm switching carriers. Excellent review and feedback - VERY helpful - thank you all! Gotta love CB...

will this phone be available in the UK? i really want this phone but it seems like its not going to be released here anytime soon :(

I just came from the Sprint store and played w/the BB Style and it's not bad at all.Sturdy,well-built,keyboard is roomy and BBOS 6 !!! If you can deal w/a flip style phone this is the one. Personally ,I own the Torch 9800 which makes this my 3rd BB:1.BB Curve 8330 (Sprint)2.BB Tour 9630 (Verizon) but I'm defintely content w the Torch.

Style Yes!!Get the purple one!!

Seems the Style is getting a lot more love than the Torch did when it debuted! Not too surprised (it doesn't have to be compared to an iPhone right?). I finally had a chance to handle one last week. Nice.