When leaked photos of the P'9981 first surfaced in September, most CrackBerry fans, myself included, didn't know what to think. With a look that is divergent from any other BlackBerry Smartphone to date, we couldn't help but question if it was an actual Research In Motion design, a prototype, or somebody's elaborate customization.
We soon figured out it was in fact a BlackBerry device, going by the codename "Knight," and the unique design was the result of a collaboration between RIM and Porsche Design. Fast forwarding to October 27th, RIM officially unveiled Knight in Dubai as the Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry.
While visiting BlackBerry headquarters yesterday I finally went hands-on with P'9981, and better yet, was able to unbox this bad boy from it's awesome retail packaging. With a price that's rumored to be in the ballpark of $2k, it makes sense that the unboxing experience of the P'9981 was more similar to that of a luxury watch than that of a phone. Check out the video above to see the unboxing fun. Inside the box were some pleasant surprises including a custom P'9981 charging stand, a JM1 battery in its own Porsche Design wrapper and even a cleaning cloth stamped with the Porsche Design P'9981 motif.
Reactions to the P'9981 are polarized - people seem to either love the German-influenced design or think it's hideous. Personally, I LOVE IT. In a sea of mobile devices that mainly all look the same, I appreciate that the P'9981 really stands out. The fact that there won't be a whole lot of these out there makes it even better. Pull out the P'9981 in public and people are going to be stopping you to ask what the hell is that?!
On the specs and performance side, it's the same as the BlackBerry Bold 9900. The guts are the same. The P'9981 has a different chassis - milled out of a single piece of stainless steel. The P'9981 is a big longer and heavier than the 9900. It feels bigger than the 9900, which I'm ok with considering you could buy a few 9900s for the price of one P'9981. I didn't spend too much time typing on the keyboard, but in the few sentences I did type I could tell the keyboard isn't quite as good for typing as the 9900, but it's still pretty darn good. I was typing fast and accurate on it. I need to spend more time using the P'9981, but will follow up as soon as I can with an in-depth review.
The bottom line though is the review of the P'9981 won't matter. if you love BlackBerry, have the dollars, and want to stand out with a phone that looks like no other BlackBerry (or any smartphone) on the market, the P'9981 is for you.