Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry Video Unboxing!

By Kevin Michaluk on 17 Nov 2011 04:35 pm EST

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.

Reader comments

Porsche Design P'9981 Smartphone from BlackBerry Video Unboxing!


I don't like the Keyboard design, but the back looks really awesome. That leather back should really make it amazing to hold, reminds me of the Playbook.

lol yeah noticed that right away.

Looks like Blackberry didn't pay quite as close attention to detail as Kevin mentioned in the video.


"Piece de resistance" means the highlight, the best part of something. That would be the phone itself in this case, not the cleaning cloth. LOL

Its starting to grow on me...no, no it isn't, I don't like the look of it. The 9900 still is the way a Blackberry should look.
- " I believe a mans shoes should have laces, Mr. President"
-"Quite right, quite right"

what a waste of money ill just write porsche on the back it of my 9900 and charge $2000 thats what blackberrys doing :p

What do the headphones look like? Are they made from endangered Rhinoceros tusk for the distinguished gentleman?

And you promised a peak under the battery door! *sniff*

Yeah I wonder if RIM had the nerve to include those painful earphones the others Berrys always come with. I was waiting to see them.

Um yeah...pass. Priced around 2 grand? wow. For a device that looks like that, I don't think I'd pay $200 for it. I'll keep my Bold 9930. :)

I wonder if they have sorted the OS on this model before releasing. Would be a bit miffed if my $2000 phone only had battery life of 8 hrs. :)

I understand trying to be different,express innovation, but honestly they are going the wrong way with this. It honestly looks more like a weapon than a phone. I know these are just prototypes and all and they will hit the market with this insane asking price. I am sure some will dive in and get this, but not I. Really was hoping RIM would pull themselves out of this mess they are in, but I don't think they can. Shame....

Looks a little like a TI Scientific calculator I had in college....lol Maybe if the rumours were not swirling about the first BBX devices coming I would maybe, sort of, kind of be interested in this. Two thousand dollars? No Thanks. Let's take away the fact that 2,000 bucks is nothing to sneeze at (for a phone), there is no way I can justify paying that amount of money for something that looks like that.

It's the Blackberry Bold 9900/9930 but ugly!! and what a waste of our world's resources. they could have fit all that stuff in the tiny box that my 9850 came in ;)

It's not that difficult, Porsche designed and limited availability. Celebrities will drop 2K on this easy, it's a status symbol. BB's are still big with the rich and famous crowd for security.

I'm loving the one piece stainless steel frame and leather wrapped backing. It makes all other phones look and feel painfully cheap. Props to Porsche for knowing that premium products need to be made from premium materials. So will these babies only be sold at Porsche Design Stores? I need one in the worst way.

Five things come to mind.

1) The coolest thing about buying a $2000 is that you will be asked what the hell it is. When you respond it is a BB, people can then laugh at you. Just don't tell them you paid 2 Gs for it or you might be liable for them dying of laughter (as they keel over in hysteria).

2) They should write a book about every person who buys these, as they are the dumbest people on planet Earth and each one deserves a book so we can read about all the other dumb stuff they do. (Kevin is excluded from this group because he has this blog. He is allowed to own this).

3) An unlocked iPhone 4S is $850, and blows that thing away...just saying.

4) Now I know why I don't own a Porsche.

5) Now excuse me, I have to do a battery pull on my $2000 weird looking archaic BB.

1) "The coolest thing about buying a $2000 is that you will be asked what the hell it is. When you respond it is a BB, people can then laugh at you. Just don't tell them you paid 2 Gs for it or you might be liable for them dying of laughter (as they keel over in hysteria)."

People who buy this device do not have friends who ask how much it cost.

2) "They should write a book about every person who buys these, as they are the dumbest people on planet Earth and each one deserves a book so we can read about all the other dumb stuff they do. (Kevin is excluded from this group because he has this blog. He is allowed to own this)."

They may be dumb enough to not have to worry about dropping $2K on this. Mad money, so to speak. You are making a lot of assumptions.

3) "An unlocked iPhone 4S is $850, and blows that thing away...just saying."

You miss the point entirely. This device's reason for being is not it's function - it is about exclusivity.

4) "Now I know why I don't own a Porsche."

Here's where I make an assumption: You have never driven a Porsche and probably never will, even if you were dumb enough (see "2" above) to be able to afford one. As far as functionality for their intended purpose is concerned, Porsche vehicles are hard to fault.

I don't care much about this phone myself but if you have to knock it, do it properly, lol. More importantly, please don't equate Porsche vehicles with this "Porsche Design".

If properly maintained, a 911 does not require a battery pull.

+1000 @Blu-Bear, you understand the idea. To bad most people don't get it. One thing in addition, an unlocked iPhone 4S at $850 does not blow a 9900/30/81 away, just sayin'.

Some of you guys seem to think 2k is some kind of fortune or something.. Let me remind you that the kind of people this device is aimed at waste waaay more than 2k DAILY on crazy, apparently useless stuff. Why? Because they can. As simple as that.

The people this phone is aimed for will look at it as just another fashion article to match their 1.5k Ermenegildo Zegna suits or their 1k+ Chanel bags.

iPhone 4s? really? be the same as all the iSheep? I don't think so.

Also, do you reaaally think these people will care whether if this phone can run angry birds at 242342342 fps or not? I don't.

I bet instead of comparing technical specs like some of you just did their buying process goes like this: "Does it work smoothly? Yes. Is it good looking? Yup. Is it expensive as f*ck therefore pretty exclusive? Pretty much. Ok i'll buy one, hell make it two."

Judging by your comment I know why you don't own a Porsche too. You can't afford one.

I don't have a Porsche because it won't look good parked in front of the homeless shelter where I sleep. The boot doesn't hold many cans either. It does kind of blend in at the soup kitchen, though and they have a parking spot reserved for me, so I am considering it.

Do you think I can trade two blankets, a half eaten tuna sandwich, a grocery cart, bottle of my own urine, a page out of the phonebook, and three used toothpicks for one?

If not, You are right, I cannot afford one...wait...wait...I also have one slightly soiled pair of underwear. Okay really soiled. Would that get me one? Would you throw in two of your fancy communication doo hickeys?


it's a luxury smart phone... most of us wouldn't drop 2k on it because we'd rather do something else with our money. But if you have the money and like the exclusivity, then you'll get one.

That's not enirely true. I can afford to get one of those if I choose. Of course, the reason I have that kind of money available is because I don't buy something that I consider FUGLY and the definition of conspicuous consumption.

You sure? I remember him buying 4 BlackBerry 9900's from Rogers when they came out. I'm pretty sure that is the 2000 dollar range.

A friend of mine is planning on picking this up as a work phone. But then again, he also has a $3k watch and a $5k suit and a 360 Modena as a work car. His line of work, image trumps everything.

There is a reason for these and gold plated phones, and it isn't for you.

Thank you. Most of the people talking crap about this phone have no idea that the target market for it are the people that pay 100K for a freakin' watch... and 25k for the pen they endorse their money transfers with.

When I first saw the P'9981 I was not excited nor did I hate it at 2K can't afford it. But after watching the unboxing and really looking at the phone, I actually like it. If I was mega-rich I'd plunk 2K down for it easy. It is very different for a premium phone, most are bling bright, this is machine tech with a utilitarian theme.

I wish RIM would put all their efforts into bringing themselves back into being the innovators that they used to be, instead of using their energy on a luxury phone like this.

I agree that this thing is as ugly as they come, but I like the improved charging stand. I hope that RIM redesigns the 9930 charging pod to add the back support.

Don't worry they will have difficulty selling this like the Playbook. It will eventually be discounted to $199, and still won't be able to be sold.

This is another reason RIM will fail.

As someone else pointed out, the fact they put effort into this, while OS 2.0 is delayed, they are struggling bringing BBX to market, and daily are losing market share is laughable.

Oh well, off to iPhone I go.

This reminds of the Moto RAZR V3. Moto launched the phone with promises of exclusivity and I bought one on launch day for $1000. Next thing I knew, the damn thing was available for less than $200 in a span of 6 months. Never trusted the exclusivity tag from mass market manufacturers again.
If I want the exclusivity, I would buy the Tag phone (too many posers have the Vertu). But Tag phone has no e-mail, browsing blah blah....useless.

LOL, I like seeing the evolution of this device from when we first thought it was a Chinese knockoff to it now being an $2k luxury phone.

Ok here ismy question...why the hell is thereno holster in the box??? $2,000 price tag and they want even more $$$$ for a holster, come on RIM get your s**t together and make something people will actually want to buy so your stock stops going into the crapper. Make us a device that isn't always a year behind Android and Apple and kick their ass already!!! We all know you can do it!

hold your breath for a few months and that phone will be available on ebay for a mere fraction of the cost,pretty much like the famous porsche design clam shell cellphone that came out a few yrs ago. if someone has one out there I'd pay $500 for it and will have no problem knowing that its nothing more than a 9900 with a porsche design tag in it. oh and hopefully it will not self destruct like many of those 900 out there.

Don't care one way or the other about this phone, but I was just thinking how foolish someone is going to feel when they buy this $2000 phone and it keeps bricking itself like Kevin's 9900 - and I don't see any reason why it wouldn't. RIM better get a solid grip on that issue before they let this thing into anyone's hands.