Blackberry 9720 Review – Refreshed Mobile Phone for 2013

Blackberry 9720 Review: The 9720 was an interesting model by Blackberry. Released in 2013, the QWERTY style handset had long been replaced by the Apple iPhone and Android devices in terms of user base. Quality touch screens and applications such as WhatsApp had made many of the strengths of previous handsets redundant. RIM  had regrouped somewhat, and the release of the Blackberry Z10 in the same year was a full-touch screen handset.

Demonstrably there was still a demand for keyboard handsets, although these had been pushed downmarket. And that is where the Blackberry 9720 came in. Curiously, this ditched the family name. The model number suggested it was a Bold, but the design more of a Curve. Either way this phone sought to retain all the good things about its classic handsets and add more modern specifications. All while keeping this as a mid-range phone.

The most obvious feature was the multi-touch screen. This was seen in a few higher-end sets in previous years but at higher price points. The optical trackpad was retained, giving the users best of both worlds. The phone also featured a much upgraded camera and now came with GPS. It was a long way above older mid-range Blackberry phones, and definitely comparable to the mid-range Androids at the time.

Full specifications here.

By this time, new QWERTY handsets were on the wane, especially budget ones. The Blackberry Q10 and Q20 were high-end phones at this time, so this was probably the last iteration in this price range.


Blackberry 9720 Review Pros:

The screen was an immediate improvement. A change to IPS over TFT made colours much more vivid. The resolution was beefed up over previous models (although not on the top phones). The additional touchscreen was a bonus.

The keyboard was redesigned from both Bold/Curve models and was a more straight layout with separate keys. This was more comfortable to type on.

Connectivity is well taken care of. There is Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. This is a well-suited phone for media, as the phone accepts a microSD card.

The Blackberry World App store at this time was mature and featured a whole host of apps. It was almost equivalent to Apple/Android.

Blackberry 9720 Review Cons:

At 2.8 inches the screen was a little on the small side for a touchscreen. A larger screen would have helped.

The phone did not feature a front-facing camera, which many other budget phones did have.

RAM did not increase from the last days of the Curve models and was stuck at 512MB. This led to slow-down in multitasking.

Even at this stage, support for app development for Blackberry models was dwindling, and eventually the app store would be closed.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects

Blackberry phones are some of the cheapest in the market, as they are largely out of use. They are also fairly plentiful, which does not help the price. There are several brand new or refurbished models at low prices which should continue for some time.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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