Blackberry 7100x Review – Colour Screen Smartphone

Blackberry 7100x Review: Released in 2005, the Blackberry 7100 family was a rapid departure away from the previous 7-series seen just the year beforehand. The main different was a condensed keypad – instead of being a QWERTY one we have a solution where one key was assigned to multiple letters. The benefit of this was that the shape of the phone could be smaller, and a larger area allocated to the screen.

This also represented a time where Blackberry models were beginning to be used as mobile phones as well as business organisers. A large increase in marketing to networks also begun with this. There were many different variants to the – Blackberry 7100t, Blackberry 7100v, Blackberry 7100i, Blackberry 7100r for example. All were based around the same basic model but allowed some variation in the external design. Each model variant was designed for a phone network and allowed them an exclusive model consumers could not find anywhere else.

The phones also featured another upgrade of the Blackberry OS. In terms of business function this was still ahead of the pack, and organiser and e-mail client were more advanced than other handsets.

Full specifications here.

The half-keyboard did not please everyone, especially those who wanted to type more. This version of phone gained an upgrade in 2006 and also morphed into the Pearl series which had several iterations.  But by far the most popular Blackberry handsets were those which had full QWERTY keypads.


Blackberry 7100x Review Pros:

The 7100 was far more intuitive to use. The addition of three buttons underneath the screen greatly enhanced navigation. The phone also retained the scroll wheel on the side of the phone which was much easier than pressing buttons.

The form factor was better. Whilst some would dislike the keypad layout, the savings meant that a much thinner device could be built and the overall size was only a little bigger than a standard mobile phone.

Connectivity-wise the phone was excellent. EDGE and the e-mail client made it easy to send e-mails from anywhere. The phone also featured Bluetooth for ease of transfer.

Blackberry OS at this time had a rich suite of features suitable for the business user, including organiser and web browser functions.

Blackberry 7100x Review Cons:

The keypad was not to everyone’s taste, and pressing multiple buttons for a letter certainly made typing long passages of text slower.

The phone lacked a camera, which may have been handy. The top phones of 2005 such as the Nokia N70 were packing both front and rear cameras at this time.

The memory was not upgradeable in this phone, meaning that users were stuck with the 32MB on board memory. With only a limited amount of RAM some applications could get sluggish.

Despite debuting across many networks, the phone was still priced expensively relative to the more mainstream Nokia phones.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects

Some of the mass-marketed Blackberries such as the Curve models are among the cheapest phones out there relative to their spec. The 7100 family were not available in such large numbers and may hold their value slightly better. They are pretty bulky and slow by today’s standard.

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.

Blackberry 7100x Disassembly Guide

To find out how to take apart the Blackberry 7100 for repair purposes, please see this link.

Blackberry 7100x Video Review

For a video which shows the Blackberry 7100 features, please see this:

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