BlackBerry Style 9670

BlackBerry and style go mutually something like Razor scooters and cool, which is to say, they don’t. RIM may have perfected a straight-laced plan that goes well with two-piece suits, polos and khakis, but originality, fashion and style are not words typically associated with the brand. The company attempts to break that mold with the decisively named Style, a BlackBerry that discards business aspirations for a dress-down design destined for denim. But can the product that started as a status symbol for the corporate elite ever be cool? Let’s find out.

The Style is unrepentantly fat, both in width (2.36 inches) and depth (0.73 inches). While that makes it oversized by classic flip-handset standards, a height of only 3.78 inches when closed still makes it reasonably compact among smartphones. curved edges and a slick finish also help disguise its bulk by letting it slip in and out of pockets easily.



Its commercial background has always led it prioritize call quality, and despite its more relaxed target market, the Style is no exception. Voices came through loud and clear on both ends of the conversation through Sprint’s CDMA network in Portland, and the phone’s clamshell design took us down memory lane to a time we in fact used phones that fit our heads instead of talking into bricks. Even with the QWERTY keyboard, dialing is as simple as punching in the numbers and pressing the green dial button – no on-screen gimmickry needed.


A hard camera key on the right of the handset makes it quick to pull up the camera in a hurry, but most of the time you’ll be greeted with a blurry image of your own finger. The camera sensor lies exactly where your index finger naturally wraps under the phone to support it from underneath, requiring an awkward alternate grip for shooting. Since the camera faces off axis from the screen, you’ll also find yourself shooting toward the ground too much, or bending the phone up for a proper shot, but ducking to get a view of the screen. Who thought this one through?

Actual photo excellence fares much better. The camera’s autofocus did a good job ensuring sharp snaps, but colors were more muted than the same shots we took with an iPhone 4.
Offering only VGA video was a bit of an discomfiture in 2010 when 720p became the status quo for smartphones, and in 2011 when 1080p is emerging, it’s more like a black eye. Despite the lack of resolution, video quality is decent thanks to dialed-down solidity.

Battery life:


RIM rates the BlackBerry Style for up to 4.5 hours of talk time, 10.5 hours of reserve, and 14 hours of music playback from the 1150 hour battery. Anecdotally, we found that exact, but not terribly imposing. Even the Bold offers six hours of talk time, and larger phones like the iPhone 4 offer seven, with up to 40 hours of music playback. Even taking into account a margin for error, the Style pays the price for its small size and in the same way small battery.


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