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BlackBerry 9720 Reviewed – Good or Bad

Updated on December 10, 2013

RIMM's BlackBerry used to dominate the world of smartphones, especially in the corporate sector. They are different from smartphones using Android in that they exist within their own ecosphere, similar to Apple's iOS, with which they have had considerable success in the past.

However, in recent years RIMM's market share has really shrunk and doubts have arisen concerning future prospects of the company. Still, the company continues to bring new products to the market such as the BlackBerry 9720 which you may like or dislike.


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Like: the BlackBerry 9720 comes with a keyboard, touchscreen and trackpad

Phones with keyboards are increasingly becoming rare, but the BlackBerry 9720 continues to offer this feature which some people will appreciate. Typing on a keyboard is very different from typing on a touchscreen which is becoming more and more the norm.

Keyboards tend to give a feedback that is not present with touchscreens. This can help some people to type faster or more comfortably than would otherwise be possible. This experience sets the BlackBerry apart from all other phones that do not have a keyboard.

Note that the screen is a touchscreen, although most people will probably stick to using the keyboard. You can also use the optical trackpad. The BlackBerry 9720 therefore comes with three different methods of interfacing with the phone unlike other phones that only have a screen to use.


Like: the BlackBerry 9720 has good battery life

Unlike many smartphones that struggle to make it through the day, the battery of the BlackBerry 9720 can easily handle it. Most people will probably not even have to charge the phone every day, which is an absolute must with other phones.

That means that forgetting to charge the phone does not have to be a disaster like some other phones. If you need a phone with good battery life because the phone needs to be available when you need it, the BlackBerry is a phone you're looking for.


Neutral: the screen of the BlackBerry is relatively small

The drawback of having a keyboard is that it takes up space that could have been used for a bigger screen. Compared to other phones which are increasingly getting bigger screens, the BlackBerry has a much smaller screen that some people might find restrictive these days.

However, that's the price that you need to pay for having a keyboard. Yes, the screen is smaller compared to most smartphones out there, but you're compensated by having a keyboard and trackpad available which those phones do not have.


Neutral: the BlackBerry has limited number of apps

BlackBerry phones use their own operating system unlike many other phones which tend to use Android or iOS. The BlackBerry 9720 can therefore make use of a huge installed base of existing apps for BlackBerry that are out there since the phone is fully compatible with every single one.

However, some companies are increasingly deciding not to bring out a version of their app for BlackBerry OS. This could significantly limit the number of apps available in the future which could become a big issue as time goed by.

You should therefore be aware that you may encounter an app that cannot be used on the BlackBerry 9720 because there is no version for it. Unless you're someone who doesn't use apps at all, it's something to keep in mind.


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Dislike: the BlackBerry 9720 does not compare well with other smartphones

Compared to other phones, the specs of the BlackBerry seem out of date. For instance, you're only provided with 512 megabytes of RAM and internal storage is still at 512 megabytes which you will have to expand with the included MicroSD slot. Old software is another issue.

The company's internal struggles may have played a role in the BlackBerry not coming in fully equipped. As a result, the phone does not compare well at all when compared with for instance Android smartphones at the same price.

People who are new to BlackBerry may find other phones to be more modern and up to date. With BlackBerry unable to resolve their problems at this point, it doesn't like their phones will be overhauled and brought up to speed anytime soon.


Dislike: the future of RIMM or BlackBerry is unclear

It's important to know that RIMM or BlackBerry is currently going through some tough times as a company. According to news reports, the company is looking at selling itself. It's unclear, but there is no telling what will happen to the company and how the future looks like.

You have to consider whether you want to use a product from a company that may no longer be able to support or be in business in the near future. The company could still turn around, but you should know that you're taking a big chance by going with a BlackBerry.

It's hard to see how problems with the company cannot affect its phones. Most people will probably ask themselves what will happen to the company and be hesitant of BlackBerry phones as a result. That will likely remain so as long as the fate of the company has not been resolved.


2 stars for BlackBerry 9720

Summary and comparison of the BlackBerry 9720 pros and cons

As a BlackBerry, the 9720 model is a worthy entry. It retains many of the qualities of its predecessors such as good build quality, multiple navigation options including a keyboard and the well-regarded security features.

People who have previously used a BlackBerry, especially in the corporate sector, may find the BlackBerry 9720 appealing. However, the same may not apply to other people who are not familiar with what BlackBerry has to offer

First-time users who are new to BlackBerry phones or smartphones in general will find that the phone has a hard time competing with similar phones from other companies. The disadvantages seems to outweigh the advantages by a significant margin.

Company struggles seems to have had a negative effect on the BlackBerry 9720 because its price/value ratio does not compare well with smartphones from other brands. The amount of internal storage provided for example is far less than what's provided by even the cheapest Android smartphones.

The phone resembles an old design that's been pulled out of the drawer and re-used, using both old hardware and an older software version. It's as if internal problems at BlackBerry prevented the company from designing something new and therefore was forced to use something old.

As a result, the BlackBerry may not appeal to most people, especially those on a budget or those looking for their first smartphone. Far more damaging is the uncertain future of the company that detracts from the phone as people cannot be certain that support will be provided in the future.

While the phone does have some strengths, it may not be enough to overcome its other deficiencies in the eyes of many consumers. The phone seems to not have kept up in terms of specs, software and price. Most people will probably be better off looking somewhere else for a smartphone.


Pros:

  • Comes with QWERTY keyboard, optical trackpad and touchscreen
  • Good battery life
  • Well-build phone

Cons:

  • Screen is smaller than other smartphones
  • Does not compare well with other smartphones in price or specs
  • Limited availability of apps
  • Outdated hardware and software
  • Company's future is unclear

BlackBerry 9720 specifications

Type
Smart Phone
Operating System
BlackBerry OS 7.1
Processor
806 MHz Tavor MG1
Band
HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100
 
EDGE/GPRS: 850/900/1800/1900
Style
Bar
Color
Black/white/purple/blue/pink
Dimension (H X W X D)
114 mm x 66 mm x 12 mm
Weight
About 120 gr
LCD
2.8-inch IPS LED Touchscreen
LCD Resolution
480 X 360, (214 PPI)
Rear camera
5MP, 4X digital zoom, image stabilization, LED Flash
Front camera 
None
RAM
512 Megabyte (MB)
Flash memory
512 MB
Memory card slot
Included, up to 32GB MicroSD card
Connectors
microUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5 earjack
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
FM radio
Supported
Sensors
Proximity, light sensor, GPS
Battery
Removable Lithium-ion 1450mAh
Special features
QWERTY 35-key backlit keyboard + optical trackpad

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