The new BlackBerry Style 9670 simply delivers. This smartphone is small, powerful, slick, and feature laden.
It combines the power and productivity of a BlackBerry Bold with the recently-released BlackBerry OS 6.0 in a clamshell design that manages to be stylish despite sporting a form factor that's largely fallen out of fashion.
The Style is currently available exclusively in the U.S. from Sprint for $100 with a two-year contract.
DESIGN & BUILD
Six years ago the RAZR was on the cutting edge of design (no pun intended), and since then there hasn't been a single clamshell on the market I'd want... until now.
The device feels solid and secure in the hand and I wouldn't think twice about dropping it. The phone fits and feels well in my palm but I found myself wishing a few times that it was thinner.
It is adorned with a smooth plastic back, black polished finish accented with a pewter bezel. This generally looks good, but one major annoyance I found throughout my test period was that the Style attracts and retains finger prints in the worst way. The high gloss finish means the smudges are extra noticeable as well.
Because of its slick finish and convenient form factor it slides effortlessly in and out of my pocket.
There is a large 2-inch external color display complete with the status information you want in a hurry -- message counter, battery life, signal strength, clock, and even previews of messages via the side convenience keys.
Cracking open the device continues to reveal a treasure trove of delights. The internal 2.7-inch QVGA display looks nicer than its specs would lead you to believe. Screen contrast, brightness, and clarity were all better than I was expecting.
This relative angle between the screen and the base causes problems when taking pictures, though, as straight-on camera shots have to be taken while angling the phone towards yourself.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The Style opts for the same fast-typing keyboard found on the Tour and other models rather than the chicklet-style board found on the iconic Curve. This design has proven easy to use and accurate on several models from RIM's 9000 family.
The optical trackpad just above the keyboard is a necessity because like many BlackBerrys, the main display isn't a touchscreen. It's responsive though it occasionally required a little more pressure than I prefer, even after changing the settings.
Other Buttons and Controls
On the bottom part of the clamshell are your standard Call, Menu, Back, and Disconnect/Power buttons. There is an oddly large amount of dead space between the keyboard and the four function buttons that should have been put to better use.
The Style offers contact charging points on the bottom part of its bezel, which fit in specially-designed cradles.
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