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Blackberry Porsche Design P9981 Smartphone Review
Live photos of Blackberry Porsche Design
Any manufacturers encountering problems have one thing in common: they try to concentrate on producing expensive luxury handsets. The idea seems quite sound, for replacing the body of an already existing model gives the opportunity to earn much more money even if the number of produced handsets is not that big. Although the idea cannot seem interesting enough to the manufacturers dealing with mass production, the Blackberry case results in a natural question: why haven't they introduced this type of expensive handsets before? As we know, corporate users of the Blackberry services are not only middle level managers, but also top executives of large companies who would certainly find such an expensive product quite suitable. Nevertheless, there have been no products of this kind till the moment the company started to sink. And finally, RIM decided to introduce a product made in collaboration with the Porsche Design Studio, and to concentrate on this sector at the same time.
With the price of $2,350 and being fully identical to Blackberry Bold 9900 in everything except the body materials and design ($500), the handset turns out to be a niche product. It is important to remember the price, but we are talking about a full-fledged handset by RIM here, which has a potentially much wider consumer audience, unlike the numerous boutiques manufacturing other expensive mobile phones. One should not think, however, that Europeans or Americans would buy this phone for their own money. It can be a corporate purchase, and it can be of some interest as this is the first time when it allows emphasizing the owner's status. And this is a great move by RIM. But on the other hand, they should consider extremely moderate sales in the countries where the company is only nominally represented. RIM will hardly attract new consumers, for this product is for those who have already used Blackberry handsets and are just looking for a more expensive mobile phone.
We cannot forecast any high sales volumes, but this handset is surely to get its small portion of the market for expensive mobile phones. The model is quite attractive in its appearance, and it is nothing but the well-known Bold III inside, which has both advantages and disadvantages.
To be honest, this review is rather about the differences between the P9981 and the original Bold 9900 than about a comprehensive review of the operating system, as it is completely the same. The main things about this handset are its appearance and its body, as we have already been perfectly familiar with the rest of it.
Tastes differ, so I can only say for myself: I do like the way the P9981 looks. A Porsche Design Studio product is easily recognizable for its matt metallic surfaces. The same things can be found in any other of their products, such as kettles, toasters, and other kinds of household appliances.
As for mobile phones, the studio has collaborated with a few manufacturers. The Sagem handsets have been the most notable of them, both the ones that have seen the market and also those which have never appeared there.
What is interesting is that the name P9981 is a standard model number by Porsche Design; it has nothing to do with RIM.
The dimensions of the P9981 are a bit bigger than those of the 9900: 115 x 67 x 11.3 mm; the weight has also grown by 25 g, so now it is 155 g. This is caused by the presence of the metallic body elements which make the handset so matt. I would like to mention again that I do like its appearance, but everyone may have his own opinion on that. It is quite comfortable to hold the phone with a hand, and its manufacture quality is just perfect. For example, the back cover requires some effort to be opened, which means that it is locked really well down there. The cover has leather style coating, but actually it is regular plastic though.
The control keys are of the same type. The blocking/unblocking button is on the upper end. On the left side there is a 3.5-mm headset jack and a microUSB jack. The volume controls and the camera button are on the right side. The camera itself and an LED flash are on the rear side of the handset. To make the picture complete, there is an LED indicator on the front panel.
On the one hand, there is nothing extraordinary about the screen: 2.8" with the resolution of 640 х 480 pixels (TFT LCD). On the other hand, the screen is bright and makes every pixel visible, so images, as well as videos, look perfect on it. The sensor of the capacitive touch screen responds well to tapping, and the accuracy is crucial here as there are lots of small elements all over the system.
Each key is made of metal and is engraved, so the symbols are very well readable. I believe that the Bold 9900 has one of the best keyboards, so I was afraid that it could be spoilt in the new handset. But after using it for just a couple of minutes, I felt relieved: everything is alright and the keyboard is still comfortable, but seems a little different though. So we may thank the manufacturer for the quality of the keyboard, as this handset is really one of the best in class.
The manufacturer claims about 6 hours of talktime, 50 hours of music playback or about 7.5 hours of video playback. Unfortunately, the same as with the Bold 9900, this handset is disappointing: it can work for no more than 36 hours if used as a normal Blackberry, which means talking and emailing. If used more actively, it can work for a day or even less. The battery can be charged either with the cable or with the charger. The charger capacity is 1,230 mAh.
The handset has a 5 MP camera with a fixed focus, and that is practically all we have to say about it. In good lighting conditions it can produce more or less good pictures, but actually you wouldn't want to use it seriously. On the handset screen the pictures look quite good, but on a laptop screen they often become a disaster. The camera has a video shooting mode (720p): the autofocus is too slow and the results are really disappointing, too. Besides, the microphone records sounds with some kind of noise or distortions. When used in the automatic mode, the flash can easily spoil lots of the picture details, so it would be much better to disable it. There is also a face recognition mode, stabilizer (not optical one, of course), geotags, and 4x digital zoom. Once again: that's a pity, but the camera is just about nothing here.
There are absolutely no software differences between this handset and the regular Bold 9900. This is exactly the same model, which is why I don't want to repeat anything. If you wish to learn any details on the handset specifications and software, welcome back to the Bold 9900 review.
As a luxury version of the Bold 9900, this handset is quite good. The manufacturer has not spoilt anything from the original model, but nothing has been improved either. Hence, if you like the Bold 9900, you will not be disappointed by this one. The main disadvantage of this handset is too short battery life – it could be called the scourge of the 9900. Unfortunately, it is all the same here again.
The package offers quite a lot of stuff, but of course, it cannot justify the price of $2,350. I am surprised there is no case for the phone: the manufacturer has shown no care about such a trifle, so you will have to buy it independently.
The final verdict is simple: if you have to be a Blackberry user and need an expensive mobile phone, the Porsche Design P9981 should be your choice, as there are no alternatives so far.
Thanks to blackberries.ru for the handset provided for the review.
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Published 12 May 2012
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