RIM dropped the BlackBerry Style 9670 on the Sprint network back in October. The Style is the RIM’s second phone to be released running OS 6.0, the first being the Torch on AT&T. We saw the leaked pictures of this phone back in April and did not think much of it. This is the company’s second attempt at a flip phone, the first being the Pearl Flip. Is the BlackBerry Style a hit or a miss? Find out after the jump.
The BlackBerry Style 9670 is RIM’s second attempt at a flip phone. The phone itself is reasonably sized, fitting nicely into your hand and not too big to fit into the pocket. The Style’s weight is just right at 4.62 ounces, not too heavy or too light. When closed, the BlackBerry Style looks has a sleek rounded look. The front of the phone has 240×320 pixel external display that shows the time, date, battery, and signal strength. Additionally, the external display will show alerts when you get an email, text, or phone call. The front of the phone is pretty simple with a gun metal bezel surrounded the black casing. We really like the nice and clean look that it presents at first glance. The back of the phone reveals the 5.0 megapixel camera and the flash to complement the pictures. There is also the BlackBerry logo and Sprint logo on the back of the phone. The sides of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microUSB charging port, a volume toggle, and one hot key that can be set to anything you wish.
Let’s flip the phone open and check out the most important part. The Style has a 360×400 pixel TFT LCD internal display that looks nice, but is nothing like you would see on the iPhone 4 or Galaxy S phones. The keyboard is set up like most other QWERTY BlackBerry devices and is very usable. I am personally a fan of physical keyboards over virtual keyboards and the Style keyboard looks great.
The Style has a 5.0 megapixel camera with a flash and continuous auto-focus. There are 11 different picture-taking modes to help you adjust to different settings. The camera also acts as a video recorder and takes VGA (640×480) recordings. We found that one major annoyance with the camera is that our finger kept getting in the way of the lens. This occurs because the camera is actually on the back of the phone, not on the top lid like the majority of phones. Check out a sample photo here.
The BlackBerry Style is one of the first devices to run OS 6.0, the updated BlackBerry OS. There have been some major and minor changes to help improve usability and the appearance of the OS. The first thing you will notice is that the home screen is a bit different than it was in previous operating systems. The toolbar on the bottom has different options that will allow you to see “all” apps, apps you set as favorites, media icons, apps you downloaded, and frequently used apps. It is convenient to be able to easily access just your favorite apps instead of looking through all of them. The home screen also has a bar that will show you how many notifications you have. By notifications, we mean emails, texts, tweets, Facebook notifications, etc. When you click the bar it will drop down a menu with a summary of the most recent notifications.
The browser has also been improved by OS 6.0. BlackBerry devices have lacked in the web browsing field when comparing it to other smartphone operating systems like iOS or Android. While OS 6.0 does not completely fix the poor web browsing experience, it does help make it much better. The browser now has tabbed web browsing to allow for multiple web pages to be open at once. Unless the web page has a mobile version, the browser will open the website similar to how you see it on your computer. From there, you can zoom in and out to make text bigger and more readable.
Another new feature on OS 6 is the social feeds app. This is a stock application that comes on your phone and will show all of your social feeds in one timeline. You can also filter the feeds into different timelines for each network. Currently, the social feeds app supports BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, AIM, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger. Another feature of social feeds is the RSS feed tab. You can add all of your favorite RSS feeds and it will pull the stories into a timeline for easy reading.
One thing that has not changed? The long start up time. BlackBerry devices have always had a start up time that is longer than most other phones on the market. This has not changed on the BlackBerry Style. We timed it, it takes 3 minutes, 40 seconds to start it up after a battery pull.
The BlackBerry Style 9670 on Sprint is a great phone for those looking for BlackBerry running the latest OS. OS 6 really shines on this phone and everything seems to be really fluid. The improved OS makes the BlackBerry experience much better than it was on older operating systems. The hardware itself is made well and feels like it will hold up in the future. All in all, the BlackBerry Style is a good choice if you are looking for an updated BlackBerry.