Sprint BlackBerry Style 9670 Unboxing and Hands-on

Chris Burns - Oct 28, 2010, 4:03pm CDT
Sprint BlackBerry Style 9670 Unboxing and Hands-on

Hooray for mail! Today what’s arrived is the very shiny clamshell BlackBerry Style 9670, available in steel grey or royal purple. Of course, since I’m in Minneapolis, home of The Purple One himself, Prince, you know that the royal purple is the one that arrived on my doorstep. Below see the unboxing of the fabulously re-usable box with lovely shine-tastic phone and extras inside.

First, the details of this sassy beast: The BlackBerry Style 9670 drops on October 31st, 2010, it’ll be priced at $99.99 following a $100 mail-in rebate. It’s the latest clamshell phone from RIM, with a full QWERTY keyboard inside and both internal and external displays. It has both GPS and WiFi, a memory card slot that supports up to 32GB chips, and a 5 megapixel camera with flash and video recording on the back of the main body (not the flip-up.)

It runs BlackBerry 6 and navigates using a rather touchy optical trackpad.* The steel grey version will release on October 19, 2010, while the royal purple (the version I’ve got here,) will rule the streets in November 2010. For the full original press release on the 9670, head on over to this post and read for about an hour.

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The BlackBerry I received here actually came in a larger box with a few other items that I don’t show in the video because I’m sure when you purchase yours (if you get it mailed), you’ll just be getting the one box, this one. This box is nice – all black with barcodes on the side and copyrights of many languages on the back. You can tell they’ve put some thought into this box as, other than the plastic, it is all one big piece. I love when companies do that as it shows ingenuity, class, and it definitely saves them a whole heck of a lot of money on packaging.

Once inside the box, you’ll see the 9670 right on top held in place by a plastic-formed surround piece. This piece comes out easily, and the phone pops out easily with it (secure, yet simple to access.) Behind that, there’s a pull-out panel with a generous 1.5m BlackBerry USB Cable (I have a brain-fart in the video when I see it, but that’s what it is, a Fixed Blade Micro USB charger (which of course is the US version, as that’s where I am, and it comes in a separate wrap from the cable itself,) and a lovely BlackBerry stereo headset.

This BlackBerry is the dreaded flip-top, meaning I’ve always steered away from such phones as I had one once that broke basically instantly, but the world’s improved since 2005, hasn’t it? This 9670 has such a substantial hinge that I dare anyone to show me how they’ve busted it. But then again, don’t because this phone is very sensual and sexy to the touch.

It fits directly in the palm of the hand when closed, which is nice if you’re using it to check the time. When flipped open, it’s definitely designed aimed more toward the one-hand-thumb-clicker crowd, as when I attempt to do the double-thumb, I’ve got a bit of trouble holding it steady unless I do some real finger twisting.

The spring-loaded opening of the phone is slick. Definitely doable with one hand, opening or closing. Once open, everything is accessible with the thumb. Hardware controls include call, menu, chrome-rimmed optical trackpad, back, and end/power. Volume up/down and photo camera buttons are along the right of the phone (the camera button having the excellent ability to be turned on and activated by this one button), while along the left is the microUSB and headphone jack.

On the back is the camera and the flash. This same camera is used for both video and photos (5.0 MP with auto focus), obviously, and is in a slightly awkward place. Because of the weight of the flip-up portion and the fact that you cannot activate the camera while it’s closed, the camera’s position makes it difficult to use while holding the phone in a way that’s balanced. If you’ve got two hands to do it with, you’ll be in good condition.

*Here’s where I speak a bit about the optical trackpad: it’s real touchy. Me being used to using mostly touchscreens, keys, and large trackpads during my day-to-day, I’m not used to this almost joystick-like button moving about at the drop of a pin. However, once I’d been using this phone for about an hour, I had a handle on it and it was from that point on only a minor annoyance, and only every once in a while.

Also along the left side of the phone is an almost-hidden compartment where you can access your microSD card. This, I must say, is a vast improvement over having to pop your battery out every time you want at it. Well played, BB designers. Full review coming soon!

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