BlackBerry has a new handset and while it’s not as exciting as the Z10 or Q10 it does have a trick or two up its sleeves. The BlackBerry 9720 is, on the whole, a fairly low end device, with the company itself stating that it’s a good upgrade from a feature phone or entry level Android or Windows Phone handset.
It’s a fairly traditional BlackBerry in that it’s got a QWERTY keyboard. It’s also got a trackpad, a 2.8 inch 480 x 360 touchscreen, a 5 megapixel camera and 512MB of internal storage (though there’s also a micro SD card slot to expand that). Also, unlike most recent BlackBerry handsets this one runs BlackBerry 7.1 rather than BlackBerry 10.
In other words it’s not a phone that’s being sold on specs - though BlackBerry do point out that the keyboard is spacious enough for optimal typing and that the 1,450 mAh battery provides a ‘generous’ battery life of up to 7 hours talk time.
However the main selling points of the BlackBerry 9720 are its features. There’s a built in FM radio, multicast support (allowing you to type a message once then send it out to multiple social networks simultaneously), apps and games from BlackBerry World and even extensive support for business users, thanks to BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, which offer productivity features including mobile device management, application management and security.
These are standard BlackBerry features, but they help it stand out from other low end handsets. More interestingly though the BlackBerry 9720 features a dedicated BBM key, giving you instant access to the social network. As well as being able to type out messages on the spacious keyboard it also includes BBM voice, which allows you to chat over Wi-Fi for free.
It looks like the BlackBerry 9720 will be available from September, as Carphone Warehouse has it listed as available from then. While they haven’t listed a price for the handset Expansys have it available on pre-order for £179.99, so presumably other retailers will charge roughly the same price SIM free.
That’s not quite as cheap as we would have expected given the specs, but the combination of a QWERTY keyboard and strong social network features may be enough to help the BlackBerry 9720 stand out from the crowd and justify its price tag.
By Kevin Thomas on 16th August, 2013