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You'll find your contacts in the Contacts app. The option to add a new contact is at the top. Each entry provides fields for all the possible contact details you could want to include.
You can also set up custom ring tones and alerts for messages and calls. There's even space for their birthday, a custom field, and notes.
You have to tap a contact to select them and then tap again to call from the contacts app, but you're unlikely to do it that way. When you call someone you'll do it by pressing the send key and then tapping the contact you want.
Similarly, it is much quicker to use the messaging app than to choose a contact in the contacts app and then hit menu to select the text message option.
Any contact information you had on the SIM card that you inserted in your BlackBerry 9720 is going to pop up in the Contacts app. If it's a fresh SIM then this will be empty, but you can import contacts from various other accounts if you want to.
To pull in Facebook contacts, for example, you need to fire up the Facebook app, sign in, and then hit the menu key to find 'Options' and then choose the BlackBerry Contacts application and, in theory, they should show up in your Contacts app at some point. It's not clear how long this will take, but it certainly isn't immediate.
Making calls is easiest via the send key. It presents you with a call log and you can tap on anyone listed to call them straight away. Scroll to the right and you'll find the full list of contacts, swipe left and you get the dialling pad (you can use the physical number keys or the virtual dialling pad to enter a number).
There's also a search bar at the top of the call log and contacts screen and you can start typing a name or number in there to bring up a list of matching contacts. There's no smart dialling on the dialling pad though.
Call quality is good on the BlackBerry 9720. Other callers sound loud and clear with minimal distortion, even in noisy environments. The speakerphone is also decent. We didn't have any trouble with the signal and we didn't encounter any dropped calls either.
If there's an obvious strength to the BlackBerry 9720 then it has to be messaging. While various aspects of this device feel dated, there's a certain comfort and satisfying functionality to that physical keyboard.
It is very quick and easy to type out long messages or have conversations using the keyboard. It's also easier to type accurately, although this is becoming less noticeable all the time.
Virtual keyboards with Swype functionality and word suggestions have arguably caught up in terms of speed and accuracy, but the tactile sensation of pressing a key is hard to replicate.
You'll find the usual suspects pre-installed on the BlackBerry 9720, so you can add Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to your standard texting app and BlackBerry Messenger.
Incoming messages from any of them will pop up in your central notifications panel in the middle of your home screen, but it's slightly annoying that you can't clear them without tapping to enter the relevant app.
The BlackBerry 9720 still uses BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service). What that means, in effect, is that you won't be able to set up your email or your BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) unless you have BIS as part of your service.
For example, if you were to stick an existing SIM card from a monthly contract on Orange into your BlackBerry 9720 you would not be able to set up email or BBM without calling Orange and getting BIS added at a cost of £5 per month in the UK. If you get a new SIM with the phone then you won't encounter this issue.
BBM has long been one of the feathers in the BlackBerry cap and it's still a good service for chat. The fact that it is now Android and iOS too could extend its relevancy.
There are a lot of messaging apps out there that replicate the same functionality, but few of them are as robust, stylish or easy to use as BBM. You'll also find BBM integration in Facebook, Foursquare and a handful of other apps.
If you prefer to use something else for your instant messaging then you'll be glad to find Windows Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and Google Talk are all there.
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