BlackBerry 9720 review

Budget BlackBerry 9720 winds clock back to BB 7, but who's biting?

BlackBerry 9720 review
A BlackBerry from days gone by

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The BlackBerry 9720 has been described as a legacy device. BlackBerry is aware that some people are still looking for a secure messaging device that isn't too expensive, and that's exactly what this is.

Judging the BlackBerry 9720 as a basic entry-level smartphone, we can't be too harsh about its shortcomings. The specs and the build quality are not impressive, but it handles basic phone and messaging functions well.

It's not expected to take the smartphone market by storm, and for the people it is aimed at, it will do the job fine. We can see enterprise customers buying a few, and maybe the odd feature phone hold-out with a preference for physical keyboards, but that's as far as it goes.

We liked

The tactile sensation of typing on a physical keyboard is still pleasant. The BlackBerry 9720 is also genuinely 'mobile'.

It fits comfortably in the pocket and is easy to operate one-handed. The battery life also conjures up memories of feature phones that could last days between charges.

We disliked

BlackBerry 7 was never designed for touchscreen navigation and it shows. The operating system and the apps are a painful reminder of how far the smartphone industry has come in recent years.

The video camera is also terrible, the tiny display is very limiting and the complete lack of apps will put a lot off right away.

Final verdict

The BlackBerry 9720 delivers on its stated aim. It offers a mild upgrade option for enterprise customers still tied to BlackBerry services and not ready or willing to upgrade to BlackBerry 10.

As a budget competitor for a wider audience, we're less convinced. Strong messaging credentials cannot make up for weaknesses in almost every other department.

If you're stuck on a tight budget then consider that the Sony Xperia U is slightly cheaper, and the Nokia Lumia 520 is even cheaper than the BlackBerry 9720. Both are better phones.