BlackBerry 9720 review
|Review: November 2013|
In a nutshell: The Blackberry 9720 is a traditional-style BlackBerry running the old BlackBerry 7.1 OS and with the benefits of a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. But the low specs and lack of apps lower its appeal.
Today's best buy: Blackberry 9720 from Gameseek (£110.83)
Although it's not called "Bold", the BlackBerry 9720 could be considered as the follow-up to the Bold 9700, which we described as "the best BlackBerry in the known universe." But wait - that was over 4 years ago! Has the new 9720 time-warped in from a parallel dimension, or is BlackBerry hedging its bets over the new BlackBerry 10 OS that it spent so many years developing?
In short, what on earth is going on?
Physical keyboard with touchscreen display
The 9720 has grown in size compared with the earlier 9700, but it's slimmer. It's not that slim though - at 12mm it's substantially thicker than many modern touchscreen phones. But it is lightweight, weighing just 120g. Build quality is good.
The phone features an excellent, ergonomic keyboard plus an optical trackpad and a touchscreen. The screen is larger than traditional BlackBerries, measuring 2.8 inches, which is still tiny compared with most touchscreen phones, but the 9720 has the advantage of the physical keyboard, meaning that none of the screen needs to be taken up by a virtual keyboard. For messaging and many business apps, the lack of screen real estate won't be an issue.
The 480 x 360 screen resolution isn't so impressive, but for a mid-range phone it's tolerable. It works out as 214 ppi pixel density, which means that text is fairly sharp, but it's certainly no high-end display. Font sizes are adjustable for ease of reading.
A variety of alerts are available and can be customised. These include ringtones, vibration, on-screen alerts and a LED indicator.
Back to BlackBerry 7.1
For a company that's invested years in a new OS (BlackBerry 10) it's more than odd to see it rolling out a new phone with an ancient version of the operating system. Is this an indication that BlackBerry users really don't want to change? Quite possibly.
Whatever the reason, booting up the 9720 it feels like we've returned to a world where BlackBerry was sexy and everything was just good with the world. The touchscreen interface works well and is in many ways less confusing than BlackBerry 10. And everything is here - email, office documents, corporate security and social media. The web browser may be slow, but everything just works. Yet at the same time, it feels like a step backwards, and there's a definite lack of apps here.
It's a mid-range device, so we're not expecting massive specs. The processor is really quite slow, at just 800MHz. That was OK back in 2009, but now it feels underpowered. There's only 512MB of RAM too, so we won't be running any kind of demanding apps on this device, nor multitasking.
The onboard memory of 512 MB eMMC is really very limiting. You can add a microSD card (you're going to need it), but only up to a maximum of 32GB.
BlackBerries aren't really made for multimedia, so photography isn't high on the device's list of skills. The rear-facing camera has a 5 megapixel sensor and uses EDOF (Extended Depth of Field). It has a flash and digital zoom and is probably OK for casual snaps.
Connectivity includes WiFi (2.4GHz, 802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 and USB. It's a 3G phone of course with quadband support for both UMTS (2100/1900/850/800 MHz) and GSM EDGE (1900/1800/900/850 MHz), with HSDPA providing fast internet connections with download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps.
The battery is relatively small, at 1450mAh, but that's plenty to power a device with a small screen and a frugal hardware. Up to 7 hours talk time is possible between charges.
Conclusion - a good mid-range messaging device
The BlackBerry is an affordable phone that offers the advantage of a touchscreen OS plus a full physical QWERTY keyboard. That makes it a an attractive option compared to entry-level QWERTY phones like the Nokia Asha 302 or the BlackBerry Curve 9320.
And yet it doesn't give a lot more than those cheaper devices. The slow processor, limited memory and low screen resolution all limit the usefulness of the 9720 and make it hard to justify the extra cost.
BlackBerry 9720 features include:
- 5 megapixel camera with EDOF, flash and 4x digital zoom
- LCD display: 480 x 360 pixels, 24-bit colour, 2.8 inches
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, instant messaging, push email with attachment viewer
- Built-in speakerphone
- GPS with BlackBerry Maps
- Personal organiser apps
- Vibration alert, LED indicator
- Processor: 806 MHz Tavor MG1
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0
- Memory: 512 MByte flash memory plus microSD memory card slot (up to 32GB)
- Size: 114 x 66 x 12 mm
- Weight: 120g
- Quadband GSM (1900/1800/900/850 MHz) plus HSDPA (2100/1900/850/800 MHz)
- Battery: 1450mAh
- Talktime: 7 hours
- Battery standby: up to 18 days
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BlackBerry 9720 user reviews
Love this product? Hate it? Please share your experiences to help other people choose the product that's best for them. Please do not review this product if you have not used it, and please ask questions in our User Questions section above. Please do not use swear words or offensive language, and please, no advertising!
Average rating from 23 reviews:
Reviewed by rico
on 31st Mar 2017
I bought my BB9720 5months ago, now it keeps touching istself.>_<
Reviewed by Shell
on 20th May 2016
Phone keeps freezing and losing calls, annoying as this is my work phone.
Reviewed by RENZ
from SOUTH AFRICA
on 3rd Dec 2015
Well the blackberry 9720 isn't better then the blackberry 9320. I've thought the blackberry 9720 was better then the blackberry 9320, so I've sold it and I regret selling it.
Reviewed by owen
on 12th Sep 2015
My company uses these phones, and they are universaly hated. constantly rebooting, freezing, and dropping calls, they are just about the worst phone I've usednsince mobile phones became a thing. I've had 8 replacement handsets in 2 years. 8!
Reviewed by Pramod Kumar
on 8th Aug 2015
It is very good to have BlackBerry9720 after using Curve my last handset. I am very much happy to upgrade and purchasing this model 9720 and am Pride Owner of this super, best in class handset.
Reviewed by Alan
on 17th Jul 2015
This phone is just utterly awful. If there's any chance that you are considering this phone in earnest, you need to change your mind and buy an Android or an iPhone or a Lumia. Or a bag of cement. It doesn't really matter so long as you steer clear of this stunningly poor phone. Attempting to use the internet on this phone is analagous to pulling onto the I-95 with a steam car. The OS is dreadful - slow, buggy, horrible UI. The touch screen is about as sensitive as Andrew Dice Clay. Whoever works QA for Blackberry should not just be let go, but sterilised in case their genes prosper. Intellectual eugenics - not cool, but necessary on this occasion. If your elpoyer is insisting that the 9720 is the handset they are running with - change job immediately. Or even kill yourself.
Reviewed by Mary
from South Africa
on 17th Jun 2015
This is the worst phone I've ever used. The internet loads blocky squares most of the time instead of the content. The phone freezes. I've just bought a curve 8520 second hand to see out my contract because the 9720 is just so awful.
Reviewed by Slice
on 9th Jun 2015
Carried out search engine review to find out how to turn off touch screen when on call to find this page.
I have same experience as everyone below....
No point adding anything else and as it is a phone provided by my company, can't change it either.
Maybe it will 'have an accident' and need replacing!
Reviewed by layll
from south africa
on 4th Jun 2015
I had a Blackberry 9790 and I swear it is as fast as 2 years back... 9720 sucks
Reviewed by Batgirl73
on 13th Apr 2015
I LOVED the blackberry bold more than life itself, however I upgraded to a Samsung galaxy s3.
I was with a rubbish network provider so I decided to buy a new blackberry and go and a different better network.
So I couldn't get the bold, so opted for the 9720 instead...HUGE mistake !!!
Although I love the look of the phone and immediately fell back in love with the fact it has a working keyboard, The fact it has a touch screen that you cannot turn off, lets it down in every sense of the word.
I can have it in my bag or hand and it dials half a ton of people even if the screen is locked. if I am on a call, it will disconnect as the touch screen is far to sensitive and deactivates everything as the slight brush against it. I cannot access pictures or the internet as it is so slow to work. also every other moment it states I have no memory, yet I have a 32gig memory card in it(which has hardly been used).
Suffice to say as much as it pains me, I am going to get my Samsung unlocked and sell this one as it has too many issues going on with it.
I am hugely disappointed and really wish that these phone companies would stop trying to out do each other and actually for once just make a phone fit for purpose.
remember not everyone likes touch screen, but most everyone loves a keyboard that works !
Reviewed by nomaphelo
from south africa
on 5th Apr 2015
Hi please help. I bought my blackberry 9720 little over a year ago. I am experincing problems as touchscreen is no longer working therefore I cannot use my opera,my phone freezes and clicks its self in a fast pase . Plz help!!
Reviewed by Aringbangba
on 6th Mar 2015
I don't really understand the phone.... I have full 3G with blackberry logo but couldn't browse...I couuld not set up my bbm or log in to ma facebook neither could I use other social network app except my whatsapp and you tube... Anytime I try to set up ma bbm or to download a new bbm... it tells me I can't due to device offline state with error Id 40760... so am just confused wf d phone. please help anyone with ideas about this issue... I can only chat on whatsapp and watch youtube.
Reviewed by Neville Howson
from South Africa
on 8th Nov 2014
I upgraded from the BB 9320 to 9720. I like everything about the phone, except that one cannot turn off the touch screen when not in use. Result is when answering a call it either drops or puts the call on hold as my hand inevitably touches the screen (especially when reaching for it from my pocket or off the counter). If I do manage to answer without incident, my ear or cheek comes into contact with the screen and the same thing happens, the call is dropped or put on hold mid conversation. When in my trouser or jeans pocket the screen comes into contact with my body and the phone sets off on its own mission by entering applications or dialling out on its own. Lastly battery life is short and camera poor.
Reviewed by J Mac
on 24th Sep 2014
Not impressed by 9720, behaves erratically (blank screens, can't answer incoming calls) if memory gets too full. Touch screen very annoying and I WiSH I could turn it off as it is totally unecessary. Battery life is hopeless at barely 24hrs for average use.
Reception is equally poor, often reduces to lower case gsm or gprs when everyone else seems to be fine.
Reviewed by Anthony Wood
from United Kingdom
on 17th Jul 2014
This is quite possibly the worst phone I have ever had for one simple reason.. it does not give you the facility to turn off the touch screen!! I am forever cutting people off mid conversation or ringing people up who I didn't mean to ring or going into a screen a I didn't want to go into or switching off my connection without realising it etc etc etc... I do realise there is 'lock' button on the top but why oh why do you have to remember to press this every time you make a call or finish a call. A simple facility to enable you to turn off the touchscreen mode would have made all the difference. It may well be a good phone in terms of the other aspects of it's functionality as per other reviews but I have never been so frustrated with a phone as I have with this one. Fortunately or unfortunately, as the case may be, it's a company supplied phone so when I eventually lose patience and throw it into the Irish sea, they may supply me with a different model.. hopefully!!
Reviewed by jan pretorius
on 30th Jun 2014
Very nice phone if you only use bbm and what's app,but if you use the internet or facebook,good luck,cos it is very slow,to open a pic on facebook,it will maybe open after 5 min.and if you want to download something, even slower.if you lucky,to me,the blackberry 9300 was the best phone they ever made,internet fast,downloads fast,facebook fast.good luck
Reviewed by John
from South Africa
on 22nd Jun 2014
I had a Blackberry 9320 and then changed to a Samsung S4 mini
And it was an adjustment as I had to start monitoring my data usage and Android has great apps but then got a 9720 and really liked the bigger display compared to the 9320 , I enjoy using the blackberry as I find it user friendly and I don't use lots of data but its nice not counting the data (wifi not widely available here) so 98% still reliant on more expensive mobile data , that's why I like the OS7 as it still has Bis , so happy with 9720 but still have S4 mini , its a bit like having the best of both worlds
Reviewed by craig lakeland
from united kingdom
on 25th Apr 2014
great phone as my last phone was a LG KP500 (cookie) but still finding it a bit of a challenge when comes to alternative video chat apps as i dont know how to use whats app, kik as i have friends in the states if you can help or advice that would be great
Reviewed by Mel
on 26th Mar 2014
Gone back to blackberry after touch screen androids. Couldn't cope with touch screen anymore, would have launched thru the window, but loved the apps. Got a tablet for apps instead, better than laptop. Happy to have a blackberry again and love this one. Much better than the 9320 which is also a good phone tho. I can check my bank balance and go on Facebook and use whatsapp and bbm and many other useful apps. Touchscreen works well and compliments the keyboard. Nice bright screen, takes a decent snap and battery fine. Great little phone and the BlackBerry os is and always has been superior. (Glad it doesn't have blackberry 10 as half the apps don't work on it yet)
Reviewed by Thando
from Cape town
on 4th Mar 2014
My girlfriend was downloading something on her blackbarry now the screen has frozen can anyone out there please help me. What do i need to do to make it fine again? Do i need to flash it? And how do I do that if the screen is frozen?
Reviewed by sarah
on 25th Jan 2014
I think that this phone when it comes to business is a good phone but if you are looking for something to have at your own leisure you would be better off with a different phone
Reviewed by Gabby Hookham
on 13th Jan 2014
Personally, this phone is great for social networkers. But the downside to this phine is that after having a blackberry for several months they tend to reboot by their selves. I don't know if I'm a little heavy handed but this is a great phone to have. Battery life is highly satisfying and the camera is also very goos as well. Memory is not good as I could only download 2 songs and one picture off facebook. Reccomend a memory card. Thanks:):)
Reviewed by Sebastian
from South Afrika
on 3rd Jan 2014
Its made for 3rd world countries so knowone is expecting Greatnis.