Tried & Tested

Tried and Tested: Porsche Design P’9983 from BlackBerry

9 Oct 2014 by Tom Otley

The fall from grace of Blackberry as the preferred phone of business travellers has been well documented, but the current woes of Apple with its security breach of the iCloud and the bendy iPhone 6s has made many of us think back fondly to the days of our first company Blackberry.

Reliable, less expensive to buy and run, seemingly secure and with generous battery life, we regret being seduced by the mistress Apple, preferring our fruit low in calories, full of anti-oxidants, and refreshingly free of spin and buzz and a lack of apologies when the map app sends us into a stream or dead end estate.

Whether this Porsche-designed Blackberry is the phone that will rekindle the old marriage is doubtful, however. Apple products command a premium, unjustifiable to many, but this Porsche is in a different league altogether, retailing at around £1,400 and available only in Harrods, London here in the UK.

It undoubtedly looks wonderful, with it stainless steel Porsche Design logo and sapphire glass for the 8 MegaPixel camera lens, and the QWERTY keyboard with glass-like keys (actually PMMA plastic) was a joy to use.

It also impressed all my son’s friends, but then they are impressed by anything that’s really expensive, while I have found that as I get older I reserve my admiration for things that work really well but are refreshingly good value (and there aren’t many of those).

Nevertheless, it was a good excuse to try the new Blackberry 10 technology, as this phone is based on the Blackberry Q10, although that phone has been around for some 18 months.

There’s a 3.1 inch touch screen, 14 hours of talk time, 64GB of storage, so you can certainly listen to lots of music or take several thousand pictures, and the Amazon app store is available, so it goes some way (though not very far) towards addressing the lack of apps which has always plagued Blackberry.

Picture quality was good, but then they seem to be good on all the new generation of smartphones, and the supplied headphones were of an upgraded quality, though if you can afford this phone you will probably have your own preferred supplier for this.

My old Blackberry was great for emails but had poor call quality. No such difficulty here, but with this phone it took time to learn to navigate between the different screens (moving from making a call to composing an email), and the Blackberry hub which promised it would learn from my actions probably grew even more confused than I did judging from the suggestions it came up with.

There’s a tutorial icon on the Blackberry hub page which helped, but I also found that the predictive text and spelling was less intuitive, and also that my fingers have grown used to the virtual keyboard of my HTC One Android phone (though not the keyboard on the iPhone) and so there were initially a lot of mistakes in the email I was typing. This would have got better in time, I am sure, but I returned the phone fairly quickly.

  • Porsche Design P’9983 smartphone available exclusively at the Porsche Design shop within Harrods
  • £1,400
Tom Otley
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