Porsche Design BlackBerry P’9981 Smartphone Review

By on January 25, 2012
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The most expensive BlackBerry ever.

Good: Brilliant construction quality, feels great in your hands, uber premium
Bad: $2000 price tag, essentially the BlackBerry Bold 9900.
Price: AED 7,000
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Even the internals are identical- which is about the only thing that I wish was reconsidered when building the P9981. While Bold 9900 is no slouch, adding Porsche to the name immediately makes you think of something fast so maybe a slightly faster CPU would’ve helped with the overall feeling associated with the device. Also, there have been enough complains about the lack of an auto-focus camera on the Bold 9900 so it would have been nice to see that replaced in this top-of-the-line device.

On the software side, the Porsche Design BlackBerry comes with a custom theme with mono-colored icons and green highlights while the font of the clock on the home screen is very Porsche like. Other than the icons, the Wikitude application has also been skinned to match the theme. One thing that I’d like to suggest to RIM/BlackBerry through a firmware upgrade is to have the clock app redesigned to resemble an actual time-piece from Porsche Design.

Performance on the Porsche Design B9981 is pretty much identical to the Bold 9900 which means that you’ll have no trouble going through your messages and social updates, however, you’ll still notice that frequent pause during web browsing and utter-frustration when installing or removing apps. I tested the unit using OS lets hope that OS 7.1 which should be rolling on devices in the next few weeks optimizes these new devices further.

Battery life is no better or worse than the Bold 9900 as the P9981 uses the same 1230mAh capacity battery as the 9900 that is also found on other BlackBerry devices such as the Bold 9970. After the first couple of days of setting things up and downloading applications, expect a full day on 3G and a little more on Edge.

So in the end, what we have with the Porsche Design P9981 is the best Smartphone that RIM has ever made inside a chassis that is extremely premium- and I love it. But does that make the P9981 worth the $2000 price that it’s asking for? There is no right answer to that question. I wouldn’t spend that much on any phone whatsoever but I know that my wife is capable of spending that much on a much lesser product- a bag. However, considering the amount of wealth and the popularity of BlackBerry in the Middle East, I’m sure there will be many people who will spend $2000 for the P9981. It’s their money and they’re entitled to do whatever they wish with it. After-all, “you cannot put a price on fashion” is the mantra of this industry. Or so I’ve heard.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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