BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9982 £1450
19th Nov 2013 | 16:48
The Z10 gets suited and booted
Hands on: BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9982 review
It's a phone many are finding difficult to justify for BlackBerry in its current unstable condition. But the Canadian firm isn't listening to the naysayers - it's just ploughing on.
That determination has led to the arrival of the rather clumsily named BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9982 - a smartphone for the wealthy business person who wants something to gloat about at the next board meeting.
This isn't a phone for the mainstream, and with a recommended retail price of £1450/$2350 (around AU$2500) it's something which only the very elite will potentially consider.
We say potentially, because for all that money you're not actually getting a great deal. Think the P'9982 looks familiar? Well that's because it's just a run of the mill BlackBerry Z10 with a fancy stainless steel and Italian leather suit.
In terms of design the Porsche Design P'9982 is more angular than the phone it's based on, with a more pronounced chin below the screen - although it is crafted from stainless steel rather than plastic.
That stainless steel frame runs up either side of the P'9982 and connects to a chunk of stainless steel at the top of the handset.
It's a design we weren't overly keen about on the Z10 or Z30 as it appears to add unnecessary bulk to the device without offering anything above a place to splash the Porsche Design logo.
On each side of the P'9982, towards the bottom, is a small square where the Porsche Design logo resides - a subtle reminder that this isn't your ordinary BlackBerry Z10.
We found the P'9982 sat nicely in the hand with a well balanced 140g weight which was enough to make the phone feel premium without being overbearing.
The stainless steel frame means it's a solid handset, and the Italian leather rear provides a decent level or grip while also feeling rather lovely. It does appear to be something that could get damaged relatively easily though.
If your leather back does get ruined you can always remove it and replace it with another - although there's obviously an additional cost there.
Under the rear cover is a removable battery - the same 1800mAh power pack found in the Z10, although this time it's got Porsche Design written on it. BlackBerry claims it's good for 9 hours, but we were unable to test this during our hands-on time.
There's also access to the microSD slot which can take cards up to 64GB in size, and the microSIM port which annoyingly can only be reached if you take the battery out.
That will prove a pain for anyone who switches SIMs on a regular basis - like the international businessmen (and women) who this handset is targeted at.
At 131 x 65.6 x 9.5mm the P'9982 is ever so slightly longer and thicker than the Z10, but the width remains the same - as does the 4.2-inch, 1280 x 768 display.
In fact the P'9982 sports exactly the same specs as the Z10 apart from one thing - the internal storage has been boosted from 16GB to 64GB.
The screen is clean and clear with some decent viewing angles, although when you think that we now have full HD display on our smartphones (which cost less than half the price) you end up feeling a little short changed by the P'9982.
That feeling grows when you discover that the Porsche Design P'9982 still holds onto the humble 1.5GHz dual-core processor from the Z10 - there's no quad-core chip on offer here.
During general usage the dual-core chip manages pretty well with the relatively fluid BlackBerry 10.2 operating system, but it noticeably struggled when we started to ask a little more of the P'9982.
We're still not totally sold on the BlackBerry 10 platform, with its slightly confusing gesture controls making some tasks a little fiddly and the poor selection of apps in the BlackBerry World store doesn't help.
It's not all bad news though, and the BlackBerry Hub is a truly useful part of the interface, bringing in all forms of communication into one central inbox which can easily be navigated and filtered.
Web browsing is something else BlackBerry appears to have nailed with its new OS and the P'9982 is no exception with blisteringly fast load times on both mobile and desktop sites.
There's 2GB of RAM backing up the dual-core chip in the P'9982 which will no doubt help the surfing speeds and the inclusion of Flash supports is something BlackBerry has over iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.
Return to the rear of the handset and there's the 8MP camera which also adorns the Z10, but on the P'9982 there's a chrome ring round the lens to try and add a more premium feel and it sits in a bar of glass which also houses the single LED flash and the name of the handset.
The camera app is basic, yet intuitive and the shutter speed is relatively quick with the whole screen acting as the trigger. Auto-focus is in play, and it can slow down snapping as it tries to settle.
BlackBerry has always been well known for its physical QWERTY keyboards and it made a big deal about its touchscreen offering on BlackBerry 10 which sits on the P'9982. It's a slick offering and we were able to get up to a decent typing speed, but we still prefer SwiftKey on Android.
Every Porsche Design P'9982 handset comes with a certificate of authentication in the box, so you can prove to your doubting friends that it is the real deal. The certificate also holds a unique BlackBerry pin starting in "2AA" - an exclusive prefix available only to those who have splashed the cash on a Porsche Design handset.
The BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9982 is targeted at a minority of elite business players, it's not meant to capture the imagination of general consumers - which is lucky, because it won't.
That said, for a phone which costs so much the P'9982's look and feel doesn't come close to justifying the price tag. You need a hell of a lot more than a bit of shiny metal and a layer of cowhide to push a sub-standard flagship smartphone as high-flying premium offering.
While the Porsche Design P'9982 isn't quite a grotesque in price, look or spec as the luxury Vertu brand, it's still set up to target those with more money than sense.