Features

From Curve, Bold to Priv: 10 of the most memorable BlackBerry devices

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BlackBerry, as we had earlier reported, announced today it was getting out of the smartphone business to focus on creating software for mobile devices, finally making official the news that many had expected for a while.

Let us repeat: BlackBerry — one of the most recognizable names in the phone industry — is done designing and making, um, phones. Sort of. We’ll still see BlackBerry-branded phones in the future through licensing deals, but the company won’t have a hand in creating the said handsets.

Which is a shame because the company formerly known as RIM was responsible for some of the most memorable mobile devices ever produced. Here’s a look at 10 of them.

blackberry-850

Via GigaOM

1. BlackBerry 850 (1999)

Say hello to the original. The 850 was the first device to carry the BlackBerry name. It was introduced as a two-way pager in 1999, and it had a thumb keyboard and a thumbwheel for scrolling.

2. BlackBerry 5810 (2002)

The BlackBerry 5810, although technically a Java-based communicator or personal digital assistant, was essentially the company’s first handset. It had no built-in mic or speaker so to make or receive a voice call, you needed to plug in a headset. It featured a monochrome display and was limited to 2G networks. And you thought your phone was all shades of bad?

3. BlackBerry 7100 (2004)

The 7100 series comprised several handsets that had one thing in common: a modified QWERTY keypad that appealed to the text-crazed public. It was also the first batch of BlackBerrys targeted at the average user, not at suit-wearing business types. It was light on multimedia features — no built-in media player, no camera — but it had a colored display and Bluetooth connectivity.

rim-blackberry-curve-8300

Via Bootic

4. BlackBerry Curve 8300 (2007)

The Curve arrived in 2007, the same year the first iPhone came out. But it wasn’t as smart as Apple’s phone, wasn’t as smart as the BlackBerry Bold. It was meant for chatting and quickly typing out messages. More importantly, it was cheap and had mass appeal.

5. BlackBerry Storm (2008)

Released in 2008 and touted as the company’s best hope to rival the iPhone, BlackBerry’s first full-touchscreen device was a bold, promising product — notwithstanding the absence of WiFi. It sold well during its first year on Verizon’s shelves, but the carrier eventually had to replace all of the one million Storm phones sold in 2008 after customers complained about its iffy touch navigation.

blackberry-bold-9000

Via PCMag

6. BlackBerry Bold 9000 (2008)

The Bold was responsive; it could connect to 3G and WiFi networks and GPS satellites; it had good-sounding stereo speakers; it had one of the best displays of any smartphone you could buy at the time. Further still, it looked the part of a handset that appealed to mobile professionals.

blackberry-playbook

Via Zimbio

7. BlackBerry PlayBook (2011)

BlackBerry’s first foray into tablet territory received mixed reviews at launch, though conversation around the PlayBook got more favorable after a software update ironed out most of the kinks and added apps — BlackBerry’s and Android’s — that made it function more like a standalone device. A hefty price cut that brought it down to $199 also made it a more viable competitor to the Kindle Fire, and the iPad if price was a roadblock.

8. BlackBerry Z10 (2013)

The Z10 was the first phone to run BB10. It did pretty much everything one would expect from a high-end BlackBerry except it didn’t have access to the breadth of apps Android and iOS devices had. Its battery life also left us wanting more. Which was unfortunate because we kind of liked the Z10.

9. BlackBerry Passport (2014)

The Passport was a curious device. It was weird-looking — with its big square screen and tiny rectangular keyboard; it ran BB10, BlackBerry’s struggling operating system; and even though it brought together many of BlackBerry’s best technologies, it divided critics and fans alike. But one thing most people agreed on was it should have shipped with Android.

10. BlackBerry Priv (2015)

The Priv was BlackBerry’s first Android device. It had a curved touch display and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Critics thought it was decent; fans loved it. But it had one major asterisk: a $700 launch price that proved too steep, too ambitious. BlackBerry eventually dropped the Priv’s price, but by then it was already too late. Consumers had made up their minds.

[irp posts=”10945" name=”KEYone is BlackBerry’s first phone in two years”]

Image credit: Pocket-lint

Hands-On

Google Pixel 4 and 4XL Unboxing and Hands-on

New features, same price

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The most leaked phone in history is now official. The new Pixel 4 and 4XL may look similar the outside but come with better cameras (yes there are now two), sport a Radar for faster face unlock, and introduce new air gestures. But is it worth upgrading?

This is our Google Pixel 4 and 4XL unboxing and hands-on.

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Entertainment

Joker, Jowable, Jojo Rabbit: Now Playing

Live, love, laugh!

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The GadgetMatch team just went through a rigorous back-to-back coverage starting from IFA 2019, iPhone 11, Vivo NEX 3, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, and many more. Like us, people are overwhelmed with smartphone launches one after another.

What kept us sane was these forms of entertainment we watch and play in passing. Here’s what’s Now Playing in GadgetMatch:

Movies to see

 

Steven Universe: The Movie
Leez: If you’re a fan of Steven Universe and the last episode left you feeling unsettled by how it neatly tucked the whole series, then you’re in luck. The movie doesn’t fall short in tackling the heart-wrenching significance of struggles and obstacles to be better and be who you are. It’s a movie that dives deep into lost friends and lost memories. You definitely need to check this out.

 

Jowable
MJ: No other film in this century has captured how I’ve been feeling for years now, except Jowable. This film tackles the joys, pains, and misadventures of singlehood in a comical approach. But don’t think it’s all just for laughs, Jowable is totally unpredictable — full of plot twists to keep you entertained while preaching you some deep life lessons that Buddha can’t even.

 

Jojo Rabbit
Luigi: Provocative and funny. How else can you describe Taiki Waititi’s upcoming comedy? This World War II satire features a German boy trying to hide a Jewish girl while being aided by his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself).

 

Joker
Kevin:  Not your usual origin story of a villain. Joker tackles mental health, human nature, and the society that we’re living in now. Partner those with Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar acting and what you get is a cinematic piece that moves you and makes you think about what “being normal” really is.  It’s best to see it on the big screen so be sure to catch it while it’s still showing.

Shows to binge-watch

 

Player reacts to his Highlights | House of Highlights
Rodneil: I haven’t been able to commit to watching a series of late so for my dwindling downtime, I’ve resorted to watching these one-off series on YouTube. Plus I also miss NBA basketball, so this is a great way to scratch that itch.

 

Marianne
Luigi: People have proclaimed Marianne as the most frightening series of 2019. As a horror enthusiast, I don’t think it is. However, this French horror series is still an excellent addition to the Netflix playhouse of monsters. Plus, that French accent is oh-so-sexy.

 

Vagabond
Rodneil: Gotta admit, I only considered watching because it stars Suzy Bae. But the story is gripping and the cinematography is pretty darn good. It’s about a stuntman who loses his nephew in a plane crash that was made to look like an accident but there’s more to it than just that.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

 

데자 부 (Deja Vu) by Dreamcatcher
Vincenz: Although the song doesn’t sound as intense as their other releases, the latest music video tells a deeper story. There is a line that struck me: “Now I’m holding this pain,” especially that it talks about betrayal and abandonment. The melodic musical arrangement accompanied by contrasting light and dark visuals blend so well together — which gives a surreal and melancholic feeling to listeners and viewers alike.

 

Go Up by SB19
Vincenz: SB19 has been garnering attention for weeks. They sound like a K-Pop boy group because they were trained by a Korean agency. Although I’m not totally a fan, I appreciate their music especially since it talks about aiming high and achieving your dreams. Despite the hard choreography, their live vocals sound great. P-Pop is finally improving!

 

Linkin Park Favorites
Rodneil: It’s been quite a stressful past couple of weeks for me. To combat the urge of setting myself on fire, I’ve been listening to a lot of my favorite Linkin Park songs. The collection is mostly from the Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums. Listen to the full playlist.

 

 

Feel Special by TWICE
Rodneil: TWICE’s gradual concept change is evident in their new song Feel Special. More than that, though, the song seems to hold a special place in the members’ hearts as it alludes to their struggles. Especially Mina who is struggling with anxiety and begged off from parts of their tour but still participated in the album with strong support from the other members.

Games to play

 

Madden NFL 20
Gab: I know how everyone is on some hype train towards the recently released NBA 2K20 video game, but there are other sports-related games out there. As someone who is starting to have a level of interest with the NFL, Madden NFL 20 introduced me to how American football actually works. If you need a quick change of pace from shooting the basketball, I suggest you try scoring touchdowns.

 

NBA 2K20
Rodneil: Echoing what Gab said on his NBA 2K20 review — this game essentially feels like a massive patch for NBA 2K19. That’s not entirely a bad thing. It’s still the superior NBA simulation game and for it to improve, EA needs to step up big time with NBA Live. Will still play it because it’s my number one way to destress.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Luigi: As a child, I never played the original Link’s Awakening on the Gameboy. I joined the Zelda party way too late. Thankfully, this Switch remake plays like a traditional game on the Gameboy. The new Link’s Awakening brings a lot to the table for both new and old players. It’s a well-polished game that doesn’t rely too much on nostalgia.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

October 2019 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

ASUS ZenFone Max M2 ($175)

We were disappointed to find out that the ZenFone Max Pro M2 went above the US$ 200 mark, but we still have the non-Pro Max M2 to buy at this price point. Fortunately, the fast Snapdragon 632 processor, large 4000mAh battery, and dual rear cameras remain.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max M2

Redmi Note 7 ($150)

Xiaomi blew everyone away when it announced the Redmi Note 7 with its class-leading specs and design. It’s been selling like hotcakes for a good reason: In terms of pure performance, nothing rivals this in the sub-US$ 200 category.

READ MORE: Redmi Note 7

 

OPPO A5s ($117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Realme 5 (US$ 154)

Realme is giving Xiaomi a run for its money on our top-of-mind easy phones to recommend. The Realme 5 is a real treat for people looking for a budget smartphone that provides more than what they need.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5

Samsung Galaxy A20 ($190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20


Update as of October 2019:

  • The Realme 5 replaced the Realme C2 on this list

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