The Blueberry-i from CSL makes a sweet case for those looking for a basic phone with high-end styling.
TAKING a leaf out of its more illustrious competitor’s book, CSL’s Blueberry-i mobile phone sports a black, shiny housing with a silver trim around its edges.
Even its Qwerty mini keyboard resembles RIM’s BlackBerry to a certain extent.
However the design similarities between CSL’s offering and the BlackBerry Bold 9000 handset is only skin deep — as at the end of the day, the Blueberry-i is definitely no BlackBerry.
As a matter of fact, take away the casing and what you would get is a basic mobile phone with a few surprises thrown in.
The phone, which sits firmly in the palm, has a shiny housing and display that attracts fingerprints and dust.
Apart from the mini USB port at the bottom, users will find no other buttons on the sides. The port is used to connect multiple accessories, including the charger, data cable as well as the included USB earphone.
Despite its avant-garde look, the Blueberry-i only offers pretty basic features that include dualband GSM, GPRS, VGA camera and Bluetooth connectivity with A2DP profile.
The extra surprises are dual SIM card slots, multiple language support (Chinese, English and Bahasa Malaysia) and a password-protected SMS inbox.
Also available are a list of Islamic features, including the Azan call to prayer, Kiblat directional finder and an optional Al-Quran reading application.
It offers a meagre 1MB of user memory but users can expand the storage capacity via the built-in microSD card slot. A 2GB card is included in the package.
The card slot is behind the battery so the memory card is not hotswappable.
The two SIM card slots can be used simultaneously but you can close one when it is not in use. Switching between the two numbers is easy thanks to the two dedicated buttons on the phone — each time you want to dial a number, just press the one associated with the SIM card to do so.
It was really simple and fuss free and that’s how we like it.
It is a great feature especially for those who travel a lot since you can easily slip a prepaid SIM card into the phone while keeping the original SIM active.
Moving on, we also noticed that the volume of the built-in speaker was extremely loud. It was so deafening that we kept it reduced to only the first level (there are seven levels altogether) most of the time.
The only time we pumped up the volume was when we wanted to listen to MP3 music with some friends. It was like having a portable mini hifi indeed. Even at the highest volume level, we didn’t detect any cracking in the audio.
The bundled headset provides a good listening experience but since the phone only has a mini USB port you can’t use your favourite standard 3.5mm-based headphone in its place.
But thanks to its Bluetooth with A2DP profile support, you can still replace the earphone with a Bluetooth headset instead.
Typing messages on the Qwerty keyboard is another reason — apart from the look or the excellent built-in speaker — why one would want to get this phone in the first place.
Feedback from the keyboard was good, with a distinct click for each key press. You can even type easily using one hand.
There is no predictive text input to help users but since one can type quite fast on it we were willing to forgive the omission.
The subtle white light that illuminates the keyboard makes it easier to read in areas with low light and it also adds a sense of class.
The Blueberry-i comes with a VGA camera and as such you should not expect much. There are some basic settings like white balance, scene mode and effects but they didn’t really add much.
Video recording is possible but the end result was almost always choppy.
The lens is protected by what looks like a hard clear glass cover. Users can clean the fingerprints, dust or grime off it easily but we don’t think that it is scratch-proof though.
Plenty of mobile phone users just want to make calls and do not want to bother with other features such as the camera or multimedia capabilities. That’s why basic phones are still sold in the market and are still popular despite all the fancy phones around.
Coupled with its low price tag, good looks and equally important, dual SIM card slots, the Blueberry-i certainly fits into that category.
Pros: Qwerty keyboard is great for texting; dual SIM card support; loud speakers; low price.
Cons: Bad picture quality; basic specifications.
Dual-band phone Camera: 0.3-megapixels (VGA)
Display: 2.2in QVGA 262,000 colours ( 220 x 176-pixels)
Messaging: MMS, SMS, e-mail
Connectivity: Bluetooth, GPRS
Phone memory: 1MB
Expansion slot: MicroSD
Battery type: 700mAh lithium-ion
Standby/talk time: 180/3 hours
Other features: Dual SIM card slots, Qwerty mini keyboard, FM radio, MP3 player, MPEG4 playback, video and sound recorder, e-book reader, Java applications
Dimensions (w x d x h): 110 x 50 x 16mm Price: RM438
Review unit courtesy of CSL Group of Companies, (03) 5569-3031.
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