Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax! It's time for another hands-on review of a yet to be officially announced or released BlackBerry smartphone. We were the first to get our paws on the BlackBerry 9000, and we're doing it again with Research in Motion's BlackBerry flip phone, aka the KickStart.
With the BlackBerry KickStart it seems RIM has managed to achieve a form factor that is both Small yet BIG. It's actually a little bit weird to experience at first. Sitting on the desk next to a pile of other smartphones (a few BlackBerrys, a Treo 680 and even an iPhone 3G) with its flip closed, the KickStart s"seemse" small. With the exception of the Treo 680, the KickStart is definitely the thickest of the bunch, but the width and height of the device is obviously much smaller and the black face with chrome-colored edging makes it look tight. Despite the extra thickness added to the device from having a flip, the KickStart should be small enough to fit into most people's pockets inconspicuously. Busting out the measuring tape, with the flip closed the KickStart comes in at ~ 4u" long, just under 2c" wide and about 11/16ths of an inch thick.
On the kitchen scale the KickStart weighs in at 100 grams (~3.5oz), which places it firmly in the lightweight division of smartphone competitors. Sum it all up and my first impression of the KickStart was more favorable than I expected (some of the earlier leaked photos had me a bit turned off). Sitting with the flip closed I really like the look - it's sort of elegant, understated, and futuristic all at once. With the flip open the KickStart appears a little big and a little plain, but the design makes the device easy to navigate and type on one-handed (an acceptable trade-off), and when I'm talking on the phone I can't see it anyways, so I'm not going to gripe too much. While definitely divergent from other BlackBerry smartphones on the market, it only takes a few minutes of use to realize this is still very much a BlackBerry, which is a good thing.
With such a divergent form factor from the existing BlackBerry smartphone line-up, comparing the KickStart next to the 8700, 8800, Curve or Bold seems a bit irrelevant. Instead, I headed to the mall and snuck a few comparison shots to provide an impression of how the KickStart stacks up to the flip competition.