Review: CSL Blueberry a9500
Update 1: More photos here
Update 2: Sometime in mid June, Tesco was selling this very model for RM399 (damn!)
Update 3: Sometime in mid June also, the trackball started to give problem. Sometimes it works, other times it is just it does not work
Update 4: A month later, it stopped working at all and I was “trackball-less” for months. One good thing about this model was that I was still able to navigate using the side buttons (but without trackball, it meant I could not play my usual games) . Then in early 2011, something very, very strange happened. I hooked the phone to my laptop, to copy some files and suddenly the trackball worked again. Strange indeed.
Back to the original post
(Malaysian made Blackberry…errr…Blueberry)
Just before my trip to Chennai, India, my wife’s phone conveniently died out.
Having no time to “trouble shoot” the problem, we decided to take a look at it after we have come back from Chennai. The phone was not recharging so we thought that there must be a problem with the battery. The solution was to buy a new battery, so we thought.
During shopping trip to a shopping complex, we decided to walk over to the phone shop to see what is on promotion. My eyes was focussed on some of the smartphones on display – many not was selling for less than RM1,500. My wife noticed it too and politely reminded me that we are there to buy replacement battery, not replacement phone. That is when we noticed a CSL Blueberry a9500 model on sale for RM599. That looked like a good bargain considering the various functions bundled into the “Blackberry look-a-like but is certainly not” phone.
My wife looked at it and conceded that it looked like a good bargain (if I buy this, then she get to keep my Nokia phone, so she was very accommodating). So, we decided to buy a new phone instead of a new battery (the old phone was too old anyway).
So, what to expect with CSL’s Blueberry? The best thing that I got for RM599 was these:-
- 2 Sim Card slots (easier if I am travelling overseas)
- Wi-fi (save up on GPRS cost when free wi-fi is available)
- TV Receiver (local analog TV, not Astro)
- Radio Receiver
- Free 2GB microSD card
- MSN, Yahoo IM ability
- PDF reader
- Facebook, Twitter ability
- Google Map (works wonder when wi-fi is available)
- QWERTY keypad
That is the best thing about this phone. There are some shortcomings but I am not complaining considering the price of the phone (cheap means less functionality, less graphical experience, less web experience). CSL claims that it is a Malaysian company and Blueberry is a Malaysian made phone but there is plenty of room for improvement, namely:-
- The icons are just too ugly – can there be an update for more glossy looking icons? It looks too simple (their K500i model had better icons).
- The OS running the Blueberry is an unknown Taiwanese made MTK OS. Many sites (providing apps and games) do not recognise MTK OS (unlike Android or Symbian). Thankfully ability to upload and install Java jar files comes handy.
- The default icons is fixed – we cannot change it to a more frequently used icons
- Some of programs installed are outdated (despite the model released in January 2010) – for example, Opera Mini is still showing version 3 (I managed to install version 5 which is more functional and better looking)
- Camera provided is terrible – it is 2MP camera but despite having a flash function, it performs worse than Nokia’s no flash 2MP camera (however video ability was better).
- The antenna (for TV & radio) is pointing downwards – that makes it difficult to “stand” the phone whilst watching the TV. Besides should antennas be pointing upwards for better signals? I was wrong…there is an option to point the antenna upwards but still, it will be better if they had the antenna at the top.
(Hope CSL is taking down notes, for their next model released in March 2010, i9000T had the same problems. They need to improve their website too – models shown without too much details or software updates)
CSL Blueberry is NOT iPhone or Blackberry or other high end smartphones in the market. But given the price (for a brand new phone), it gets most of the job done – with Wi-Fi and Java programs. Just hope MTK picks up and CSL provides better updates (like how Nokia does, excellently).
P.s. This is how I setup the Wifi on Blueberry 9500:-
- Click on the icon listed as “WLAN“
- Click on “Enable WLAN” to enable wifi connections
- Click on “Search for networks” to check on available networks (if it is secured, then you need to setup the security details in “Access point settings“)
- Pick the network that you want to connect, click on “Options” and press on “Connect“
- You are now connected to the Internet (to avoid connection through GPRS, I disable GPRS using “Settings” > “Network setup” > “SIM1 network setup” > “Preferred mode” and pick “WLAN only” or “WLAN preferred“)
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