1. Pope Innocent III's Avatar
    I kept on hearing that the Bold 9900 had the best keyboard of any BB devices, so I ordered one, but to my dismay it is quite clunky. By this I mean that I have to push the buttons a bit hard, and it puts a bit of strain on my fingers. What's up with that? It's a second-hand device, so it's clearly just wear. But I'm wondering if investing in a new keyboard will make much of a difference. Is it normal for keyboards to become so much clunkier than before?

    Among BBs, the keyboards I'm used to are that of the Classic, Passport, and Priv. So far, I like the Passport keyboard the best and after that the Classic one. This one is still better than that of the Priv.
    02-16-18 02:54 PM
  2. RaybanRJ's Avatar
    I kept on hearing that the Bold 9900 had the best keyboard of any BB devices, so I ordered one, but to my dismay it is quite clunky. By this I mean that I have to push the buttons a bit hard, and it puts a bit of strain on my fingers. What's up with that? It's a second-hand device, so it's clearly just wear. But I'm wondering if investing in a new keyboard will make much of a difference. Is it normal for keyboards to become so much clunkier than before?

    Among BBs, the keyboards I'm used to are that of the Classic, Passport, and Priv. So far, I like the Passport keyboard the best and after that the Classic one. This one is still better than that of the Priv.
    If you want hard and exhausting keyboards try a 9700 or 9780. What’s nice about the 9900 keyboard is you really don’t have to press that hard, you press down a certain distance and then it’s easier to go down the rest of the way. I’m willing to bet you’re just mashing the keyboard and you haven’t really figured out you don’t have to press that hard yet. It’s rather addictive because it clicks, and there might be a slight break in when it becomes a little easier also. But I’ll tell you this the distance you have to press is much less on the 9900 then the 9780 or a 9790. The 9790 is just pure mush compared to the crisp accurate keyboard of the 9900.

    You said you ordered one, was that a new one or a well-worn one where it would feel clunky? New ones are nice and crisp and they stay that way for over a year minimum in my experience.
    02-16-18 04:21 PM
  3. Pope Innocent III's Avatar
    It's a well-worn one. I don't think the keyboard has ever been changed before on this device, so it's much more than a year old.

    To clarify: I'm trying to figure out to what degree my discontent is because I'm not used to the keyboard, and to what degree it's due to wear. The comparison with older devices isn't important to me. Much more important is this: that I find the Passport and Classic keyboards almost equally great, while this keyboard is on-par with the Priv's, meaning much, much worse. How would you diagnose this? Could it be just a difference in taste?
    02-16-18 06:41 PM
  4. mushroom_daddy's Avatar
    Could be difference in taste, or just that you've got used to a different form of keyboard.
    After several Nokia smartphones with PKBs, the Bold 9900 was my first BlackBerry, back in 2012, and it remains my favourite. I've subsequently had the Q10 and now the KEYone. Others on this forum will have used many more BlackBerry devices, but the general consensus is that the 9900's ergonomic, smiling keyboard and sculpted keys remains unsurpassed.
    I really liked the Q10 keyboard, the keys were slightly bigger and, for my aging eyes, much easier to read. But the keys were straight, horizontal, as they have been on subsequent devices, including the KEYone. I spent a long time using the Q10 as my daily, but each time I returned to my 9900 I realized that it was simply a more pleasant typing experience; the words just seem to fly much faster and with a significantly lower error rate [and that's without even factoring the significance of the trackpad for text selection/editing]. Much as I enjoy using the KEYone, with all the new shiny apps, my SIM card remains firmly in the 9900 - and that is tool that I prefer to use to get my work done.

    Others here can pass comment on the working life of the 9900 keyboards, but in my experience there is little deterioration over time. If anything, they can improve, loosen up a little. My first keyboard was 5 years old before I changed it, and that was down to a defective optical trackpad rather than any deterioration in performance of the keys.
    02-17-18 03:44 AM
  5. idssteve's Avatar
    Sitting here with Classic in right hand and 99 in left, my Classic demands noticeably more force to press than 99. Could be production variation of individual KB? I've swapped countless KBs on my various 99s and have, on a few occasions, swapped in another just 5 minutes later because the new one was so stiff. I have access to a hundred+ KBs for 99. All from the same huge box and seemingly the same production run. Yet, there seems to be some production variation.

    Also, I've had a couple that just didn't fit the tabs into the slots properly and the resulting base plate distortion made parts, or all, of the KB very stiff. A little judicious filing & fitting corrected that easily enough. Some of my best 99 KBs started out just a little stiff but quickly "wore in" to exquisite feel. The few ridiculously stiff ones might have eventually "wore in" but I just lacked patience to find out. We swap KB very regularly, mostly for paint wear, and keep a box of spares. & tools on the breakroom table. Lol.

    Just for comparison, my 99 is softer than my Classic and K1. I don't have my non-SE PP handy but vividly recall it being stiffer than 99. Fwiw. I'd say that if your 99 is stiffer than Classic, something isn't right.

    There are some lousy KBs for sale out in the eBay wilderness, but I seem to recall that Ralph had good luck with a particular source... ??
    02-17-18 09:59 AM
  6. idssteve's Avatar

    ... and it puts a bit of strain on my fingers. ...
    Just curious... Are you typing with your fingers? Or just referring to your thumb as a finger?? Everyone I know "thumbs" their Blackberrys... ?? Shouldn't make ANY difference in the key stiffness. Just curious about how well fingers work, if that's your technique. ??

    My technique uses thumb nail rather than thunb pad. I find an optimally trimmed thumb nail provides optimal precision and speed. Fwiw. Rough on KB paint, tho. Lol.
    02-17-18 10:20 AM
  7. Pope Innocent III's Avatar
    Thanks for the useful input.

    Sitting here with Classic in right hand and 99 in left, my Classic demands noticeably more force to press than 99. Could be production variation of individual KB? I've swapped countless KBs on my various 99s and have, on a few occasions, swapped in another just 5 minutes later because the new one was so stiff. I have access to a hundred+ KBs for 99. All from the same huge box and seemingly the same production run. Yet, there seems to be some production variation.

    Also, I've had a couple that just didn't fit the tabs into the slots properly and the resulting base plate distortion made parts, or all, of the KB very stiff. A little judicious filing & fitting corrected that easily enough. Some of my best 99 KBs started out just a little stiff but quickly "wore in" to exquisite feel. The few ridiculously stiff ones might have eventually "wore in" but I just lacked patience to find out. We swap KB very regularly, mostly for paint wear, and keep a box of spares. & tools on the breakroom table. Lol.

    Just for comparison, my 99 is softer than my Classic and K1. I don't have my non-SE PP handy but vividly recall it being stiffer than 99. Fwiw. I'd say that if your 99 is stiffer than Classic, something isn't right.

    There are some lousy KBs for sale out in the eBay wilderness, but I seem to recall that Ralph had good luck with a particular source... ??
    From reading this forum, I've read some positive feedback on a seller named purebrindle, but they don't ship to my home country of the Netherlands. I have a feeling that even if you're referring to another seller, it's going to be the same deal. I did find other 9900 keyboards on eBay that ship to my location, but I don't know what the feedback on those keyboards is.

    Now I'm trying to decide whether I want to buy a new keyboard, or return this 9900 and buy another one. From what I understand, the keyboards are generally still good despite the age, and I had bad luck with this purchase. Is that correct?

    Just curious... Are you typing with your fingers? Or just referring to your thumb as a finger?? Everyone I know "thumbs" their Blackberrys... ?? Shouldn't make ANY difference in the key stiffness. Just curious about how well fingers work, if that's your technique. ??

    My technique uses thumb nail rather than thunb pad. I find an optimally trimmed thumb nail provides optimal precision and speed. Fwiw. Rough on KB paint, tho. Lol.
    I type with my thumbs as well, and meant that they were getting sore. In Dutch, we categorize thumbs as fingers so I assumed it was the same in English.
    02-17-18 10:44 AM
  8. RaybanRJ's Avatar
    The comparison with older devices isn't important to me. Much more important is this: that I find the Passport and Classic keyboards almost equally great, while this keyboard is on-par with the Priv's, meaning much, much worse. How would you diagnose this? Could it be just a difference in taste?
    But comparison is the useful tool we all do to learn which has the softest keyboard. Much like test driving cars to know it’s a good fit before we get one.

    It sounded to me like your keyboard was worn out and for about $15 you probably could get one on eBay and it would make all the difference in the world, depending on if you can live with it or not.
    02-17-18 12:01 PM
  9. anon(8063781)'s Avatar
    Much more important is this: that I find the Passport and Classic keyboards almost equally great, while this keyboard is on-par with the Priv's, meaning much, much worse. How would you diagnose this? Could it be just a difference in taste?
    I'd say that you have a very worn out keyboard. In fact, I suspect Steve is onto something with respect to the keyboard possibly separating from the back plate / warping.

    There's nothing you can do about the smaller size of the 9900 keyboard, but the button press action should be similar to that of the Classic. It should not be similar to the Priv, which had a very shallow key travel.

    Ditto on the comments above re: keyboards and eBay.
    02-17-18 01:33 PM
  10. idssteve's Avatar
    Thanks for the useful input.



    From reading this forum, I've read some positive feedback on a seller named purebrindle, but they don't ship to my home country of the Netherlands. I have a feeling that even if you're referring to another seller, it's going to be the same deal. I did find other 9900 keyboards on eBay that ship to my location, but I don't know what the feedback on those keyboards is.

    Now I'm trying to decide whether I want to buy a new keyboard, or return this 9900 and buy another one. From what I understand, the keyboards are generally still good despite the age, and I had bad luck with this purchase. Is that correct?



    I type with my thumbs as well, and meant that they were getting sore. In Dutch, we categorize thumbs as fingers so I assumed it was the same in English.
    Haha... Might depend on which "English"... Lol. My part of the world spells Favorite without the u. Lol. But that's why I asked, because 99's keys are smaller than those of Classic or PP. Idk about Priv? But, key size might be critical depending on your individual technique.

    My thumb nail technique makes key size nearly irrelevant to me. In fact, I type quantitatively faster on the even smaller 9650 kb. Thanks mostly to my thumb nail typing. 9650 kb is softer than 9900 but slightly less precise to "snap". Thumb nails contribute significant precision and the shorter distance to travel from key to key improves my speed. But, alas, 9650's slow processor makes for 10 minute reboots after battery swap. A deal killer for powering via batt swaps. 99's boot time is roughly 1/4 that so... .

    The thing you want to keep in mind is that the io input happens at "snap". Which, on 99, is the very start of travel. No real need to press completely to the bottom of travel. I never press to bottom. 99's pronounced click snap affords tactile feedback that informs thumb's muscle memory that it's time to move to next key. Once mastered, VERY fast, precise and efficiently "fluid" thumb movement techniques develop. Certainly no "pain" involved, for me.

    In fact, my technique wrests thumb nail against keys while sliding over them to the next target. Which provides tactile feedback clues for typing by feel without looking. Muscle memory that must be re-trained when typing on capacitive input devices. Holding thumb in the air, as demanded on capacitive KB, eventually generates a sense of fatigue along the back of my undeveloped thumb. Lol. Go figure. Lol.

    In short, as mentioned before me, I can see where being accustomed to larger KB might demand some adjustment in technique on 99's compact footprint. But certainly should not be painfully stiffer. For those of us practiced at it, KB replacement is 5 minute easy on 9900. But, I think your plan to return the "stiff" 99 and purchase a different one might ultimately prove easiest. Your call, there.
    Last edited by idssteve; 02-17-18 at 03:06 PM.
    02-17-18 02:53 PM
  11. RaybanRJ's Avatar
    .

    There are some lousy KBs for sale out in the eBay wilderness, but I seem to recall that Ralph had good luck with a particular source... ??
    “PureBrindle” on Amazon I believe, cost $15 including shipping and it was an official Blackberry keyboard. I also visited several electronics repair shops locally that still stock Blackberry parts, we tried several that were generic and some didn’t connect or some keys were solid and would not budge. I highly recommend a NEW official keyboard (if you can find one) because less effort is likely required on a brand new one than one that might be worn. If I recall correctly, the brand new B.B. KB is slightly “stiffer” but only for a very short time while being very “crisp” and “clicky.” But the OP must not confuse “stiffer” with “exhaustive” like the 9780 I had. Even after 5 years the 9780 keyboard had the same amount of “exhaustion” involved to fully depress each key. You actually had to dig deeper on each stroke to enter the character on the screen, whereas the 9900 was a delight even with a worn keyboard in comparison.

    But the clickiness on a NEW 9900 KB is really what makes it addictive and fun to use. If someone does not like how a newer 9900 KB feels or handles then I would suggest another model, but realize that it takes some getting used to ANY NEW DEVICE and eventually it will be appreciated later in time.
    02-17-18 03:32 PM
  12. Pope Innocent III's Avatar
    Perhaps my earlier posts were a bit misleading. After using the 9900 a bit more, as well as unearthing my Priv, I'd say the latter is worse than I remember and the former isn't all that bad. So I suppose being used to a keyboard is a real factor. But aside from that, this keyboard does have wear, so I'm going to buy a new one.

    By the way, I still stick with my previous ranking: Passport > Classic > 9900 > Priv. But the 9900 follows the Classic quite quickly, even with this worn keyboard, and it's liable to change with a new one. Thanks for the help, everyone.
    mushroom_daddy likes this.
    02-21-18 10:40 AM
  13. anon(8063781)'s Avatar
    Perhaps my earlier posts were a bit misleading. After using the 9900 a bit more, as well as unearthing my Priv, I'd say the latter is worse than I remember and the former isn't all that bad. So I suppose being used to a keyboard is a real factor. But aside from that, this keyboard does have wear, so I'm going to buy a new one.

    By the way, I still stick with my previous ranking: Passport > Classic > 9900 > Priv. But the 9900 follows the Classic quite quickly, even with this worn keyboard, and it's liable to change with a new one. Thanks for the help, everyone.
    I can see a person liking the Passport better. The keys are a lot larger and that space can be comfortable. The other thing is that Bold keyboards vary in quality. I've had some that I really like, and others that don't have the same keypress feel. So you may get a replacement you really like. Or not. Who knows how much in the way of worthwhile parts (and not factory rejects) are still out there?
    02-22-18 09:23 PM
  14. idssteve's Avatar
    Perhaps my earlier posts were a bit misleading. After using the 9900 a bit more, as well as unearthing my Priv, I'd say the latter is worse than I remember and the former isn't all that bad. So I suppose being used to a keyboard is a real factor. But aside from that, this keyboard does have wear, so I'm going to buy a new one.

    By the way, I still stick with my previous ranking: Passport > Classic > 9900 > Priv. But the 9900 follows the Classic quite quickly, even with this worn keyboard, and it's liable to change with a new one. Thanks for the help, everyone.
    All depends on individual use case and technique. That's why each individual must chose their own individual path in life.

    Personally, the added width of Classic & PP hinder typing speed and precision by making the far column of keys virtually unreachable for a SINGLE thumb. You must be double thumbing?

    Never developed much proficiency at single thumbing PP but single thumbing Classic was assisted greatly by growing thumbnail slightly longer. This permits pressing Q, A, alt. Without accidentally mashing W, S, Z with right thumb pad. For example.

    Of course that's where nail vs pad technique come to play. I'd always assumed everyone used nails, like myself and most coworkers. Sounding like many use thumb "pads"?
    02-23-18 03:23 AM
  15. mushroom_daddy's Avatar
    Thumb tips for me, which means that the thumb & nail edge tends to strike the 9900 keys. I certainly notice the difference when I cut my nails, which I like to do on a reasonably frequent basis - can't be dealing with the long nails look!
    I also double-thumb, to me that's where the BlackBerry (PKB) leaves the touch-screen, single-finger, tap-tap typists standing in terms of text input speed.
    Last edited by mushroom_daddy; 02-23-18 at 04:53 AM.
    02-23-18 04:39 AM
  16. idssteve's Avatar
    Thumb tip touches enough to provide tactile feedback for "blind" key identification but 99% of force is applied thru nail, for me. A technique that "just happened". Likely on the old 9650.

    Interestingly, our resident "speed demon" has the smallest hands and the longest nails! Some brains are just wired certain ways and hers is a marvel to behold in action. On desktop, all sizes of BB, iPhone... You name it. Left, right, both. EVERYone who watches her type realizes they're witnessing something extraordinary. .

    She's the one who suggested I grow my thumbnail in order to reach the Classic's far column. As a musician, I'm already accustomed to "custom trimming" my nails. Short as possible on left hand to aid fingering guitar, violin, mandolin, etc. Longer on right hand for guitar, mostly. I've already incorporated the longer right thumb nail into some guitar techniques. Lol. Which is one reason that oversized Classic has become my right hander.

    Double thumbing IS faster. It's just not twice as fast, for me. I double thumb when speed is TOP priority. Otherwise, optimizing diminishing returns leads to balancing other activities right hand can accomplish against additional typing speed. I'd say 90% of my typing is single thumbing on 99. Double thumbing Classic challenges my single thumb type rate on 99. Double thumb text input on PassPort is respectable enough but actual document production, especially editing, suffers compared with 99/Classic. For me, anyway. Toolbelt is irreplaceable, imo.

    Which goes to show that no keyboard functions in isolation from the rest of the hardware. And even software. When some of us rave about 99's fabulous KB, we're talking about the whole package. The ability to grasp the chassis well enough to provide stability while typing is possibly most essential to perceived keyboard "quality". 9900 is certainly sized for stable grasp, imo. Fwiw.
    mushroom_daddy likes this.
    02-23-18 07:19 AM
  17. EFats's Avatar
    Is it preference? I have Q10 and Passport SE and original. The 9900 keyboard is at least as good as any of the others. I rank Q10 and 9900 on top for key feel.

    I did replace keyboard on my 9900 before due to sticky keys. It was like $5 and really easy to replace.
    02-25-18 11:48 AM
  18. Cixert's Avatar
    My favorite range of keyboards are, in order of writing speed:
    BB 9300
    BB 8520
    BB Classic
    BB Q5
    BB 9900
    The keyboard of the BB Classic has the same usability as the 9900.
    I do not recommend changing the keyboard if you can buy another device.
    In addition to changing the keyboard you have to change the membrane of the keyboard. The problem comes in that they sell you exactly the same and that you get to adjust it millimetrically.
    03-15-18 07:09 PM
  19. mushroom_daddy's Avatar
    My personal experience, and preference
    9900>Q10>KEYone

    I really like the look of the slightly larger size of the Q10 keys and yet I remain faster and more accurate on my 9900.
    The KEYone keyboard is certainly usable, and more preferable than typing on glass, but it hasn't matched the feel of legacy BlackBerry PKB's. The KEYone reminds me more of my old Nokia devices (e.g., E71 & E6) , with slightly domed, polished keys.
    03-16-18 08:04 AM
  20. Cixert's Avatar
    I just wrote a keyboard speed ranking
    https://forums.crackberry.com/device.../#post13154762
    03-16-18 08:18 PM
  21. Nguyen1's Avatar
    The "worst" BlackBerry keyboard I've used is the Storm 2 9550. It uses a unique hybrid touchscreen that you must press Hard on to register keyboard clicks. It is responsive and works well but after a while can be very tiring on the fingers. Simply touching the keys will not do anything, you have to press!

    In contrast, the storm 1 9530 has a softer touchscreen that is fun to type on. I like it a lot. If it was a GSM device and had better battery life, I would use it a lot. For now, it remains a memo pad, music/video player. Some people don't like the weirdly moving screen, but I dig it.

    Signature: Typed on my Passport SE!
    03-29-18 01:00 PM

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