BlackBerry Bold

The BlackBerry Bold 9000 is RIM’s top, keyboard-based smartphone and is designed primarily for business users

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BlackBerry Bold The BlackBerry Bold's keyboard allows for easy typing at speed.
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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  June 15, 2009

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Key Specs

Bluetooth: Y
Camera: 2-megapixel
Data services: 3G / Edge
Media player/capture: Y
Memory: 1GB

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The BlackBerry Bold 9000 is RIM’s top, keyboard-based smartphone and is designed primarily for business users. Is it the smartphone for you?

As a business device the Bold is hard to fault. In the connectivity department the phone boasts 3G/GPRS/HSPDA and quad-band GSM support, so regardless of which country you are in, you’ll be able to join an operator’s network. As it boasts 3G data capabilities, the phone proved very swift when it came to data services; browsing the web using the built-in web client, the Bold loaded pages fairly quickly though not as fast as a 3G iPhone. That said the browser is a gem in that it properly formatted most of the web pages we tried.

The device’s keyboard is also quite good as far as usability is concerned though we have to say that the Curve 8900’s keyboard has a slight edge. This is purely because the Curve’s keys are placed slightly apart from each other and stick out more from the phone’s body, which helps inspire confidence whilst typing. With the Bold, while we found the keys responsive, they sit too close to each other and aren’t raised enough over the phone’s body. This meant we had to work somewhat cautiously because we occasionally hit a nearby key by accident. That said, the Bold’s keyboard does allow you to work at a swift pace, so if you e-mail or SMS a lot when on the go, you’ll find this smartphone to your liking.

Although it is slightly larger than the Curve, aesthetically, the Bold is quite a sleek device. It will fit most hands with ease and the slightly larger keys should prove easier to work with if you have larger fingers. The only thing we didn’t like here was the leather finished rear cover; we preferred the classier aluminium cover that RIM used on the Curve.

Being a high-end smartphone the Bold features a camera but because it’s aimed at business users primarily, it is fitted with only a 2-megapixel camera (the Curve features a 3.2-megapixel camera). Testing its photo capabilities we found the camera returned rather basic pictures regardless of whether we shot in natural light or took advantage of its flash. In natural light colours seemed somewhat faded and lacked detail and when we used the flash, we noticed a fair amount of noise (graininess), while colours once again looked quite unrealistic.

The Bold’s 2.8-inch LCD also features a slightly lower resolution of 480 x 320 pixels (compared to the Curve’s 480 x 360 pixel screen), so you lose some detail when viewing photos and videos. So, if you want to use your phone as an all-in-one to watch videos and take photos, the Curve is definitively the better option. That said the screen is brilliant in terms of brightness and sharpness and thanks to its size, web pages are easier to navigate than on the Curve’s smaller screen.

In terms of battery life the Bold proved average. Using only data services (BlackBerry chat, GPS, instant messaging, e-mailing) intermittently via its 3G network adapter, the phone’s battery was flat in a day and a half. Adding in voice calls, we found the battery went from full to about 10% charge in a day. Not the strongest battery life we’ve seen from a smartphone. In use the phone was quite swift; applications opened quickly and no matter what we did, we noticed minimal lag. The only issue we faced was occasional, random freezes that forced us to perform a hard reset. However, we’re sure that future firmware upgrades will be able to reduce or stop the crashes completely.

Verdict: A great smartphone that boasts excellent connectivity and a usable keyboard. The only real issues are its basic battery life and random crashes.

3318 days ago
Carmel Vella
User rating: 1 stars

Pros: Good email

Cons: Mostly problems, resets when you're on the phone. Little signal coverage by AT&T. Dropouts

Not worth the money, but AT&T stills keeps on removing 100% good money from my account monthly.

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