BlackBerry Bold 2 9700

The Bold 2 9700 combines the best elements of its predecessor with parts of the entry-level Curve 8520. Does this combination work?

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BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 The Bold 2 9700 is smaller and lighter than the Bold 9000 it replaces.
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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  March 7, 2010

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Key Specs

Bluetooth: Y
Camera: 3.2-megapixel
Data services: 3G/GPRS
Media player/capture: Y
Memory: 256MB

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In Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphone line the ‘Bold' is the flagship keyboard-based handheld. The current Bold 9000 was released in 2008 and has just been replaced by the newer Bold 2 9700, which retails for a price of US $735.

In terms of aesthetics and dimensions the Bold 2 is a far better product than its predecessor. It feels more solidly built, looks great in hand and is smaller and lighter than the Bold 9000. This last aesthetic aspect is particularly important because it strips the Bold away of its somewhat men-only design; most female buyers found the Bold 9000's chunkiness (dimensions) and weight of 136g off-putting. The new Bold weighs just 122g.

The keyboard is also unique to the Bold 2 and feels better to work on than any previous BlackBerry we've tested; anyone that used the 9700 found the keyboard became natural to use very quickly. As a result typing long e-mails or chatting with friends and colleagues at length is frustration-free.

The 9700 adopts the optical trackpad that we first saw on the low-cost Curve 8520 rather than the usual roller-ball. This is a good move because the trackpad feels slightly more precise to use and doesn't suffer from the various roller-ball-issues that BlackBerry users normally face once the phone is a few years old.

Processing power comes from a 624MHz CPU and while this isn't an improvement over the 9000, the Bold 2 9700 is quick to work on because it packs more RAM. Whereas the 9000 shipped with 128MB the Bold 2 ships with 256MB and this makes a difference when it comes to performance. The Bold 2 proved very lively in everyday use and the added memory really helped when it came to multi-tasking between numerous applications.

Past Bold users that had gripes about the 2-megapixel camera will also have something to celebrate because the Bold 2 ships with a 3.2-megapixel camera that packs auto-focus and a LED flash. This camera works quite well in daylight and when shooting in low-light conditions, it also manages decent shots provided the subject isn't too far away from the phone. It's a huge improvement over its predecessor.

As an everyday device the Bold 2 isn't quite perfect in that it still suffers from rather basic battery life. The battery was completely flat after a day and a half of use, which consisted of a few phone calls, sending SMS messages, about 40 minutes of WiFi use, web browsing and using the free BlackBerry Messenger application to chat with friends.

The Bold 2 9700 also has a few quirks that became apparent over our month long trial period. In particular we noticed that the smartphone didn't always connect to our Jabra Bluetooth headset and from time-to-time we also noticed that voice quality also degraded despite having a full signal.

For: Premium looks and build, great keyboard, optical trackpad works brilliantly, camera is a huge improvement over predecessor.
Against: A few annoying usability quirks, battery life is still very limited.
Verdict: The Bold 2 9700 is an improvement over its predecessor but basic battery life and a few quirks are still thorns in its side.

1649 days ago
logan
User rating: 4 stars

Pros: keyboard, internet, games

Cons: not touch screen

love this phone, i give it 8 out of 10. great processor, great keyboard, my wife loves it. so does my daughter. we use them as unlocked phones so we don't get 3G but they are still very responsive and quick. go them at gsmauthority.com and another one on ebay. very happy with my purchase.

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