BlackBerry 9000 Smartphone Review: BlackBerry Bold 9000. The BB Bold is the best BB! And also the best smartphone on the market. It is a very unique smartphone. Rating: The smartphone also brings HSDPA support, more productivity tools, in Motion first announced the RIM BlackBerry Bold (aka RIM BlackBerry 9000). The elegant BlackBerry Bold smartphone features a lustrous black. This review is from: BlackBerry Bold 9000 Phone, Black (AT&T) (Wireless Phone). The eagerly awaited BlackBerry Bold 9000 continues RIM's legacy for qwerty smartphones and may be its best.
The new BlackBerry Bold 9000 is the successor to devices like the BlackBerry Curve and the 8800. It is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But RIM's long years of experience really come through in the Bold, and it is far and away the best BlackBerry I've ever used.
Part of this is the elegance of the design, but a number of new features contribute as well, like the HVGA screen, HSDPA, and greatly improved software for working with Microsoft Office files. it seems like everyone has a different BlackBerry or smartphone. At the same time, everyone thinks they have the latest and greatest.
DESIGN & BUILD
RIM has dramatically improved the looks of its devices in recent years, and the Bold is a new high point. Its rounded corners and leather-textured back make it somehow both professional and sexy.
And the higher-resolution screen is great, too. The Bold has a 320-by-480-pixel display, which is at least twice the resolution of the earlier RIM models, like the Curve. This is a beautiful screen that makes everything you do with the Bold look great, but especially watching movies.
This smartphone is wider than many of its competitors, but it's also relatively thin. And its width allows the aforementioned screen to be larger, and also makes room for a bigger keyboard. This isn't as wide as the landscape-oriented keyboards you'll find on some smartphones, but it's large enough to be comfortable to type on. There's no separation between keys, but each key has a raised area that makes it easier for you to be sure you're hitting just one at a time. Sadly, the Bold doesn't fix one of my biggest complaints with BlackBerry keyboards: there are no keys dedicated to the most frequently used punctuation marks, including the period and the comma.
Between the screen and keyboard is the trackball. As the Bold doesn't have a touchscreen, you'll do much of your interacting with it through this, and it's up to the job. After a couple of days of use, I began to think that a trackball is a better option than a D-pad and definitely superior to the old BlackBerry track-wheel. There are programmable keys on both the left and right sides of this device, which is another thing I'd like to see on other smartphones.
There's also a button on top you can use to mute incoming calls. This doesn't answer the call or send it to voice-mail, it just quickly shuts off the ringing sound. You can use this same button to put the Bold in standby mode, which locks the keys and turns the screen off until you hit this button again. It will still take calls, so it's a good way to carry your smartphone around.
Full Phone Specifications
I have been using the Bold for a couple of weeks now, and I have have found it to be rock solid. If it has crashed a single time, I can't remember it. And its 624 MHz processor is easily capable of handling any of the tasks I threw at it, always responding quickly.
I have no complaints about this device's performance as a phone, but then I live in an area with excellent AT&T coverage.
The BlackBerry Bold is the first model from RIM with HSDPA, the latest version of high-speed wireless networking used by GSM carriers. This is welcome news for AT&T customers, but isn't going to impress Verizon or Sprint users, as their BlackBerries have had equivalent data transfer speeds for a long time. But like I said, AT&T customers are going to enjoy a noticeable speed increase when accessing web sites.
And the Bold's web browser is a pleasant surprise. I've used some miserable browsers on BlackBerries over the years, but this one is significantly improved. It's not amazing or even cutting edge by any stretch, but it's more usable than the browser on any BlackBerry I've seen before.
That said, if you're serious about web browsing you should install Opera Mini, which is much, much better.
This smartphone is also one of the first from this company with Wi-Fi, which can be used to speed up your browsing when you're in range of a hotspot.
It also has Bluetooth. This is primarily intended to let you use wireless headsets and car-kits, and it does this job nicely, but many of you will be happy to hear that it will work for tethering the AT&T's version of the Bold to your laptop, too. For any of you who aren't familiar with this term, it refers to the ability to make your phone act as a wireless modem for another computer.
Software for Work and Fun
What separates a smartphone from an ordinary mobile phone is good software. Fortunately, the BlackBerry Bold is well supplied with this.
Like all RIM's models. this device supports push email. Messages can come from a company's BlackBerry Enterprise Server, but AT&T also offers a version of this service for consumers, too.
One of the best new features is the bundled version of DataViz Documents To Go. This is a suite of applications for working with Microsoft Office files. It does a decent job of letting you see files in their original format, and edit them, too. It doesn't support all the formatting options Word does, but if you edit and re-save a document with formatting DocsToGo can't display, the unsupported formatting won't be affected.
To be sure of this, I created a test Word document packed with formatting and then opened it on the Bold. With the exception of the fonts and the footnote, it did a good job of rendering the document as it had appeared on my desktop. I then made some small changes, re-saved the file, and then sent it back to PC, a process called round-tripping. The document's formating hadn't been thrown off by DocsToGo, and, of course, the changes were still in place.
Long-time BlackBerry users will also surely welcome the Bold's new voice recorder.
And of course, this device has a suite of PIM applications: calendar, contracts, etc., that can be synchronized with a central server. I wish these were a bit more robust, though. There's no support for categories in the address book, for example.
The Bold isn't just about work.
In the "Fun" category, this smartphone's HVGA display really shines when you're playing movies. I loaded up some MP4 files and they looked outstanding. So did the YouTube videos I checked out, and the same goes for the shows I watched on AT&T's Mobile Video service.
This model can also play MP3s, the better to keep you entertained on a boring trip.
RIM supplies desktop software to let you transfer audio and video files from your PC to your phone. You can put these in the internal 1 GB of storage or on a microSD card. You'll have to supply your own card, and you can find these in surprisingly high capacities: 16 GB ones are out now.
The BlackBerry platform is still a bit behind its competitors in some multimedia-related areas, though. There's no support for streaming audio over the Internet, for example.
The Bold does come with a few games, though, including the obligatory version of Solitaire. This and BrickBreaker can keep you entertained and get you accustomed to using the trackball, if you aren't already.
The version of this device I'm testing has a 2.0 MPx camera, which is capable of taking decent pictures. It even includes an LED that tries to light up your subject, to make taking pictures in low-light situations a tiny bit better.
A feature that encompasses both work and your personal use is GPS. If you're looking for decent, free navigation software, I recommend Google Maps. The client for BlackBerry is quite good, if a touch limited.
The Bold's 1500 mAh battery is capable of getting through a day of heavy use, or three days of light to moderate use. Still, you can drain it faster by using some of the more power-draining features, like Wi-Fi and the GPS receiver.
The BlackBerry Bold 9000 is easily the best-looking keyboard-based smartphone on the market, and the software it includes makes it the best BlackBerry yet. That doesn't make it the best smartphone available, though. There are still some areas RIM needs to work on if it wants to reach that point. It's weak web browser and its limited support for fonts are some of the things holding it back.
Still, you can install Opera Mini -- for free -- to shore up its web browsing capabilities. And there's no doubt this is the best BlackBerry on the market.
Great design, including a high-resolution screen and keyboard
3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth
Bundles with a Microsoft Office editor
Weak built-in web browser