With the previous Bold model about a year past its original release, the Blackberry Bold 9700 came out at a perfect time. With sleeker looks and more powerful hardware than the previous model, it's just the right device to put RIM firmly in the thick of the business smartphone market.

Physically, the handset looks nothing like its predecessor. The new body is more svelte and compact, with an aesthetic that should appeal to both genders. Not only is it more pocketable than the previous Bold, it's also slimmer than this year's popular Tour. With classy looks, appealing lines and a great feel in the hand, it's an easy winner in the design department.

The downside to the compact frame is that the 9700's screen is smaller at 2.44 inches (compared to its predecessor's 2.75-inch). Display, at a 480x360 resolution, is brilliant, with crisp lines and vibrant colors. Navigation array, 35-key QWERTY keypad (crammed, but large and comfortable, buttons) and the rest of the physical controls work admirably. UI is similar to the previous device's, save for some slight refinements in OS 5.0.

As a phone, the quad-band handset manages excellent call quality on both ends of the conversation. Voices sounded clear, with nary the sign of any distortion. The speakerphone mic picked up voices very well on our end, although speaker quality was just average. Battery life has a rated talk time of 6 hours, which should be good for a couple days of regular use.

With a powerful 624MHz CPU, the smartphone runs very fast. Coupled with speedy 3G, performance of connected apps is downright snappy. Browser has received much improvement over RIM's previous versions (faster Javascript, CSS and Google Gears). Despite their efforts, however, the browser still lags behind other smartphones, marked by very slow-responding navigation.

The Bold 9700 comes with the usual Blackberry smartphone features, including a souped-up messaging and productivity suite, aGPS and Bluetooth. There's the excellent Blackberry Enterprise Server, of course, which supports Exchange, Domino and GroupWise. There's also an attachment viewer, a bevy of pre-installed messaging clients and Documents To Go.

Unlike many of Blackberry's previous releases, the phone comes with both 3G and Wi-Fi, allowing you more chances of staying connected wherever you end up (yep, it's a world phone too). The Wi-Fi service even comes with UMA, which lets you make unrestricted calls over data lines without running up your minutes.
The media player is decent, with a good range of supported formats. The 3.2 megapixel camera was a huge step-up from its predecessor, managing excellent photo quality, while providing for a good range of editing options.
Overall, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is an excellent business phone, especially for frequent travelers who could use both the 3G and Wi-Fi support. The browser, while decent, is the handset's only low point, one that we expect RIM to work on during the next year.


Anonymous said...

Where can you buy the pink and blue blackberry bold?

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