BlackBerry Bold 9700 (Onyx) Review

The BlackBerry Bold 9000, was, at its time, a significant and sexy update to the old 8800 lineup. The Curve family was still young and coming into its own, but RIM had a whole new generation to launch. Shortly after the original Bold, the 8900 Curve, 9530 Storm, and 9630 Tour expanded significantly on the 9000’s precedent with microUSB slots, a sleek, unified mute/lock key, and a new 3.2 megapixel camera standard. Despite being RIM’s highest end handset with Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G under one roof, the 9000 was starting to show its age with the additions of optical touchpads, screens flush with function buttons, and OS 5.0 to other BlackBerrys. Well, we’ve come full circle, and the grandaddy of BlackBerry is back in business. The gap between the Bold and its siblings is considerably smaller now, since GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G will soon be found living happily together within many other RIM handsets. At first glance, it might seem like the Bold has lost its big and beautiful appeal in favour of a more slender, Curve-like profile, and really has us wondering if the 9700 deserves the name “Bold”. Hit the jump to find out for yourself if it does.

BlackBerry Bold 9700

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By Research In Motion (Rogers, Bell, telus – $249.99 ; AT&T, T-Mobile – $199.99)

Height: 4.29 inches (109 mm)
Width: 2.36 inches (60 mm)
Depth: 0.56 inches (14.1 mm)
Weight: 4.30 ounces / 122 grams (including battery); 3.17 ounces / 90 grams (without battery)
Trackpad navigation
Bright, hi-resolution screen: 480 x 360 pixels, 2.44″, 65,000 colors, transmissive TFT LCD
Full QWERTY keyboard and 3.5mm headphone jack
3G technology:  UMTS: 2100/1900/850/800 MHz (Bands 1,2,5/6), 2100/1700/900 MHz (Bands 1,4,8); GSM: 1900/1800/900/850 MHz; Quad-band support: GSM 850
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g, UMA support, planned WPA, WPA2, WMM, WMM Power Save, Wi-Fi Protected Setup, and Cisco CCX Wi-Fi Certifications
Bluetooth: v2.1, mono/stereo, handsfree, handsfree, serial port, stereo audio (A2DP/AVCRP), and SIM access profiles
A-GPS
256MB flash memory, microSD card reader supporting up to 32 GB
3.2 MP digital camera with video camera: auto focus, image stabilization, flash, 2X digital zoom, Normal Mode (480 x 352 pixel) and MMS Mode (176 x 144 pixel) video recording
Multimedia player:  MPEG4 H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.264, and WMV video support; MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMA ProPlus audio support
Battery: 1500 mAh removable/rechargeable cryptographic Lithium cell; up to 6 hours (GSM and UMTS) talk time, up to 21 days/504 hours (GSM) standby (17 days/408 hours (UMTS) ), up to 38 hours music playback

Pros

  • Slim profile
  • Needed iterative upgrades (memory, camera, trackpad, OS)
  • Exceptional battery life

Cons

  • Mediocre construction
  • Little innovation
  • Typing and display compromised for size

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