BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Review: old-school design minus old-school lag

BlackBerry-9900-front3d

By the time the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 was announced, we had already seen plenty of it, going all the way back to prototypes that were little more than Bold 9000s with a touchscreen and no trackball. Many critics were already bored of RIM’s buttoned-down, traditional QWERTY candybar layout, and the samey look of the new operating system, but those of us that had a chance to play around with it knew that the performance was leagues ahead of anything RIM had done previously. While a few other next-gen RIM smartphones are launching alongside the Bold, the 9900/9930 will be spearheading BlackBerry’s latest push. The big question remains: why get one if dual-core QNX-powered BlackBerry smartphones are coming out early next year? Is the new breed of RIM devices enough to sate BlackBerry loyalists, nevermind remain appealing to the smartphone market at large? Check out our full BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 review to find out.

The Good
  • Slim, executive-feeling design
  • Super-smooth and responsive software
  • Still handles messaging like a boss
The Bad
  • Same BlackBerry experience with minor tweaks
  • Limited screen real estate
  • NFC dependent on carrier

Hardware

In terms of feel, the new BlackBerry Bold hearkens back in a lot of ways to the Bold 9000. It's wide, but much slimmer than the original. The keyboard is actually 6% bigger than the BlackBerry 9000, making it the roomiest, most comfortable keyboard of any BlackBerry to date. Even within the greater sphere of smartphones, I'd be hard-pressed to name a device that's as nice to type on than the 9900/9930. Heavy-duty texters will be able to appreciate the keyboard more than anyone, but if you're more into apps and media, the 2.8 inch screen may be too small for your liking. The metal bezel certainly adds an executive feeling unseen in BlackBerry devices to date. If RIM had included the classic leather battery doors too, then you'd have a real premium-feeling device. It's worth noting that the 9900/9930 re-introduces charging contacts at the bottom, making for seamless, wire-free juicing with the right dock. It's been a feature that has often been overlooked, but RIM's been doing it for awhile, even before webOS phones made inductive charging cool.

Build Quality

The BlackBerry 9900/9930 earns most of its build quality points for the stainless steel band around the outside. Traditionally, RIM stuck with a cheap-feeling painted plastic, so it's nice to hold something solid for a change. Even the convenience keys are stainless steel, which really drives home the quality. The keyboard is sufficiently clicky, but don't require a lot of force to press, which, combined with the roomy size of each key, makes for very relaxed typing. The rear of the device has a border of soft-touch rubber, and the battery door is made of glossy plastic which covers a carbon fiber weave pattern. I'm sure that smooth battery door won't age gracefully and show scratches overtime, but the front display handles scratches like a boss. Some casual friction doesn't seem to leave any mark, which should be expected from any high-end smartphone at this point.

Overall, the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 feels tight and well-constructed. I suspect that it could weather a good couple of years-worth of e-mails before wear and tear become a serious concern.

Design

The metal band around the outside of the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 adds about as much class as it does physical sturdiness, but aside from that, a lot of the design choices are going to be familiar. RIM has ditched the dual mute and lock keys on top, and have instead separated them so the mute/pause/play key sits nicely in the middle of the volume rocker. I'm really happy about this decision, because it was far too easy to accidentally unpause your music when putting a BlackBerry into your pocket top-down, or lock the device with a stray bump. Now the lock key on top is nicely receded into the body, much like the old 9000, and the mute key is logically placed with the other media controls. The four navigation keys and optical trackpad are unchanged, though they're about as flush against the touchscreen as you can get short of making them part of the front face, like the Curve 9300. It seems to me that anyone who would be willing to carry a phone as wide as the Bold 9900/9930 would expect a big touchscreen, but for those who pump out a ton of e-mail and other text messages, the room is best spent on a stellar physical keyboard. In terms of overall style, the phone's very classic BlackBerry; to me, that means sharp, smooth, and dark, but I'll leave it up to you to decide if that look has been done to death.

Software

The BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 launches with OS 7.0.0.254, and though things run much more smoothly than usual, it's still the same basic experience as you would expect from a RIM smartphone. That means a laser focus messaging in all its forms, including e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, Facebook, and Twitter. All of those communications are pushed into the Messages folder, and can all be linked within the native address book, so each person's latest correspondence is readily visible.

There are still some shortcomings of the Java-based BlackBerry OS, like the fact that many apps require a whole system reboot to complete installation. There's still no way to identify duplicate contacts and merge them, though when adding new contact information, you can now opt to add it to an existing contact rather than making a brand new one. E-mails are still truncate based on size, though that limit is due to get bumped up a notch. There's no native means of taking a screenshot, pushing you to buy something third-party. On the plus side, Gmail conversations are now threaded within the native Messages app, along with Google-specific stuff like archiving, labels, and stars; those features used to require you to view Gmail from its own dedicated inbox rather than amalgamated with all of your other stuff.

Application selection still isn't great, though 3D, BBM, and augmented reality support do open up a few doors for developers. Though there's 768 MB of RAM for apps to run within, only 190 MB or so is actually dedicated to app storage. Seeing as applications are rarely bigger than 7 MB and there are so few quality titles in App World (nevermind any updated for OS 7), it would be a real challenge to actually fill up all that room. Besides, those new 3D games can store a lot of its textures and models on SD card memory.

As snappy as the software is, I still experienced a few hiccups. After draining the battery dead, I got a pretty vicious looking crash on reboot, which eventually resolved itself over time. For a little while, the video camera gave me an error saying it couldn't start the viewfinder, which was resolved with a battery pull. I needed to do another battery pull after a factory reset when I just got a blank screen once the intro video was done. Staring at an hourglass doesn't happen much anymore, except when you're downloading something from App World.

The software on the Verizon device has also been used to lock out near-field communications, a feature that was to set the Bold apart from the other OS 7 handsets. Although NFC isn't a big deal right now, it's pretty much guaranteed that in a few years time, we'll all be paying for stuff by tapping our phones on sensors at stores. It's a bit of a vicious circle, since stores and banks are waiting on customers owning compatible hardware to start installing sensors, and phone manufacturers are waiting on businesses to have sensors so NFC is a sellable feature. That said, it's not a huge tragedy that there's at least a temporary software block on NFC, but seeing as this was an advertised feature that would set the 9900/9930 apart from the other OS 7 devices, its absence is noticeable. AT&T and T-Mobile are also expected to have a similar block in place.

What does sting is the fact that mobile hotspot was expected in all of RIM's OS 7 devices, but as it turns out, none of them will have it. This is standard across iOS and Android, so it's really not asking too much. It's a huge utility for folks carrying around tablets, laptops, and are surrounded by friends that could use a bit of spare data. RIM's notoriously subservient to carriers, however, and there's little reason for service providers to be supportive of mobile hotspots - that's why they sell internet sticks and separate data plans, after all. In the best case scenario, this is just another software block held in place until carriers finish up testing.

My last qualm over the software is that there's very little change. There's voice-activated universal search that works well enough, 3D games are possible through the additional horsepower, and augmented reality apps are now enabled through the included magnetic compass, but let's face it, other manufacturers have been bundling these features for years now. Let's take DLNA media sharing, for instance. This is an easy, universally-accepted way of sharing music, pictures, and video to Wi-Fi-enabled home entertainment systems. It's been around for years, and many Android phones have adopted it. If you've bought a high-end TV in the last couple years, odds are good that you've got DLNA in your house. RIM, a company born and bred for engineering, is surely able to figure out DLNA, so why not include it? Security issues? Battery life? Stubborn, blind upper-management unable to grasp the marketing appeal of such a feature? Whatever the reason, all end-users see is that BlackBerry doesn't have it, and the competition does, which strikes me as an attitude that can be equally applied to RIM's other shortcomings, like app selection.

 

Camera

The 5 megapixel camera on the back of the Bold 9900/9930 differs from that on the last generation BlackBerry devices in two ways. For one, it can record 720p video. Secondly, it's using an enhanced depth of field lens, which means no autofocus. In practical terms, that means the camera sucks for taking close-up pictures. Of course, it does mean you don't have to wait for the focus mechanism to kick in when you take your shots, so it's easy to take one after another.

All of the usual features are still in there, like a wide variety of presets for night time, party, sports, beach, and a new face detection option. There aren't as many manual adjustments as on some other smartphones, such as brightness or contrast. As for the shots themselves, the colour is a little on the flat side, and there's a noticeable amount of noise, but as far as smartphone cameras go, pictures taken on the Bold are good enough. There's a video sample on YouTube below, or you can download the original file here. You an take a look at my Torch 9800 review to see how the shots stack up against RIM's last camera.

Close-up

Landscape, daytime

Low-light with flash

 

Multimedia

The music app is largely unchanged, with the usual equalizer presets, album art, playlists, and universal search integration still intact. I'd really like to see universal search have separate sections for artist, album, and playlists, rather than only scanning for individual tracks. The hardware volume controls still offer intuitive track skipping, and the new positioning of the pause/play button is sensible and useful. The Amazon MP3 store and Slacker Radio are both preloaded, and solid options if you're looking to buy your tunes à la carte or go the subscription route. Of course, the BlackBerry Desktop Software has Wi-Fi sync built in if you already have a big Windows Media or iTunes library to keep synced up. Everyone suspects RIM will be launching their own music service shortly, though I'll be curious to see if it's competitive to the third-party options already available.  The additional 8 GB of local storage is a nice touch, and will likely be good enough for light users to not have to bother with a 16 or 32 GB microSD card.

Video runs very smoothly, though there are still some decoding limitations. The 9900 wasn't able to render a 1080p .mov trailer for Cowboys and Aliens, though it handled a 720p .wmv of Diggnation with little trouble. Even though you might not be particularly prone to watching full movies on the relatively small screen, it's sharp, bright, and smooth enough to be viable for short videos downloaded through the native Podcasts application. If videos are a big deal for you, consider taking a look at the BlackBerry Torch 9850/60.

Web Browser

The native BlackBerry browser is leagues faster thanks to the processor upgrade to 1.2 GHz, and new OpenGL rendering, which ultimately results in vastly improved load times and responsive pinch-zooming performance. The 768 MB of RAM also lets you keep a lot of tabs open at once without skipping a beat, which is bound to happen when you're opening web pages from multiple sources and forgetting to close them once you're done. I got up to 9 pages open simultaneously and everything was still running perfectly fine; that's definitely not something you could say about the older OS 6 devices. Checkerboarding still happens on particularly busy pages, but the web browsing experience on the whole is altogether enjoyable. Of course, if you're doing a lot of web surfing, you might want a bigger screen, like what's being offered on the Torch 9850/60. The browser doesn't support Flash, so YouTube videos still aren't rendered in-line, though you can always visit the mobile site and cross your fingers that your video's offered for mobile.

Call Quality And Battery Life

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 are powered by a 1230 mAH battery, which is a significant step down from the 1550 mAH battery included with the Bold 9700. That said, out of four full days of use, I haven't been able to get through one with a single charge; at the latest, it would last until about 8 PM, which might be good enough for you, but it's not for me.. Maybe it has something to do with my roaming in Canada with Verizon device, so your mileage may vary, but the BlackBerry Bold 9930 fell well behind my battery life expectations for RIM and smartphones on general. I sincerely hope that it's the exception rather than the rule, but I've heard folks with the GSM version, the 9900, are having just as much trouble. When you consider this thing is running essentially the same software with a screen that's twice as sharp and a processor that's twice as fast, it's no surprise that a smaller battery can't hold up. Honestly, I would happily tack on another 2-3 mm of thickness if it meant having decent battery life again and autofocus in the camera.

Call quality is up to snuff, and the rear-mounted speakerphone is loud enough to be useful, though nowhere close to the quality of its spiritual predecessor, the Bold 9000.

The Final Take

The bottom line is, if you're a BlackBerry lover, and have been packing something like the BlackBerry Bold 9780 for this long already, you can probably hold out for another 6-8 months for the first QNX BlackBerry, which will be running an operating system much more likely to be supported in the long haul. There is a bit of a gamble there, though; if the PlayBook has shown us anything, it's that the platform has a lot of function gaps to fill, and if they aren't ready in time for the QNX smartphone launch, then the Bold 9900/9930 may be more functional for the immediate future. While I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the BlackBerry 9900/9930 to get an upgrade to the new OS, the rumour that RIM's first QNX handset is using a single core processor and thus not dependent on a dual-core processor offers some hope for backwards compatibility.

Between the loss of features like autofocus on the camera, the failure to include functions as advertised like NFC, the conspicuous absence of expected features like mobile hotspot, missing consumer electronics industry standards like DLNA home media sharing, and falling behind in old standards like battery life, I'm finding it hard to recommend the new BlackBerry Bold. The fact that the 9900/9930 is smooth and responsive isn't a feature, no matter what trademarked name RIM gives their rendering engine; it's what BlackBerry should have been all along. Augmented reality and voice-activated universal search are both nice touches, but as far as I can tell, these are the only real new tricks the Bold 9900/9930 brings to the table.  I've yet to really dive in to the the Torch 9810 or 9850, but I fear they're going to be more of the same.

The feel of the device is great though, and that can't be denied. The screen is sharper than ever, and extremely responsive. For BlackBerry diehards that want a big honkin' keyboard in a slim package, the Bold 9900 will fit the bill so long as they're willing to pay a premium up-front for the device cost at launch. With a bit of patience, I'm sure that $250 pricetag will get knocked down a hundred bucks. For anyone looking for something game-changing (or at least competitive) from RIM,  you'll have to wait until the first QNX phones hit the market.

How do you new BlackBerry 9900 owners feel about your purchase?

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  • http://kentuckyfirsttimehomebuyer.com/ kentucky loan guy

    I thought you would have at least given it at 8.5..I think you have it too low. Business Users best choice in my opinion.

    • http://www.intomobile.com/ Simon Sage

      It would have got an 8 with working autofocus and better battery life. 8.5/9 if it had NFC, mobile hotspot, and DLNA on top of that.

      • zacamandapio

        If a BlackBerry gets a 5 of 10 in battery life then iOS and Android should get like a -2 or -3. 
        :)

      • King Cobra

        Just owning the 9900 (AT&T) version for less than a week. I agreed with Simon on the lacked of AF. It sucked. Comparing to my Curve 8900 that i replaced it with( i know… I know, it is a dinosaur by comparison now, but if it didn’t break, why replace it?). Like some other reader above, I used the bb camera for close up shot of details of pattern design for my work, purchase receipts, paper articles, pc screen snapshot, .etc all that required “macro/ close-up” shot. The 8900 was great at this. The 9900 sucked big time.
        Then the battery, the 9900 so far only last me 1 day, so I have to charge it every night, compare to 3 to 4 days on the 8900. Which mean i have to carry extra charger for emergency.
        The convenient buttons, i missed the second button on the left side. I am a right handed clicker, which mean i hold it on my right hand and type with my right thumb. So I used the left convinient button mainly. Now they take away the left one, and put the right side button almost all the way to bottom. Forcing me to used 2 hand when i need to type very fast :(

        Now the “+”
        It is way faster in almost everything,
        The touchscreen can be very handy and annoying at the same times. Wished it has a kind of ” on/off” button/ features for disabling the touch screen, so that u could switch it on and off.

    • http://www.intomobile.com/ Simon Sage

      It would have got an 8 with working autofocus and better battery life. 8.5/9 if it had NFC, mobile hotspot, and DLNA on top of that.

    • zacamandapio

      +1 to your comment.
      I believe that it’s business users best choice but also people that do lots of communication on the go.
      Like myself. 

  • Anonymous

    What is the boot up time from a cold start?

    • http://www.intomobile.com/ Simon Sage

      I got 2:05 as of popping the battery back in. 

      • Anonymous

        Thanks!

  • http://caspan.com Caspan

    Thanks Simon great review!

  • Guest

    Considering that I was using OS 5 on a Tour, I’m really enjoying the OS and hardware upgrades, especially the improved browser and processing speed.
    However, two features are disappointing: 1) battery life, and 2) the camera.I’m almost disgusted by the lack of AF.  I used my Tour everyday to take photos of business receipts so that I could upload them to a receipt management website.  It seems this will not be possible to do with the Bold Touch.  All my attempts to capture text yield fuzzy, indecipherable images.  This might not be important to all users, but it is to me.  Sigh…

    • Guest

      Updating my post above.  I’ve owned my 9930 for just over a month.  
      1) The battery life has improved significantly.  To my knowledge, I didn’t change any of the settings that would affect battery life (wifi on/off, gps on/off, etc.)  I’m able to make it through more than a full day of heavy use without having to recharge as I did during the first week or so.  I have no idea why there’s been a battery performance improvement, but I’m glad for it.2) I discovered the “Close-Up” camera scene mode.  While the close-up photos I take of receipts still aren’t as clear as they were on my Tour, they are of a better quality than those taken in “Auto” mode.  Still not ideal, but just good enough to yield usable images.I love the phone.  I got used to what I perceived were its shortcomings, and really appreciate the size of the keyboard, screen size and resolution, speed, and OS7.  I hope RIM makes it.  I prefer RIM’s OS and hope they don’t give in to pressure to be more “iPhone-like” or “Android-like”.  Variety and options are good for consumers, the industry, and the economy.

  • Guest

    Forgot to add that, in my humble opinion, the keyboard is divine!
    (I will adjust to the camera.  There are bigger things to fret over in life.)

  • Mcantropy

    Review is pretty accurate. I wanted a big honkin keyboard for rapid fire messaging. I count’t give a rip about apps, and I don’t’ much need the mobile hotspot feature.

    I’m actually surprised at how much I like this bold. I think there are very few blackberry users that are reviewers, so the featureset that keeps bb people happy (although dwindling) doesn’t get much airtime. I just sold my iphone because I couldn’t reply to work emails in a timely manner, so I switched back and got this bold. The browser is serviceable, its the best keyboard on a mobile I’ve ever used. So if you are all about business, I really think this is an under rated device. It does what it does well, it does what it doesn’t do poorly. If you know what you want and this is it, you won’t be disappointed. If you want apps this is not the droid you are looking for.

    Ok they touch screen and keyboard combo is also really nice, other devices have done it but none close to this. This makes processing web forms or fixing typing errors much faster.

    I think the bb featureset has always catered to messagers like me. I’ve all the other phones ans eventually always come back to bb. I guess I’m just in the minority.

  • Mohamed

    As I’m a newbie on BB. I got the BB 9900 for my wife and it does have NFC?
    I actually went to google it-  Near Field Communications – NFC as I seen it for the first time while playing with the BB & need to know more. Unless I am missing something?  I am still deciding on an Android – SGS2 or BB 9810. I have the iPhone 3GS but I want to try something new/different. Thanks Mohamed – South Africa

  • Gary

    I think that Tech writers have lost sight of the fact that there are some people who want a phone that makes communication easy and reliable. For that, read the ability to make a non-dropping call and write a message with speed. I have had my 9900 (UK Vodafone) for two weeks, switching from an IPhone 3GS. I love it. Facebook is fine, tweeting is easier. That’s enough for me and I think many others. BB is being shot down for not doing what others are doing better (creating an all round entertainment device) but I like the fact that they are creating a top notch communication device

    • Guest

      I find that tech writers nowadays are just a bunch of parrots.  They have a number of certain buzz words that they all repeat, words like “dated”, “evolution”, “revolution”, “ecosystem”, etc…, and I’m sure none of them have any ideas what they’re talking about, let alone having anything to back it up.  At least Simon Sage did not fall into that trap.

    • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

      Agreed. Many devices today have focused so much on app choices and “fluff” features that they have lost sight on the primary function of a smartphone – a dependable communication device. I can’t say that RIM got this message with the intro of the Storm series though since making a simple phone call on a Storm could be a frustrating experience with the buggy touchscreen.
      Other than their failed first attempt at touchscreen technology on the Storm series, RIM’s BlackBerry is a sound, reliable communication device. Maybe the 9900 will prove that RIM is finally getting up to speed with touch communications as well.

      • Lawrence H

        I also agree.  I have the Sprint 9930 and its fantastic.  It doesnt have the app selection of the Moto Photon I traded in, but it does the things I need much better.  It texts much faster and easier, it handles emails better FOR ME.  Some people touch type quickly…not me.  I text, call, email, and use the media player at the gym.  For those purposes its an amazing and successful device with plenty of speed.  The facebook app is more than adequate, the rss reader is very nice, and twitter looks good.  I miss some of my apps, but it makes up for it in the departments I really need most.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

        • http://www.weswareonline.com/ wesware

          You’re happy with it. That’s what matters.

  • Josh

    Can’t get more than 4 hours of battery life out of mine.  Don’t even have any apps or use WiFi or Bluetooth.  Horrible.

  • Guest

    From what I understand, the Application Storage memory in a Blackberry is NOT part of RAM, as implied above (that would make sense, right, since RAM is transient memory?).  It is actually flash memory, and separate from both RAM and eMMC (media memory).

  • M Mallay

    Worst blackberry i have owned. Crazy short battery life, Software locks up. Original unit i ordered i replaced as i thought it was defective because of the short battery life. Replacement was just as bad. I have no clue why blackberry mad a bigger screen and a dual core processor and reduced the size of the battery from the 9780. Bad idea, sending phone back and using bulletproof 9780. Smaller, 3 x battery life and 2 convenience buttons instead of just 1 just to get started. avoid if you get frustrated with poorly engineered products

  • Makhecha_tarang

    disappointed in my new BB 9900…battery life is just rubbish
     

  • Anonymous

    Battery life sucks. Can’t get 4 hours on mine. bought it because I needed a phone that gives me both gsm and cdma capability. I have the work number on the cdma side and my personal number on the gsm . One device two numbers. Would have been nice I I would use both numbers simultanously. I’m ok with the new build. But battery lifes is a sucker.

    • http://caspan.com Caspan

      This is not possible to do BTW you cannot use both antennas at the same time it is either one or the other. If you are getting a 4 hour battery life then you need to call the place where you bought it from to get a replacement or update your OS.

  • Ivantigaisha

    Good review Simon!!! 
    hey , We have 2 bb 9900, got them with tmobile, they work perfectly ..except for videos from youtube, they just don’t play them, a notification pops out “an error has occurred attempting to play media”  . by wifi connection we don’t have this problem. What could it be?thanks!

  • Mike

    Love It! But my battery life is rotten to be perfectly honest. I would have also added a few mm of thickness to get some more juice. This JM-1 just doesnt cut it. Which is a shame to be honest. I loved the massively massive 1550mah of my trusty 9700. I miss the battery life… Hopefully a simple software update or something will do the trick :)

  • Edsn

    Not necessary for RIM to make the 9000/9930 thicker to accomodate an auto-focus camera.

    Apple launched their iPhone 4 in June of 2010 at 9.3mm thickness with an outstanding auto-focus 5 megapixel camera and with better battery life than the iPhone 3gs. Why can’t RIM engineers, 16 months later in 2011, engineer an autofocus camera into their Flagship Blackberries 9900/9930……which, at 10.5mm thickness, are 1.2mm “thicker” than the iPhone. 

    What goes here? If Apple can squeeze an 5 megapixel auto-focus lens into a 9.3mm case, then surely RIM should be able to squeeze one into a case that, at 10.5mm, is1.2mm thicker.

    Then, in October of 2011, Apple launches the iPhone 4s with an 8 megapixel camera and an even better CMOS….all in the same 9.3 mm case. 

    RIM has many loyal customers, however, many are walking away because they see RIM as being consistently behind the 8-ball in giving its customers state of the art hardware.  That being said, personally, I still feel that for a business phone, the Blackberry OS hands down beats iOS and Android……and I have used all three operating systems.  The 9930 is a great phone. I retuned my iPhone 4s to go back to Blackberry and I could not be happier. Would be nice though to have a camera as good as the iPhone 4s and there is no reason for RIM to not have a better camera and better battery in my 9930. A dual core processor would have also been in order in any “Flagship” 2011 phone…..RIM dropped the ball here also.

  • Sayeedhadrami

    love it.<3.

  • Bantax

    Excellent article, but the wroter made no comment about the apalling 4 point number display when you diasl a phone number. This is the worst feature of this phone, it is simply impossible to dial a number and know for sure it is correct when you need a magnifying glass to see the number being dialled. Big goof up by RIM

  • http://www.sacbee.com NoSoupForYou

    The 9930 has much less battery life than the 9650. But the 9650 froze up every other day. The 9930 freezes up only about twice a week. I have been a blackberry diehard zealot for over 7 years, but the jury is in and the truth is that blackberry simply sucks anymore compared to just about any late model Android device. It is 2012 folks, yet the web-browsing experience on any blackberry is a sub-par experience and an exercise in frustration, at best. QNX may save the day for blackberry, but i’m afraid it will be a day late and a dollar short. It was nice knowing you, blackberry. I tried to continue loving you but you quit working at this relationship years ago and a more capable and willing suitor simply shows better love.

  • Selwynbg

    This is the last Blackberry I will buy.  Short battery life makes the device unusable.

  • Slagman5

    I don’t understand. I have the 9900 for AT&T and it has never froze up on me and the battery life is excellent… And trust me, I use it a lot… But I agree that a little bit more thickness for even more battery life and autofocus would have been better.

    But I’m worried about the new QNX phones. So far, the only Blackberry 10 device shown was a typical all touchscreen phone like everyone else. I will not settle for anything less than a full fixed physical keyboard…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/JC-Durazo/625736414 JC Durazo

    I’ve had it for 3 days and so far so good EXCEPT battery life

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