And of course, how about that 9700 battery life? It’s pretty awesome. As a basis of comparison, the BlackBerry 8900 lists 4.5 hours of talk time and 17 days standby, while the Bold 9700 lists 6 hours talk and 21 days standby. Since I was using the T-Mobile version in Canada, I spent the majority of my time on EDGE without Wi-Fi, which would yield at least 1.5-2 days of moderate use. During the BlackBerry Developer Conference, I could make it through a day of heavy-duty usage with Wi-Fi and 3G turned on, and maybe enough to make it to lunch the next day. The battery is identical to the one used in the original Bold, so hopefully these software-based optimizations will trickle down to the older devices in good time.
The 3.2 megapixel camera is as good as ever, but one of my favourite improvements is the redesigned right convenience key which is set to launch the camera app by default. Now the key makes a distinctive click when you press down halfway, enabling better control of autofocus before taking your shot. Usually the autofocus activates and takes the picture one after another, but being able to set up the shot beforehand is very helpful. The image stabilization still isn’t great, so make sure you’re well-braced before shooting. As a side note, I’m really hoping to see a 5 megapixel camera in a BlackBerry in 2010.