BlackBerry handsets have traditionally been the stomping ground of the business user, but with a sleeker form and some serious thought put into the media functions, the Bold 9700 could be a serious consumer contender.
What we like
The BlackBerry Bold 9700, like its predecessors, excels at providing email on the go and offers astounding battery life – especially when compared to alternative smart phone options. The handset feels lovely in your hands; slim yet substantial. A scarily responsive optical trackpad replaces the rollerball from the original Bold, and is really fun to use.
There’s more to this BlackBerry than you might expect; it’s actually passable as a media player. What the screen lacks in size, it makes up for in crisp, clear display for high quality video playback. Although there is nothing remarkable about the Bold 9700 as a music player, the sound quality is average and has everything we want from a music-playing phone, including a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
The camera is actually not bad; we particularly like the auto-focus function and when we imported the images to a computer, the size and quality was still acceptable. It’s not going to replace your digital camera, but it’ll do the trick when you’re on the go.
It’s a sign of the times that we automatically swipe the screen to scroll through the menus – touch screens have become the norm, and it’s refreshing that RIM haven’t tried to shoe-horn one into the Bold 9700. Especially as a touch screen would mean the end of the keyboard. Perfectly spaced and easy to navigate, the keyboard is one of the handset’s features that we really love.
What we don’t like
It’s still confusing to go through the menus if you’re not au fait with how BlackBerrys tend to work. Text-based menu after menu of options and settings saw us going round in circles before we finally managed to set the clock to auto-update.
As much as we love the keyboard, having the enter button double as ‘send SMS message’ in the message editor is just asking for trouble, particularly when it’s so close to the delete button. Drunken texters, beware.
The Bold 9700 feels much more like a consumer product than its predecessors, once you get past all the menus. Sure, it doesn’t yet offer the range of apps and the media features aren’t as honed as other devices out there, but it’s a great all-rounder for someone who wants a handset for playing as well as working hard.