Ahh, the BlackBerry Bold 9700. It ranks highly among this reviewer’s favourite ever mobile phones. There’s something wonderful about the handset’s Qwerty keyboard and the satisfying design. So when the Bold 9780 was announced, we were understandably excited, if a little confused. It’s so similar to the Bold 9700 – what’s the point of it? A minor refresh it may be, but worthy of a look in its own right.
What we like
Ah, swoon. The full Qwerty keyboard on the front of the handset is just as good as that on the BlackBerry Bold 9700. It’s easy to use, the angled keys providing enough differentiation that once you become accustomed to the small layout you’ll be tapping out tens of words per minute.
The BlackBerry Bold 9780 ships running BlackBerry OS 6 which we first saw on the BlackBerry Torch 9800. It gives us access to our favourite applications from the home screen, as well as an updated media player and browser.
Speaking of which, the browser is excellent. Although the screen is very small compared to most smartphones available now, the auto-column function saves you scrolling across the page in order to read the full article when zoomed in. It’s also a great deal faster than the sorry web browsing affair on the pervious OS version.
The Bold 9780 is also rocking a slightly improved camera – up to 5-megapixels compared to the Bold 9700’s 3.2-megapixel affair. The quality of photos is slightly better, as you’d expect, and the camera feels quite a bit faster too.
It’s not something we’d use a great deal here at Recombu, but some people will appreciate the inclusion of Social Feeds – a handy built-in app which brings all your social networks – from BlackBerry Messenger to Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds – together in one place.
Although BlackBerry’s App World is less well stocked than the likes of Apple’s App Store and the Android App Marketplace, it still offers a good range of quality apps. The real downside is that BlackBerry apps tend to be quite a lot more expensive than those on other platforms.
What we don’t like
While we do still like the design of the BlackBerry Bold 9780 (it’s essentially the same as the 9700 with some very minor changes), it is beginning to look a little dated. We reviewed the white model, which is nice enough from the front but suffers from a terrible black stripe on the back, making it look cheap.
The screen is really small by today’s standards – particularly given the BlackBerry Torch’s comparatively huge 3.2in screen.
Media still isn’t amazing – we do appreciate the updates to the media player but it’s still not on a par with the iPhone’s iPod system, for example. Video capture and playback also leaves something to be desired – particularly on the teeny tiny screen.
Using the BlackBerry Bold 9780 isn’t a very different experience to using the Bold 9700, so 9700 owners should stick with their current handset and consider something new when it comes to upgrade o’clock.
But if you’re looking for a BlackBerry and don’t fancy the touchscreen stylings of the Torch 9800, then it’s definitely worth a look. With the latest OS and hardware features that have been optimised to take advantage of the software’s full potential, it’s a solid smartphone with brilliant messaging capabilities.