Friday, October 14, 2011

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Beautiful Full Review

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We got the hands on the BlackBerry Bold and thought we’d share it with you all.  The Bold is definitely one of the most revolutionary devices out there.  Check out our review below and let us know what you think.

After its much-delayed arrival, The BlackBerry Bold from RIM has been released. This phone has been highly anticipated by both BlackBerry addicts as well as your typical mobile phone enthusiast. The sleek Bold weighs in at 4.8 ounces but packs a punch far greater than its own weight. A BlackBerry that is as powerful as it is beautiful.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Body/Design

This BlackBerry looks absolutely stunning with its silver on black color scheme. The phone has a glossy black finish to its screen and keyboard with a brushed aluminum looking frame around it. The one downside to the aluminum looking finish around the edges is its tendency to scratch to black when dropped on hard surfaces. The back cover of the phone is embodied in a faux leather cover with an aluminum opening for the super bright flash and 2mp still/video camera. Although the leather on the back cover may not be 100% calfskin, still gives the device a classy feel, look, and finish. The leather is a great grip for holding the back of the phone while typing on RIMs most advanced QWERTY keyboard.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Keyboard/Trackball

This Bold is equipped with a revolutionary keyboard different from its curve predecessor. The phone sits a bit wider at 2.6 inches allowing for more room for a slightly larger keypad. The keypad is great because RIM decided to go with harder keys, more typing friendly than the small rubber keys found on different BB models. The other additive placed on this model was the thin strips of aluminum finish plastic in between the rows of keys that has 2 purposes, one to prevent finger slippage while typing and the other to streamline the dazzling looks of the silver on the phone.

The Trackball is a functional as a trackball can be and we have seen other phone manufacturers try to mimic the trackball to improve functionality on their devices but have fallen far from how BlackBerry has perfected it as seen on the newer curve. The one flaw with trackball that is found on the Bold is the fact that it is still manufactured pure white. As we have seen with previous bb models, the same will surely happen here. The ball will noticeably darken in use. The new curve has a dark trackball by default so you don’t notice color degrading over time.

 BlackBerry Bold 9000 Display

BlackBerry has set the standard in superb display quality for smart phone devices with this Bold. The Bold has half VGA resolution 480 x 320 pixel color display. Its backlit light sensing Transmissive TFT LCD displays well over 65,000 colors, which comes in handy for watching high quality movies on the fly. You’ll notice yourself watching more videos on your Bold than you did if you were to have a previous generation BlackBerry. While still on the video section, we want to frown on the fact that YouTube and internet video such as CellularTV do not use maximum screen performance. The streaming quality from such videos are poor enough to humiliate you when comparing to your friends with iPhone. On a side note, BlackBerry owners don’t have friends that with iPhones. But all hope isn’t lost. This is something that can be fixed with a decent software update. One mobile app that I’ve learned that streams flawlessly on the Bold is the Sling Mobile Player from SlingMedia. Watch hi-res TV from anywhere on EDGE, 3G, or Wi-Fi.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Connectivity

The Bold has been the phone us enthusiasts have been waiting for since it’s drastically different than its predeceasing beta version phones. The previous models have had either GPS or Wi-Fi and some didn’t offer either. It’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come. Now this sleek thin mobile processor has it all. You can get connected in a million different ways.

 It has Bluetooth 2.0, which needless to say supports stereo audio.  The only drawback of the Bluetooth as compared to an old school model such as the 7100 series is the range. The range on the older models trumps the range of the newer models and the reason for that is the manufacturers are making the component smaller to fit more inside.

The Bold is great because its universal and it is a true world phone but all cell makers know that you can’t produce a GSM phone in this day and age without having that world compatibility. We can go on and mention all the frequencies that the phone works on but it’s just easier to tell you that it works just about everywhere there is coverage.  One thing we want to take a second and clear up are the false allegations of having problems with the 3G Network. This phone as we’ve tested, has scored highly on the 3G coverage maps as opposed to other phones.

The phone has two other antennas that will be sure to come in handy one way or another, GPS and Wi-Fi. Sadly to say, the GPS antenna was by far much stronger on an older model such as the 8700 series but gets the job done.  The Wi-Fi connectivity on this is great. Range is decent but the one thing I’ve noticed is the browser cannot keep up with the Wi-Fi speeds and pages do tend to load slower than expected but far faster than if you weren’t on Wi-Fi. One thing that is an amazing about the Wi-Fi is the flexibility of BlackBerry Messenger connectivity. It is the best feeling in the world to be traveling abroad with Wireless off and Wi-Fi on and still being able to connect with all your BlackBerry buddies as seamlessly as if you were home.  Your carrier won’t charge you a penny more and you can still be as productive via messenger, pin, and email alike.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Email

Needless to say, BlackBerry is notorious for having the world’s most powerful email utility. They have wisely decided not to fix what’s not broken. They have tweaked the email functionality in the stock OS as well as the latest OS’s available for download. Aside from the hardware, the OS gives you functionality to view full HTML emails and most common attachments you’ll receive via email.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Media

This is a BlackBerry with two faces, the face that it should have as a super good-looking BlackBerry with all the functionality and productivity of a normal BlackBerry and a second face that has a big bite for its bark, its Media interface. It is easy to see this phone was designed with media in mind from small things like the external memory card slot to its super loud speakers and music control short cut keys. Almost all the flaws that the previous models had with media have been corrected here.

Let’s touch a bit on music.  It’s no iPod but I’ve sure noticed that my buddies with this phone don’t depend on their iPods as much. To start, it has a standard non recessed 3.5mm headset jack meaning you can use any headphones you want where as a phone such as the iPhone has a recessed headset jack making it hard to be flexible to use the headphones of your choice. Just to note, this phone by default comes with a new pair of noise canceling BlackBerry headphones which are phenomenal. The External memory card reader is great for switch cards on the fly or trading songs with a friend if you don’t find Bluetooth transfer as a fast enough option. The phone has a built in one gig memory which is great because it reduces your dependency on memory cards.  Getting back to the music part of it, the Bolds music interface is pretty neat because it allows for custom playlists as well as automatic playlists as provided by the users input. The phone will also show music by artist, albums, genres, and my favorite feature; Shuffle songs. This phone has a cool feature where you can change songs forward or backwards by simply holding the volume up/down button for a second. This is convenient because it will work even when the phone is locked. Also goes without saying, you can pause a song by hitting the mute button as you could with earlier BlackBerrys. The speaker output is louder and clearer than any other BlackBerry we have seen which all makes for a great jukebox. Let’s take a second to remember that this is no Bose Dolby 7.1 home stereo sound system so let’s not all be critics and judge it as if it was one. Sad to say some can be so harsh. Overall, software and hardware, its music player is great and keeps me entertained for hours.

Jumping to the video player, it’s just about as great as the music player and has a lot of the same functionality the music player has except it play videos. As we have noted earlier, the quality on the screen is amazing and allows for  you to play just about anything. We’ve noticed with this model unlike past BlackBerry models or other phones alike, you almost never need to use a video converter to watch the movies you want. Just drag and drop, the phone is capable of playing all sorts of extensions. Another feature that adds bonus points is the auto full screen switching while playing a clip.

We touched briefly on the 2mp camera and flash earlier but that’s almost separate from the picture viewer this phone is equipped with. The Bold has the idealistic photo viewer, you can zoom in/out, rotate, fit to screen, fill screen, set as home screen image, change encoding, set as caller id, send, and many more options. We’ve learned Its very flexible and powerful but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen a flaw in it. The one problem we have encountered is the loading speed when the device is loaded with hundreds of pictures with our being sorted in folders. When all your pictures rest in the default folder, you’ll notice it might take a second longer to open the pictures folder. The Bold gives you the option to create a folder right from the phone so you don’t need to connect to your computer to sort things out. Simply create a folder and began moving your pictures in, although I will tell you it tends to be a bit simpler from your computer’s file viewer as you can select multiple files at once.

Lastly on the topic of media, the BlackBerry Bold has a Voice Notes recording feature. Don’t depend on it replacing your HI-FI Digital voice recorder but it convenient if you need to jot something down and you don’t want/cant open you notepad. Although it can be used for any reason small or big, we haven’t seen too many users that have used it for work purposes.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Battery

If you are simply using this Bold for checking emails and receiving calls, don’t plan on charging it until your day is long done and you’re ready to rest your head for bed. On the contrary, if you are using almost all the features from music player to constant internet surfing and answering phone calls, you should be wise and invest in a car charger and have a spare at your place of employment. We’ve seen that the Bolds battery is great for basic use but tends to die faster than expected when thrown into overtime. I guess the only way we can justify it is by saying the phone is so powerful, it can’t handle its own battery.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Call Quality

The call quality on this phone has most definitely set the bar for future BlackBerrys to come. Its was very clear from our first call that the call clarity on both ends was significantly clearer than previous “beta testing” models such as the pearl and 8800 series. The problem with previous models was the fact that they weren’t loud enough in noisy environments. I’ve seen myself lower volume when in such places like a car but knowing I can go louder gives me that reassurance that if I were on a train instead, I could still hear loud and clear.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Operating System and User Interface

After subjecting the phone to a number of tests, we learned that the OS build that is preloaded on the device is less prone to errors and glitches than the previous BlackBerry models. Why is this? I mean underneath, the OS hasn’t changed much, still same backbone with a few tweaks and fresher graphics for the user. I think it’s apparent to say that the 624MHz processor makes a difference. I guess the older BlackBerry models’ processors couldn’t keep up with the power the OS was producing but this one seems to outperform our expectations.

Like always, the OS will always need further updates for whatever glitches may be discovered or for whatever we decide we need next. I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about the OS build on the device because it will be changed a numerous amount of times during the device life.  Same goes for all you applications, give them a few months and the vendors already have released updates. This is a good thing though.  Compare this to other phones where you have to either purchase new software to fix the bugs or pay for the latest OS.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Conclusion

It’s always been hard to say which BlackBerry is better than the next considering you’d sacrifice one thing for another between devices. It has been the easiest call for us to say this BlackBerry Bold is the mother of all BlackBerrys. This has to be the best combination of software and hardware that RIM has put into production. If you are looking for a BlackBerry that has it all, we give you the BOLD. But then again its not for everyone. Some people prefer SureType and could care less about a big screen, pearl. Other like the big screen and QWERTY keyboard but dislike the weight and size of the Bold, New Curve. For the rest of you that use it as a media device over emails and have mixed preferences given the day of the week for SureType or QWERTY, we give you the Storm. Aside from personal preference, this is a great phone with phenomenal build.

For our PocketBerry friends that were learning about this device, we hope we have shed some light on the topic. As for our PocketBerry friends and users of the Bold, we hope we have been in line with your outlook on the device.

-by Khaled Chebli


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