BlackBerry Bold 9900: First Look

Bold 9900 Title

When RIM launched the BlackBerry Bold 9900, I was able to get my hands on one straight away

I’ve been a BlackBerry Torch 9800 user since around December 2010, so my views are shaped through my experience with that phone, which i’m still very happy with.

As with my earlier review of the BlackBerry Playbook, I will be focussing on the user experience, as you can get all the specifications on the BlackBerry website and any other number of reviews. Basing a phone choice purely off some numbers in a comparison chart really doesn’t tell you much anyway.

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Bold 9900 (left) with Torch 9800

The new Bold 9900 is significantly lighter and quite a bit thinner than my Torch 9800.

Speed:

The new Bold is quicker in everything it does. Particularly with booting up the device, but also with the speed that you can flick through photos in the gallery, and when zooming in on them, the image quality clears up very quickly.

Boot up time from battery insertion:

From time of insertion, past the telco splash screens, until the user can start pressing buttons.

Bold 9900: 1 Minute and 20 Seconds.

Torch 9800: 2 Minutes and 21 Seconds.

A significant improvement, I’m sure you’ll agree.

BlackBerry OS7:

BlackBerry OS7 is very similar to OS6. If you’ve previously used a BlackBerry, you can jump right into the new model and know exactly what you’re doing.

Add a phone number to an existing contact:

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A fix so simple, yet so important. With OS6, if you received a call from a phone number that was not in your address book, you couldn’t easily add that number to an existing contact without copying and pasting. With OS7, you are prompted when you select a number to add to contacts, whether you want to add to existing contact or if you would like to create a new one.

Key Lock:

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Whereas my old Torch has a trigger happy keylock, which I would accidentally press all the time, RIM have fixed this up nicely. I’ve been walking around with the Bold 9900, moving it to different pockets, and just generally holding it, and I’ve yet to accidentallly trip the keylock.

The keylock is still up the top of the Bold, although now it has a recessed button that reequires a decisive press to activate it.

Build quality:

The Bold 9900 has a (stainless steel?) band that wraps around the phone. It is important to note that this is not the actual antenna, which caused issues for the iPhone. On my old Torch 9800, the metal finishing was actually chrome paint, which has a tendency to chip a bit. That wont be an issue with the Bold 9900. The phone feels solid, yet is also light weight.

Rapidfire typing:

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I ‘m quite sure that there is no other phone on the market that could match the speed on which you can type on the Bold 9900. Certainly faster than the physical keyboard on the Torch 9800. I’ve used the previous model Bold, the 9700, quite a bit. Up until now, I thought that had the best keyboard of any phone.

Screen Size:

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Moving from the Torch, which has a bigger screen, I was worried if the screen would be usable. This is where the increased screen resolution makes a big difference. As you can see from this photo, a lot of text can fit in the screen at once.

Phone charger input:

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Charging the Bold 9900

This has been moved to a much more convenient location. From time to time, I’ll have to use my phone while it is recharging. The previous model Torch has its port just to the left of the keyboard.  A nice improvement!

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Charging the Torch 9800

I really do like my BlackBerry Torch 9800, and I don’t want this post to sound like I’m negative on it. It’s a great phone, although it is my prime comparison case. The Bold 9900 brings so many improvements to the BlackBerry platform. It’s faster, it has a higher build quality, OS7 fixes up those little things that made you spend a little more time to achieve.

I’ve only just started playing with it, and haven’t gotten much beyond the surface yet. I’ll be posting more as I play.

The best BlackBerry yet!

Originally posted on 1 September 2011

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