BlackBerry Bold Review

Introduction and Design

Research in Motion (RIM) is a Canadian manufacturer, known for the BlackBerry phones. Probably far and away the best handsets for mobile email, these smart phones are the suits’ favorite gadgets. However, being good at one thing only just won´t cut it these days and all-in-one devices are what most customers are in search of. RIM seems to have hit the jackpot with the Pearl and Curve series (actually, the Curve is what has helped RIM go up) and the manufacturer needs to become more consumer-friendly, doesn´t it? BlackBerry is no longer BusinessBrick, and the high-end Bold proves the point. It is the first top-of-the-line Berry that really cares about fun apps (music, video) and is also the one to introduce the new design language of the Canadian firm (also used in the Storm and expected in future models). It won´t only strike the right note with your grandpa, but it´s classy and it surely won´t make anyone look queer as a three-dollar bill using it. The glossy-black plastic on the front goes along perfectly with the fake-leather back and silver elements, resulting in a really high-end looking smart phone. There is no metal and the leather isn’t genuine, yet it doesn’t feel cheap – its build quality is superb while the weight is within reason.

Have the Bold in hand and you’ll find your thumb right on the trackball. It has become a standard feature of the BlackBerry phones and we cannot say we don’t like it. New users will feel it a little awkward to use, but in a day or two most of them will love it. Both the horizontal and vertical sensitivity can be adjusted in ten steps, so anyone is sure to find their right setting. The trackball allows much faster navigation to the desired field, when compared to a standard D-pad/joystick. The huge Send, Menu (left), Back and End (right) keys are positioned around it, with but a little gap between the two keys of each pair so you can feel them by touch.

You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Bold with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

BlackBerry’s key feature is email and it requires excellent second to none keyboard. With years of experience in this, the Canadians surely know the ropes. The four rows have superb separation thanks to the silver strings, but we are in love with the horizontal key separation, thanks to the unique form of each button. Note how the left half have their right side lowered and vice versa. They are easy to press, have a good travel and well pronounced feedback. Although we have an affinity for wider keyboards (side sliding ones for example), this one would please even people who text to excess.

Same goes for the display – we just love it, but its size doesn´t exactly go over big with us. 2.6 inches isn’t bad, but you know, bigger is better. The HVGA 480x320 resolution is also nice, although we´d rather it had a 480x360 screen, just like the Curve 8900 and the Storm, but you can´t have everything, right? Although a 65k color screen sounds mediocre, the image quality is good enough to enjoy a picture or video. The light sensor is very robust and immediately brightens the screen when you go out, so it remains visible in almost any condition.

None of the side keys gives any trouble. These are mute button on the top, the volume rocker, a convenience (shortcut) key on the right and another one on the opposite side. The microSD slot, miniUSB and 3.5mm jack are all on left hand side of the phone. Taking out the microSD card out of the Bold turned out to be an uphill work, but we guess it must be our particular unit. The back houses only the camera and its LED flash while the button for releasing the battery cover is on the bottom. It is easy to press and we accidentally opened the cover a few times.

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