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BlackBerry Bold Review

BlackBerry Bold 9000

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Interface

Home screen - BlackBerry Bold Review
main menu - BlackBerry Bold Review
submenu - BlackBerry Bold Review

Home screen

main menu

submenu

Like the latest Curve models (8900 for T-Mobile and 8350i for Sprint), the Bold runs BlackBerry OS version 4.6. It refreshes the overall look with its modern icons and refined design in line with what´s to be expected in  2009, but once you take a closer look, you’ll find the same old black and white text lists. BlackBerry users will find themselves right at home and first time users will need some time to get used to it, especially if they have to find something that is not in the main menu. The latter is once again visualized as a 6x3 grid, but thanks to the trackball it is easy to zero in on the position you need. Still, in order to keep the most used icons just a scroll away, you can rearrange them. Moving through the menus is pretty quick and you’ll rarely notice a lag – well done, RIM.


Phonebook

There isn’t anything trailblazing about the phonebook and that is a good thing.  It’s as simple and straightforward as ever, and you can store virtually an unlimited number of contacts.  Each contact can hold three email addresses, two work phone numbers, two home numbers, a mobile, pager, fax and “other” number as well as a space for a BlackBerry PIN number.  There are a slots for ahome and work address, anniversaries and birthdays. Contacts can be sorted by user definable categories, whereas each single entry can be assigned a custom ringer and picture ID, plus there is a section for a webpage and notes.

Phonebook interface - BlackBerry Bold Review
Phonebook interface - BlackBerry Bold Review
Phonebook interface - BlackBerry Bold Review
Phonebook interface - BlackBerry Bold Review


BlackBerry Bold Review
Voice dialing - BlackBerry Bold Review
 

Voice dialing

Users can perform searches directly from the main screen by typing in either the first or last name, and as you type a number in the phone application, the Bold matches it against the contact list entries. When an entry in the main contacts view is highlighted, the user can hit the send button to dial the contact and if an entry happens to have multiple numbers assigned to it, a popup window is called up that allows you to pick out the number you want to dial.

Voice dialing is handled by Nuance (formally VoiceSignal) and is excellent.  The left convenience key is preprogrammed to activate it, but this can be changed.


Organizer interface - BlackBerry Bold Review
Organizer interface - BlackBerry Bold Review
Organizer interface - BlackBerry Bold Review
Organizer

Again, nothing new here.  Like the phonebook, the calendar function is very powerful. It can be managed on either your phone or PC, and if paired with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), it can be remotely managed and synced over the air.
Voice Note Recorder - BlackBerry Bold Review
Password keeper - BlackBerry Bold Review

Voice Note Recorder

Password keeper

Creating an appointment is simple, and options such as reminders and event recurrence are present. Appointments can also be marked as private for added security. Other basic PIM functions are available as well, such as Tasks and a Memo Pad. Tasks has rather basic implementation, but reminders can be set and grouped into categories. The Memo Pad is a basic notepad, no bells or whistles. A Voice Note Recorder is at hand for taking notes on the go, and a basic calculator is also available. The Password Keeper does what its name suggests and is something we would use, unlike the coded messages on Sony Ericsson phones.


Messaging

As we’ve already mentioned, just like any BlackBerry, the Bold is a phone designed with extensive messaging in mind. It is not only its SMS and MMS capabilities, but also the excellent push email client and support for BlackBerry PIN messaging that grip attention.  Our unit came preloaded with BlackBerry Messenger, GTalk, and Yahoo Messenger, but AIM, Windows Live Messenger and ICQ can be downloaded from the official BlackBerry site if you feel like keeping in touch with your friends.

BlackBerry Bold Review
BlackBerry Bold Review
Sample e-mail - BlackBerry Bold Review
BlackBerry Bold Review
  

Sample e-mail

 


Email setup on the BlackBerry is about as perfect as it gets, you simply need to put in your email and password and this is it. We didn’t  even need to enter any server information to get things running with our peculiar work email address. The push email arrived nearly instantaneously during our testing. Users can have up to 10 email addresses on a single device using BlackBerry Internet Service.

Email setup - BlackBerry Bold Review
Email setup - BlackBerry Bold Review



Connectivity and Data

The Bold is the first ‘Berry that comes with global 3G support. It is a quad-band GSM and a tri-band UMTS phone, so fast Internet browsing is an option  with any GSM 3G carrier around the globe, except for T-Mobile USA. In addition, it supports Wi-Fi so you can surf the Internet if a wireless hot spot is within range. The phone supports Bluetooth 2.0 and a number of various profiles are available, to exchange files and listen to stereo music wirelessly among the many.

The browser may not be perfect but is quite good. It looks similar to the old one, but incorporates some improvements that definitely lead to a better customer experience.  For starters, the standard mouse cursor has been replaced with an eyeglass and you can zoom in on things by simply pressing the trackball.  Most pages render very well and pretty fast, thanks to the fact that they are processed (compressed) through a server. Unfortunately, in the case of more complex pages (such as our home page) overlapping of text and images may occur. Still, we are very happy with the browser as a whole.

Internet browser - BlackBerry Bold Review
Internet browser - BlackBerry Bold Review
Internet browser - BlackBerry Bold Review
Internet browser - BlackBerry Bold Review

As always, BlackBerry Desktop Manager handles desktop sync.  It is used to manage calendar, tasks, contacts and email synchronization with your desktop.  You can also use the data cable to load media onto the memory card, and Media Sync allows iTunes syncing of non-DRM files, as we’ve seen with other recent BlackBerries.

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PhoneArena rating:
9Excellent
Display2.6 inches, 480 x 320 pixels (222 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Hardware
624 MHz
Size4.49 x 2.60 x 0.59 inches
(114 x 66 x 15 mm)
4.80 oz  (136 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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