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RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review

BlackBerry Bold 9700 T-Mobile

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The birth of RIM's platform transformation emanated from the Bold 9000's inception – it continues to live on in almost every BlackBerry we've seen since then. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 isn't an exception and continues to showcase RIM's platform in the form of the latest 5.0 version. Visually everything remains intact with very little nuances to make it even noticeable to the naked eye. One of the few things that everyday BlackBerry users will take note is the “*” symbol popping up in either your email or instant messaging icons to notify you that a new message has arrived. The media folder now breaks down the specific functions to subfolders to allow faster access directly from the main menu. Finally, there's the precision theme that rearranges the usual home screen look to a panel-like interface that displays information like messages, call log, and calendar – it's nothing impressive, but looks like RIM has broken out of their traditional mold. It's a small step in a new direction, but looks pale in comparison to what HTC's TouchFLO 3D or Samsung's TouchWiz interface offer. Navigating through the phone feels a lot faster and more intuitive – especially thanks to the responsive optical trackpad.

The home screen and the main menu of RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The home screen and the main menu of RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The home screen and the main menu of RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review


So what's new with the phonebook on the BlackBerry Bold 9700? Well, absolutely nothing because it's still the same that was first featured on the Bold 9000. There's a decent amount of information that you can place with each contact – phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, and web pages are all there. With its straightforward structure, the phone can hold an almost endless amount of contacts.

The phonebook - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The phonebook - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The phonebook - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The phonebook - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review


Like any BlackBerry, the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 supports a whole slew of messaging options. Standards like SMS and MMS are on board, as is support for multiple email accounts and BlackBerry PIN messaging.  Other preloaded IM clients are AIM, GTalk, ICQ, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger allowing you to keep in touch with virtually anyone.

Messaging - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Messaging - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review


Email setup on the BlackBerry is about as perfect as it gets, we simply put in our email and password and that was it. Even with our uncommon work email we didn’t have to enter any server information. The push email arrived nearly instantaneously in our testing. With the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) the user can have up to 10 email addresses on one device.

Email - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review


The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 continues the trend with its decent photo quality – it's nothing breathtaking, but it's sufficient for the average user. There isn't a bump in the camera and it retains the same 3.2-megapixel sensor found on the Tour. Running the application was quick enough clocking in at 2 seconds for startup and roughly another two for the auto-focusing to kick in and snap the shot. Colors didn't look as bright as we would've liked, but it does not deter from the overall look. There's also enough detail to make out in the image, but closer inspection will result in muddy images. It doesn't try to provide any additional new features and continues RIM's usual set of options in tweaking shots. Definitely it's better than most in its class but doesn't go further to really set the pace.

The camera interface - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review

Photos taken with the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Photos taken with the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Photos taken with the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Photos taken with the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Photos taken with the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review


The Bold 9700 received a slight bump in its video capturing resolution over what's found on the Tour – it's now at 480x360. However, it's not a major difference in terms of overall quality from what we saw. For the most part, videos recorded were smooth with little or no choppiness as we transitioned from bright to dim settings. Colors had a normal tone to them while sound was flawlessly replicated. Again, nothing new implemented in terms of new features that we haven't seen before.

Camcorder interface - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Camcorder interface - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 video sample

The media player is good and simple to use, but not overly loaded with features. It supports folders, and will sort your music by Artist, Album and Genres. It also supports album art and playlists, which the user can create on the go, and the other options are Repeat and Shuffle. Audio formats supported are MP3, AMR-NB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA and WAV, while the video formats are MPEG4, H.263 and WMV.  Although the relatively small dimensions of the screen may not make it the best option for watching videos, this is still a pleasing experience.  The included stereo headphones are pretty poor, but the 3.5mm jack means you can use any headphones you want.  With our higher quality headphones music sounded very good.

Multimedia menu - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Audio player - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
Video player - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review

Multimedia menu

Audio player

Video player

 


The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 is one of the most network-friendly BlackBerries out there, thanks to its quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) capability and tri-band UMTS (900/1700/2100 MHz) support. In addition, it features support for UMA calling, so adding T-Mobile's Unlimited HotSpot Calling for $9.99 per month to any voice plans starting at $39.99 will get you unlimited calling through a Wi-Fi connection.

By now, we know where RIM's web browser stands among the others littered across various platforms. With version 5.0 tacked on, we did notice some slight improvements in the speed department as pages loaded up. Scrolling is smooth with little rendering required for photos and text, but it's still nothing close to the experience that a WebKit based browser offers. And yet, it is an improvement over the experience we had with the original BlackBerry Bold 9000.

The RIM`s web browser - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The RIM`s web browser - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The RIM`s web browser - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
The RIM`s web browser - RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review


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PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
Display2.4 inches, 480 x 360 pixels (246 ppi) TFT
Camera3.2 megapixels
Size4.29 x 2.36 x 0.56 inches
(109 x 60 x 14.1 mm)
4.30 oz  (122 g)
Battery1500 mAh, 6 hours talk time

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