Blackberry 9700 Bold – Can’t Go Wrong With The Bold 2

Alright, let me just say off the bat that as a former Bold 9000 user, I’ve been looking forward to the new Bold 2 for months since pictures were leaked on the internet. Since I get my phones through my company, I’ve had the phone since Nov. 18, when it was released on AT&T’s network for Premier people. Unfortunately, my friend decided that after playing around with my phone, they wanted one, so I bought them an unlocked one.

The new BlackBerry 9700 Bold is a sleek phone – no doubt about it. RIM apparently has decided, though, to somewhat standardize their phones’ look, a direction that bothers me to a great extent. One of the things I loved about the Bold was that it was different – you saw any other phone, and then you saw the Bold – and you thought “Wow, that phone IS bold!!” Size I couldn’t care less about – as long as it looked good, and worked awesomely, what else matters? And the Bold 9000 fit those well. So when I got the new BlackBerry 9700 Bold , and I compared it to my coworker’s Tour (for Verizon), I was quite surprised at how similar they were. It’s actually somewhat hard to tell them apart (the BlackBerry 9700 Bold is a bit smaller, and also has the trackpad). Just an observation….

Alright – to the review:

Pros:

Trackpad – this is definitely a most welcome upgrade. RIM outdid themselves on this part – I thought the trackball was good, this trackpad is great! The older Bold’s trackball was great, as long as you kept dirt and dust out of it. Which turned out to be somewhat difficult, since there was a depression surrounding the trackball, and so if too much dust or dirt got in, the ball needed to be replaced. Also, if you used it too much, the ball would lose its grip, and become less responsive, also – once again – needing to be replaced. Both those problems are now gone with this new trackpad. For former trackball users, it may take a little use to get to know it, but once you do, trust me – you’ll never go back.

Speaker – the speakers on the Bold are nothing less than stunning. My friend has an IPhone, and my speakers for playing music and speakerphone blow his out of this century. Not only can they get very loud, but they also are quite clear and crisp, for the volume you can put them to. And, if that wasn’t good enough, RIM includes AudioBoost – for when you hook your Bold up to your car or stereo system, which bumps the output sound even higher. Excellent….

OS – the new BlackBerry 5 OS, which comes preloaded on the phone, is a major improvement over the 4.6 version in most other phones. It’s snappier, and quite more responsive.

Camera – RIM upgraded the camera from a 2 MP in the older Bold to a 3.2 MP in the BlackBerry 9700 Bold . The pictures that the phone takes are quite good, even in poor light conditions. Of course, if you try to take pictures in the club with it – prepare to be somewhat disappointed. Ha. But for regular, everyday camera uses, that “quick shot”, the BlackBerry 9700 Bold actually takes decent pictures. Nice for when you forget to bring that digital camera with you.

There’s a couple other pros I can think of, but they’re more along the lines of business users, or based on networks (you could get 3G speeds on AT&T’s network since the first Bold – T-Mobile just got their first 3G BlackBerry with this phone). If you’re interested in them, drop me a comment, and I’ll get back to you.

Now, for the cons:

Battery – battery life is still somewhat bad, although it definitely is an improvement over the older Bold. I normally use Pandora – an App that plays Internet Radio, trust me, this should be one of the first apps you download, it’s free – the other is Google Maps, also free – anyway, back to the review, so I normally use Pandora, and I can get about 6 hours out of the battery, with small breaks in-between receiving phone calls. So, in normal use, you could probably get about a day out of the battery, which isn’t terrible, but also is somewhat worse than comparable phones out there.

Hardware – this is probably my biggest negative I had. Normally, when they say upgrade, you would think they would put better hardware in the thing, right?? Well, think again. With the exception of the upgraded camera and trackpad, there is NO difference in hardware between this and the older Bold.
Zero.
Nada.
I would’ve liked some upgraded hardware in the phone. But again – this is just my thing. You may not care.

My last negative is more hit and miss – some people have been reporting that BlackBerry Maps – the app that RIM ships with the phone for navigation, doesn’t work on the BlackBerry 9700 Bold. Myself included. This appears to be at random, but it just irks me. It may be dependent on the network you’re on. Fortunately, there’s a workaround – get Google Maps.

So – overall, the phone is a nice update. It works, takes nice pictures, looks sleek, and can be used as your new boombox when you want to blast “What is Love?” by Haddaway. (Kidding on the last one) I would completely recommend this phone, even with some of its faults, since they don’t really take away from the experience with the phone.

I’ll update this review from time to time, as I continue to use this, so if there’s any questions, please feel free to ask.

BOLA TANGKAS