Review

Review: BlackBerry Bold 9780

Neowin got the chance to look at the BlackBerry Bold 9780, an update from the Bold 9700. There is a couple of slight differences between the Bold 9700 and the Bold 9780.

Hardware, Software and Applications

If you've ever used a BlackBerry Bold, you'll know how solid the device feels in your hands. The Bold 9780 comes with a 5.0 MP with auto-focus and LED flash - an upgrade from 3.2MP on the 9700 - 512MB of RAM - an upgrade from 215MB of RAM - 480 x 360px VGA resolution display. The Bold 9780 comes equipped with 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 17 day standby and 6 hour talk time battery life. The Bold 9780 comes running BlackBerry OS 6.0.0 out of the box.

Although there is some slight differences between the Bold 9700 and 9780, there is a significant difference in load times and a much improved camera. The updated software brings a fresh feel to the Bold, including a better multimedia player. The 5MP camera really does help, compared to the 2MP camera in the 9000 and 3.2MP camera in the 9700. This BlackBerry Bold update seems more targeted towards the mobile media experience.

Having the opportunity to try the BlackBerry Torch 9800 a few months back, this Bold does stack up, if you're on a budget. Unfortunately, there isn't a touchscreen on the Bold 9780, but that doesn't prevent you from using the device.

Now I've said this before in the Torch review, but BlackBerry needs an overhaul on their app store. The confusing navigation and GUI is far from pretty. Developers might create more applications for the struggling market place if they completely overhauled it. I personally felt put off by the app store, because of the UI and navigation.

Navigation (GPS)

The Bold 9780 has a built-in GPS and navigation application. This helpful application came in handy a few times during our Las Vegas trip. Compared to the iPhone 4 GPS, the Bold 9780 was on par with accuracy, but lacked in features for its map application.

3G Speeds and Web browsing

Last week, while Neowin was at CES 2011, I got the chance to put the Bold 9780 through its paces, and was surprised by the outcome. Trying to connect to the Internet or send/receive text messages and phone calls is a complete mess during CES, but the BlackBerry on T-Mobile pulled through, offering quick load times, while others were struggling to connect to an EDGE network.

I couldn't get an accurate speed test on the phone, but browsing the Internet was a breeze. The BlackBerry OS 6.0 web browser comes with tabs, a helpful feature for opening multiple pages, a feature the device had absolutely no problems performing.

Notifications, Emails, Phone calls and Social networking

BlackBerry does one thing I really like, social network notifications. BlackBerry OS 6 comes with a handy toolbar for text messages, phone calls, emails, Twitter mentions, Facebook notifications and many other alerts. The easy to recognize icons on the top give you a quick view of all your social networking notifications and missed phone calls and texts.

BlackBerry Messenger, a massive feature that keeps people on the brand, is no different on the Bold. Send and receive instant messages to your friends anywhere you are, having instant conversations with each other. Having a number of friends who use BlackBerry, this feature is enough to make just about anyone switch.

My Thoughts

If you're on a budget and have a number of friends with BlackBerry's, you may be interested in the Bold 9780. However, if you're not on a budget, I still consider checking out the BlackBerry Torch 9800. The Bold is still a solid phone to use. My only issue with BlackBerry is the app store. The lack-of applications and UI puts me off from wanting to download anything, the reason I've stuck with the iPhone for so long for.

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9 Comments

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Or... we can wait and see how the BB Storm 3 handles itself. Unfortunately for some, this phone... like the Torch, is not Verizon compatible... (well at least not from the specs shown)

Go to MaximumPC.com, they have an article about it. I tried posting several links, but they were redirecting to other articles.

I've had a 9780 on Vodafone UK since mid-December 2010 and it's a lovely little device. I agree with the comment about the App Store as it is a mess even when you visit using a PC. For that reason, I prefer to use CrackBerry.com which is nicer to navigate around.

Most of the time, my Bold uses my WiFi for connectivity and calls which saves using call and internet allowance if your plan is limited (mine is 1000 minutes, 10000 texts and 1Gb, so not really :-D). Adding extra WiFi networks to use temporarily while you're out and about is a breeze.

The social networking integration is really nice - uploading a picture to Facebook or Twitter, for example, is a matter of two or three clicks and you're done. BBMaps is not so great, but Google maps is available for BlackBerry and integrates well with the GPS.

As a newsjunkie, most of the major providers like Thomson Reuters, AP and CNet to name but three have Apps or shortcuts available to use.

I won't comment on any games available as thats not what I got the phone for so that would be inappropriate. I will say that the built-in YouTube app works well without any glitches so far that I've seen.

I'd recommend that anyone looking for a new phone or upgrade give the 9780 serious thought if they want a good all-rounder.

I disagree with the final conclusion. For me, the Torch is not ahead of the Bold, and the Bold isn't a budget device. The budget BlackBerry is the Curve. BB OS 6 runs much better on the 9780 compared to the 9800, and whether you need the larger screen with poor touch response or a QWERTY device with the hardware keyboard always instantly available to you is the most deciding factor choosing between the two - you can't say one is an improved version of the other, as the Bold is with the Curve.

I was tempted to upgrade to a 9780 but the new features over the 9700 just aren't worth an additional £400. I'm very interested in the Dakota though, and I think some people are a little annoyed that the Dakota has been leaked so soon after the 9780 was released (although we have some time before the Dakota is available).


EDIT: In response to the above comments: I love BBM, but I have to say that with WhatsApp and PingChat allowing cross-platform messaging, BBM isn't anywhere near as a nice a luxury as it used to be.

dotf said,
When you're a part of an exclusive group who use BBM you'll see why some people love the platform
That's one of the main reasons I love my BB. The BBM service is quite useful for planning social events and getting in touch with people. Sure, I can text someone but I can't see their current status or a personal message of theirs. Often times, I'm about to message someone and I notice a status like "I'm at work, message me at 5" or "Phone is about to die".

It looks like a solid phone but I don't think it's worth $499.99 CAD. It's nearly identical to the BlackBerry Bold 9700, aside from an updated camera (5 MP vs. 3.15 MP) and twice the RAM (512 MB vs. 256 MB). Also, it ships with BlackBerry OS 6 which, as far as I'm aware, hasn't been released officially for the Bold 9700.

I think it's a great phone for the corporate user but the average user is better off with the cheaper Curve 3G 9300/9330 - considering it uses the same 624 MHz CPU. I personally have it and it fits my needs perfectly.

Also, thanks for the review.