Everything you need: unbiased reviews, product specs and great deals.
BlackBerry Blackberry Bold 9000 Cell Phone
BlackBerry Blackberry Bold 9000 Cell Phone
Price Range:$95.00 to $352.93
The BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphone's support for tri-band HSDPA and enterprise-grade Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g) networks and its next-generation 624 MHz mobile processor make short work of downloading email attachments, streaming video or rendering web pages.
69 Reviews from Epinions.com
Oct 25, 2008
An excellent true smart phone
Pros: Every feature imaginable and yet it's all so well integrated.
Cons: A little pricey ($350 on a 3 year term) and some minor hardware QA issues.
The Bottom Line:
Best phone I have ever used. Has every feature a business/professional needs/wants and more. A true smart phone.
I should mention here that the Bold isn't released in the US yet (rumour is Nov 4th). I'm in Canada and we've had the Bold here for about 6-7 weeks.
I also have to say that I'm new to Blackberries. I originally had purchased a 3G iPhone (Rogers wireless) because I'm mainly a mac user and a mobileme subscriber, so the iPhone was a no brainer.
I had the iPhone for 9 days and liked almost everything about it but four specific things were what forced me to exchange it for a Blackberry Bold.
First, battery life on the iPhone was mediocre. Secondly, having that kind of battery life you'd think a user-replaceable battery would be standard; not so. Third, the 3G iPhone was supposed to have push email but I never got it to work as true push service (this may have been addressed/fixed by apple). Finally, and this was the nail in the coffin for me, typing accurately with the touch screen keyboard was a slow and painful process, and even after a week of use I was still making as many errors as correct entries; spending too much time correcting.
So I took the plunge five weeks ago and ordered the Bold and returned the iPhone, and here's my review of the Blackberry BOLD.
The first thing that you'll notice when you take it out of the box is how nice looking the device is. I have seen and briefly used other blackberries before but this takes the cake in style and design. The back cover is plastic but it has this leather-like texture which makes it grippy and looks sharp.
With the battery placed inside the unit it still felt really light and comfortable to hold.
The box included the battery charger (with fold-out connector blades), a basic leather holster, USB cable, wired headset and the software/user guide package.
The charger plugs into the unit through the same data mini-USB port so when the unit is plugged into any PC/Mac it is also being charged, although at a slower rate.
The first time you turn it on is when you get blown away by that wonderful screen. It's so much sharper and crisper than anything I've seen to date on a cell phone. It has the same resolution as the iPhone (480 by 320) but the screen is quite a bit smaller so the individual pixels are a fraction of the size, which gives it that really crisp appearance.
The nice thing about the screen on the Bold (and this is a first for a Blackberry) is that it is a sealed unit, in that the display part including the display cover is a one-piece assembly. This means that dust is impossible to get inside underneath the cover onto the screen. This may or may not be important to you but I've had my share of cell phone screens in the past that got dust inside of them (giving it the appearance of a dead pixel) and it's annoying. My iPhone didn't have dust under the screen but it is prone to it and have read reports of many iPhone users having that issue on their units. This is a definite plus for the Bold.
Another thing about the screen is the colour rendition is very accurate and viewing angles, both horizontally and vertically are very good.
Enough about that screen.
The keyboard is another gem on this phone that I think isn't mentioned enough in reviews. The keys themselves feel great with just the perfect amount of feedback and spacing. It was so easy to get accustomed to this keyboard that in no time at all I was typing like a pro. Very few errors and my hand never felt tired. It's great for people who email or text a lot.
I found the scroll ball a little odd at first. But it didn't take too much time to get used to it and what I found helped the most was increasing its sensitivity in both axes (the default was 70, I have it at 90).
The battery life is really good on this phone. In a day I would typically use about 10-30 mins of voice, 30-60 mins of emailing and text, 30-60 mins of surfing and at least 3-4 times an hour I would look at the various icons or RSS channel feeds. I have not needed to charge my phone daily; in contrast my iPhone needed a full charge overnight every night. And for those road warriors out there or if the battery fails down the road, you can always buy a second battery and replace it yourself; something that cannot be done with the iPhone.
As far as multimedia is concerned this phone can do it very well but there are some shortcomings. The screen being small makes viewing web pages a bit of a challenge. I find myself scrolling webpages a lot using the ball which takes away from the experience. Viewing photos and videos were very pleasing visually but again the screen size is a bit of a downer.
On the positive side my iTunes collection played extremely well using the built-in media player and the sound actually was of a higher fidelity than my iPod nano (using the same earphones). So it certainly can and will be replacing my iPod.
Having said that, what this phone does imperfectly in terms of multimedia is more than made up for by its power to get things done.
Push email works flawlessly and is true push. The minute an email arrives at the server it is pushed to my device. If I happen to miss the tone/vibrate notification, a red LED flashes for the next 15 minutes even when the phone is in sleep mode. The LED notification is absolutely great and alleviates the need to constantly wake the phone up to see if there are any new emails/text etc...
While the Keyboard is a full Qwerty type, there are a ton of built-in text shortcuts to make typing even faster. For example, when you key the spacebar twice it will put a full- stop on the line and a space after it. When you type "wel" it will put "we'll" or "il" becomes "I'll" etc.... Pressing and holding the Q key will change the profile to Vibrate mode and holding the * key will lock the keypad. You can also copy and paste any text/numerics in any application to/from any other application. These are real time savers once they're learnt.
There are two multi-function keys, one on each side of the handset that can be reprogrammed to start any application or utility. I have mine set so that the left key will initiate voice recorder and the right for Camera (default).
Speaking of camera, it takes great pictures (up to 1600x1200 in resolution). Colour and sharpness are top notch, much better than on my previous cell phone but I found that there was a fair bit of shutter lag. The camera also integrates well with MMS (multimedia messaging service) in that you can take any picture on the fly and start an MMS with that picture already attached or embedded.
You can control zoom, flash, compression, colour effects and you can even enable Geo-tagging which adds GPS co-ordinates to the pictures to show later where you took them exactly.
The phone does have a GPS built into it which is very handy. It comes pre-loaded with the application Blackberry Maps and for the most part it works great. It's very accurate, shows speed and the number of acquired satellites and can orientate the display in track-up mode while navigation. It doesn't give out voice prompts and the phone requires data from the network to download and display the maps as they are not stored on the phone's 1GB built-in memory. The maps however were very accurate and up to date, more so than my new Garmin Nuvi with the 2009 maps.
In addition to Bluetooth the phone is also equipped with WiFi. If you happen to be at home, work or any other place that has wifi, you can connect to the wireless network for surfing and using other data-hungry applications while not using/paying for data from the wireless provider. WiFi also generally provides a much faster data rate which makes surfing and watching youtube videos a lot more enjoyable.
The phone is pre-loaded with a large assortment of useful applications such as calculator with built in metric converter, Docs to Go which allow for viewing of word, excel and power point documents and attachments, PDF viewer, Calendar, Tasks, text and voice Memo, address book, games, MSN Messenger, Yahoo messenger, Facebook and Google Talk etc...
But if these aren't enough, there are a ton of third party applications available through the various online blackberry communities, and most are free. Just to mention a few really good ones; Viigo is an application that constantly monitors and downloads content from subscribed channels through RSS feeds, and it's absolutely a must-have for any Blackberry user. Weather Eye is a great weather application for Canadians. Google Sync is a wonderful application that syncs your Blackberry calendar, in real time over the air, with your online Google calendar, kind of like push service for your Calendar.
If you're not a mac user you may skip the next five paragraphs.
RIM (the maker of Blackberries) includes desktop manager software to sync the Blackberry to your PC. Unfortunately for mac users, that software is PC-only. While RIM has announced that it is working on a mac version, for now us mac users are stuck with two third-party applications; one is PocketMac for Blackberry (Free application that is endorsed by RIM) and the other is Missing Sync ($40).
I use PocketMac and I quite like it. It works great at syncing the Bold with Mac's iCal, Tasks, Sticky Notes, Address Book etc... Unfortunately, as of today PocketMac is working on an update that would allow the Bold to sync with iTunes and iPhoto (these two features while they are advertised and do work with older Blackberry models, there seems to be some issues with it and the Bold).
I did use a trial version of Missing Sync and found it to be good as well, and I was able to copy my iTunes (2GB) music library to the microSD card (I purchased that card separately) in the Bold without any issues. Missing Sync however wasn't able to sync my Sticky Notes to the Bold and there were some issues syncing iCal.
Unfortunately, neither program can sync using Bluetooth (USB only) nor are they able to do a software/firmware update on the device; that has to be done on a windows PC for now using Blackberry Desktop Manager.
Good news for mac users is (as I mentioned earlier) that RIM is working on a mac version of their manager software. Also, I am able to transfer pictures taken on my Bold to my mac using Bluetooth. And for those who occasionally may need internet for their macbooks on the road, I was also able to use the Bold as a Modem (Tether) over Bluetooth to access internet everywhere my cell phone has coverage.
One other thing that impressed me about this phone is the voice call quality; It's superb. And I found the speakerphone to be quite usable, loud and clear.
On the negative side (my review so far probably sounds like a commercial for the device, but that's only because it has exceeded my expectations on just about all levels), the first two units I received had minor hardware issues. They had stuck pixels (one was green, the other was red) and a loose memory compartment door. The third unit was perfect but I can't help but feel a little disappointed in RIM's QA especially on their flagship device.
Having said that, this phone is so much more than a phone. It has replaced my iPod, my day-timer, GPS and cell phone and in some cases even my carry-around digital camera. It draws attention everywhere I take it, which can be good or bad but ultimately it has made me more organized and effective at staying on top of my emails and schedules/tasks. I can't recommend this device highly enough.
--- UPDATE ---
I've had this phone now for about 10 weeks and I thought I'd update a couple of things and add something that I had originally missed.
First I'd like to say that I am just as happy and impressed now with this phone as I have ever been. It still exceeds my expectations and gets the job done, in style.
There has been a firmware update released that has improved the battery life slightly and also has slightly sped up the user interface; less lags. One negative about the firmware update was when it's done I lost all my personal settings for everything on the device, such as ring profiles (which took me a while to set up initially), username/passwords for all my online apps such as MSN, Facebook, Weather Eye, Viigo etc... forcing me to re-enter all of them and re-log in; not a huge deal but quite time consuming.
Google this week just updated their free Google Sync application which now not only syncs your calendar but also your contacts, wirelessly/over the air push-style; it's awesome.
And finally, something that I had missed in my original review which isn't something new for previous Blackberry users but it was quite a nice surprise for me as a new BB user. It's the In-holster/out of holster profile settings.
The Bold comes with a basic leather holster which, like other Blackberry cases/holsters, is specially designed so that the phone can detect whether it's inside the holster or out (using a small magnet). In the ringer/notification profiles, you can set separate profiles for everything relating to this. For example, you can have a call only vibrate if the phone is inside its case and ring if it's outside. I've never owned a phone that had this feature. It's brilliant.
The other thing that has changed since my review is the price. It has dropped by $200 now which has made a few early adopters mad but I'm still quite happy paying the higher price for having this gem of a phone a few weeks/months earlier than a lot of users.
Back to all reviews
|Smart Buy: Amazon Marketplace $95.00|
Save money with Dealtime's Smart Buy, the lowest
price from a Trusted Store that has the item in stock.
|Go To Store|