Blackberry are back, finally they’ve hit the market with a device worth wanting – it’s the new BOLD 9900, the third generation Bold, and easily the best yet.
So where has Research in Motion been? Having now held and used at length the Blackberry Bold 9900 for some time, I can tell you they’ve been working on speed and quality.
The original Bold was fantastic at the time, big screen, fantastic keyboard and again – at the time – the culmination of all the great Blackberry features across devices.
The second generation was a step up, and in recent times has packed the latest style Operating System too. However just making yourself smaller and a little faster isn’t enough to win the long term battle.
It really does feel like far too much time has passed in waiting for this new Bold – it was as if the company was assessing it’s own future. In September though, Optus launched the 9900 on sale in Australia, with little fanfare but to high regard.
Returning to a similar form factor and size as the original Bold of three years ago, the 9900 weighs in at 130 grams (just 6 less than the original), and is actually taller too, however it is slimmer, and sleeker to hold.
Around the outside those who know the original Bold will remember the cheap plastic looking ‘metal rim’ which with one scratch showed its cheapness. The 9900 has a true brushed metal finish, it feels solid and a keen eye will note the assembly of every component has left few gaps to be seen. This is the kind of attention to detail quality car manufacturers pride themselves on – those gaps between body panels are something a good car man will be on the lookout for.
Suggesting a 640×480 display is exciting will seem crazy to those who speak of the ‘retina display’ of the iPhone. However, again, when compared to the Original Bold’s 480×320 it is a great step forward.
And the key feature which in reality will be underused by the majority, is the touch screen. While a long awaited addition, it’s usefullness is limted to some Apps and some improvements in Menu and settings functions. The touch screen is welcome, and makes some navigation better. Multi-touch on such a small screen is interesting to say the least, with accuracy with ‘fat fingers’ a real problem – however, zoom for web and such is made much easier by this addition.
Turning to the back of the device, you’ve got a rubberish outer rim, with a pop out backing covering the battery and SIM access. This back cover reaks of Carbon Fibre – to any man’s delight, however it’s a composite plastic made to trick you, and in one of few failings of the device, it has a gloss finish over it which attracts more than its fair share of fingerprints.
Running the latest Operating System from RIM (OS7) there is a great feel to the system, but it does still feel a little behind the times compared to iOS and lately Android. However, that aside, it is smooth, fast and easy to use. Coming from an older Blackberry Operating System will take some adjusting, recent users of newer Blackberry’s will find only minor adjustments.
There is no doubt the device is fast. Lightning fast. For any regular Blackberry user this is the device you want to have. For users of other Smartphones it would be hard to imagine why some people love a Blackberry so. Put simply, its the email and the typing. On no other device can you get your email delivered as efficiently as the Blackberry system does it. And, on no other device (keyboard or otherwise) is typing quite so effienent.
All said as a true Blackberry user of course!
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.