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BlackBerry Bold 9700 - BlackBerry Bold 9700

By Edward Chester



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The keyboard also has keys that are sculpted in opposite directions so as to 'catch' your thumbs as you type and give you a good purchase. This really helps get you up to speed when typing, though we still find that it's not enough to allow for true touch typing (one still has to look at the keyboard). Nonetheless, this is among the best keyboards we've used.

Arguably even better is the screen. Though it's a tad small compared to full touchscreen models and is 0.1in smaller than its predecessor, at 2.4in it is still just about large enough to make viewing videos manageable and is ample for smartphone duties, thanks to its impressive resolution. RIM has managed to fit in an impressive 480 x 360 pixels – more than many premium touchscreen phones like the iPhone - making for a super sharp and detailed display, though you'll need good eyesight to fully appreciate it as the dot pitch is incredibly fine.

It's not just detail that's on offer either, colours are incredibly full and natural, and black levels are class-leading. These two combined are what really bring videos and pictures to life and actually make this an equal to much larger devices in this regard. The only downside are the viewing angles. From below, it is absolutely fine but from the sides or above, visibility drops off markedly. In general use this is no problem, but if you're showing a group of people your latest pictorial masterpiece, they may all struggle to see what's going on.

Actually, there is one other potential downside. Seemingly a result of the phone's reduction in width, the screen now comes very close to the edge of the chassis, so if you squeeze the phone it can temporarily distort the display, just like if you poke an LCD monitor. This isn't a concern in and of itself but were the phone to drop on its edge, it could be particularly susceptible to getting a damaged screen.

Incorporated into the top edge are lock and (call) mute buttons while down the right edge are volume controls and the camera button. The camera is mounted on the back and can shoot at up to 3.2-megapixels. It has autofocus and a reasonably powerful LED flash, takes photos reasonably quickly and results in pretty decent pictures with impressive colour reproduction. Video can also be shot at up to 480 x 360 pixels and the framerate is enough to make perfectly usable clips. A contender for phone camera of the year it certainly isn't but it definitely holds its own against it peers.

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December 7, 2009, 9:41 pm

Great review as always! Any chance of an E72 review, its predecessor was awesome and I'm curious how the new one stands up...plus I'm a sucker for Nokia :)


December 8, 2009, 3:48 am

Been spending a lot of time in my old uni library and it seems like all the students have Blackberrys. RIM are definitely doing something right.

Stephen James

December 8, 2009, 4:49 am

Personally, i think it's a beautiful looking phone, and the 'name change to Bland' is a pretty harsh assessment of its aesthetics!

The biggest problems i have picked up so far are:

No tabbed browsing. (Have to use Opera if you want tabs)

Apps generally being more expensive than the iPhone ones.

The volume controls doubling up a next track button - caused fury on the train before i figured it out. Still fiddly.

The positives areas above and beyond the usual RIM qualities:

Surprisingly good camera for stills and video.

Speedy Processor - haven't had to wait for anything yet.

Absolutely immense battery life. With light general use (a few calls, a few texts, a bit of web, a few mp3's each day) i reckon you can go for a week before it's completely dead.

Stunning Screen. I honestly don't think i have seen a better screen on a mobile device. Is there anything that comes close to the dot pitch ratio of the 9700?

Keyboard probably not quite as good as the 9000, just due to that extra width - but still the second best mobile keyboard out there.

It's a pretty awesome all-rounder, with solid performance in all areas.

Beautifully simple device to use and navigate.

Great review Ed.

(FYI - would also be interested in a 9700 vs E72 article!)


December 8, 2009, 11:39 pm

Thanks for reviewing this. I've got a Motorolla V3 on Vodafone and I'm ready to upgrade. I use hotmail and I'm keen to know whether messages can be sent from there to the Blackberry (or indeed iphone). Could TR do an easy guide to the (apparently) complex world of webmail and smartphones? thanks! :-)


December 9, 2009, 12:50 am

Looks fantastic but the Blackberry Enterprise Service costs a bomb and Activesync is free! 3G Mobile reception is also extremely limited where I live. Currently quite frustrated.


December 9, 2009, 6:58 pm

I'm about 9 months into my ownership of an E71 and I love it. The battery is a bit weedy but for a small phone with excellent call quality and a briliant keyboard (touchscreen keyboards are the mark of Satan!) I haven't really seen anything to lead me away from it. The fact that the Nokia's push email service seems to work flawlessly would also make me wince at paying a fiver extra a month for Blackberry's servers to stroke my email as it wooshes past.

Thomas C

December 9, 2009, 10:55 pm

Aslo a happy owner of Nokia e71 would be interesting to see E72 review + further comparison. Shame RIM havent moved to more metal parts on their high end models in the same was a nokia are tending to...


December 10, 2009, 1:06 am

A quick question. Blackberry Bold 9700 for £311, is it worth it?


December 10, 2009, 2:43 am

@prankz2k: I'd certainly be tempted.


December 15, 2009, 8:19 pm

Maybe also worth mentioning that when receiving an SMS, you will only see the phone number, not the person's name, if you have any spaces, hyphens or brackets in your phone numbers. You can then go and search your contacts (1000's in my case) to figure out who sent you the SMS. Clearly only a firmware issue, but still unresolved as of mid-december, which is ridiculous.


January 15, 2010, 10:02 pm

My first Blackberry. Favourably impressed! Great call quality. Web pages displaying swiftly even without 3g. Will enjoy discovering all it can do. Vodafone store staffed by Blackberry enthusiasts. Better than advertised deal on upgrade.

Jason Brook

January 23, 2010, 12:31 am

My business partner and I upgraded to the 9700 just over three weeks ago and it's great. We are new to the 'blackberry thing', only getting it to run a GPS tracking application for our day-to-day needs. It pairs to our existing vehicle mounted bluetooth GPS receiver and runs the Watchberry GPS tracking application (from WatchOverMe.co.uk).

These Blackberry's seem to have an impressive battery life, we are getting around four working days of use from a single charge in our configuration for tracking and a small amount of email. Our previous configuration using Nokia Navigator's only managed to last around 1 to 2 days!


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