Our Score


User Score


  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Good physical keyboard


  • Small screen
  • Not enough apps

Review Price £360.00

Key Features: 2.45in, 480 x 360 pixel screen; 1GHz Marvel processor; BlackBerry OS7; Touchscreen; Full qwerty keyboard

Manufacturer: Research In Motion

RIM made good progress towards closing the gap between its handsets and those of the competition with its BlackBerry Bold 9900. It was beautifully built, feature packed, had an improved interface and crucially had a relatively large touchscreen, but it was quite an expensive handset. Now BlackBerry is back with a new more affordable touchscreen Bold, the 9790. Sadly, in cutting the price, BlackBerry has cut quite a lot of the appeal too.

First impressions of the BlackBerry Bold 9790 are good, though. Its black-and-chrome styling looks as classy as ever and build quality is excellent despite the majority of the handset being plastic. The only cause for concern is that the curved screen is plastic rather than glass so you'll need to buy a case to avoid it getting heavily scratched - you don't get one in the box.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 8

An advantage of the smaller size of this phone, and its curved edges is that it sits nicely in the hand - and it's easy to reach all the buttons. The soft touch plastic on the removable backplate also adds to this easy-grip comfort.

Underneath the backplate is a 1,230mAh battery, the SIM slot and a microSD slot, which will take cards up to 32GB in size but doesn't come with one installed. Instead you get 8GB of inbuilt storage, which is enough to make a start on your multimedia and app collection. Also on the back is a 5 megapixel camera with its LED flash

BlackBerry Bold 9790 3

General ergonomics are helped by responsive, well laid-out buttons. The keyboard, for instance, stretches the full width of the phone with absolutely minimal gap at the edges, making it as spacious as possible. Above it the five navigation buttons are nice and responsive. The central of these is an optical trackpad that for the most part is unnecessary, as you can just use the touchscreen, but it's useful for pinpointing the cursor for editing text amongst other things. In fact, it's arguably more useful on this device than its bigger brother as the smaller screen here is more of a struggle to use for everyday navigation.

Coming back to the keyboard, it's of the premium BlackBerry type. Each key is separate and sculpted to better fit the shape of your thumbs as they strike. This is as opposed to the cheaper BlackBerry keyboard used on the Curve range, which uses a single sheet of more rounded buttons that causes surrounding keys to flex and move as you press a key. As such the typing experience is pretty good, though the two columns of buttons on the edges take a bit of getting used to.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 2

Both the keyboard and the navigation keys are stylishly backlit in white, which is essential for typing in the dark. We rather like the way the phone goes into standby mode shutting down the screen and keyboard back then slowly dimming the nav button backlights – it's like something out of a sci-fi movie.

The main navigation buttons are for call answer, menu, trackpoint, back and call end/power functions. While touchscreen navigation systems have come far in recent years there's definitely something about having a physical button to press to answer a call, or always knowing where to tap to bring up an options menu.

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January 25, 2012, 4:08 am

Also you have option of Blackberry Balance and BES and the other corporate stuff. But that is adding alot to the cost. But with RIM's Mobile Fusion coming along and QNX. Might be hard to put up with for 2 years. Also BlackBerry Traffic is US /Canada only :( and no visual voicemail which you get on iPhone.


January 25, 2012, 4:11 am

Typo the display is 480x360 not 640x480. Please fix.

Martin Daler

January 25, 2012, 3:20 pm

screen resolution differs between spec pages and the first bullet point of your review

David Gilbert

January 25, 2012, 8:26 pm

@Peter @Martin Thanks for the spot, has been remedied now.

Gillian marshall ∞

January 28, 2013, 4:41 pm

I have the 9790 and it has caused me nothing but problems ever since having it. I've had this phone for only 5 months and i have had to send it back numerous times due to problems and had another 9790 send out due to the other being faulty, this one having the same problems as the last. Constantly freezes, flash on camera isn't always reliable, touch screen has stopped working numerous times and has caused me to loose my contacts, apps, messages and files on more than one occasion and also does not charge frequently when plugged in. waste of money.


November 19, 2013, 1:15 pm

This phone is stupid, i've had this phone for 18 months now and I wish I never had got it; the battery only stays on for 7 hours at the most, the phone is easy to break if you accendently dropped it. This phone broke a week and a half after I got it, I have had constantly had to glue parts together as I'm on contract I can't get a New phone until july 2014. I did think it waas a good phone until the loading symbol was constant. When my phone does have the loading symbol it does it for about 15 minutes without changing and the phone heats up and restars the phone which happens to me about 3 times a day. I would get this phone, a Nokia Brick phone is better then this phone!

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