Universal Search has also been added, giving you instant access to your phones features and all manner of web searches. Just start typing when on the homescreen and any matching contacts, messages, videos, songs, or anything else on your phone will appear below. If nothing matches you can search YouTube, Google, the BlackBerry App store and Google Local Search. It’s only really a catch up feature to bring the platform in line with Android, iOS, and WebOS but it’s done well enough that it’s worthy of praise.
The final major improvement comes courtesy the web browser, which renders pages much faster than previous versions and supports tabbed browsing for having multiple pages open at once. This brings the platform nearly up to speed with most rivals but a lack of support for flash means many online videos will still be out of reach. Also, as already mentioned, the lack of a touch screen does feel like a real hindrance when trying to scroll around pages and zoom in and out.
Of course, what would a BlackBerry be without excellent email support, and this device doesn’t let the side down any in this regard. Email notifications are truly instant while support for different account types is comprehensive, with most requiring minimal effort to setup. What’s more, you can keep up with all messages, whether email, text, Twitter, Facebook, BBM or otherwise, through a single Messages app, though separate email accounts are also accessible.
Dedicated apps for Facebook and Twitter are included along with all the usual basics like calculators, calendars, and support for other IM services like GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger, and GoogleTalk.
GPS is onboard and it seems to work quite well with it accurately and speedily picking up where we were. BlackBerry Maps is the default way to take advantage of this feature but we recommend downloading GoogleMaps as it’s just nicer to use.
You’ll be going through the BlackBerry App World to get hold of this and while there you’ll find a somewhat limited supply of other apps. Most essentials are there but it’s still someway off the diversity you get with Android and iOS.
The CPU in the 9780 is identical to that of the 9700, which at 624MHz isn’t exactly a challenger to the 1GHz models found on many Android devices. However, it does seem quite sufficient for this phone and thanks to a doubling in RAM, to 512MB, we saw no evidence of slow down.
As for making calls on the 9780, it holds up to BlackBerry’s legendary standards with very clear audio through both the earpiece and speaker. Indeed, if you’re a fan of playing your music out loud from a phone (then stop), we know of few better devices. We’ve heard reports of iffy reception but we had no such problems.
It’s the same story with battery life as the 1500mAh unit should easily provide you with well in excess of two days use, with three or four being more likely for lighter users.
The BlackBerry Bold 9780 is another classic BlackBerry that ticks all the boxes we’d expect; the keyboard’s great, the screen is small but very sharp and nice to look at, messaging facilities and call quality are superb, and you’ll get days of use out of it. However, it’s not much of an upgrade compared to the Bold 9700 and is starting to look a bit behind the times. If you’re desperate for a new BlackBerry-style handset then it certainly won’t let you down on any key front but those looking simply to upgrade will probably do best to wait for the Dakota that will add an all essential touchscreen to the mix.