Like most recent smartphone handsets, the Bold also has integrated GPS, and the receiver is a very good one. Out in the TrustedReviews car park, which is surrounded by very tall trees, the Bold took a matter of seconds to get a satellite lock – other GPS devices have struggled to get a lock at all in the same location. Although BlackBerry maps is a fairly competent option, most users will probably opt to download Google Maps instead, which makes navigation far easier and probably more familiar too. In fact the Bold makes a pretty good pocket navigation tool helped in no small part by the great screen and very fast data speeds.
Talking of data speeds, the Bold is no slouch when it comes to downloads of any kind, with full HSDPA support, and since this one is running on the Vodafone network, you’re looking at both high speed and extensive coverage. As well as HSDPA you’ve got UMTS, Edge and GPRS, so you should be able get at least some kind of data coverage no matter where you are. The Bold is also a quad band GSM phone, so you’ll be able to carry it almost anywhere in the world too. Add to that integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the Bold has pretty much every base covered when it comes to connectivity.
That lightning fast data speed, coupled with the high resolution screen should make the Bold a great browsing device too. However, don’t expect iPhone levels of usability, because you’ll be sorely disappointed. I’m not saying that the Bold is a bad browsing device, but it’s nowhere near as intuitive as the iPhone, or the T-Mobile G1 Android phone for that matter. That said, the Bold can render standard web pages, even on difficult sites like TR, which is a decent achievement in itself.
There’s also a 2-megapixel camera thrown into the Bold, but it’s really nothing to write home about. Like the camera in the iPhone, the one in the Bold is somewhat disappointing. That said, at least you can send your pictures to friends as MMS messages – something that’s still not an option with the iPhone. For most BlackBerry users though, the camera will be an aside, especially when the rest of the feature set is so rock solid.
All in all the Bold has lived up to most of the hype that preceded it, and I think it’s the best BlackBerry yet. So why hasn’t it walked away with a perfect 10 like its predecessors? Back then the BlackBerry was far and away the best handset for anyone who needed email on the move, especially if you happened to be a power/business user. However, today things are very different, with Nokia throwing the cat among the pigeons with its E71, the rise of the iPhone and the impending impact of Google Android based handsets. But none of that can change the fact that the Bold is a truly excellent smartphone that should be on anyone’s short list.
Any current BlackBerry users who have been waiting to upgrade to the Bold should definitely take the plunge, this is an excellent handset that does everything it should, and does it all very well. Competition is more fierce this time around though, with the Nokia E71 winning many friends in the business sector, and the iPhone appealing to smartphone buying consumers. Add to this the forthcoming T-Mobile G1, and there has never been more choice in the fully featured handset market.
If however, mobile email is your prime concern, the Bold does the job superbly, just like every BlackBerry before it. The handset itself is also well designed, simple to use and stacked full of features – the 3.5mm headphone jack is particularly good to see. Throw in that great screen and lightning fast GPS positioning and it’s clear that RIM has produced another winner.
Score in detail