RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

RIM's latest handset adds touchscreen and BlackBerry OS7 to the popular smartphone series
Photo of RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900
£500.00 , SIM-free

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the first to hit the shelves from a number of new handsets recently announced by maker Research In Motion (RIM). We took a look at a SIM-free sample from Vodafone.

Every inch a BlackBerry
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is every inch a BlackBerry device. There’s no doubt from the first glance, thanks to its classic styling and design. But there is some new stuff going on under the hood in the shape of an updated operating system, BlackBerry OS7, and other updated features.

Being a classic BlackBerry smartphone, the keyboard is impressive. It isn’t quite up there with the very best that Research in Motion has come up with in the past, but it’s nonetheless responsive under the fingers. Second functions sit on every key, and are accessed with the aid of an Alt key that sits to the left of the Z key.

BlackBerry Bold 9900

At your convenience
Research In Motion is well known for the convenience keys it puts on its smartphones. Some models get two, but the BlackBerry Bold 9900 gets just the one, on its right edge. By default, this launches the 5-megapixel camera. But – and here comes the ‘convenience’ part – you can program it to launch whatever app you like.

The screen is necessarily small at 2.8in, but its 640×480-pixel resolution makes it extremely sharp and bright, and it’s exceptionally readable. Scouring through emails, even at a tiny font size, is comfortable on the eye. It is touch-sensitive too, and this works well alongside the familiar optical navigation pad.

A game of catch-up
The Bold 9900′s processor runs at 1.2GHz, and there is 8GB of storage on board, plus a microSD card slot for adding more. You can record video at an HD-ready 720p resolution and the web browser has had a bit of a makeover.

Universal Search remains a great feature. Start typing, and your handset narrows down its stock of apps, contacts, tunes, videos, and other files until only the thing you want is on display. Do a web search in the same way. It renders the app menus unnecessary, really – and it is really compelling. 

Still, for all the good things we can say about the BlackBerry Bold 9900, it does feel like a catch-up device. The new operating system version is a move forwards, and we like the addition of near-field communications (NFC) support, which bodes well for the future – but apart from that there’s nothing really new here.

Company: RIM

Website: http://www.wodafone.co.uk/

Contact: Vodafone on 08080 408408

Positives
  • Superb screen; good keyboard; fast processor; plenty of internal storage.
Negative
  • Feels like a catch-up device rather than a true innovation.

Verdict

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is an attractive device with some strong features. The touch screen adds usability, and Near Field Communications might find something to do in the future so it’s nice to see it here.