RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 review

£400
Price when reviewed

When it comes to business messaging, RIM has always been king. Its BlackBerry handsets have a huge following among the suited and booted, and with the latest Bold it’s aiming to spread the word to consumers too.

As with its touchscreen sibling, the Torch, the Bold 9780 features BlackBerry OS 6, and this makes it one of the most accessible BlackBerry phones yet. Its universal search option is the biggest advance, making it child’s play to find messages, phone numbers, apps and settings. Simply start typing keywords on the home screen, and the results appear on the fly.

There’s also a brand new Web Kit web browser, which makes a big difference to general usability. With previous versions, web browsing was functional but sluggish; now it’s positively nippy. In our tests, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 loaded the BBC homepage in 14 seconds and completed the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark in 23 seconds. It still can’t match the latest Android 2.2 touchscreen phones, or the iPhone 4 for sheer ease and speed of browsing, but it isn’t as far behind as it was before.

BlackBerry Bold 9780

There’s a host of other additions, including improved social networking integration. The Social Feeds app groups together IM messages, Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds all on one screen. The shortcut icons that run along the bottom of the screen are now grouped into several different categories – All, Favourites, Downloads, Media and Frequent – and the message notification bar at the top of the home screen can be pulled down for a quick summary of all your recent messages.

Physically, the Bold is the same as before, with only an increase in camera resolution (from 3.2 to 5 megapixels) and an extra 256MB of RAM to show for the change in name; image quality is solid, but video quality less so, limited as it is to 640 x 480.

That might disappoint some, but it’s still excellent hardware. It’s light, compact, pocketable and feels solid to hold. The screen isn’t huge or high resolution, remaining at 2.44in and 480 x 360, but it gives more detail and screen real estate than the larger Torch does. That keyboard is better too, with sculpted keys that are responsive and well separated from one another to help avoid mistyping. And while navigation with the optical touchpad takes some getting used to, it works well.

BlackBerry Bold 9780 - rear view

Most importantly, battery life is excellent. Longevity has always been a strength of BlackBerry devices and this new Bold is no different. At the end of our 24-hour test (during which we download a 50MB podcast, play it back on loop for an hour, force the screen on for a further 60 minutes and make a 30-minute phone call, with email being delivered via push constantly), the Bold registered 70% on its battery gauge – a notch better than the Torch with its larger screen – a performance that places it right up there with the previous Bold and the Nokia N8. With moderate use, you’ll easily get two days use out of without needing to charge it.

The Bold 9780, in short, is a superb piece of kit, and with its excellent battery life, improved usability and a better web browser, is good enough to retain the accolade of best business smartphone. The only fly in the ointment is there isn’t much reason for owners of the current-generation Bold to upgrade, especially when the current generation devices are being upgraded to OS 6 very soon.

Details

Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £25.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider www.mobiles.co.uk

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 6hrs
Standby, quoted 22 days

Physical

Dimensions 60 x 14 x 109mm (WDH)
Weight 122.000kg
Touchscreen no
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 512MB
ROM size 256MB
Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 2.4in
Resolution 480 x 360

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family BlackBerry OS

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