Of the three top smartphones that we have covered so far (Apple iPhone 3G, HTC Touch HD and the Nokia E71) none come from such a prestigious background as the Bold. Although ‘Blackberry’ only became mainstream in 2002 they did so in style soon winning over the hearts and wallets of millions of businesses and has become the number one company for business phones.
So much so that ‘Blackberry’ has almost become a noun to describe a smartphone; and if you are interested in American news you will also know that President Barack Obama has ‘fought’ to keep his Blackberry amid security warnings. So let’s have a look at the first of the two Blackberry phones we will cover — the Blackberry Bold 9000.
Ease of use
The first thing you will notice is the fact that it has QWERTY keyboard, which will instantly raise questions as to how easy it is to type – a crucial factor when that is your only input device. Blackberry phones are renowned for their keyboards, so it is no surprise that this one impresses from the start. Not only does it look sleek with its’ black and grey colour scheme and white lines but the raised buttons mean you rarely press a key accidentally and the rows are separated to further aid typing.
So the keyboard is nice to use, but unlike the Nokia E71, the screen excels as well offering a resolution of 320 x 480 that gives a rich high contrast picture that’s great even for watching videos on. The Blackberry O/S also builds on experience and offers a nice easy to use interface that will get you going in no time.
Obviously, the main missing feature here is a touchscreen and although the keyboard goes most the way to making this up web browsing isn’t quite as slick and it isn’t quite as fun to use. Having said that the phone has pretty much everything you would need: HSDPA, Wi-Fi, assisted GPS, a 3.5mm headphone jack (as opposed to the irritating 2.5mm alternatives) and also a nifty feature that alters the screen brightness depending on the amount of daylight to conserve the battery.
It also has the invaluable ability to not only read Word and PowerPoint files (like the iPhone) but also to create and edit them which is not only immensely useful (especially in the context of business) but also easy to do thanks to the quality screen and keyboard combination.
The name suggests a design that’s radical, new and perhaps even controversial (if a phone design ever could be controversial) but I’m afraid to say it isn’t. However it is very good looking; the overall black design with chrome ‘highlights’ really do create a desirable look, and although it does at first look like an odd shape (slightly wider than normal) you really don’t notice it when you are actually using it.
The design is also very ‘clutter free’ with a very minimalistic back (just a small central 2-megapixel camera) and a simple yet effective front design. There is also no excess when it comes to the sides — the buttons are the same colour as the main scheme resulting in them being well ‘camouflaged’, and the ports take up as little space as possible
The price is something that will concern lots and many of you will be relieved to know that it is not ridiculously priced. It is, in fact, one of the cheaper smartphones on the market with an 18-month contract price of £630, although the £450 SIM-free price is by no means cheap. Although you may be thinking that is a lot (compared with the Nokia E71 for example) bear in mind that of the 6 we will look at it is the second cheapest and that despite the fact that these are the cream of the crop, the other rivals are similarly priced.
The aforementioned energy saving features go a long way to preserving the 1,500mAh battery, the net result is a phone you can count on. With a ‘light use test’ (a combination of calls, downloading of files and leaving on standby) the Bold managed a battery life of just over 90 hours which is one of the highest in the market and a score that will impress even the most adventurous of businessmen.
Blackberry really have produced a worthy addition to the Blackberry name with this phone which combines wonderful ergonomics with a beautiful design and an array of practical features. Its versatility will suit business and home purposes alike and it is also reasonably priced resulting in a phone that its good value for money. There are a few problems — the camera could be better and the lack of a touchscreen makes browsing a little less of a joy than it could be — but other than them, the Blackberry Bold 9000 is a great smartphone!