Hands On With BlackBerry Bold (BlackBerry 9000)

RIM announced the new quad-band BlackBerry Bold bright and early this morning. Two words: it rocks. Like the two latest 8330 Curves on Verizon Wireless and Sprint, it’s 3G. This time around, however, it’s an HSDPA 3G phone with built-in 802.11a/b/g support. AT&T fans can cheer now. Suave Looks The large full QWERTY keypad reminds us a lot of the 8800 series, with its ridged keys spaced closer together than on the Curve. Like its slick user-interface, the whole device has a black, red, and white theme. Pretty James-Bondish if you ask me. Most of the phone is black, including the keypad which has white lettering, and red lighted accents. A silver border runs around the phone. The rear has an awesome fake leather surface to it (We originally thought it was real), and you can swap it out for different colored leathers. Mike Lazaridis, RIM CEO, told us that the “front is for business, and the back is for the evening.” Kind of like a mullet. We can’t help but agree, the Bold is straight up classy. Sleek OS When you turn Bold on, the first difference you’ll noticed is the new OS 4.6, a clean revamp to the old OS, but quite similar. Our device looked like it had the Zen theme going, and the black background contrasts well with each icon, which highlights when selected. It’s quite minimal too. The cartoony colors are replaced with a red, black, and white theme. BlackBerry Bold’s High-Res Display RIM really packed the heat, too. The 2.8-inch glass LCD has a 480 x 320 resolution which looked super crisp in our hands-on. When we watched a trailer for Speed Racer; there was no motion blur and Christina Ricci’s red gloves popped. Performance The days of a lagging BlackBerry seem to be a thing of the past; all of the applications were speedy thanks to the 624MHz Marvell Tavor processor with full MMX support. That’s twice the speed of the 312MHz found in today’s models, and, *cough* 4MHz faster than the iPhone’s ARM processor *cough*. Storage Options on the BlackBerry Bold Onboard storage is up to 128MB of flash memory with an added 1GB of onboard storage. That’s up from the previous breadwinner Curve 8330 that packed a rawboned 96MB. Most models had 64MB. RIM realized the importance of a side-loading microSD slot and it carried over the feature found only in the latest Pearls to the Bold. Camera The camera remains at 2MP with a flash. We love how crisp images look on the display, and noticed there was hardly any discoloration in the images: they looked true to life on screen. We didn’t have a chance to port the photos over to a computer to check them out full-sized, though. Bold Sound The speakers sounded improved, not that we’ve complained about BlackBerry speakers in the past, but they’re noticeably more crisp. Perhaps that’s due to the included 11-preset equalizer. GPS BlackBerry Maps has better rendering too, making this GPS phone even more powerful than previous iterations. RIM claims it will download maps at faster speeds, and allow you to navigate using the map even while you’re on a phone. Probably not a good idea while you’re driving. Bundled Software The Bold also has DataViz Documents to Go suite preloaded, which means you can open and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the go. We checked out PowerPoint and saw the slides load quickly, with images. Other software enhancements include support for BlackBerry Unite! software for SOHO and home users. Support for IBM Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange, and Novell GroupWise remain. E-mail is revamped. Instead of seeing links to images embedded into e-mails, they actually load now. Battery Life RIM is rating the new battery life with 5 hours of talk time and 13 days of standby. It uses a 1500mAh battery, but the talktime is rated over a GSM network. We imagine surfing the Net using a 3G connection will pull the battery life down. We’ll have a review unit in-house shortly. Right now we’re just waiting for the carrier announcement here in the United States. And seeing that AT&T has pretty much liquidated its line of BlackBerrys with non-stop sales recently, and that the Bold is an HSDPA phone, and that T-Mobile’s 3G network isn’t yet nationwide, it looks like it’s going to AT&T.

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  1. Joe Says:

    Its The “BOLDBERRY”

  2. Joe Says:

    “BOLDBERRY” “BOLDBERRY” “BOLDBERRY” “BOLDBERRY” “BOLDBERRY”

  3. H4MM3R Says:

    Very nice. What will the BOLD cost? It has me thinking about switching from Alltel.

  4. Todd Haselton Says:

    H4MM3R, RIM didn’t give us any pricing information, since that will probably involve carrier input too, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out

  5. AndrewT Says:

    This phone is truly sexy and I’m tempted to get one, but I’m going to wait a couple of months and see if the rumors of an “enabled” [read: 3G, GPS] iPhone are true. If so, my initial decision would be an iPhone but wouldn’t completely rule out the BB until I got my hands on one and made an educated decision.

  6. alex Says:

    Will you have to pay a subscription to your phone operator to use the GPS (like on the pearl) or will you be able to install your own software such as tom tom to use it everywhere even without phone network like a real gps?

  7. World's Best Todd Says:

    Alex, it’s probably going to be a pay subscription like the models now. Good news is, some carriers don’t block BlackBerry Maps–so you’ll at least be able to use that–and with improvements expected, it could be much more useful.

  8. nick Says:

    the bold will be 549.99 when you buy it without a contract. it will be 399.99 with a contract and you’ll get a 100 mail-in rebate.

    brought to you by an email I got from my boss (at&t pays well…and gives free phones to employees)

  9. Anonymous Says:

    When is it scheduled to come out

  10. chikis Says:

    In response to Nick…AT&T employees STILL don’t know the price yet because I am one. Yes AT&T pays well but the free phones are for your company use not personal so you just don’t get a free phone to take home and give to mommy. Let’s not mislead consumers as you are trying to do now. It’s already bad enough with the competition out there to have someone say something that isn’t “all” true to get exposure. Yes we think it’s going to be just as expensive as the Tilt b/c of the wi-fi but that’s just us regular employees speculation. Not even the Office of the President knows the answer…nice try.

  11. Sarah Says:

    umm.. i love the phone, trully i want to get it, but the problem is that i dont know what company hold the Blackberry Bold. If it is Verizon Wireless, im getting it. If not that i wont be able to get it :[
    can anyone help me out?

  12. TrojanMarshall Says:

    The phone will be out for Verizon Wireless a little after it is released for At&t (July).

  13. Stefanie Says:

    the rumors of an “enabled” [read: 3G, GPS] iPhone are true

  14. david Says:

    its a 2.4 inch screen not 2.8 idiots

  15. ??? Says:

    when will it be out for tmobile???

  16. Eric Says:

    The Bold is set to come out in July, and AT&T will be the first carrier to have to phone, then Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint will follow up sometime in September.
    Here’s a link with some spec and potential pricing info. http://reviews.infosyncworld.com/cell-phones/compare/?name1=RIM+BlackBerry+Bold+9000+(AT%26T)&name2=RIM+BlackBerry+Bold+9000+(T-Mobile)&name3=RIM+BlackBerry+Bold+9000+(Verizon+Wireless)&name4=RIM+BlackBerry+Bold+9000+(Sprint)

  17. Mark Says:

    I want, I want! When can I have??

  18. Rob Says:

    Try August for AT&T, with a 2 month delay to other networks. :D Looking at the iPhone, the display size will be the big loss, and the fact that the iPhone is being engineered towards being an even more portable Mac.

    Hands down, for a phone that’s practical for a mix of business and personal use, it looks like Bold will be strong. Just in the technical specs I’ve read, Bold’s far out shiny-ing the iPhone for me.

  19. Sonny Says:

    Is there an extended battery option?

  20. nirvam Says:

    Is the phone released yet?
    I want to buy this device without a contract or any deal..where can i do it and how much will it cost?

  21. Harbajok Says:

    If the BB isn’t out yet, then how do people have it then??? hmmmmm interesting

  22. hoopster Says:

    i’m totally psyked about the Bold. I wanted an iPhone but when i heard about this i looked it up and was instantly BLOWN AWAY!!! i’ve been checking everyday but have yet to find an exact release date. but i did look on a few sites and “mid-august” came up a lot [with AT&T] so i would bet on that. but the phone, from what i’ve read and seen is TOTALLY WICKED!!! i think the Bold is the “new phone to beat”!! LOL…

  23. hoopster Says:

    some people bought the phone off ebay. its the pre-production product so all the features arent final. so they dont have all the benefits of someone who will have bought it after it is released..

  24. John Says:

    AT&T release on Oct. 2.

    Anyone have pricing info on it??

  25. Jesse Says:

    I got a Blackberry bold and I got Issue with the battry.I left it on the charger for like half day and when I checked it back the battry was completly dead. no juice in it. not sure if its from the battry or the system it self which should stop charging it after its completly full.

  26. Darren Says:

    I just bought the Bold the other day and I agree with Jesse’s post regarding the battery life. I have to constantly charge this phone and it takes a while until its fully charged. I had the Pearl BB before this one and the battery could last days without a charge and when it needed a charge, it was very quick. Overall the phone has good features but the battery life is an issue.

  27. Al Says:

    Darren and Jesse,
    I got a Bold yesterday, charged it fully, talked for ac ouple minutes, surfed, messed with the settings. Today the battery is still about 75%. Maybe you should go get your phones checked out.

  28. AJCKIW Says:

    WAZ UP PLLS THIS FONE IS ASWOME I WAS THYE FIRST INE TO GET IT ..!

  29. john fordy Says:

    No-one can help me clear an audio malfunction, not even the BlackBerry site. Reception on my Bold 9000 breaks up as soon as I reply. I have had two “engineers” try to solve the problem but in vain. I live in the south of France and am not alone in having audio problems on the 9000. Anyone got a good idea, apart from hurling it out to sea?

  30. john fordy Says:

    Why can no-one help me with an audio reception problem on my BlackBerry 9000 Bold? I have tried the BlackBerry site but cannot find an answer. Any-one got an idea?

  31. D McCoul Says:

    I am having audio problems with mine as well, people I’m having a conversation with suddenly can’t hear me or it sounds like I have a robot voice. I’ve contacted customer support. All they say is that they are aware of the issue and an update is going to be released soon (no ETA). However it isn’t the phone. Just frustrating because the other people you talk to sound so clear you don’t even know they can’t hear you until they tell you.

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