The Blackberry Bold 9700 – When Function Meets Fashion!

PB020541 It is literally almost one year ago today when we reviewed briefly the Blackberry Bold 9000. You can check that out here. The Blackberry Bold was the prototype to RIM’s latest generation of smartphones and it was a beauty. The Black and Chrome look was something new, something sleek, something very stylish. Under the hood it was packing more power, memory, and the ability to do voice and data at the same time. Then there was the triple thread with having 3G, WiFi, and GPS all in the same package. The Blackberry Bold was a marvel, and I loved it!

Fast forward to today and RIM has expanded on that design with the Storm, now Storm 2, Tour, Curve 8900, and now the Bold 2. Yes the Blackberry 9700 aka the Bold 2 finally brings function to fashion. Yes the Blackberry Bold was fashionable, we wouldn’t have put it on G Style if it wasn’t, but RIM messed up. You see once they came out with the Storm and Curve 8900, we seen a trend of slimmer, sleeker, sexier models coming out. But where did that leave the Bold? Looking very chubby and out of shape. I love my Bold, but one couldn’t deny that it was starting to look like it hadn’t been in the gym awhile compared to the others.

Enter the Bold 2. All the under the hood power, more memory (256MB compared to 128), better camera (3.2MP compare to 2.0), better OS (OS 5.0), the triple threat of 3G/WiFi/GPS, and now a leaner/sexier frame. This Blackberry 9700 looks like it went back to the gym hard (something I can actually relate to as I’ve starting going back to the gym as well) and came out trim, healthy, and sexy. It shed the pounds and now takes firm of it’s title as the BEST Blackberry of the line! Ok have I wet your appetite now? Let’s dig in!

Looks
PB020543Taking the best elements of all of it’s siblings, the 9700 look like a mix of the Curve 8900, Tour, Bold, and Curve 8520. One can automatically notice the new trackpad, that has replaced the trackball. This happened to be my only gripe with the Bold. As your Blackberry is only as good as the functioning trackball in it.

The body is smaller than the Bold, which means a lot of shrunk with it. The keyboard though having the same buttons as the Bold, is packaged in a smaller layout than the Bold. This means getting a little use to the smaller typing area. The screen while having a higher resolution (480×360 like the Curve 8900) was packed into a smaller space so the screen is definitely smaller than the Bold. While this means the picture looks sharper, you will find yourself adjusting some to the new size. It retains it’s “Boldness” with the faux leather back, and while I wasn’t sure why they decided to have a smaller area of the faux leather, I do think it is for the better. the look definitely works!

Improvements
The Blackberry 9700 definitely improves on the first one. The Bold’s 128MB of set aside application memory seemed good when it first came out, but in this age of applications getting larger (I mean I installed BBM 5 on it and it was 2.4mb in size), 128 just wasn’t going to cut it. While I don’t think 256MB is going to cut it either in the long run, the bump up is definitely needed. I find myself having to reboot my Bold to only get about 15MB of space left. The 3.2MP camera is definitely nice with the auto focus and is something I’ve seen before as the misses has the Curve 8900. It is a nice addition to the Bold 2.

OS 5.0 is very nice. Feels smooth, responsive, it just flows nice. There have been some design accents that has been changed or tweeted that are really good. I’m happy to know that most of the programs I use, at least on the regular seems to work fine under 5.0. I haven’t tested all of them yet, but some of the main ones like SocialScope, Viigo, and Google Voice/Maps all seemed to work properly.

The trackpad is nice, I’ve said it before when using the Blackberry Curve 8520. The trackpad to me is heavenly, plus not having to worry about a ball getting stuck or deciding it wasn’t going to roll in a certain direction is nice. I will note that it is precise, so sometimes getting to where I need to, isn’t as smooth as I would like. This could just be a matter of getting use to it though.

PB020556The Battery is also greatly improved over the Bold. With my current Bold and 3G I’m usually at about 15% by 2-3pm, but with the Bold 2 I was good till 11pm. The day started with it at around 7:15am. I must note that I didn’t have ever single app that I have on the Bold on this device, but did could some of the data heavy ones I use on the regular on. Even still lasting that long over 3G is something to applaud!

Speed would be another area improved, though it was hard to tell if it was the device or if T-Mobile 3G is better. I did a speed test with my current Bold and the new 9700 Bold 2 using 3G. I had them load up G Style Magazine and the T-Mobile 9700 finished first. One thing to know that, while it finished first, it was missing the right side of the site where we having the ADs, and the Bold loaded the full page though slower than the Bold 2.

Overall
To sum up, I think this phone is great! The Blackberry Bold is the king of the Blackberry devices (Yes it is better than the Storm to me at least lol). It is the flagship of the line! The Bold 2 maintains that flagship status, packs all of the muscle and now in a slimmer, sexier, more fashionable package!

This Bold 2 (9700) I reviewed was the T-Mobile version and while a release hasn’t be given yet, it was said that they are aiming for before Black Friday. It will be selling for $199.99 and that is without having to do any mail in rebates. You hear that AT&T, get rid of the mail in rebating and just go $199.99 as well!