BlackBerry Bold 9900
The BlackBerry Bold 9900, the fourth iteration of the Bold series and the first real successor to the original Bold is finally here. While the two Bolds in between — the 9700 and 9780 — were technically part of the Bold family, they sported a narrower form factor as compared to the original.
The Bold 9900 is BlackBerry's first touch-screen and QWERTY device that comes in the candy-bar form factor — which means, unlike the Torch, the Bold's keyboard is on the front of the device with no sliding mechanisms. It is also among the first set of devices to sport the new BlackBerry OS 7. Finally, the 9900 is the slimmest BlackBerry phone so far and it makes its great grandfather (the 9000) look, well, great-grandfather-ly. The back of the device has been changed from the all-leather style of the 9000 to be in line with the more recent Bolds and more carbon fibre-esque in style.
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 sports a 2.8-inch touch screen with a resolution of 640x480. The display looks fantastic, even outdoors in bright sunlight. It's extremely crisp and vivid, and viewing content of any kind is an absolute pleasure. What is most surprising (pleasantly of course) is the responsiveness of the touch screen. Both taps and gestures are recorded perfectly. If you haven't used a touch-screen BlackBerry before, you'll find yourself relying on the touch pad for all interaction. It may take a conscious effort to use the touch screen before you build the habit. The keyboard on the 9900 is just as good as the one on 9000 — spacious and click-y.
Powering the 9900 is the 1.2GHz processor and 768MB RAM which has resulted in smooth performance and far fewer spinning clocks which leave the phone crippled for seconds, if not minutes. The internal storage is at 8GB which can be expanded to 32GB with a memory card. All of these have been bumped up considerably from the last iteration of the Bold. The camera resolution has been increased to five megapixels and the 9900 has the capability of shooting HD videos at 720p. However, the camera does lack autofocus capabilities. The shots from the camera were average and served the purpose of a "smartphone camera" well. The camera performed well in low light, though, with the flash recognising objects and not completely washing out the objects in white.
One of the first set of devices to ship with OS7, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 features many improvements. In addition to improved support for high resolution and touch-screen devices, OS7 features a faster browser, pre-installed premium version of Documents to Go Office suite, support for Near Field Communication and Universal Search Capability.
But the Bold 9900 has a lower capacity battery (1230mAh) versus the largest capacity one (1500mAh) of the original Bold. The OS7 is designed to be more battery friendly and the phone got through more than a day of moderate usage of e-mailing, tweeting/facebooking and a few snaps.
With a slim profile, powerful internals and vivid display — the Bold 9900 (Dh2,600) is without doubt one of the finest devices so far. It has taken the BlackBerry family forward by leaps and bounds. There isn't a better device on the market with a physical keyboard.