BlackBerry Bold 9000 review: Berry with guts
Telephony comes with smart dial
The BlackBerry Bold 9000 did OK in its main duty - making calls. We didn't experience any problems with reception, or in-call sound quality.
While that might be expected and doesn't bring any bonus points, the Smart dialing is certainly a great asset. With the QWERTY keyboard at hand you may never want to use your phonebook for dialing numbers again.
All you need to do is punch a few keys on the homescreen and the names that have the typed letters will appear on the screen instantly. You can then select them with the trackball and initiate a call - it doesn't get any simpler than that, does it?
Another worthy telephony feature is the Voice dialing which gets activated by pressing the left convenience key by default.
Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Bold 9000 failed to impress in our traditional loudspeaker test, producing only an average score. Unless you want to end up missing a call or two, it might be a better idea to keep the Bold within reach. It's worth noting though that the quality of the sound when using the speakerphone was really pleasing.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
|BlackBerry Bold 9000||70.0||66.6||68.9||Good|
|BlackBerry Curve 8900||75.7||66.6||75.3||Good|
|Samsung M8800 Pixon||75.7||69.6||82.1||Very Good|
|HTC Touch HD||77.7||73.7||76.7||Excellent|
Messaging is just fine
The BlackBerry Bold 9000 handles messaging pretty nicely as probably expected. It has support for all common types of messages - SMS, MMS and email. It also has the BlackBerry Messenger and Google Talk IM clients preinstalled.
BlackBerry OS has a fairly simple and easy to use organization of the messaging department and all messages are composed through a common editor.There is a counter at the top indicating the remaining characters to 160, and another one showing the number of parts the message will break down to for sending.
Emailing also has a remarkable set of customizable options, probably one of the best in business. However just out-of-the-box you can only set up BlackBerry Internet Service email accounts on the Bold. This means that without a proper Blackberry service plan, the handset is just a plain no-email device since you need to have that before you go setting up any other email accounts.
That's definitely a drawback in our books as there are quite a lot of carriers globally that do not support BIS yet. But then again, you would hardly be buying a Blackberry device if you don't intend to use the Blackberry services.
Music player lacks some extras
Conservative looks and borderline passable functionality is what the BlackBerry Bold 9000 music player is about. The business background of the device is the most probable reason for this and most users wouldn't have expected any different anyway.
The music player sorts the music library automatically by artist, album and genre and you can search your tracks by gradual typing. You can also create your own playlists in no time.
Album art is also supported, but unlike the Curve, this time your are left without the equalizer presets. The other thing we aren't particularly happy about is the fact that there is no Track Repeat option. The only way to make the handset repeat a particular track is to add it to a new playlist and than select repeat. But this probably seems like hairsplitting to most users.
Quite naturally, the player can also be minimized to play in background. You can then go back to it via the task manager or through the main menu. There's no indication of the currently playing song on the home screen.
Excellent audio quality again
The audio quality of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 is almost identical to the one of the Curve 8900. This again comes to confirm that RIM know what they are doing when it comes to audio quality. Both of those devices might be a tad worse than the Storm but still have remarkable audio quality, performing well in every aspect of our test.
The Bold 9000 has cut-off bass frequencies as evident from the graph below. This comes to explain the disturbing corresponding number in the table too. This might have been done on purpose to conceal a potential weakness of the supplied headphones. However, with a 3.5 mm standard audio jack on board you can easily replace them with almost any pair of headphones.
The rest of the readings are excellent with noise levels, dynamic range and stereo crosstalk particularly impressive. The distortions are also kept well within standards. All in all, you will be enjoying some great sound with BlackBerry Bold 9000. Business or not - a pat on the back is due where it is due.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|BlackBerry Bold 9000||+0.20, -3.87||-87.6||86.1||0.0056||0.023||-85.8|
|Nokia E63||+2.63, -2.38||-75.0||75.3||0.018||0.102||-74.9|
|Nokia E71||+0.74, -1.26||-74.5||74.7||0.016||0.097||-75.8|
|Apple iPod Touch 2G||+0.04, -0.05||-91.4||91.5||0.0027||0.012||-90.0|
BlackBerry Bold 900 frequency response compared to Curve 8900 and Storm 9500
You can find more info about the testing procedure and more results here.