BlackBerry Bold 9000 review: Berry with guts
Connectivity: Third time is a charm
The first two Blackberries we reviewed failed to convince in this area but luckily the Bold 9000 got it right. It's got all the connectivity the users might need and manages it pretty nicely too.
The quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support secures global roaming and the 3G with HSDPA gives you the extra speed. The Wi-Fi is also present with a nice and easily customizable Wi-Fi manager taking care of all the connections. Bluetooth with A2DP support comes to complete the list of wireless connectivity options.
The BlackBerry Bold 9000 is also equipped with a standard miniUSB port that is used both for connecting to a computer and for charging. Once connected, you can sync your data with the mobile phone including your iTunes collection, save for the files that have DRM. You can even use the handset for tethering as a modem.
Finally, you have the option to use your microSD memory card slot for transferring data. The high transfer rates however are negated by the immensely uncomfortable card slot.
The trackball takes the web browser a level up
The web browser of BlackBerry Bold 9000 is certainly one of the best we have seen among non-touch phones. A great combination of nice software, quick-QWERTY input and precise trackball navigation adding up to a combo that is hard to match.
The zoom is of course user configurable, even if not as easily as on the touch-enabled Storm. Panning is great thanks to the trackball and the virtual mouse cursor. You just push it towards the border of the page, et voila.
Page rendering is near perfect displaying almost every page like on a computer. The high resolution display is another welcome bonus here, as it allows more content to fit on the screen.
By default pages are opened to fit the width of the phone with the virtual cursor taking the shape of a magnifier. You than just click on the part you would like to read and it gets zoomed in to fill the screen. A press on the back key and you are back to the fit-to-width view. Repeat until done.
In fact the only bad part about the web browser of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 is the lack of proper Flash support.
Other than that, the handset provides great user experience when browsing the web, comparable only to the optical joystick-enabled Samsung handsets. Its inability to show Flash content however might tip the scales in favor of the competitors, like Nokia E71 for instance.
Excellent organizing skills
True to its BlackBerry nature, the Bold 9000 has superb time-managing capabilities. Its organizer includes a good set of applications and although some of them are not quite the lookers, their usability is on a very decent level.
The calendar has monthly, weekly and daily view modes and allows easily customized events to be set up. We have to admit that some event presets would have been useful but unluckily the device fails to provide them.
Mobile office is also very well geared, with preinstalled applications able to open and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Furthermore, document editing is also supported right out of the box, unlike some competing phones. Unfortunately, there is no PDF viewer preinstalled so potential users will have to get one themselves.
The organizer package also includes a calculator with a built-in unit-converter as well as voice recorder and a Notes application. A handy To-do manager allows you to set-up and organize your upcoming tasks.
The alarm application has only one alarm slot and thus fails to impress. It's quick to turn on but most of its settings can only be adjusted from the settings menu. There you can change the tone, snooze interval and the volume as well as the vibration intensity.
Finally the BlackBerry Bold 9000 comes with a stopwatch and a timer. Both are accessed from the clock application and have the usual functionality.
The clock also offers a bedside mode that turns off the status LED (unless you set it otherwise) and displays a large clock on the screen.