BlackBerry Bold 9700 review: Dare you go
Connectivity: Third time is a charm
Following the footsteps of its predecessor, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 gives you all the connectivity you 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 rounds off the list of wireless connectivity options.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 is also equipped with a standard microUSB port that is enabled for both data connections and 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 as a tethered modem.
Finally, you have the option to use your microSD memory card slot for file transfers.
The trackpad scores a point for the browser
The web browser on the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is certainly one of the best we have seen among non-touch phones. Good software, quick-QWERTY input and precise trackpad navigation add up to a combo that is hard to match.
Panning is great thanks to the trackpad 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 desktop computer. The high resolution display is another welcome bonus here, as it allows more content to fit on the screen.
By default, pages are loaded to fit the display width with the virtual cursor taking the shape of a magnifier. You then 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 9700 is the lack of proper Flash support.
Other than that, the handset provides probably the best user experience in browsing the web as far as non-touch handsets are concerned. Its inability to show Flash content however might tip the scales in favor of the competitors, like the Nokia E72 for instance.
Excellent organizing skills
True to its business objectives, the Bold 9700 has superb time-management capabilities. Its organizer includes a decent set of applications and although some of them are hardly lookers, their usability cannot be called into question.
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 sadly the device fails to provide them.
Thanks to the BlackBerry OS v5, calendar entries can now be forwarded and conference call information can be merged into the Calendar.
Mobile office is also fully functional, 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 a 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 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 time and the volume as well as the vibration intensity.
Finally, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 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.