BlackBerry Bold 9780 review: Business as usual
A decent 5 megapixel camera
The BlackBerry Bold 9780 comes with a 5 megapixel camera with is the joint best achievement for a RIM smartphone. It probably packs the same sensor and LED flash as the Torch 9800, since the images those two produce are pretty similar.
Unfortunately the camera comes with the same old bad looking interface and relatively low number of customizable settings. What’s even worse is that the bar at the bottom covers a part of the frame, making proper framing a really hard task.
The camera key is also pretty uncomfortable, considering that you do most of your shooting with the Bold 9780 in portrait mode. It wouldn’t have mattered if the trackpad also supported autofocusing, but as thing stand now you have to pick one or the other.
If the trackpad worked in touch-to-focus, press-to-shoot mode, the Bold 9780 would have made for a more comfortable cameraphone. A workaround to this problem is setting the autofocus to continuous mode.
Geo-tagging, flash and scenes can be accessed straight from the viewfinder and those are just about the only options you get with the Bold 9780. The only other thing you can customize is image resolution, which is located in the advanced settings menu.
There are no settings for exposure compensation, white balance, ISO or anything like that. There is face detection, but that is a dedicated scene, rather than a separate setting.
The image quality of the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is actually surprisingly nice considering the BlackBerry background of unimpressive snappers. It won't blow your mind but there is a good amount of resolved detail and the noise levels are tolerable. Contrast is fine too. What put us off though was the dull colors and the fact that most test samples we shot had a strong tint - either greenish or reddish. We've actually picked the best samples of the crop to show you below so you just have to trust us on this color unreliability.
Here go several samples so you can judge the image quality yourselves.
Photo quality comparison
We’ve also added the BlackBerry Bold 9780 to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. The Tool’s page has a quick how to guide and also what to look for.
Video recording taking baby steps forward
The Bold lineup is probably one of the worst performing in terms of video recording in the smartphone world. The Bold 9000 was a real disaster, while its 9700 successor didn’t do much better either.
Now the third attempt takes video recording up to VGA resolution, which is indeed some progress. However the rest of the world has been enjoying 720p videos for a while now, and some are even getting 1080p, so we are hardly impressed with the 9780.
Plus the video quality isn’t particularly impressive – framerate often drops to 22-23 frames, making videos appear a bit choppy and there’s way too much compression applied. In perfect conditions you might get half-decent footage, but chances are most Bold 9780 owners won’t be keeping the camcorder in their favorites folder.
The BlackBerry Bold 9780 is giving you a broad range of connectivity options, as you would expect from a modern day smartphone.
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 9780 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.
With LTE radios and HDMI ports starting to creep in on high-end smartphones we wouldn’t dare call the Bold 9780 connectivity package perfect, but it’s certainly good enough.