BlackBerry Bold 9780 review: Business as usual

GSMArena team, 21 January 2011.
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Tags: BlackBerry

GPS navi double

As one would expect nowadays, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is equipped with a built-in GPS receiver and comes with A-GPS support. For navigation you get BlackBerry Maps preinstalled. Unfortunately it is yet another application that only works with a BlackBerry internet plan activated. This means that voice-guided navigation is out of the question for the ones that buy it SIM free and then use it with their regular plan.

BlackBerry Maps provide basic map functionality plus voice-guided navigation. You can enter an address straight from your phonebook and you can also save your favorite spots so you don't have to type them every time.

BlackBerry Maps also allows you to send your location to anyone via email or SMS, and that rounds off a decent but certainly not spectacular application.

Also, addresses that are included in messages are automatically detected and can be displayed on the map at the expense of a few clicks. The map data has also been updated, including more cities than ever. We can still think of at least several apps with more detailed maps, but let's not get too picky here.

Final words

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 is a pretty solid RIM device. Just like the Bold 9700 before it, the 9780 gives you excellent build quality, smooth performance and the corporate grade email and data security. If this is the kind of phone you are looking for, you might as well stop reading right here.

No, seriously, if the BlackBerry service is essential, the Bold is the quintessential phone to go with it. The Curves are just a little bit low profile, the Storm is too eccentric and the Pearls are the compact class.

However, if the security levels of the Blackberry Enterprise server aren’t a must, there are probably better options for you. The 5 megapixel camera and the OS 6 are worthy upgrades but they still fail to give the Bold 9780 enough of an edge against the competition. BlackBerry phones have some advantages but bang-for-buck is just not one of them.

The Nokia E72 for one is a considerably cheaper alternative, providing similar typing prowess in a solid metal case that’s quite thin as well. Or you can save about half the cash and give the newer Nokia E5 a try.

Nokia E72 Nokia E5
Nokia E72 • Nokia E5

Hell, the Bold 9780 price is about that of a Motorola Milestone 2. The Android-powered messenger can run circles around the BlackBerry Bold with its 3.7” display backed up by a full side-sliding QWERTY keyboard (and HD video recording!)

Motorola MILESTONE 2
Motorola Milestone 2

We could go on with this list really – there’s no shortage of QWERTY-enabled phones these days and most of them will do no worse a job than the BlackBerry Bold 9780.

Fortunately for RIM, the smartphone business is still far from becoming a zero sum game. There are still enough new customers left to convert and RIM should be busy showing them that BlackBerry is worth giving a try.

It will be up to the Storm and the Torch lines (or rather their sequels) to really put the brand on the map for the new generation of users. The Bold will have to juggle old commitments and new ventures. Five megapixel imaging, a knack for media and a refreshed interface may be a small step towards attracting new clients. But that’s as far as Blackberry would go changing the Bold series because otherwise they risk scaring and putting off the regulars.

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