BlackBerry Bold 9790 review: Bold and the budget

GSMArena team, 27 January 2012.
Pages: 12345678Ľ

Introduction

Oh, look - it's another BlackBerry Bold! But what's the catch? And where is the difference really? Sure it looks a bit smaller than the 9900 but it's the same QWERTY / touchscreen combo. So far, so good.

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BlackBerry Bold 9790 official pictures

Now, let's play spot the difference. The Bold 9790 is powered by a different processor and HD video is one of the first things scrapped. To make amends, the phone has what's probably the best BlackBerry still camera to date. Both the screen size and resolution have taken a cut but we havenít told you the best part yet. The Bold 9790 looks no worse than the Bold 9900 and costs less.

Now, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is merely the next-in-rank. It doesn't have the premium features of the flagship but it makes sense as a potential replacement of the year-old Bold 9780. What it does is add touchscreen to a classic package, aiming to keep the BlackBerry experience up to date.

Key features:

  • BlackBerry OS v7
  • Enhanced email and data security with BlackBerry Internet Service
  • 2.45" 16M-color TFT touchscreen of 480 x 360px resolution
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Quad-band GSM support and quad-band 3G with HSDPA
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n connectivity
  • NFC support
  • GPS receiver and BlackBerry maps preloaded, digital compass
  • 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, LED flash (surprisingly good camera, too)
  • VGA@30fps video recording
  • 1GHz processor
  • 768MB RAM
  • 8GB of inbuilt storage
  • Optical trackpad
  • microSD card slot (up to 16GB)
  • DivX and XviD video playback support
  • Office document editor
  • 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Smart dialing
  • Compact body and solid build quality

Main disadvantages:

  • BlackBerry Internet Service account is a must to enjoy all phone features
  • No HD video recording
  • No front-facing video-call camera
  • No Flash support
  • No FM radio
  • No haptic feedback
  • Super stiff lock button
  • Poor audio output quality
  • Poor loudspeaker performance
  • Wobbly back panel

The 9790 is part of the premium Bold line but comes across as more mindful of budget than your average high-end BlackBerry. It pretty much does the same job as the flagship but charges less and is not without charms of its own.

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BlackBerry Bold 9790 live pictures

The Indonesian debut of the BlackBerry Bold 9790 reveals something about RIM's market strategy. It makes sense for the 9790 to stay out of the Bold 9900's way and focus on emerging markets instead. Not that Indonesia is technically one - it's one of RIM's strongholds. On the other hand, the Bold 9790 did need a strong start and a launch at a traditionally loyal market was supposed to give it just that.

Anyway, we're about to see what a smaller and friendlier - though less powerful - version of the flagship can offer. And to whom. Follow us on the next page where the Bold 9790 feels just as good as the 9900, if not better.

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