BlackBerry Bold 9790 review: Bold and the budget

GSMArena team, 27 January 2012.
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Phonebook

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 may run on the latest edition of the OS, but its phonebook is the same as before.

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The phonebook is the same

The contacts get listed alphabetically by first, last name or company and you can pick which of their recent activities get displayed when checking out their profiles. You can easily search for a specific contact by typing in a part of the name so navigation is pretty fast.

Like previous BlackBerry devices, the Bold 9790 lets you put your contacts in one of two categories - personal and business and then filter your phonebook accordingly. There is also grouping available and you can create as many custom groups as you like.

Editing a contact gives you the available fields organized in several sub-groups. You can also replicate some of the fields and add custom ones easily so it’s all cool.

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Editing Dexter’s contact info

Telephony has both voice and smart dial

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 in-call performance was as good as we’ve come to expect from the Canadians. No voice drops or reception issues were experienced.

What gives the Bold 9790 some extra points however is the Smart dial feature. Indeed that was our preferred way of locating contacts on the handset - you just press a few keys straight from the homescreen and a list of names that contain them appears on the screen. There’s no unpleasant delay or anything like that.

You can then select them with the trackpad or tap directly on the contact to initiate a call.

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The in-call screen

Voice Dial is also available via the Universal Voice Search. It works like a charm too.

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 scored a Below Average mark in our traditional loudspeaker test; you can tell it is among the quieter phones we’ve tested. This is an unusual result – especially for a BlackBerry.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
BlackBerry Bold 979061.3 60.863.7Below average
Nokia E668.8 61.570.7Average
BlackBerry Curve 936069.2 65.971.0Average
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro 67.7 66.275.Good
BlackBerry Bold 990071.072.776.3Very Good
HTC Desire Z72.772.782.5Very Good
LG Optimus One P50077.174.577.9Excellent

Messaging runs on BIS subscription only

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 handles all kinds of messages through its nicely organized apps. You get SMS, MMS and email support out of the box and there are also a few IM apps preinstalled.

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Checking out the messaging menu

Of course, much like with the other BlackBerry handsets, a BIS account is a must if you want to use email on the Bold 9790. And while we understand the advantages of the BlackBerry internet service, it would have been nice to give users some kind of alternative.

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The Email client

And we shouldn’t forget that not every carrier worldwide is offering BIS, which reduces the Bold 9790's reach. Still if you do get a subscription you can check out the nicely organized and easily customizable client, which has deservedly earned itself a good reputation over the years.

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Reading an email

Photos can be resized for sending, emails can be flagged and filtered by request, color and status, while folders can be created, edited and deleted from the device itself.

The message editor, which looks identical for all types of messages, is pretty simple to use and packs a neat interface. There is a counter at the top indicating the remaining characters to 160, and another one showing the number of parts the message will break down into for sending. That one turns into a data counter if you are creating an MMS or email.

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Sending Dexter a message with the Bold 9790

Entering recipients is as quick and convenient as it gets. You just start typing and the smart-dialing kicks in, giving you a list of contacts containing the typed letters.

All that combined with the comfy keyboard makes the Bold 9790 pretty great at the task it was meant to perform: entering text. Some added visual effects would be welcome, but getting the job done is what really matters here.

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