BlackBerry Bold 9790 review: Bold and the budget

GSMArena team, 27 January 2012.
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The best BlackBerry camera to date

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 comes with a 5 megapixel camera which is still the highest resolution you can get from a RIM smartphone. This time though, the camera is an auto-focus one.

The camera comes with the same unattractive interface and a 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.

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The Bold 9790 camera interface

The camera key is also uncomfortable, considering that you do most of your shooting with the Bold 9790 in portrait mode. Still you can always use the trackpad or the dedicated virtual key on the screen.

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 9790. 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 9790 is excellent - there is plenty of resolved detail, lively and accurate colors, good contrast and no defects of any kind. Although the noise levels are quite high, they are still tolerable. Frankly this is the best image quality we've seen from a BlackBerry so far.

Here are several samples so you can judge the image quality for yourself.

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BlackBerry Bold 9790 camera sample photos

Photo quality comparison

We’ve also added the BlackBerry Bold 9790 to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. As you can see, the Bold 9790 is an excellent performer in the 5 megapixel class, doing awesome in all three charts.

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BlackBerry Bold 9790 in the Photo Compare Tool

Great VGA video recording, continuous auto-focus helps too

BlackBerry Bold 9790, despite the capable hardware, is limited up to VGA recording at 30 fps. The videos are stored into a 3GP container.

The one thing we were really impressed with was the continuous auto-focus for the camcorder. It works the way we love it – it refocuses only when needed instead of constantly re-focusing as you pan around.

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Camcorder UI

The video quality is great too – the frame rate is steady and high, the resolved detail is probably the best we've seen from a VGA camcorder. The noise level is tolerable, the colors accurate and the contrast is fine too. We couldn’t possibly want more.

Here’s a VGA video sample from the Bold 9790 camera. And here is another 30s long sample.

Connectivity has NFC

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 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 quad-band 3G with 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 5.76Mbps HSUPA gives you the extra speed. The dual-band Wi-Fi is also nice addition with an easily customizable Wi-Fi manager taking care of all the connections. Wi-Fi hotspot is also available. Bluetooth with A2DP support rounds off the list of wireless connectivity options.

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 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 BlackBerry Desktop Software. It allows you to sync your iTunes collection, save for the files that have DRM.

The Bold 9790 is also equipped with NFC capabilities, which allow you to connect it to other NFC-enabled devices and NFC accessories as well as read NFC tags.

Finally, you have the option to use your microSD memory card slot for file transfers.

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