BlackBerry Bold 9900 review: Business reimagined

GSMArena team, 20 September 2011.
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A fixed-focus 5 megapixel camera

The BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 comes with a 5 megapixel camera which is, still the highest resolution you can get from a RIM smartphone. To make it worse, it's a fixed-focus unit so close-range shots (like say documents) are hardly its element.

The camera comes with the same unattractive 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.

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The Bold 9900 camera interface

The camera key is also pretty uncomfortable, considering that you do most of your shooting with the Bold Touch 9900 in portrait mode. Still you can always use the trackpad or the dedicated virtual key on the screen.

Geotagging, flash and scenes can be accessed straight in the viewfinder and those are just about the only options you get with the Bold Touch 9900. 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 Touch 9900 is about average (still an achievement, given the RIM history) - there is a good amount of resolved detail and colors are pleasing. Contrast is fine, too, but the noise levels are way above average.

Here go several samples so you can judge the image quality yourselves.

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BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 camera sample photos

Photo quality comparison

We’ve also added the BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. You can see the Bold 9900 is a decent performer but is no match for top cameraphones.

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BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 in the Photo Compare Tool

Great HD video recording

The BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 is among the first RIM smartphones to come with HD video recording - an achievement it shares with two of the Torches - the 9860 and the 9810. It is capable of shooting 1280x720 videos at 30 fps and can use the LED as video light.

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Camcorder UI

The video quality is pretty high – the frame rate is good, the resolved detail is adequate, the noise levels tolerable, the colors accurate and the contrast is fine too. Our main grudge is the higher compression levels applied in the processing, but that's to be expected from 3GP videos.

Here’s a 720p video sample from the Bold Touch 9900 camera.

And here is another we've uploaded to YouTube for your convenience.

Video quality comparison

The BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 is a match for most of the HD capable smartphones and our video compare tools is here to prove it.

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BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 in our Video Compare Tool

Excellent connectivity options

The BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 is giving you a broad range of connectivity options, as you would expect in a modern day smartphone.

The quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support secures global roaming and the quad-band 3G with 14.4Mbps HSDPA and 5.76Mbps HSUPA gives you the extra speed. The dual-band Wi-Fi is another 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 Touch 9900 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 Touch is NFC capable too. You can pair it with 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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