Unlike the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the 9780 came to our office running the latest 6th version of the BlackBerry OS. We have only met the touch-implementation of this version so far, when reviewing the BlackBerry Torch 9800, so it will be interesting how it fares on a non-touch device.
Well the improvement here is less pronounced as the refreshed UI feels better suited for touch-operation, but BB OS 6 is still definitely a step in the right direction, the user-friendliness and UI looks have definitely been improved. But we still feel Symbian 3rd edition has the upper hand.
The differences on the homescreen boil down to the more colorful icons and the fact that the single icon tray has been replaced with several tabs.
The first of those tabs holds all icons and is pretty much identical to the old app tray. However selecting its top and moving sideways with the trackpad reveals more tabs, holding your favorite (manually added) and most frequently used apps (auto generated).
There are also Media and Download sections now so there is more than one way of sorting your apps.
The status area of the homescreen is a virtual button too and allows quick toggling of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as quick access to the alarm clock and settings menu.
A search button has been added below the status area, allowing you to quickly search the content of your Bold 9780. It even let’s you initiate quick searches in the BlackBerry App World, BlackBerry Portal, Slacker Radio or YouTube. It woks much like the universal search on iOS and Android and certainly gives the Bold 9780 an edge over competing non-touch devices.
On the opposite end is the profile selection shortcut, while the area in between is reserved for notifications.
The speed and responsiveness of the UI is pretty pleasing too and there are some animations added. However there are still some things that need improvement.
First, you usually need a couple of clicks to open the app tray. You either press the Menu hardware key and then select app tray or you scroll to the tabs title and click it.
Next there are still some illogically placed icons in the main menu. For one, the camera is outside the media folder, while the video recorder is inside. The BlackBerry messenger is also not in the instant messaging section and so on. Of course, editing the menu arrangement as you see fit, is possible so you can easily solve that.
Finally, we also wish we could put some shortcuts on that high-res homescreen (widget-like), like on the Nokia non-touch smartphones. A mode switch that would let you alternate between business and personal setup wouldn’t be too bad either.
The BlackBerry Bold 9780 phonebook got an overdue improvement in looks, which considering the already great functionality is all we could have wished for. Well actually it’s still not the nicest thing to look at, but at least it’s no longer the eye sore that it was previously.
The contacts get listed alphabetically by first, last name or company and you can pick which of their recent activities to get displayed when checking out their profiles. You can easily search for a specific contact by typing in a part of its name so navigation is pretty fast.
Like previous BlackBerry devices, the Bold 9780 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.
Plus there is SNS integration so the general experience is pretty pleasing.