BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 Review



DSC0103 242x300 BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 Review



The new Blackberry Bold 2 is not a revolutionary update to the original Bold 9000, but the new model improves on the original with significant refinements that will make T-Mobile BlackBerry users very happy, especially since it’s the first Blackberry to support their 3G network. What is really nice about the Bold this time around is that both AT&T and T-Mobile are getting it at the same time, there are no exclusives. Thank goodness! We’re so sick of carriers getting exclusives over one another, and if AT&T got one more great smartphone exclusive we just couldn’t bare it.

Design and Build Quality:
The Bold 9700 has a slimmed down size and formfactor compared to the original. The Bold 9700 measures 4.3 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches in comparison to the original Bold’s 4.5 x 2.6 x 0.6-inch measurements. During its time off, the device has also dropped .5 ounces and weighs 4.3 ounces compared to the Bold 9000′s 4.8 ounces. The build quality of the Bold 9700 feels very good. Its new form-factor also seems more slick and refined, and even less masculine. The infamous leather finish on the back of the Bold is still there and is still a really nice touch.

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Gone is the trackball from the original Bold 9000, in its place is a new optical trackpad which was first used on T-Mobile’s Curve 8520. The optical trackpad took some getting used too; especially after having been accustomed to using the the trackball on my Curve 8900 but I really – really like it. It makes operating the device and menus much less strenuous. You really reap the benefits of the optical trackpad when viewing web sites, since its now much easier to move around in all different directions without tediously rolling a trackball under your thumb. The trackball was also notorious for breaking, so now there is one less hardware issue to worry about.

Display:

The device has a 480 x 360 resolution compared to the Bold’s original 2.6″ 480×320 resolution. Overall, the Bold 9700′s display is excellent, and very colorful, making video playback very pleasant as well as viewing photos.



TMO BB Bold 9700 Top Angle 300x300 BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 Review



Keyboard:

Since the Bold 2 is smaller in size, its keyboard keys are also smaller and more cramped than the original Bold. Unlike the Curve which has some spacing between each key, the Bold’s keys are all squeezed in tightly up next to one another and they have a squishy feel when you’re typing. The Bold 9700′s keys also retain the raised edges of its predecessor. The smaller keyboard means that people with bigger fingers and long nails might struggle with the keyboard. I personally find the typing experience on the Bold comfortable, but my co-editor preferred the feel of the Curve 8900′s keyboard which had smaller sized, harder keys with more space in between each key.

Performance and U.I.:
The 9700 runs the new BlackBerry OS 5.0 very snappily thanks to its 624mhz processor. We didn’t notice much lag at all when multi-tasking. The 5.0′s U.I. isn’t a drastic change but it provides pretty noticeable speed improvements and some perks like an improved web browser.

Software:

The 9700 comes with Dataviz Documents To Go which lets you view Word, Excel, and Powerpoint Docs. A full suite of IM apps are also included – there is a dedicated app of reach major IM platform AIM, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ. You can run IM applications in the background and receive notifications of new messages with a small icon on top of the screen just like you do when new emails come in. It would be much easier if they included a multi-service IM client, but there is always the BlackBerry App World for you to download apps from later.  But oddly enough BlackBerry App World didn’t come preinstalled, so we had to download it and install it on our own. The device also comes preloaded with 5 games including Soduku, and of course brick-breaker.

Web browsing:
First off, navigating web sites is now so much more enjoyable using the optical trackpad! Testing the 9700 in New York City, using T-mobile’s 3G network we experienced the following loading times:

13 seconds for NYTimes.com (mobile version)
10 seconds for CNN.com (mobile version)
1:10 seconds for ChipChick.com
2.8 seconds for Google.com (mobile version)
7 seconds for YouTube (mobile version)
16 seconds for ESPN (mobile version)
17 seconds for TMZ.com
35 seconds for SmashingMagazine.com
44 seconds for Bensbargains.net

Overall, T-Mobile’s 3G network seems pretty speedy, but we recommend using the Opera web browser to really take advantage of T-Mobile’s 3G network

Call Quality:
Call quality on the Bold 9700 is very, very good. And is a big improvement over previous BlackBerry models that we’ve used. In New York City so far we’ve only been greeted with 5 bars, but we’ve yet to travel outside of Manhattan where T-mobile’s coverage is generally very good, we also haven’t experienced any dropped calls. Except that last night T-Mobile did experience some outages in NYC.

When you’re in a call, there is a special option to “Enhance call audio”. Even when set to the default Normal quality, call quality is very good. The other two options include Boost Bass and Boost Treble of your voice. Callers on the other end said that Boost Bass made them hear me more clearer and crisper and Boost Treble not only made them hear me sound clearer and crisper, but it also made me sound louder to their ears, so much so that they had to turn down their handset’s volume.

The device has support for T-Mobile’s @Home service. For $9.99 a month this service will give you unlimited calls whenever you’re on your home Wi-Fi connection or at a hotspot.

Multimedia:
Like the previous Bold, the 9700 is a decent multimedia machine. Videos playback nicely and audio sounds good on the 3.5mm headphone jack. The device supports MP3, WMA, AAC, And OGG music files, as well as MP4, DIVX and WMV file support to 640×480 in resolution.  There is a 2GB microSD card included to get you started on saving docs. Unfortunately even the mobile version of YouTube doesn’t work to well with the BlackBerry’s browser even when connected via Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for video entertainment on the go, the PrimeTime2Go video app for $9.99 a month will give you access to many popular TV shows like Heroes and CSI, but only over Wi-Fi. There are also other great apps like Slacker which works great for with the BlackBerry when you want to listen to music on the go.

Battery:
We’ve only been using the Bold 9700 for a few days, and so far the battery has lasted through a day of average use.

Camera and Video Camera:
The 3.2 megapixel camera captures great shots, much superior to most of the smartphones out there with good color reproduction, even in dimly lit rooms. Videos are also good quality but have a low 480×352 resolution.

Conclusion:
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 isn’t a massive upgrade from its predecessor, it’s more about making refinements to an already great workhorse of a smartphone. The handset still can’t compete with the multimedia chops of the iPhone, and even of the latest Android devices, but it’s still a super reliable business smartphone. The Bold will be available from T-Mobile soon for a $199 with a 2 year contract. If you are looking to retire your older BlackBerry, you should definitely consider giving this one a whirl.

Update 12/28/09: The BlackBerry Bold 2 for AT&T is currently available for $o.o1 from AT&T at Amazon with contract. Or you can purchase it for $499 without a contract. T-mobile customers can get it for as low as $99 with a contract, or $529 without a contract.

The Good:

Better camera than the original Bold, excellent display, optical trackpad makes operating the device much more enjoyable, great call quality with call enhancement feature, snappy performance, great build quality and form-factor, solid multimedia device, visual voicemail is always a nice touch

The Bad:

Keypad is smallish and might be difficult to use for bigger fingers, BlackBerry’s built-in web browser doesn’t do T-Mobile’s 3G network justice, BlackBerry App World still doesn’t come close to the AppStore, and the device still doesn’t come close to the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities

Update 09/27/11: You might also want to check out our BlackBerry Bold 9930 Review

Leave a Reply

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  • http://www.pda-247.com/wordpress/ stmcgill

    Nice review which sums up the Bold well. It is near perfect, yet somehow completely devoid of excitement. RIM needs to change course to compete.

  • http://www.pda-247.com/wordpress/ stmcgill

    Nice review which sums up the Bold well. It is near perfect, yet somehow completely devoid of excitement. RIM needs to change course to compete.

  • http://www.pda-247.com/wordpress/ stmcgill

    Nice review which sums up the Bold well. It is near perfect, yet somehow completely devoid of excitement. RIM needs to change course to compete.

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  • http://www.creationstudio.ca Website Design

    One of the carrier’s reps tried to convince us to get a Blackberry Curve, and I was not even aware of the Bold 2. I went to one of the stores to try a few of the phones before purchasing, and I must say that the Blackberry Bold 2 was exceptionally user friendly and felt very comfortable to use. Although I want an iPhone, the Bold 2 seemed to be a nice compromise considering it is a more secure device for our business. Looking forward to getting it!

  • http://www.creationstudio.ca Website Design

    One of the carrier’s reps tried to convince us to get a Blackberry Curve, and I was not even aware of the Bold 2. I went to one of the stores to try a few of the phones before purchasing, and I must say that the Blackberry Bold 2 was exceptionally user friendly and felt very comfortable to use. Although I want an iPhone, the Bold 2 seemed to be a nice compromise considering it is a more secure device for our business. Looking forward to getting it!

  • http://www.creationstudio.ca Website Design

    One of the carrier’s reps tried to convince us to get a Blackberry Curve, and I was not even aware of the Bold 2. I went to one of the stores to try a few of the phones before purchasing, and I must say that the Blackberry Bold 2 was exceptionally user friendly and felt very comfortable to use. Although I want an iPhone, the Bold 2 seemed to be a nice compromise considering it is a more secure device for our business. Looking forward to getting it!

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  • Ricardo Barrett

    Personally I have used all the various Blackberries offered by RIM to date and I must say I am say the Bold 2 is the BOSS not just for battery life, design and overall functionality but as an all around device the Bold 2 ranks higher than any Iphone, Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile device in it’s Class and no I am not an BB Fanboy? Or am I?

  • Ricardo Barrett

    Personally I have used all the various Blackberries offered by RIM to date and I must say I am say the Bold 2 is the BOSS not just for battery life, design and overall functionality but as an all around device the Bold 2 ranks higher than any Iphone, Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile device in it’s Class and no I am not an BB Fanboy? Or am I?

  • Ricardo Barrett

    Personally I have used all the various Blackberries offered by RIM to date and I must say I am say the Bold 2 is the BOSS not just for battery life, design and overall functionality but as an all around device the Bold 2 ranks higher than any Iphone, Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile device in it’s Class and no I am not an BB Fanboy? Or am I?

  • Ricardo Barrett

    Personally I have used all the various Blackberries offered by RIM to date and I must say I am say the Bold 2 is the BOSS not just for battery life, design and overall functionality but as an all around device the Bold 2 ranks higher than any Iphone, Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile device in it’s Class and no I am not an BB Fanboy? Or am I?

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  • chronic

    maaaad……………bb 9700 is a way better phone than d iphone to me

  • chronic

    maaaad……………bb 9700 is a way better phone than d iphone to me

  • logan

    got the new bold 2, really like it. much faster than the javelin and i like the keyboard much better. great email, processor is great, definately a good buy. got 2 off of gsmallover.com and another one off of ebay. two thumbs up. definately looking forward to the next blackberry phone.

  • logan

    got the new bold 2, really like it. much faster than the javelin and i like the keyboard much better. great email, processor is great, definately a good buy. got 2 off of gsmallover.com and another one off of ebay. two thumbs up. definately looking forward to the next blackberry phone.

  • logan

    got the new bold 2, really like it. much faster than the javelin and i like the keyboard much better. great email, processor is great, definately a good buy. got 2 off of gsmallover.com and another one off of ebay. two thumbs up. definately looking forward to the next blackberry phone.

  • Golu

    HI, Can anyone share the price of Blackberry bold 2 9700.
    Need to use the mobile in India, so please share the price for prepaid one and that can be used in India.
    I will purchase it from Amsterdam or Eindhoven. If any one has any pointers, please do let me know. Please reply in English only

  • Golu

    HI, Can anyone share the price of Blackberry bold 2 9700.
    Need to use the mobile in India, so please share the price for prepaid one and that can be used in India.
    I will purchase it from Amsterdam or Eindhoven. If any one has any pointers, please do let me know. Please reply in English only

  • Golu

    HI, Can anyone share the price of Blackberry bold 2 9700.
    Need to use the mobile in India, so please share the price for prepaid one and that can be used in India.
    I will purchase it from Amsterdam or Eindhoven. If any one has any pointers, please do let me know. Please reply in English only

  • bizmoz

    So, how do I watch the youtube on my bold 9700?

  • bizmoz

    So, how do I watch the youtube on my bold 9700?

  • bizmoz

    So, how do I watch the youtube on my bold 9700?

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  • Anonymous

    Hi seller, How are u doing today? I’m michelle owens and from Minnesota, my husband need one of those Blackberry bold 2 for me, so could we pay for it? and can u contact my husband for the payment?

  • Anonymous

    Can we chat online and talk about it?

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  • Stella

    How much is B/berry 2

  • Stella

     How much is B/berry Bold2