RIM’s fallen on troubled times, with deflating shares and its next-generation operating system, BlackBerry Ten, not set to appear until the very end of the year. In the meantime, the Canadian company is pushing the Bold 9790, a slimmer version of its successful QWERTY smartphone for business professionals.
The Bold 9790 design may not win over converts, but it’ll keep many already in the fold very happy. Imagine a BlackBerry Bold 9700 or 9780 sliced in half, and you’re not far off. It’s thinner than its 11.4mm profile suggests, with rock solid buttons and trackpad. The 480 x 260 screen is bright, crisp and visible outdoors, and the keyboard unchanged: its rubber keys and familiar layout ensure a word per minute count that can’t be matched by touchscreen phones. Sadly though, in a world of iOS, Ice Cream Sandwich and even Windows Phone, BlackBerry 7 just isn’t competitive. Its browser is fast and email excellent, but navigation through endless fiddly menus and touch icons that are too small to tap is just something you needn’t have to put up with for the sake of perfect punctuation in your emails anymore.
That Wi-Fi hotspot function RIM has been talking up is still missing too. The 1GHz processor and 768MB of RAM tucked away seem superfluous: what’s the point when RIM’s software lags just as much as ever (BlackBerry Maps is a prime example), and the passable five megapixel camera can’t even shoot HD video? It’s also a pity to see a small 1230mAh battery tucked away inside, good for slightly over a day of use with half an hour of calls and regular email usage. NFC (Near Field Communication) comes built in for touch-free data transfer. We look forward to the near future when we’ll be able to buy lunch via a swipe of a phone, but it’s a problem when this phone’s only USP isn’t really in place yet. If you’re a Bold fan looking for an upgrade (and hate digging for change for at lunch time) it’s worth a look – just don’t expect a revelation.
If you demand a BlackBerry, this is the one to get: its thin frame, triumphant keyboard and sharp screen are excellent. But aside from NFC this phone doesn’t push the boundaries – it does little the two year Bold 9700 can’t.
What Mobile Test Verdict