Review: Blackberry Bold 9700

The Blackberry Bold 9700

Blackberry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has struggled in the smartphone space lately but the Bold 9700 shows it is still a company with something to offer, says Adam Maguire.

The Blackberry Bold is the kind of phone you would expect from RIM. It has a neat, pocket-friendly body, a fairly business-focused design and a full QWERTY keyboard on the front for easy typing.

It links in with ease to e-mail accounts, though this is not the unique selling point it once was, and also offers web-browsing and standard phone functions and features.

Of course Blackberry has not escaped the ever-increasing pressure of the modern smartphone market. It too offers Twitter and Facebook integration, though only if users want to download the small applications that allow it, it has a pretty decent camera with flash and also has access to an app store for users to further kit out their devices.

What it does not have is a touch-screen, something that probably goes in its favour considering the quite notable failure of the Blackberry Storm and Storm 2. This is something that will probably alienate many regular consumers but delight just as many on the business-side.

Thankfully navigation and text input is quite easy to do, even without any kind of screen to maul in the process. Instead of the previous navigation ball there is now a square pad in the centre of the phone which can best be compared to the trackpad found on a standard laptop. It takes a bit of getting used to but is responsive and straight-forward, assuming you can be precise enough with your movements.

The keyboard is also just right, even for those users with bulky thumbs. The way each key is raised makes it easy enough to enter text on the blind and after a little bit of practice this will likely prove a more efficient way of typing than any other device-type out there.

That said the lack of a touch-screen – or at the very least the space taken up by the keyboard – means that the device is limited in what it can do. The web-browser is fine but the small screen means almost all web-pages need to be zoomed in on in order to become legible. The camera takes a decent picture but you would not really know that until you upload it to a PC, and so on.

As good as the Blackberry Bold 9700 is there is no getting away from the fact that this is a company sticking to what it knows best and not really innovating all that much. Yes, it works well and is sure to delight many Blackberry veterans but will do very little to stem the slow drip of customers away from RIM and to companies like Apple and HTC.

Assuming you are a long-time Blackberry user and simply want more of the same this device is just what you are looking for. If you feel like you would miss out in a world of limited apps and screen real estate perhaps you will need to look elsewhere.

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