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BlackBerry Bold 9700 review

Can the new Bold better the excellent original?

Our Verdict

A great phone that once again leads the BlackBerry pack. Almost certain to be a bigger hit than the first Bold, and that's saying something

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 256 MB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 3.2 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 6 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 360

View full specification

For

  • Speedy interface
  • Smooth controls
  • Stylish chassis

Against

  • Slow internet browser
  • Dating OS
  • Slightly cramped keyboard

Using the new BlackBerry 5.0 OS, the BlackBerry Bold 2 9700 is a more powerful and intuitive device than its predecessors.

Navigation is achieved almost exclusively through the optical trackpad, although the keyboard offers easy to use shortcuts.

BlackBerry bold 2 9700

The home screen consists of a wider space for your favourite picture, with the favourite icons from the top level of the full menu appearing at the bottom of the home screen to act as shortcuts instead.

A link to the sound profiles is also included, allowing you to quickly switch off noisy ringtones or set the Bold 2 9700 to vibrate only before entering a meeting or the cinema.

BlackBerry bold 2 9700

Pressing the menu key opens up the full set of icons, with the usual BlackBerry applications and functions all accounted for. Again, the only way to navigate through this effectively is with the trackpad, so you'll need to tinker with the sensitivity settings in the options menu. It's not necessary, but some will find the trackpad almost unusable at the default sensitivity level, and especially if you've come from using a physical trackball.

Holding down the menu key will open up the running tasks pane, allowing you to see what's eating up the memory, although we have to say the 624MHz processor performs admirably.

Actually, it's worth noting that RIM has significantly sped up the performance in both the BlackBerry 2 9700 and the Storm 2, with both of them reacting to inputs and opening applications much faster than before.

For instance, when opening up the gallery on the original BlackBerry Bold, the pictures would take quite some time to load, whereas now the thumbnails pop up almost instantly. Similarly opening and closing applications is a much easier experience than before, making it easier to navigate around without being forced to wait all the time.

BlackBerry bold 2 9700

As per usual with the BlackBerry range, the optical trackpad might be used for most things, but it's the menu key that does most of the hard work, with the important elements of each application accessed in this way.

RIM has also taken a leaf out of Nokia's book by including a method of unlocking the phone using the star key coupled with the call button - OK, you can do it with the lock button on top as well, but for a bit of old school cool we like this function a lot.

While we're glad the BlackBerry OS 5.0 is included on the Bold 2 9700, we still wish that RIM has done something about the layout of the screen - it's still very sparse. For instance looking at the contacts menu is quite dull - while the names are listed nicely, the font and stark black and white backgrounds could so with a little of an aesthetic tweak.

BlackBerry bold 2 9700

While you could accuse the Bold 2 9700 of being a little boring when it comes to design, the impressive thing is that everything is kept simple, which is why users have flocked to BlackBerry for so many years. It's essentially a collection of menus as an interface, something Apple realised was important when designing a phone UI.

We hope that there will be a few design tweaks in the future to make it look a little more boring, but for now it's perfectly functional and allows the phone to work at a pretty fast speed.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Service ProviderVodafone
Input MethodQWERTY
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported16 GB
Built-in Memory256 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA
SAR Value1.36 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Product FamilyBold
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution3.2 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand Namevodafone
Battery Talk Time6 Hour
Product Model9700
Screen Size6.2 cm (2.4")
Screen Resolution480 x 360
Weight (Approximate)122 g
Maximum Video Resolution480 x 352
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 5.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Forwarding, Call Divert
Height109 mm
Width60 mm
Depth14.1 mm
ManufacturerVodafone Group
Product NameBlackBerry Bold 9700 Smartphone
Processor Speed624 MHz
Product LineBold
Screen TypeLCD
Manufacturer Part Number67752
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.vodafone.com
Marketing Information

Rule your world, BlackBerry style. The trackpad on the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the natural way to flip between applications and select items. The 3G connection will get your downloads double quick. Plus there's room for all your music, documents, photos and more. Glide through menus with the touch sensitive trackpad. Together with the QWERTY keyboard, it brings BlackBerry's legendary email to life. The Bold also comes with Twitter and Facebook - your social network deserves nothing less. Like to travel light? Pack all your Word documents, PDFs, music, photos and more onto the BlackBerry Bold. Need extra space? Just pop in a microSD card to ramp up the storage. The Bold even looks the part - and feels great to use.

Package Contents
  • BlackBerry Bold 9700 Smartphone
  • Battery
  • Charger