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BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

Questionably bold in 2011, and no better with time

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 6.30 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 640 x 480

View full specification

For

  • Nice physical keyboard
  • Slim, premium build
  • Very clear display

Against

  • Screen size limits function
  • Sluggish UI at times
  • App World is terrible
  • Limited to 3G service
  • Little available space

BlackBerry has recently made strides in overhauling its brand with the BlackBerry Z10, which serves as a strong smartphone candidate that's still a few steps behind its top Android and Apple competition. However, the Z10 is an admission from the company that the days of physical keyboards on headline devices are in the past.

For those who still demand the tactile response of little plastic keys rather than their touch counterparts, the BlackBerry Bold 9930 from 2011 remains available on Verizon's 3G network. But after nearly two years of advancement from competitors and now BlackBerry itself, is this business-focused handheld still worth hoisting?

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

Compared to the chunkier builds of earlier BlackBerry devices, the Bold 9930 is a sleek little number with a largely premium-feeling build (thanks to brushed metal along the edges). It stands at 4.5 inches tall and 2.6 inches across, with a thickness of just 0.41 inches and a fairly slim weight of 4.59 ounces.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

With nearly half of the device face taken up by the full QWERTY keyboard, physical buttons, and the small trackpad/button combo, the display measures only 2.8 inches, and the 640x480 resolution certainly sounds meager. But due to the small size, it's actually quite clear; not up to Retina standards, but close, with solid contrast and sharp text and graphics.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

Much of the appeal of the device comes from its physical keyboard, and luckily it's a stellar performer in use. The individual buttons are responsive, as well as nicely differentiated via lightly curved surfaces based on intended thumb usage. If you can't live without a physical keyboard on your smartphone, the Bold 9930's is a very solid one indeed.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

Above the keyboard are four physical buttons that respectively (from left) let you make or answer a call, open up a menu, dial back a screen, and either end a call or power off the phone. Right in the middle of those buttons is a hybrid touchpad button that lets you navigate menus in place of tapping the touchscreen.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

On the upper right of the phone are volume up, mute, and down buttons in succession, while the bottom half has a convenience button that by default serves as a physical shutter button for the camera, though its use can be customized. Up top is the lock screen button, while the headphone jack and USB port are on the left side. And on the upper right front of the phone is a notification light that blinks as needed.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

The Bold 9930 comes with 8GB of internal storage, but you'll be offered only a tiny fraction of it – after the OS takes its chunk, we had less than 200MB to play with. Luckily, up to a 32GB microSD card can be used, which fits behind the battery under the back cover, and it's pretty much a necessity for non-casual users.

BlackBerry Bold 9930 review

Perhaps thanks to the smaller display, battery life on the BlackBerry Bold 9930 is quite nice. It's rated at more than 7.5 hours of talk time and upwards of two weeks of standby time, and in our regular usage, it easily lasted a couple of days' worth of emails, web browsing, and other common tasks.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSDPA, UMTS
SAR Value0.70 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyBold
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time6.30 Hour
Product Model9900
Screen Size7.1 cm (2.8")
Screen Resolution640 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 7.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Instant Messaging, Email
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density286 ppi
Height115 mm
Width66 mm
Depth10.5 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time333.60 Hour
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameBold 9900 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Product LineBold
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-42553-004
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

The power of touch

Create and connect like never before, swiping, pinching and zooming on the Liquid Graphics touch screen. Together with a 1.2 GHz processor, and a 24-bit high-res display, Liquid Graphics gives you fluid animations and instant response times.

The thinnest BlackBerry smartphone yet

With an elegantly brushed stainless steel frame, sculpted surfaces and advanced composite backing, the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 smartphones are as lightweight and durable as they are feature-packed.