RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone
RIM's latest flagship BlackBerry Bold is a sleeker, more compact version of the original, but will users be disappointed with the smaller size?
- Sleek, compact design, bright and vivid display, comfortable keyboard, 3.5mm headphone jack, great integration of Facebook, trackpad works well
- Smaller display and keypad than its predecessor, sluggish scrolling, Web browser remains inferior to alternatives
RIM's latest BlackBerry Bold remains a great business smartphone and is a sleeker and more compact device than the original Bold. The compact size results in a smaller keyboard and display, though, which power users may not appreciate. There is plenty to like about the BlackBerry Bold 9700, but RIM hasn't offered anything innovative in this release.
Price$ 999.00 (AUD)
RIM's new flagship BlackBerry has finally arrived. Selling alongside rather than completely replacing the previous Bold 9000, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone is smaller and sleeker. On the whole it's a slight improvement on its predecessor, but it doesn't offer anything new or revolutionary.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone has a similar design to RIM's latest Curve series of handsets. A sleek chrome bezel surrounds the edges and the keyboard curves slightly upwards at the ends. It’s a very comfortable size to hold, and is much more compact than the BlackBerry Bold 9000. It feels well built, too; the battery cover in particular is study and doesn't rattle or wiggle when pressed.
With a smaller size come compromises: the display and keyboard are smaller than the Bold 9000's and this may irk some power users. Despite the smaller display, the Bold 9700's screen is one of the best we've seen on a BlackBerry device. It's bright, displays vivid colours and possesses good viewing angles. It’s a little small for our liking, but the BlackBerry interface is well suited to a display this size.
The keyboard is the most important aspect of any BlackBerry and its mostly good news. The BlackBerry Bold 9700's QWERTY keyboard is generally comfortable to type on and each key provides good tactility. However, users of the current Bold 9000 may be irked at the smaller keys, particularly the Alt and Shift keys, both of which are quite small. You'll be using these keys a lot if you do any serious typing on the BlackBerry, so we'd have appreciated them being larger and firmer. That being said, the Bold 9700's keyboard shouldn't be too hard to adjust to; we feel it's something you'll quickly pick up after a week.
The Bold 9700 is the second BlackBerry after the Curve 8520 to possess the new optical trackpad, replacing the usual trackball. The trackpad operates in a similar fashion to the trackball, except there are no moving parts and you simply glide your finger across an almost flat surface. The speed of on-screen movement and scrolling using the trackpad takes a little getting used to (it can be adjusted in the settings menu) but it’s responsive. We think it will be better in the long run, too: the trackball was known to deteriorate over time as dust and sweat crept in around its edges.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 runs BlackBerry OS 5.0, but most improvements aren't immediately noticeable. It’s a similar experience to previous BlackBerrys — moving along the row of menu icons on the default home screen results in a small flash of light shining on the selected icon, and you can customise it so any application or icon appears on the home page. The main menu again uses a simple yet effective grid format with labelled icons. We feel scrolling needs to be improved, especially when it comes to Web browsing. It often takes an age to scroll through a long document, an application's licence agreement or a Web page.
Being a BlackBerry device, e-mail support is as strong as ever. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 supports e-mail services through the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) and BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES). Microsoft Word and Excel documents can be edited and viewed thanks to the on-board Word To Go and Sheet To Go applications.
Preinstalled social-networking applications are minimal, so you'll have to download Facebook and Twitter clients if you want to use them. Integration is excellent: once you set up and configure your Facebook account, for example, you get Facebook messages and updates through your e-mail inbox, events in your calendar and notifications on the home screen in a similar fashion to regular e-mail. Unfortunately, BlackBerry's App World application store isn’t yet available in Australia.
For mobile Internet, the included BlackBerry browser lags well behind Safari on the iPhone. It slightly improves with each new smartphone release, but zooming, panning around a page and clicking links are all inferior and lack the polished feel of many alternatives. There is also no Flash support.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 is an HSDPA-capable device and features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and built-in GPS. It's not a multimedia powerhouse thanks to the small screen and a standard 3.2-megapixel camera, but it does have a 3.5mm headphone jack and iTunes support thanks to BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac. The Bold 9700 can read an iTunes library and sync playlists and there is a 2GB microSD card located under the battery cover. Videos look excellent, though the screen's small size doesn't lend itself to serious movie watching.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the PC World newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Xiaomi planning second version of its revolutionary Mi Mix ‘bezel-less’ phone
- 5G progress at Ericsson could help enterprises work worldwide
- Apple smartphones outsold Samsung's in Q4
- Apple joins Wireless Power Consortium, charging up iPhone 8 rumor
- Google might be gearing up to remove millions of Play Store apps next month
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBusiness Development Executive - Queensland Public SectorQLD
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- CCTest ManagerWA
- FTDevelopment Manager - SaaSQLD
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPIT Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior IT Business Analyst - Permanent OpportunityNSW
- CCNetwork Specialist - IPAM TelcoVIC
- TPProduct Owner - Cloud SolutionsQLD
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Enterprise Information SharingQLD
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA
- CCProject Manager (Event Management)NSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- TPSOE AdministratorQLD
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional ConsultantACT
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- CCDeployment EngineerSA
- CCProject SpecialistVIC