BlackBerry Bold 9700 Smartphone Reviews and Deals
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Taking over where the 9000 left off, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 simply takes the best and makes it better. Running on the nifty new version 5 of the BlackBerry OS, getting online couldn't be easier with 3G, HSPA, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity all raring to go. Its perfect for emails too, supporting all the standards and practically all attachment types too.
A nicely finished full QWERTY keyboard is complimented by the new BlackBerry touchpad, while the camera has been upgraded to 3.2 megapixels with autofocus and flash. The media player copes well with audio and video, with a crisp screen and 3.5mm jack for your headphones. There's 1GB of storage built in too, with microSD cards supported up to 16GB.
BlackBerry Bold 9700 review
Clear, bright screen, with amazing battery life; Excellent specification
Small keys might prove fiddly for some
The Bold 9700 is the successor to RIM's very first 3G-enabled BlackBerry, the Bold 9000, but in a significantly smaller housing that demonstrates how technology is constantly evolving. The rear of the phone retains the faux leather battery cover, but in a far tidier design that has a nicer use of chrome and a keyboard that is still easy to use, despite being smaller than its predecessor.
One of the big changes is the removal of the 9000's trackball in favour of an optical trackpad. With adjustable levels of sensitivity, navigation around menus and applications is significantly improved, with no chance of dust build-up causing problems later on.
The Bold 9700 also gets a camera upgrade, with a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash replacing the 2-megapixel fixed focus from before. There's more memory, the latest operating system (OS 5.0) and a faster processor. The phone can be expanded via microSDHC cards (up to 32GB in capacity) for storing documents or multimedia, and the phone also uses a micro USB port, allowing high-speed data transferring and charging using a single standardised cable.
The Unique Selling Point of any BlackBerry is its email capabilities, which still leaves the competition playing catchup. Although the legendary email service requires some form of BlackBerry server to manage your email, from a costly BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to a per-user BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) that will cost £5-10 per month on top of your phone bill, the benefits more than make up for it. Instant email, coupled with unrivalled security, ensures a BlackBerry remains the device of choice for most people in business.
Email is delivered instantly, with support for other services like Google Mail (taking it more mainstream in its appeal), and attachments are converted so they can be previewed without the need to download the whole file. OS 5.0 also sees the inclusion of an improved web browser, although it is still not as quick and easy as Opera's own 'Mini' web browser that's a free download from BlackBerry's App World application store.
Smaller businesses who wish to host their own BlackBerry Enterprise Server can now get an Express version free of charge, giving a third option.
Although a BlackBerry doesn't immediately conjure up an image of a sexy consumer-friendly phone, despite the repeated advertising campaigns to try and suggest otherwise, the Bold 9700 is capable of doing much more than keeping appointments in check and allowing people to hound you with email 24/7.
The media player, and the bright, high-resolution 480x320-pixel display, makes it possible to enjoy looking at photographs or watching video. The phone also comes with a decent music player, including album-art support and playlists, with external music controls that can be operated even when the phone is in standby. Software is supplied to manage media via PC or Mac.
You can watch a range of video formats, and hook up a pair of headphones via the 3.5mm jack or wirelessly over Bluetooth to enjoy the audio. The 9700 also retains a good quality internal speaker, designed primarily to allow telephone conferencing, but also capable of playing (mono) audio loudly when you don't have your headphones to hand.
Last, but not least, there are dedicated apps for Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and MySpace to keep all social networking addicts constantly updated – with integration with your inbox and contacts.
Besides having support for the now industry standard micro USB charging/data connector, the Bold 9700 also has a wide range of wireless data support. The phone supports GPRS and EDGE over GSM, and HSDPA on 3G with speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. Wi-Fi is also included, with a range of wizards to set up wireless networks, including hot spots.
The phone also has support for UMA (Universal Mobile Access), which is currently supported on the Orange network and allows you to make and receive calls via your home wireless router, instead of requiring a 2G or 3G network connection. This is not be confused with a femtocell that acts as a 3G base station in your own home or office.
The original Bold was known for having poor battery life. The Bold 9700 should be remembered for exactly the opposite. If you ever used a BlackBerry in the early days, you'll remember when it was possible to go for a week between charges. Sadly, we'll not see that sort of battery life again until battery technology advances considerably, but 2-3 days should be more than ample. You'll get even more if you've got a separate phone for voice calls, as is often the case for BlackBerry owners. Not that this phone is of a shape and size that encourages you to have a separate mobile.
This Bold 9700 will happily keep you up to date with email, appointments, Facebook and Twitter and still not be dead by the end of a single working day. It's a phone you can trust to keep going, with plenty of warning when the battery does start to get close to needing more juice. One reason for ensuring a good standby time is the integrated feature that allows you to switch the phone off for a set length of time at regular intervals, so you can safely turn off overnight and know it will be on in the morning – to receive calls and show your latest messages. If you do prefer to be out of reach for any longer, the phone will still alert to alarms and appointments when turned off.
The Bold 9700 is, at least until a newer version arrives, the best BlackBerry device RIM has on offer. While the Curve 8520 offers similar functionality, for less money, this is the most polished package and has improved usability, excellent connectivity and amazing battery life.
BlackBerry Bold 9700 specification and features
- BlackBerry Bold 9700
- Operating system
- BlackBerry OS
- Black, white
- 109mm x 60mm x 14mm
- Screen size
- Screen Resolution
- 6 hrs
- 408 hrs
- QWERTY keyboard
- 3 megapixel
- Music Phone
- FM Radio
- Quad Band