BlackBerry Bold 9780 3 Stars

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When we tried out the BlackBerry Torch a few months ago, we were pretty impressed. It had loads of features and also sported the new OS BlackBerry OS, which offers the kind of customisation only seen before on Android and iPhone handsets. However, we were disappointed with the build quality and the handset’s size, which was increased by its slider form factor. In fact our final decision was that we’d prefer to wait for the updated version of the BlackBerry Bold 9700. Well, now RIM has gone one better by producing a new BlackBerry Bold that sports OS 6.0.

 

 

First look
The 9780 has the same look as the 9700, although it has a smooth black case, rather than the titanium-trimmed one of the 9700. It looks well enough, albeit with a somewhat businesslike air.

Fire up the phone and you’ll like the icons, colours and sharp text on offer – an improvement on some of the BlackBerry devices we’ve reviewed. Despite being rather small, the QWERTY keyboard is easy to use, mostly because the keys are raised enough for your fingers to be able to distinguish between them. One thing that did flummox us was the fact that when you start inputting a phone number, the alphanumeric keys mean that you’ll see both a text and number bar appear on the display.

 

 

BlackBerry OS 6.0

As we pointed out earlier, the new OS offers far more customisation than you will have witnessed on earlier RIM devices. There is still only one homescreen, but at the bottom of the display you’ll find swipe-able menus (including favourites and media menus). From here you can pick out which icons and shortcuts you’d like to have on the display. This is where it all started coming unstuck for us, as without a touch-screen we’re not sure this OS really works very well. We may well be addicted to touch-screens but we kept trying to drag and drop icons by touching the screen, and then remembering that we needed to find our way through the menus with the trackpad to undertake any of these tasks.

 

However, we’re not rejecting OS 6.0 out of hand because of this. It’s certainly better than previous operating systems from RIM, and has much to recommend it, including tabbed browsing, which offers the ability to access several pages at once, and its Social Feeds app, which brings together all your social network feeds and messages into one stream. Perhaps you just need to tweak the OS depending upon which type of device you’re using.

 

It’s not just the OS that is new on the 9780. Memory has also been upgraded – the microSD card slot can take up to 32GB, rather than the original 16GB (bear in mind that only a 2GB card comes in the box). The camera has also had a refresh – the five-megapixel snapper is now up there with the camera on the Torch 9800 (which we dubbed “the best snapper on a BlackBerry device”.) With the benefit of both auto focus and LED flash, we were very pleased with our images, although to get a sharp image you’ll need a steady hand. The display is a tad small for picture taking (or web surfing for that matter) – but we liked the handset so much we find it hard to be too tough on it.

 

The verdict

A few months ago we were besotted with the BlackBerry Bold 9700, and loved the BlackBerry OS 6.0, so we were looking forward to the two coming together in the shape of the Bold 9780. However, the operating system and the handset are not made for each other and we found ourselves disappointed.

Pros:
As you’d expect from a BlackBerry, it is excellent for emailing, with push email and the facility for multiple account setup.
Cons:
While the BlackBerry OS 6 is an improvement on its forebears, it can’t really show itself at its best without a touch-screen.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 4 Stars
  • Ease of use 3 Stars
  • Features 4 Stars
  • Performance 3 Stars
  • Battery life 5 Stars

Final verdict: 3 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice