The Ultimate BlackBerry Bold Review

123 Comments

The BlackBerry Bold’s Screen

A screen capture of the locked BlackBerry Bold home screen

Take a look at the screen capture above you. A good, long look. The question you should be asking yourself as you reflect upon this bucolic vision is not if you’ve ever seen anything so beautiful on a BlackBerry before, but if you’ve ever seen anything so beautiful on a mobile device before.

It feels slightly weird to write, but RIM, the company known for email and enterprise, has made the BlackBerry Bold’s screen a killer app. The media often points to the iPhone’s screen as the industry leader in mobile visuals, but RIM has shown that it’s not the size that matters, but the amount of pixels your packing. At 2.6 inches diagonally and .75in wider than the BlackBerry Curve, the BlackBerry Bold also an increased screen resolution of 480×320 (HVGA), leading to a pixel density of 240ppi, significantly higher than the iPhone’s 165ppi. What does this technical mumbo-jumbo mean? More pixels + smaller screen area = very pretty pictures. Having watched a variety of videos on both the Bold and the iPhone, the BBCool unanimously chose the Bold’s smaller screen over the iPhone’s.

However, the dynamism of the BlackBerry Bold’s screen isn’t limited to its pixel density. Bold users will never again be concerned with their screen brightness, because it is no longer an issue. That doesn’t mean that the screen is dramatically brighter than previous BlackBerrys, but that the contrast range is so much greater, no matter the brightness setting, the Bold screen is luminous and crisp, displaying whiter whites and inky blacks. Concerns over environmental lighting are a thing of the past, with the Bold screen performing beautifully in broad daylight or the fluorescent-lit office. The Bold screen also features a broad hue range as well, often to startling effect: with the right image or video, the Bold can display both subtle pastels and shimmering tones.

Inverted Bold Menu Screen

Don’t think RIM hasn’t taken the opportunity to show-off what the Bold screen can do. Transparent menus are visible everywhere in the OS, and tucked within the Advanced Options menu is a new option called Accessibility, which allows you set the Bold to display all colors in reverse contrast or greyscale. It may seem like a novelty option, but I found the reverse contrast setting to make sifting through OS icons significantly easier. It also makes our custom BlackBerry Cool background look even cooler.

Inverted BlackBerry Cool Zen Background Image

  • BB Bold LOVER!

    I’ve had the Bold from Rogers for about a week now… and what can I say… AMAZING! I was a loyal fan of the Sony Ericsson before I moved into smartphones, then became a very very loyal fan of the HTC line-up of smartphones. When Rogers decided to discontinue the HTC Touch and not pick up the newer HTC phones, I was talked into buying a BlackBerry. As I’m a 21 year old male, I figured I needed the best, and folks, that’s exactly what I got! My phone seamlessly switches back and forth from 3G to WiFi and back (but the WiFi does drain a TON of power). As I’m still getting used to going from a Windows Mobile 6.0 to a BB OS .162, there are either things lacking, or I’m just not as tech savvy as I think I am. The documents to go is great, but having to pay to be able to creat new documents is a pain, so I just leave a blank file on there and edit and “save as”. Pictures load quickly and are actually displayed better than my digital camera! And for the review writer, you are incorrect about one thing: there is a stand-alone video recorder icon. You just have to search for it ;) (its in the applications folder).

    My only complaints so far: lacking applications, which is what the WM and iPhone are killing the market with, the browser is really good, but could be better, storage card easy accesibility (its a bitch and a half trying to get that sucker out), and whenever I try to sync the phone with my computer for pictures, videos, and music, while it does it, it tends to slow my computer down and has actually caused a 30 minute freeze!.

    Other than that, it’s an amazing phone, and while its $30/mos. more than a typical cell phone, I can’t figure out how I went without one for such a long time!

  • http://aol.com/ Ralph

    Turned off Wi-Fi, battery last one day. Need charging every night. :-(

  • http://aol.com Ralph

    Turned off Wi-Fi, battery last one day. Need charging every night. :-(

  • Anya

    Does anyone know where I can find maps/gps for the blackberry bold?? I have purchased bb bold recently and I love it! On the box it said that it has built in gps but it’s not there??!! Very annoying…
    Thanx in advance!!

  • Anya

    Does anyone know where I can find maps/gps for the blackberry bold?? I have purchased bb bold recently and I love it! On the box it said that it has built in gps but it’s not there??!! Very annoying…
    Thanx in advance!!

  • Alex

    Hi every body I just bought my BB Bold and it doesn’t have the GPS or map icon in the menu. Can any body help me with it?

  • Alex

    Hi every body I just bought my BB Bold and it doesn’t have the GPS or map icon in the menu. Can any body help me with it?

  • Zaroff

    First, thanks for the wonderful review, it really is the most thorough I’ve read yet.

    I love this machine! And IMO it beats everything else hands down on most subject. I come from the Nokia world, and as much as they are hyped, they just can’t compare. And not only in the most familiar Blackberry areas…
    First, I got an N95-8, which was relatively nice, if somewhat flimsy in parts, but it did a good job. Deal breaker for me was the fixed storage memory. Once you’ve filled the 8 gb, you’re out of luck. As I’m a voracious music consumer, and was looking for a handset that would be a really good music player among other things, I could foresee the 8 gb becoming too small after a while. On the 95, music quality (through headphones of course) was correct, lacking a bit of punch, with the slightest hiss, but overall good enough.

    Swapped it for the apparent ultimate from Nokia, the E90, and that has to be the most overhyped handset in recent times. It does suck, pure and simple. The keyboard, as good as it looks in the pictures and everything, is simply close to unusable, so stiff are the keys. There is practically no response from them, and it does take a while to correctly type any length of text with it. The internal screen was nice enough, but seeing as most apps don’t make proper use of it, except for editing word documents or about, it’s just there for show.
    As for sound quality for music, let’s not even go there… Hiss a-plenty, weak basses, murky rendition, the works. And that is with a very respectable set of cans (Koss KSC75T). Ah, and the 2.5 mm jack sucks miles, too. Using an adapter is not exactly user friendly.

    Sound quality regarding calls were acceptable on both devices, with an edge to the 95, sounding clearer and less muffled, but nothing to write home about.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the E90 was concerned was when the genuises at Nokia decided to completely lock their firmware, rendering installation of many, many unsigned third party apps impossible on the phone. So far, this hasn’t been cracked, I’m told… Sorry, but if I pay the major bucks to buy a handset, I do intend to use it as I see fit, and not as the manufacturer thinks I should use it in its great wisdom.
    So, I decided it was time for Nokia to go screw themselves, sold the 90, and decided to turn to other solutions, and never having had a Blackberry before, I got wind of the Bold and decided to look closer, and finally got one…

    MYYYYY! What a wonderful piece of gear it is! I was extremely pleasantly surprised in every way, I must say. From first contact, the thing oozes quality, whether it is the feel of it, the incredible screen, the keyboard! Ahhh the keyboard… It does put to great, great shame, the E90′s…
    The OS is a straightforward, no-nonsense affair, and one does get used to it pretty quickly, despite the vast number of options. I appreciate the level of detail and customization, it makes things much easier in the end.

    Call sound quality is mindblowing. Apparently there were hiss problems with the first few firmwares, but this has obviously been corrected and I hear all my correspondents crystal clear, and they do hear me just fine too, whatever the environment. Anyway, a major improvement to what I was used to with both Nokia’s.

    As a multimedia device, which can be surprising for a BB, it destroys everything Nokia and co have ever put out. No honestly. Sound quality via headphones is very, very nice, very precise, no hiss to speak of, and deep, solid bass that will make your jaw tremble ;-) It does sound better than an iPod (after comparing) AND an iPhone, which basically have the same audio circuitry, no matter what Jobs chants. And while the Media Player is simple and rather minimalist, it does the job more than adequately, and is very responsive and reactive, even with a (for now) almost full 8 gb card full of music.
    I can’t quite tell about battery life for now (I’ve only had it for a few days), but while it seems good, it does not appear to exceptional. Good, but not fantastic. I think I’ll give a shot at the Innocell 1650 mAh battery from Seidio and see what gives…
    I won’t relate all the other goodies the thing is capable of regarding push, email etc, they are well known, and they do work totally as expected.

    I have to say the device gets snappier and snappier as FW updates roll out, and they do roll out a great deal, and it’s quite appreciable that RIM churn out bug fixes and improvements on such a regular basis. It does inspire confidence that you won’t be out of luck two or three months after the machine initial release when something better comes along (something a lot of other manufacturers could take as an advice… Especially in Finland. Ahem)
    Plus, I do have the possibility of installing anything I like on it without having to say “please” and hearing “no” as a reply. Another hint here.

    All in all, it’s so far a fantastic device to use, without any nasty surprise so far, and I’m not even thinking to go back to more so-called consumer oriented brands in any foreseeable future. This is exactly the device I wanted to have, and it does everything I need extremely well.

  • Zaroff

    First, thanks for the wonderful review, it really is the most thorough I’ve read yet.

    I love this machine! And IMO it beats everything else hands down on most subject. I come from the Nokia world, and as much as they are hyped, they just can’t compare. And not only in the most familiar Blackberry areas…
    First, I got an N95-8, which was relatively nice, if somewhat flimsy in parts, but it did a good job. Deal breaker for me was the fixed storage memory. Once you’ve filled the 8 gb, you’re out of luck. As I’m a voracious music consumer, and was looking for a handset that would be a really good music player among other things, I could foresee the 8 gb becoming too small after a while. On the 95, music quality (through headphones of course) was correct, lacking a bit of punch, with the slightest hiss, but overall good enough.

    Swapped it for the apparent ultimate from Nokia, the E90, and that has to be the most overhyped handset in recent times. It does suck, pure and simple. The keyboard, as good as it looks in the pictures and everything, is simply close to unusable, so stiff are the keys. There is practically no response from them, and it does take a while to correctly type any length of text with it. The internal screen was nice enough, but seeing as most apps don’t make proper use of it, except for editing word documents or about, it’s just there for show.
    As for sound quality for music, let’s not even go there… Hiss a-plenty, weak basses, murky rendition, the works. And that is with a very respectable set of cans (Koss KSC75T). Ah, and the 2.5 mm jack sucks miles, too. Using an adapter is not exactly user friendly.

    Sound quality regarding calls were acceptable on both devices, with an edge to the 95, sounding clearer and less muffled, but nothing to write home about.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the E90 was concerned was when the genuises at Nokia decided to completely lock their firmware, rendering installation of many, many unsigned third party apps impossible on the phone. So far, this hasn’t been cracked, I’m told… Sorry, but if I pay the major bucks to buy a handset, I do intend to use it as I see fit, and not as the manufacturer thinks I should use it in its great wisdom.
    So, I decided it was time for Nokia to go screw themselves, sold the 90, and decided to turn to other solutions, and never having had a Blackberry before, I got wind of the Bold and decided to look closer, and finally got one…

    MYYYYY! What a wonderful piece of gear it is! I was extremely pleasantly surprised in every way, I must say. From first contact, the thing oozes quality, whether it is the feel of it, the incredible screen, the keyboard! Ahhh the keyboard… It does put to great, great shame, the E90′s…
    The OS is a straightforward, no-nonsense affair, and one does get used to it pretty quickly, despite the vast number of options. I appreciate the level of detail and customization, it makes things much easier in the end.

    Call sound quality is mindblowing. Apparently there were hiss problems with the first few firmwares, but this has obviously been corrected and I hear all my correspondents crystal clear, and they do hear me just fine too, whatever the environment. Anyway, a major improvement to what I was used to with both Nokia’s.

    As a multimedia device, which can be surprising for a BB, it destroys everything Nokia and co have ever put out. No honestly. Sound quality via headphones is very, very nice, very precise, no hiss to speak of, and deep, solid bass that will make your jaw tremble ;-) It does sound better than an iPod (after comparing) AND an iPhone, which basically have the same audio circuitry, no matter what Jobs chants. And while the Media Player is simple and rather minimalist, it does the job more than adequately, and is very responsive and reactive, even with a (for now) almost full 8 gb card full of music.
    I can’t quite tell about battery life for now (I’ve only had it for a few days), but while it seems good, it does not appear to exceptional. Good, but not fantastic. I think I’ll give a shot at the Innocell 1650 mAh battery from Seidio and see what gives…
    I won’t relate all the other goodies the thing is capable of regarding push, email etc, they are well known, and they do work totally as expected.

    I have to say the device gets snappier and snappier as FW updates roll out, and they do roll out a great deal, and it’s quite appreciable that RIM churn out bug fixes and improvements on such a regular basis. It does inspire confidence that you won’t be out of luck two or three months after the machine initial release when something better comes along (something a lot of other manufacturers could take as an advice… Especially in Finland. Ahem)
    Plus, I do have the possibility of installing anything I like on it without having to say “please” and hearing “no” as a reply. Another hint here.

    All in all, it’s so far a fantastic device to use, without any nasty surprise so far, and I’m not even thinking to go back to more so-called consumer oriented brands in any foreseeable future. This is exactly the device I wanted to have, and it does everything I need extremely well.

  • steve H

    It odd that you got no clock during your test but while reading about your test on the Bold on the Bold I am getting the clock every
    5 econds or so

  • steve H

    It odd that you got no clock during your test but while reading about your test on the Bold on the Bold I am getting the clock every
    5 econds or so

  • http://www.blackberrybbs.com/ jacky

    blackberrybbs

  • http://www.blackberrybbs.com jacky

    blackberrybbs

  • VictorR

    Hi all, can some of experienced BB Bold users explane how is syncronization between phone and LotusNotes (on PC) working? I have actually Nokia and has no any problem to syncronize LotusNotes datas (contacts, calendar, ToDo) with phone. During the day I do almost everything on PC and then make syncronization, so this feature is critical for me. Would this the same with BB?
    Thanks in advance.

  • VictorR

    Hi all, can some of experienced BB Bold users explane how is syncronization between phone and LotusNotes (on PC) working? I have actually Nokia and has no any problem to syncronize LotusNotes datas (contacts, calendar, ToDo) with phone. During the day I do almost everything on PC and then make syncronization, so this feature is critical for me. Would this the same with BB?
    Thanks in advance.

  • VictorR

    Hi all, can some of experienced BB Bold users explane how is syncronization between phone and LotusNotes (on PC) working? I have actually Nokia and has no any problem to syncronize LotusNotes datas (contacts, calendar, ToDo) with phone. During the day I do almost everything on PC and then make syncronization, so this feature is critical for me. Would this the same with BB?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Megan949

    i hate the blackberry bold! it was nice at first but then it started to get slow after about 2 months and all i really use it for is calling and texting. one of my buttons on the side were stuck so it made it hard when i was texting cuz it kept going off! my old one ended up breaking so i just got my new one and the speaker sounds muffled! i’m starting to think i should of gone with the iphone instead!

  • Megan949

    i hate the blackberry bold! it was nice at first but then it started to get slow after about 2 months and all i really use it for is calling and texting. one of my buttons on the side were stuck so it made it hard when i was texting cuz it kept going off! my old one ended up breaking so i just got my new one and the speaker sounds muffled! i’m starting to think i should of gone with the iphone instead!

  • MARK

    I want to buy one but does it have the world timer and converters (currency, weight,etc.) like the Nokia phones? I travel a lot so these are important features for me. Thanks!

  • MARK

    I want to buy one but does it have the world timer and converters (currency, weight,etc.) like the Nokia phones? I travel a lot so these are important features for me. Thanks!

  • J de Jong
  • J de Jong
  • Mrsadams X

    how do i change my conversation style on my blackberry curve?