News

Blackberry Curve 9300 Review

Posted on:

In this day and age, having a 3G connection on your smartphone shouldn’t really be a selling feature. It should be a given, like saying that your smartphone has the ability to update Twitter or organize your schedule. Even so, it seems that one of the primary selling points of the new BlackBerry Curve 9300 is exactly that, since it is also marketed as the BlackBerry Curve 3G.

Does this mean that you should completely disregard the BlackBerry Curve 9300? No, not necessarily. At under fifty bucks on contract, it’s one of the cheapest smartphones on the market today. Then again, are you better off spending a couple more bucks to get something monumentally better? Let’s find out.

Features and Specifications

As a Curve, the BlackBerry 9300 is a very clear step down from even older devices like the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The price reflects that, but be prepared to make some sacrifices.

For instance, it only has a 2.0-megapixel camera and that doesn’t even come with flash. There’s just 256MB of internal memory, but you can expand that with the included microSD memory card slot. The rest of the specs are better than some Curves from the past though.

You get both 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as the aforementioned 3.6Mbps HSPA 3G connection. Other specs and highlights include the usual BlackBerry accoutrements like the QWERTY keyboard, optical trackpad, BIS/BES support, and TeleNav. The 2.4-inch display is just QVGA and, strangely enough, BlackBerry App World does not come pre-installed.

Keyboard and Trackpad

If you’re a fan of the QWERTY keyboards from the days of the 8300 series, you’ll feel right at home with the Curve 9300. It has the same “separated” key layout as its predecessors, which is quite unlike the “connected” keyboard on the Bold 9700.

This is largely a matter of personal preference, to be sure, but I don’t like the 8300/9300 style keyboard. It wasn’t comfortable trying to type with the pads of my thumbs, forcing me to use my fingernails or the absolute tips of my fingers instead. The keys are quite hard to the touch too, instead of using a slightly softer plastic which may have been more comfortable.

The trackpad is exactly the same as every other contemporary BlackBerry, so it really came as little surprise. It does its job and I definitely like it better than the old trackball. I did find that after some oil from my fingers got on the trackpad, as is bound to happen, it got a little less responsive.

Camera and Multimedia

One of the more disappointing aspects to the BlackBerry Curve 9300 is its camera. When other smartphones are pushing upwards of eight-megapixels with dual xenon flashes and 720p video recording, the Curve 3G comes in with a paltry two-megapixel shooter and no flash in sight.

The pictures it takes are mediocre at best and don’t even think about taking pictures under low-light conditions. Granted, this is largely a business-oriented device and corporate types may not be TwitPic’ing all that much, but a lackluster 2.0MP camera won’t cut it in today’s smartphone world.

The multimedia player is the same as every other BlackBerry, but it is nice to see the dedicated music controls on the top of the phone. There’s a back button, forward button, and a play/pause button, the last of which doubles as the usual mute button for ‘Berries. Playing music through the built-in speaker is actually not bad, since it can be pretty loud for a phone.

Calling and Web Surfing

The call quality, for both ends of the conversation, is pretty middle of the road on this phone. I don’t have any real complaints regarding call clarity or reception, but I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly great in any way either. It just works and, let’s face it, we all use our smartphones for so much more than just voice calls. They’ve become an afterthought.

Web surfing is what you’d expect on a BlackBerry with a trackpad and a QVGA display. It does the job most of the time, but it’s far from the best mobile browsing experience. You really need to zoom in to get legible text on non-mobile sites, which forces you to do a lot of both horizontal and vertical scrolling.

Conclusion

The BlackBerry Curve 9300 is definitely a lesser BlackBerry, but the price reflects that. The camera leaves much to be desired, the keyboard isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, and web surfing can be an exercise in frustration.

(taken from: http://www.mobilemag.com/2010/09/24/review-blackberry-curve-3g-9300/)

Blackberry Bold 9900 Review

Posted on:

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 comes as something of a shock. You see, for years, BlackBerry has, in a sense, been catching up. That’s not a dig at its parent company – it’s practically royalty in push email and corporate handset circles. But it has been rare for RIM to lead the way.

Cameras, internet browsing, HTML emails – all were included on RIM’s phones years after they’d become standard fare on other handsets. For recent examples of decent phones that didn’t really push the envelope all that far, just take a look at the Bold 9780 and 9700.

But the Bold 9000 finally offers some cutting-edge tech, and in an attractive package to boot. Its 1.2GHz processor, high-spec touchscreen, brand new OS7 and HD video camera are all specs we never really expected a BlackBerry to have before the next millennium.

Plus, the staple BlackBerry offerings of a fantastic keyboard and top-notch security will keep regular users interested.

And if you’re stuck deciding between this and the two other recently released BlackBerry phones, never fear – we’ve got an enlightening group test to pit the Torch 9860, Torch 9810 and Bold 9900 against each other to see which takes your fancy:

For once, RIM is taking the initiative, thanks to the inclusion of a near field communication chip – a fairly new technology that’s been talked about for years. RIM is the first to properly take the plunge and add the tech in, while the others dilly-dally about whether to include it.

Pick up the Bold 9900 and you’ll definitely know about it. It’s 130g, so it’s by no means feather-light. But would you want it any other way? Ultimately, this is a handset that’s supposed to feel like it means business, and at least it feels lighter than you expect it to be.

RIM’s also bucked the trend in making a phone that’s bigger than its predecessor, the 9780. In fact, it’s like looking at a smaller version of Ol’ Grandpa Bold, the original 9900 – albeit smaller than that huge elder statesman and with a trackpad instead of a trackball.

At 115 x 66 x 10.5 mm, you can slide it into your pocket without too much bulk. In fact, that’s one of the 9900’s key selling points; RIM says this is the slimmest BlackBerry yet.

It probably is on paper, but due to the design and the way that the back protrudes out slightly, it looks a bit thicker than it is.

The high-gloss screen is surrounded by a brushed metal border, while the rear is made of a combination of matte plastic and glass. The rear cover isn’t so much a cover but a door that easily pops out of the centre, enabling you to throw in your SIM card and memory card (which is not hot swappable, even after all this time).

With 8GB of internal storage and an option to increase that to 32GB, this is a handset that doesn’t scrimp on memory.

The right-hand side of the 9900 has four buttons. Three of them are clustered together with the top and bottom ones acting as volume up and down and the middle used to pause media, which is a nice touch and saves you having to muck about on screen.

There’s also a camera shortcut button, which you can, as always, change to open something else on your 9900 should you wish. There is no second convenience key on the left, which we will admit that we miss.

That’s your lot, because the left-hand side is reserved for ports, including a micro USB charging and syncing port, the latter of which we can’t help feeling looks a bit naked, since you get the illusion of being able to see right inside it. Plus there’s a 3.5mm headphone slot.

The beauty here is that the headphone jack creates what seems like an unnatural lip in the contours of the back, but this gives you something to rest your fingers against as you hold the 9900 in your hand.

Up top, there’s the lock button, which is aesthetically placed in the middle and conveniently situated so that your finger hits it without effort. RIM has obviously thought this through and little touches like this go a long way in our eyes.

On the front is an incredibly sharp touchscreen. It’s 640 x 480 pixels over 2.8 inches and easily looks as good as anything with ‘Retina’ branding.

We love it. Icons feel like they float above the wallpaper, whites are white and text looks fantastic. In fact, we never thought we’d say this, but RIM’s basic black text on white background when reading emails (boring, maybe) looks brilliant.

The touchscreen is capacitive and highly responsive. Whether most BlackBerry users will migrate to it is another matter – we found ourselves reaching for the trackpad regularly for navigation, although the internet is certainly an area where we prefer to caress the screen.

If we have one criticism, it’s that we’re not big fans of the buttons below the screen. The usual BlackBerry suspects are there (call, menu, back and terminate call) and they’re all moulded into one big section, which makes you think they may be touch sensitive.

They certainly look like they are. But they’re not and when you use the frankly excellent QWERTY keyboard, your fingers aren’t able to glide over them but have to be raised up, then brought across and down to set your choice into action.

Competitor-wise, BlackBerry has always been a bit of its own entity, a bit like the posh child from down the road who desperately wants to fit in and play with the cool kids, but can never shake off their label.

RIM is, however, a master of its own arts: email and security. That’s why we can’t imagine a day when we’ll see the suits in Canary Wharf carrying anything else other than a BlackBerry.

Yet, we’ve watched the strategy change recently, with the introduction of the Curve range, the pushing of the BBM messaging app as a credible tool for teens and the desperation to get some BlackBerries included in the recipe for that ever-popular social media pie.

Although BlackBerries want to be cool, they’re always going to have that air of being too classy about them. This isn’t such a bad thing for the Bold 9900, which is the kind of handset you imagine anybody who wants to look like they’re anybody will have.

We imagine RIM’s biggest competitors will be its own Bold 9770/9780 (after two years, though, we think this is starting to look tired now) as well as other business-led communicators such as Nokia’s own very credible E6, which currently doesn’t command too much of the market. In this sense, RIM has much of the sector to itself.

(taken from: http://www.techradar.com/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/blackberry-bold-9900-989797/review)

Blackberry Bold 9790 Review

Posted on:

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 had what you might call an enthusiastic reception in Indonesia, and now that RIM’s latest entry-level smartphone has spread to Canada, we’ve had a chance to review it.

At first glance, the 9790 looks like yet another buttoned-down BlackBerry, and in a lot of ways, it is. As far as its positioning among existing RIM handsets goes, the BlackBerry 9790 is essentially a cheaper version of the Bold 9900, though it didn’t scale back quite as much as the Curve 9380 had from the Torch 9850 / 9860.

BlackBerry 10 is still a ways out, so odds are we’ll be seeing many more familiar phones like the 9790 in 2012. It’s been a rough year for RIM, and the next might not be any kinder if they try pitting 9790-grade phones against the fierce Android and iPhone competition out there.

Hardware

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 borrows most of its design queues from the other OS 7 devices, while roughly keeping to the same size as the old 9780 and 9700 chassis. It’s slim enough to be pocketable, and though the keyboard is a bit smaller than the 9900 / 9930, it’s still very usable. Under the hood, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 differs little from its big brother. It has a slightly slower 1 GHz processor, but in practice, you barely notice the 200 MHz speed difference. Similarly, the 480 x 360 screen resolution might seem like a big drop down from 640 x 480 on the 9900, but it’s still plenty sharp.
Design

Although the QWERTY keyboard and size of the BlackBerry Bold 9790 liken it to the previous Bold models, there are a lot of style queues taken from Torch 9850 / 9860, like the excellent sliver-style media controls, the slight bump to accommodate the camera, and raised physical navigation keys. The reduced size compared to the Bold 9900 is a big selling point in some markets according to RIM. Though I’m inclined to agree that some might find the 9900 monstrously big, I’m not one of those people; the big keyboard on the 9900 is altogether luxurious to type on, and by comparison, the 9790 feels just a little cramped. If you made the switch from the Bold 9000 to the 9700 awhile back, you’ll be familiar with the differences. I actually stuck with the 9000 through both the 9700 and 9780 launches because of keyboard size alone, and with the 9900 available, others may find themselves in a similar situation.

I would much prefer to see the navigation keys seamlessly integrated into the front face like the old Curve 9300, but overall, the slim design is highly pocketable and feels good in the hand. The smooth, matte soft finish of the battery door is a nice change of pace, though I tend to prefer something with a bit more grip. I’m still not sold on the bottom microUSB placement, since it means that I’ll have a wire dangling in front of me at the desk, or I’ll have to leave the phone upside-down. The placement makes sense if you use a dock, but it’s not something I usually use.
Build Quality

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 stood up to over a week of wear and tear, but I didn’t have a lot of faith that the plastic screen would be able to go long on its own without accumulating some scratches. The clicking action on the keyboard is a little soft, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The tapering of the outside keys is a nice touch, since it reduces the risk of catching and lifting the keys from the outside. The lightness and slimness of the phone didn’t give me the same amount of confidence as something like the Curve 9300, which had a bit more thickness to it. Build quality is definitely one of the areas that the 9790 is beat by the 9900, but I wouldn’t place it that far behind other smartphones at this tier.
Camera

The one shining grace of the 5 megapixel camera on the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is that it has auto-focus. Now, most of you will think that this is a given on any decent smartphone, but not so; the 9900 had cut out auto-focus, supposedly to keep the slim profile, which mean RIM’s flagship device sucked eggs when it came to taking close-ups. As a phone that’s supposedly lower on the value chain, it’s significant that the 9790 has the feature.

While I still wouldn’t quite put the BlackBerry Bold 9790’s macro lens in the same league as Sony Ericsson’s, it’s still very good, and the LED flash performs well in low-light to boot. There are a multitude of interesting scene modes, including snow, text, beach, party, and the standard ones like close-up, landscape, and portrait. There’s a degree of image stabilization available plus face detection to keep everything in focus. Beyond that, there’s not much fine tuning, like contrast control, that you might see on an Android handset.

Software

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 runs OS 7, which launched this summer mostly to take advantage of RIM’s new, speedier processors. There is the addition of voice-activated universal search, as well as support for augmented reality apps and 3D games, but aside from that there isn’t a lot new (let alone groundbreaking) in the BlackBerry software experience.

It continues to excel in messaging by tying into all of the major social networks and instant messaging clients, along with the usual stuff like e-mail and SMS. The notification bar at the top helps you jump quickly into incoming messages and other app alerts. Universal search continues to be a great way to find locally-stored and web content, but I’d love to see RIM continue where webOS left off, by turning the mechanism into an easy way to launch into actions. For example, typing from a dead stop at the home screen and having an option to post that text in a tweet. That would be a significant upgrade, but before it even has a chance of happening, the 9790 is more likely to see mobile hotspot with an OS 7.1 update.

As far as apps go, RIM has been giving away a bunch of good ones as an apology for their big service outage. You aren’t going to find a lot of mind-blowing titles in BlackBerry App World, as most developers have their hands full with Android and iPhone apps, but the important stuff, like Foursquare, Facebook, and Google Maps all work great. RIM makes a bunch of good ones themselves, like BlackBerry Protect to help you lock down your phone if you lose it, and BlackBerry Travel, which automatically populates your calendar with travel itineraries that are sent to your e-mail. Steer clear of BBM Music, though; it’s a subscription music service that sucks for a variety of reasons. By all means, check out the trial if you insist, but unless you have a bunch of BlackBerry-toting friends, it’ll be a lost cause.

Of course, BBM sees a lot of usage among fully-berried groups. BlackBerry Messenger supports group chatting, file sharing, calendar sharing, location sharing, and both delivery and read receipts for individual messages. Of course, if your friends are a little more varied in their choice of smartphones, Google Talk works pretty well (though not as well as its Android counterpart).
Multimedia

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 sports all the usual music and video playback capabilities of the latest OS 7 devices. I managed to get 720p videos playing smooth as butter, though there’s still no love for .mov files. While the 2.4-inch screen size doesn’t make it ideal for long-term watching, I’ve found the display amply sharp, and the processor fast enough to keep up with larger files stored on your microSD memory card or 8 GB of local storage.

As far as audio goes, I’m a huge fan of the new media control keys on the side. The volume control/track skipping keys are but a slim sliver, but they’re sharp and curved enough to be easy to feel in your pocket, while the pause/play/mute key mashed between them sticks out enough the you can activate it very easily without disturbing the other two. Getting something to listen to is easy enough, with plenty of apps like Slacker Radio, Rdio, and now Spotify being available (though not technically compatible with the 9790), or if you’re not into subscriptions, there’s the Podcasts app and the Amazon MP3 store to buy tracks a la carte. If you’ve already got a solid collection, the BlackBerry Desktop software offers tools for hauling in your iTunes or Windows Media Player collections.
Browser

The BlackBerry Bold 9790’s browser is based on WebKit, like that on the iPhone and on Android devices – a core RIM has been using since the summer of 2010 and the launch of OS 6. Although there’s no Flash support, the BlackBerry browser handles Javascript, CSS, and HTML5 rendering relatively well. The 1 GHz processor keeps up with panning and pinching to zoom on the touchscreen. As far as benchmarks go, the Bold 9790 scored 260 + 3 / 450 on the HTML5 test, 100/100 on Acid3 (though there was a significant slowdown plus a small artifact), and 25,219 on Browsermark.
Call Quality And Battery Life

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 wins big points for battery life. Of the OS 7 devices I’ve played with, it’s fared the best. I was able to stream music nonstop from around 9 AM until around 4 in the afternoon. With just day-to-day usage, I could right up until 10 PM or so on a single charge. For me, this is the sweet spot; the processor is fast enough and display sharp enough to be a joy to use, but doesn’t go overboard at the expense of battery life, or worse still, increased size to accommodate a bigger battery.

Call quality on Rogers was same ol’ same ol’. As always, the BlackBerry contacts system has a bunch of fields for different phone numbers, as well as plugging into third party apps, so you can see their latest instant messages or Facebook updates from the native contacts app.
The Final Take

The main question with the Bold 9790 is “why would I want one with the 9900 available?” Well, the only thing that the 9900 practically boasts over the 9790 is the larger, sharper screen, but as far as I’m concerned, the gains in battery life more than make up for the difference. Beyond that, the 9790’s camera has autofocus, and it’s not missing any of the other tricks on big brother Bold, like support for augmented reality, 3D graphics, and near-field communications. Beyond that, the 9790 is $100 cheaper off-contract.

Of course, this is limiting the 9790 within the world of BlackBerry devices alone. In the grand scheme of smartphones, it’s really hard to even consider RIM phones unless your needs are basic or a killer keyboard is high on your list. Don’t get me wrong, all of the important functions are there, but if you’re going to be signing up for a new contract and getting a fresh device anyway, you might as well feel more like you’re living in the future and pick up an Android or iPhone. As practical as BlackBerry may be, the experience is still more or less what it was several years ago, which will only compound feeling old and dated by the time your contract runs out.

If you’re already married to the Way of the BlackBerry and at least some of your friends are too, I would definitely recommend the 9790 over the Bold 9900 for battery life alone. If you’re digging the form factor, but want access to higher-quality apps, I’d suggest checking out the Motorola Admiral, or its less-sturdy cousin, the Droid Pro+.

(taken from: http://www.intomobile.com/reviews/blackberry-bold-9790-review-smaller-cheaper-and-longer-lasting-than-the-9900/)

Blackberry Bold 9780 Review

Posted on:

Following up on our Unboxing and First Impressions, I have been using the BlackBerry Bold 9780 as my main smartphone for the past few weeks. And you know what that means… I now have a lot to say on the newest Bold from Research In Motion. Most of it is positive, afterall, the Bold 9700 was already an awesome device so one would only expect its successor to be even awesomer. But it’s not all positive. Suprising to me, I actually found myself having some mixed feelings towards the BlackBerry 6 experience on the touchscreen-less Bold 9780. There have even been a few times when I wished I could downgrade the 9780 to run on OS 5.0 again (I know it sounds crazy, but I’m just being honest – you’ll have to read the full review to find out why).

The existence of the BlackBerry Bold 9780 has also created a couple of burning questions for existing and new BlackBerry users out there. I’ve been getting literally the same two questions via twitter (@crackberrykevin) daily since the device was announced. Is it worth upgrading my BlackBerry Bold 9700 to the Bold 9780? Should I get the Torch or the Bold 9780?

It’s December and the holidays are almost here, so grab yourself an eggnog, kick back and keep reading and I’ll answer these questions and unload all the nitty gritty details on the BlackBerry Bold 9780.

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 is the third Bold on the GSM side of the Bold family tree, following up the original Bold 9000 and newer Bold 9700. On the CDMA side (Verizon/Sprint), you have the BlackBerry Bold 9650, which was preceeded by the BlackBerry Tour 9630 which essentially was/is a Bold under a different name.

When you look at the plethora of BlackBerry device families (Bold, Curve, Torch, Storm, Pearl, etc.) and device models available, the analogy I like to use to keep things straight is to compare it to a car company. Specifically, I like to think of BlackBerry as the BMW of the smartphone world. Within the BMW family, you have your different BMW lines of cars (1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, etc.) with different body styles, engines, and detail packages available at a variety of price points. Regardless of which BMW you buy that best suits your needs, every model offers that Ultimate Driving Experience that BMW is known for. BMW tends to make minor changes from year to year on their vehicles, but every now and then will introduce a more major body style change. Everybody can tell a newer BMW from an old one based on major body style changes, but it takes more of an enthusiast’s eye to pick out the year to year differences. You know what I’m getting at here…

When it comes to the BlackBerry Bold 9780, the best way to think of it is as the new model year of the 9700, in a year when not a lot has changed. From the 2008 to 2009 model year, big changes were made as the Bold 9000’s bigger, blingier design was downsized into the more conservative Bold 9700 form factor. You don’t need to be a BlackBerry enthusiast to see the changes between those to models. Going from 2009 to the 2010 model year, the changes from the 9700 to 9780 are much less apparent on the hardware side. Compared to the 9700, the 9780 gets a few internal hardware improvements and a slightly different paint job (on the dark version). Of course, the Bold 9780 does ship with BlackBerry 6 out of the box, while the Bold 9700 still ships with OS 5.0, but with BlackBerry 6 already unofficially available for the Bold 9700 and officially coming soon, this difference becomes moot point. When you take into account Bold 9700 owners can run BlackBerry 6 on their device and that the hardware differences between the 9700 and 9780 are pretty minor, it’s no wonder so many Bold 9700 owners, even diehard BlackBerry owners, are wondering if it’s worth upgrading to early or holding out for whatever new Bold will follow the 9780.

On the CDMA side of the Bold family tree, the decision to upgrade from the Tour 9630 to the Bold 9650 was much easier. With the Tour lacking WiFi altogether, rocking the old trackball vs. the slick new optical trackpad for navigation and not being upgradable to BlackBerry 6, you immediately have three strong reasons to want to jump up to the Bold 9650.

For GSM users though, the Bold 9700 already has the optical trackpad, WiFi (b/g), and supports BlackBerry 6. So while the Bold 9780 does offer some improvements, mainly more memory and a better camera, to many the 9700’s lack of a lacking features makes the improvements in the 9780 seem pretty minimal for a device that is a year newer. It’s almost as if the 9780’s existence confuses the current BlackBerry landscape – it would have been nicer if RIM skipped the 9780 and went straight to the next generation of GSM Bold, one that adds a touchscreen and a bit more screen real estate into the mix. But I guess we’ll have to wait for the 2011 model to come out to get that 😉

That all said, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is here, it’s the latest and greatest smartphone from RIM in the tradtiional BlackBerry form factor, so let’s get to the details.

Compared to the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the biggest changes to the 9780 are as follows:

it ships with BlackBerry 6 preloaded
the camera is improved from 3.2 megapixels to 5 megapixels
internal flash memory (for running OS and apps) is doubled from 256MB to 512MB
video recording is improved in Normal Mode from 480×352 to 640×480
while it uses the same battery as the 9700, the GSM standby time rating jumped up from 21 to 22 days, while the music playback time rating actually decreased from 38 hours to 36 hours

Tech specs aside, the dark version of the Bold 9780 features a slightly different “look” than the Bold 9700. On the Bold 9780, RIM chose to scrap the chrome band around the phone in favor of a blacked-out look (which is definitely hawt!). On the battery door cover, the 9780 features a tighter pattern – it’s less of a faux-leather look and more of a car dashboard look.

With the Bold 9780 using the same chipset as the Pearl 3G and Torch 9800, it also lacks Open GL support for 3D graphics. I was sad when the Bold 9700 didn’t support Open GL, and am even more sad to see that a year later the next GSM Bold doesn’t either. If you’re not sure what that means for the graphics experience, check out this video review comparing Need for Speed on the Bold 9700 vs. Storm2. It’ll be the same story for the Bold 9780. I really hope that the next GSM BlackBerry we see supports Open GL.

As for what carriers will get the BlackBerry Bold 9780, you can expect it to roll out everywhere the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is offered. The unit in this review is from Rogers in Canada, and you can already find the 9780 on T-Mobile in the USA. Expect it to hit AT&T (hopefully) soon too.

When it comes to hardware impressions, for the most part I could copy and paste what I wrote in my Bold 9700 review into my Bold 9780 review. And that’s not a bad thing, as on the whole the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is one sweet piece of hardware.
Appearance, Form Factor and Build Quality
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Photo BlackBerry Bold 9780 Photo

The Bold family is RIM’s flagship line of devices in the traditional front-facing full-qwerty design that is synonymous with BlackBerry (Curve is the entry-level line). The original Bold 9000 was a fairly big device, with an extra 1/4″ of width in the display and keyboard as compared to the 9700 and 9780. I still personally think the 9000’s keyboard is the best there has even been on a BlackBerry, but there is no denying that the Bold 9780’s smaller size hits the sweet spot of pocketability and ease of typing/use. It feels great in the hand, has a very easy to type on keyboard, and is small enough to carry in a pocket.

Build quality of the 9780 seems to be equally good to the 9700, and arguably appears to be even better. Though the phone is very light in weight, it doesn’t feel cheap, and the blacked out look gives off an aura of understated luxury. I’ve always been a big fan of Swiss mechanical watches, and the blacked-out look has really caught on there in the past few years – the 9780 definitely pairs nicely with a blacked-out watch. Although the build quality does seem solid, unfortunately I was unlucky with the Bold 9780 that I picked up from Rogers in that it had a defective trackpad. At first I thought it was a software glitch as my symptom was that the cursor often wanted to scroll up by itself (which is super annoying and had me wanting to throw the phone through a window), but after a week of futzing around with it determined it was definitely hardware (I could never reproduce the glitch if I covered the trackpad entirely with my thumb, preventing any light from hitting it). Luckily the return process was easy and my second 9780 is performing all good so far. Over the years I’ve been pretty lucky with my BlackBerry Smartphones in terms of reliability — rarely even having to clean or replace a trackball — but in the past 3 months had a Torch completely die on me for no reason and now a faulty 9780 trackpad. RIM has manufacturing facilities around the world (Canada, Hungary, Mexico) and in the 25+ BBs I’ve used since getting my first 7290, so far the only devices I’ve ever run into hardware issues with have been made in Mexico. I’m not sure if it’s coincidence or a QA issue or what, but I’m nearly to a point where I’m going to check that my next BlackBerry is a made in Hungary or Canada unit before I take it home from the store.
BlackBerry Torch 9800 Photo BlackBerry Bold 9780 Photo

Looking around the perimeter and controls of the 9780, things are identical to the 9700. The top of the phone has hidden lock and mute buttons. I still love the way RIM discretely implemented these buttons, though on more than one occassion have run into BlackBerry owners who had their 9700 for months and didn’t realize they were buttons – maybe they’re a little too discrete! The left side of the phone makes room for the 3.5mm headset port, the microUSB charge/sync port and a left side convenience key. I love the left side convenience key – it still pains me that this is missing from the Torch, so I hope we see the left side convenience key return on future device models. The right side of the phone features the volume up/down keys and right side convenience keys. In case you’re new to BlackBerry and not familiar with the concept of convenience keys, they are essentially application shortcuts tied to a button. By default they typically launch Voice Dialing (left) and the camera (right), but I typically change the left one up to either launch QuickLaunch or a Twitter client.
BlackBerry Bold 9780 vs Bold 9700 BlackBerry Bold 9780 vs Bold 9700
BlackBerry Bold 9780 vs Bold 9700 BlackBerry Bold 9780 vs Bold 9700
Bold 9700 vs. the Bold 9780 (Bold 9700 has chrome trim)

Like the 9700, the battery door on my 9780 was TOUGH to remove initially. It breaks in fairly quickly and becomes much easier to remove (but not too easy!), but I swear, the first time I had to remove the battery door I felt like I was going to break the phone. This really tripped me up when I first got my 9700 (see video below for how to remove it properly), but even on my 9780 and KNOWING how to remove the battery door it still was wayyy too tough. This is a pretty normal occurence with a lot of the 9700 and now 9780 owners I’ve spoken too – it doesn’t make for a very positive out-of-the-box experience so I’d love to see RIM smooth it out a bit.
[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

All in all, when it comes to appearance, form factor and build quality, talking about the 9780 is the same as talking about the 9700.

Display

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 features the same non-touchscreen 480×360 pixel high resolution display that’s found on the Bold 9700, Bold 9650, Tour and Curve 8900. Overall it’s a solid display and is much nicer than the 320×240 display found in the Curve 3G or Curve 8530/20. If you’re trying to decide between purchasing a new Curve or new Bold, the higher resolution display is definitely one of the reasons I would go with the Bold. The colors are much sharper and brighter and smooth, and in the web browser the extra pixels make a big difference.

That said, like a lot of other BlackBerry users out there, I’m anxiously waiting for the day when RIM puts a touchscreen into this form factor of device. A lot of new BlackBerry users first make the mistake of trying to tap the icons on the screen, but especially with BlackBerry 6 (more on this later) I’ve even noticed myself wanting to reach out and touch the screen. With OS 5 I’ve never really found this to be an issue. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve used BlackBerry 6 on the Torch a lot with a touchscreen so it’s habitual, or maybe there is just something about BlackBerry 6 that is more compelling for touch, but either way, I want my next front-facing keyboard BlackBerry to also have a touchscreen. It would have been nice for the Bold 9780 to be the Bold that introduced this, but it’s looking like we’ll have to wait for the next Bold to get this.

While on the topic of what I’d like to see in the next Bold, I’m also hoping they find a way to up both the resolution and the phsyical size of the display. When people didn’t use the browser on their BlackBerry (because it was painfully slow to use), and before apps became the thing, the smaller physical size of the display wasn’t really a concern – using that frontal real estate for a solid keyboard was more important. Now that BlackBerry has a good web browser and you’re using the phone for so much more than emailing, texting and BBMing, the bigger the screen, the better (assuming your battery can still manage to last through the day – big displays tend to eat battery life). I’m sure RIM realizes this too, so will be curious to see how they address this on the next Bold.

Chipset / Processor

The Bold 9780 uses the same chipset and processor that’s found in the Torch 9800, which is clocked at the same 624MHz processor that the Bold 9700 and 9000 were clocked at. Though software updates have greatly improved the performance of BlackBerry 6 on the Torch since its somewhat laggy debut, the same processor on the Bold 9780 seems to be even snappier at powering the OS right of the box. Maybe the lack of touchscreen contributes to the speed. As usual I’m sure things will get even smoother with software updates (the Rogers unit in this review shipped with OS 6.00.285, but at the time of this writing we’ve already seen OS 6.0.0.359 leak for the 9780).

Memory

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 doubles up the internal flash memory from the 256MB found in the 9700 to the now-standard 512MB found in devices like the Bold 9650, Torch and Style. This memory is where the operating system resides, where apps are installed and where things like browser cache and your email inbox eat up space. More memory doesn’t really equal faster speeds, but running low on memory guarantees things will slow down. So compared to the 9700, on the 9780 you can load up more apps and do more on your device before you ever run out of room. Conversely, if you keep things on your Bold 9700 fairly “clean” you should find that BlackBerry 6 will run on it pretty smooth as well. Out of the box, my Rogers BlackBerry Bold 9780 had ~271MB of free space on it.

In terms of additional storage for media and photos, the Bold 9780 comes with a 2GB microSD card, which can easily be swapped out for other cards. It’ll take a 32GB card all good.

Battery Life

Like the Bold 9700, THE BATTERY LIFE ON THE BLACKBERRY BOLD 9780 IS FRICK’N AMAZING! Of course, I do find myself doing a lot more web browsing on BlackBerry 6 than I did on OS 5, which eats into the battery a bit more, but all in all it’s really solid. There’s something really satisfying about going to bed at night seeing the battery level indicator still above (on lower-usage days way above) half full.

Phone Call Quality

This one often seems to vary a bit by carrier, but at least on Rogers for me the call quality of the 9780 seems hunky-dory (it’s a word for real, look it up).

Camera and Video Recording

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 features the same 5.0 megapixel camera that is in the BlackBerry Torch, and I’ve found it’s performance to be the same for me (photography is a skill I need to work on, so any pros in the audience can weigh in if they discover any differences). I went pretty in-depth on the new camera in my Torch review, so if you want further details here click on the link below to jump over to that section.

More Info on the 5 megapixel camera

Other Internals: WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Speakers

Everything else on the hardware side is what you’d expect. On the WiFi front, the most noticeable difference to speed for the “average” consumer comes from the fact that the BlackBerry 6 web browser now automatically uses WiFi when available vs. on older operating systems in which you manually had to switch to the HotSpot browser. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 only has WiFi b/g (no N support), which is really stupid to me considering both the Pearl 3G and Torch 9800 do have WiFi N. Doing some digging, the word is that the Bold 9780 is so closely based on the 9700 that upgrading to n was not easily done on existing architecture. So I guess if it’s too hard to do you, you just skip it and wait till you’re making a more major change to a device rather than an incremental one.

GPS and Bluetooth are there working as they should, and the speakers seem to be on par with the 9700. I noticed a few threads kicking around the CrackBerry forums where members mentioned they thought the speaker/speakerphone was better on the 9780, but I’m not certain of that. I’m not aware of any changes here… but could be wrong – maybe some tinkering was done.

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Accessories

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Accessories

For BlackBerry Bold 9700 owners who want to upgrade to the Bold 9780, the good news is that your BlackBerry Bold 9700’s accessories will work just fine. Cases will fit, batteries will fit, and your charging pod will fit. It also means there is a large selection of accessories available at launch. Shamless plug time… Be sure to check out ShopCrackBerry.com for all your BlackBerry Bold 9780 accessory needs. We just rolled out free shipping on orders of $50 or more in the continental US, so you can’t go wrong!

Browse BlackBerry Bold 9780 Accessories at ShopCrackBerry.com

Hardware Wrap-Up

All in all, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 hardware is as good or better than that of the Bold 9700, which by definition makes it a pretty awesome device. You can’t argue with more memory and more megapixels, and I like the blacked-out look. Though you know the moment it hits Rogers or AT&T in white, I’ll be picking that one up!

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Software Impressions

If you’re looking to learn about everything that’s new in BlackBerry 6, be sure to check out our super in-depth BlackBerry 6 Review. For this review I want to focus more on BlackBerry 6 as it pertains to the user experience of being on a non-touchscreen device with a smaller display and with a front-facing keyboard. Seriously, if you want the in-depth details on BB6, check out our BlackBerry 6 Review.

BlackBerry 6
BlackBerry 6 Homescreen…

How much you love, like or maybe even dislike BlackBerry 6 on the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is going to be determined by your priorities (remember the Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs) and how much BlackBerry baggage you’re carrying (ie. how long you’ve been a BlackBerry user for and how stuck in your ways you are). Dissecting this a bit further, I think:

First Time Smartphone/BlackBerry Owners and users who fit into the category of the consumer market are going to like the BlackBerry 6 experience a lot more than they would OS 5.0. Out of the box, the tutorial videos and new setup wizard get you up to speed more quickly, and the whole look and feel of the operating system is more modern and sleek than any BlackBerry of the past. The homescreeen views (All, Favorites, Media, Downloads, Frequent) expose more of your BlackBerry’s capabilities to you, which get you using the device for more things than you normally would otherwise (yes you can use your BlackBerry as an MP3 player and watch movies on it!). The web browsing experience in BlackBerry 6 is much better than in the past too – so while the screen is on the small side compared to some of the smartphones hitting the market these days, you will be able to browse your favorite websites. And with a full keyboard right there all the time, you’ll be pounding out BBMs, emails, texts, tweets and facebook updates like crazy.

BlackBerry 6 BlackBerry 6
The new WebKit-based browser in BlackBerry 6 is much improved and ads tabbed browsing

Long Time OS 5/4.x BlackBerry Users, heavy communicators and those who fit into category of enterprise user are also going to like BlackBerry 6 more than OS 5, but there’s going to be a bit of a re-learning curve and are a couple of annoying things that’ll drive you bonkers that you’ll have to get used to (which hopefully RIM will address soon).

Let’s start with the annoying part – the homescreen views. On a touchscreen, you normally open apps from the homescreen by by tapping on the icons, so accidentally scrolling between views is not an issue. However, with BlackBerry 6 on a non-touchscreen device, you have to scroll to the icon you want then press in on the trackpad. On the 9780, I constantly find myself accidentally scrolling between views while attempting to open specific applications (note, this can happen on the 9700/9650/etc. on BB6 too, so it’s not a 9780 specific thing). Namely, my main messages app is always the first icon on the screen, so when I scroll quickly to it, I end up overshooting and change to the next view. Over the course of an average day, I’ve been finding myself accidentally scrolling to the next screen anywhere from 15 to 30+ times a day. Hitting the red end key does at least bring you back to the All view quickly when you get out of place, but I shouldn’t be having to hit that all the time due to acciental scrolling. I’m not alone on this one either. It actually makes me kind of mad that RIM released BlackBerry 6 without having the ability to go back to a simpler homescreen experience, either via an option to disable homescreen views or by providing an alternative theme that does not have the views built in. Hopefully BlackBerry 6.1 will have this built in (to me this is HIGH PRIORITY! It got so annoying one day that it nearly made me want to go back to my 9700). In the meantime, theme developers will be able to address this once Theme Builder 6 gets updated and officially released – I’m sure we’ll see the next #1 theme in the CrackBerry App Store will be a replica native theme that lacks the views). The other annoying homescreen change that is difficult for me to get used to is that it now requires two taps of the menu key (the one left of the trackpad) to open the full icon tray. On the teaser view (where you only see six icons at the bottom), I really think clicking that button once should open the “tray.” Once the tray is fully open, then tapping the menu key again should pop up the menu options (Add Folder, Hide, Mark as Favorite, etc.). This also bugged me on the Torch, but I guess with the touchscreen use I found it to be less of an issue. On a non-touchscreen, it drives me bonkers. [ Update: So it turns out you can also evoke the full tray by scrolling down a long scroll down on the trackpad. It works, and really fixes this issue for me. It’s not exactly intuitive though for discovery – seriously, I never stumbled upon this in literally weeks of use. Makes me feel like a rookie! ] These two gripes are likely of no-concern for 99% of the folks out there reading this, but for me there my two biggest issues with the BlackBerry 6 user experience on a non-touchscreen device. And for people who use their phone mainly as a communication tool and for one or two key apps, these little issues really do slow you down. The basic homescreen user experience feels less efficient.

BlackBerry 6
I LOVE Universal Search

These two issues aside, power communicators and enterprise users will hugely appreciate universal search and the new web browser. Getting familiar with universal search saves a lot of time, and for a lot of people having a BlackBerry web browser that’s now quicker and renders more accurately means they can now leave there laptop at home when they travel. Another homescreen improvement is the shortcut at the top for Managing Connections that saves time on toggling the Radio, WiFi and Bluetooth on and off. BlackBerry 6 also adds the homescreen message notification preview, which I’ve now determined to be a bit handy and a bit useless at the same time. I wish it could be customized more. I really like being able to preview my upcoming calendar appointments from the preview, but I find for messages themselves I don’t really use it – if I have emails or tweets or anything else, I’m pretty much heading straight for the app as soon as my LED light blinks.

BlackBerry 6 on the 9780 Software Wrap Up

In a smartphone market where having a big touchscreen is all the rage, one of the key reasons a person buys a smartphone in this form factor in 2010 is because they are heavy communicators – they want that keyboard to be there all the time for quick, accurate typing (they don’t even want to wait the 1/10th of a second it takes to slide out a keyboard a la the Torch nevermind typing on glass!) and they’re willing to sacrifice the screen real estate to have that keyboard. The user experience here is focused around speed. And historically, that’s what the BlackBerry experience has always been about. I remember David Yach, RIM’s CTO of Software, at the first BlackBerry Developer Conference on stage talking about RIM’s philosophy and the red light test – you should be able to pick up your smartphone and accomplish anything you want to do in the time you would spend waiting at a red light. He also put it another way… the BlackBerry experience is all about adding an hour to your day by giving you the ability to turn all of those one minute chunks of time we all waste into productive time.

With that philosophy in mind and ignoring my couple of gripes which slow things down a bit, BlackBerry 6 does a solid job of adhering to that traditional BlackBerry experience while expanding the use of the phone beyond the basics.

Addressing the Big Questions

BlackBerry Bold 9780

Ok, let’s tackle these two questions that I keep getting everyday….
Is it worth upgrading my BlackBerry Bold 9700 to the Bold 9780?

Carriers and RIM may honestly shoot me for saying this, but honestly, for the average person I’d say no. Going back to the BMW analogy earlier, it would be like getting out of the lease on your new BMW a year early to buy one a year newer that comes in a different color. You could pay the penalties and do it if you really want to and that would be fine, but you’re probably better off waiting. This is especially true if you consider that the Bold 9780 revision was quite minor and that it’s looking like the next revision to this device will have a lot more going on (bigger processor, touchscreen, etc.). And it’s especially, especially true considering the fact you can load up BlackBerry 6 to your Bold 9700 if you want to. That said, if you’re like me you’re still going to run out and buy the newest BlackBerry no matter what 😉

I also find it interesting that carriers like T-Mobile and Rogers are not even listing the Bold 9700 for sale on their sites anymore. I think the reason for this is pretty clear – if they offered the 9780 and 9700, the price of the 9700 would have to be driven down since it’s a year older, and at the lower price point is where they want to offer devices like the Curve 3G or 85xx where they have higher margins. The price of the 9700 would have to drop by quite a bit from a consumer standpoint being it’s a year old, so it would be hard to justify the 9780’s higher price (that camera and RAM can’t cost that much), plus with the body/case design not really changing at all it makes much more sense to just transition straight to the 9780. So new customers won’t even have the option to buy a 9700 or 9780 – for the most part they’ll be going right into the 9780.

Should I get the BlackBerry Torch 9800 or the BlackBerry Bold 9780?

This one all comes down to priorities. If you’re on a carrier where the Torch isn’t offered (ie. T-Mobile USA), the Bold 9780 is obviously the winner. If you’re on AT&T or Rogers or a carrier which carries both, then the decision becomes a matter of preference.

Key Reasons why I’d pick a Bold 9780 over the Torch: The Bold 9780 feels better in the hand, is lighter and more pocketable. The keyboard is also a bit nicer to type on. The Bold 9780’s battery life is way better (it’s a bigger battery than in the Torch, and the 9780’s smaller screen size helps save the battery juice). I also prefer having the keyboard right there and not having to slide the phone open to get to it. It’s more efficient.

Key Reasons why I’d pick a Torch 9800 over the Bold 9780: The bigger touchscreen makes everything in the BlackBerry 6 environment better. Navigating the OS by tapping is nice, web browsing with a touchscreen vs. trackpad is much nicer too. Once you get used to a big screen smartphone, going back to a smaller screen is TOUGH. Still has a keyboard, which while not quite as nice to use as the 9780’s, is still pretty solid.

Which am I going to use? I can’t decide. I’ve always been more the traditional BlackBerry user, so the 9780 is a bit more suited to my personality. But until I get the ability to kill the homescreen views on BlackBerry 6 on the 9780 (be it with a theme or a setting), I think I’d go Torch as it’s kind of pulling me away from that total speed of use mentality anyways (and I’m sick of accidentally scrolling to the next view on the 9780). I think what I’m actually going to do for rest of this month, for a bit of nostalgia, is actually kick it on my old Bold 9000 for a while. I miss that keyboard! 🙂

What if it’s my first BlackBerry? Good question. And a tricky one. Buying a phone always starts with picking your carrier (you need coverage where you work, play, live). Assuming you’re on a carrier where the Bold 9780 and Torch are offered, it again comes down to your priorities. Getting a BlackBerry with a always-present keyboard (Bold 9780, Curve 3G) means you have the best communication tool on the planet (go for the Bold 9780 if the budget allows). While the Torch isn’t quite as efficient as a communication tool, if you haven’t had a BlackBerry before you won’t know what you’re missing in that respect – so going Torch is probably the best option. Having a bigger screen and a touchscreen really adds to the experience. You might just want to grab a spare battery for if you get low on juice at the end of the day from heavy device usage.

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Closing Thoughts

I tweeted the other night that I’m apparently incapable of writing a concise review as this Bold 9780 review was taking forever to pound out. Good ole @andrewmunchbach of BGR fame responded with this clever little tweet:

@crackberrykevin the fact that you couldn’t fit your entire review into a tweet is surprising. “9700+512MB+5MP camera=9780” Done.

And yep, Andrew was right – you literally can sum up the 9780 in 140 characters or less. It’s too bad that RIM didn’t put more into this revision to make it a really exciting one to talk about, but the good news is the 9700 was an awesome device so any improvement to an already solid device is a good thing. I know I harped on a few things in this review, but at the end of the day the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is an awesome BlackBerry. But you know it wouldn’t be a CrackBerry review unless I gave you all the back story and way too much info. Hope you enjoyed it!

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Summary
Pros

Blacked-out look is hawt!
Doesn’t mess with the success of the 9700 – great feeling device, great keyboard
BlackBerry 6 – yay for webkit browser and universal search!
More memory and megapixels than its predecessor the 9700

Cons

Need a way to disable the homescreen views on BlackBerry 6 (a lot of accidental scrolling going on)
BlackBerry 6 really makes you wish there was a touchscreen and a bit more screen size to work with
No WiFi N support, when sibling devices like the Pearl 3G and Torch 9800 do have it
Doesn’t mess with the success of the 9700 enough – hard to get excited about minor improvements
Another GSM BlackBerry that lacks OpenGL support – hard to get developers making 3D games when the GSM phones don’t support it yet

Bottom Line

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 improves upon the already-awesome BlackBerry Bold 9700 by adding more memory, a better camera, and the new BlackBerry 6 operating system right out of the box. BlackBerry 6 brings with it a lot of improvements and new features, including a faster web browsing experience, but also makes you wish the 9780 featured a touchscreen – BB6 wants to be touched!

Related BlackBerry Bold 9780 Links

BlackBerry Bold 9780 Superpage
BlackBerry 6 Review
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Forum
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Cases
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Accessories
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Apps
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Ringtones
BlackBerry Bold 9780 Wallpapers

Filed Under: News & Rumors, Device Reviews, Devices; Tags: BlackBerry Bold 9780
Send to a Friend

Click here to find out more!
Click here to find out more!
Login or Register to post comments
83 Comments
Posted by R1cE Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Kevin you can open the tray by clicking on the bar or by simply scrolling down. Glad to see you still poured your heart into the review, even though I am suspecting you copied and pasted some of it from the 9700 review. Good job as always! 🙂

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

hmm.. scrolling down doesn’t open the tray on 6.0.0.285. Was just about to load the latest onto my replacement 9780. what version are you seeing that on?

scrolling up to the nav bar and clicking is still two steps… though granted so is clicking once on the menu key then moving your thumb back to the trackpad. but i still want a single click to launch the tray 🙂

Posted by CrackUK Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

From my experience a simple scroll down on the trackpad will not open the tray, you have to give a fast swipe down the trackpad.
Anyway thanks for a well written review.

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

HUH. Well look at that. Hard swipe down does do it. That’s awesome. Sooo… yeah, that’s not really intuitive I guess as in three weeks on the 9780 and I never actually noticed that. Better go edit my review and make a note of that.

I guess it’s that issue of getting stuck in your ways… I’m so used to hitting that button that once it was gone I didn’t really discover that other way.

I’m suck a rookie! :p Might have to make a dedicated blog post on that one as a tip. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Posted by mkye86 Wednesday, Dec 08, 2010 393 days ago

Hey that’s great this works on my 9700 as well.

Thanks!

Posted by flyonawall Monday, Dec 20, 2010 381 days ago

Kevin, don’t feel bad. I’ve been running 6 on my 9700 since the first leak and didn’t know this until the other day when I had a co-worker that just got his 9780 show me. I was stunned to find that I could do the same on my 9700 (now on build 418).

I’d sum up the comparison between devices, though, with the question of whether you’re going/wanting to run OS 6. Although you can run it on the 9700 it’s PAINFUL as you constantly hit your head on the 256 MB RAM ceiling. I’m running about 1/4 of the apps I was on 5.0. And the kicker that’s tempting me to go back is that Viigo doesn’t run (properly) on OS 6 (and no, the new Social Feeds app doesn’t even come close to comparing to Viigo. Very disappointed RIM has apparently killed off one of the best BB apps out there). The browser is the only thing keeping me on 6. It seems like the 418 build fixes a few of the memory leaks so we’ll see how it goes, but I’d say the extra RAM is all but a requirement for OS 6. I don’t see RIM (or at least the carriers) posting an actual 9700 OS 6 update for this reason.

Posted by VZWRocka Thursday, Dec 23, 2010 378 days ago

Yep, remember the 8330 Curve which technically supported OS 5.0, but only one or two carriers ever actually released a build for it because it may have worked but didn’t work well. It slowed the phone down and you had to run fewer apps due to memory restrictions.

Posted by jzajac Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

You ever have one of those moments where you read or hear something and then can not remember how you previously performed the task that you just heard about? Reading the ‘scrolling down’ advice was so simple yet genius that I can no longer remember if I clicked the title bar every time or not… I feel like I was a full time clicker, so just in case I was thanks for this post!

Posted by jzajac Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I’m on a 9650 running 6.0.0.333 for what it’s worth.

Posted by SnoopTodd Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Yay! You did it! And sort of on time depending which calendar you use! :). Great review, worth the wait.

Posted by cbaboy88 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Great job !

As a blackberry addict .. Ive bought 9700 on 25/11/2009 and 9780 on 1/12/2010 and i would purchase any upcoming bold series phone even with minor improvements!

thnx

Posted by Dodger52 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Kevin,
The blackberry Torch does not use the same CPU as the 9700. The torch uses a Marvell PXA940, built using the smaller 45nm process instead of the older PXA930

Technoligy Analysis website UBM-techinsight has discovered this.

And RIM has told engadget.com that the Processor in the Torch is of a newer generation.

And i really don’t like that you deleted my earlier post 🙁

Also according tot the leaked training slides at BGR.com the 9780 uses a different CPU as the 9700, not sure if it is the PXA940 though…

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Dodger, I shot you a quick email. Had a typo in the review… meant to say the 9780 uses the same processor as in the Torch, which is CLOCKED at the same 624MHz as is the same as the 9000 and 9700 were clocked at.

I know it’s a different chipset though and speak to such – they actually upgraded it not with the Torch, but with the Pearl 3G, which was the first to have the WiFi N and upgrade the video recording to 640 by 480. Then that went into the Torch and now the 9780.

Sad that it still lacks Open GL support though. You’d think that since the upgrade did happen, they would have addressed it that time. I thought RIM promised us Open GL back at DevCon, shortly after the original 9700 was announced.

Posted by Bla1ze Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Newer generation, same speed. Still clocked for 624mHz. In reality, the difference is only there to make better use of the more graphic intense portions of the OS which aren’t really all that intensive over previous versions. If anything the newer processor, although clocked at the same speeds sucks back battery life faster. As you can tell by using a Torch (rather, trying to use) for a full day. In terms of the OS, the only noticeable thing is the reboot times.

Posted by Dodger52 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

The PXA940 actually uses a smaller more energy efficient production processo (45nm) the reason that the 9800 gets empty more quickly is the fact that it has a smalle battery a much bigger and brighter screen, and more intensive graphic features Considering all this the torch is relatively energy efficient.

Posted by Fr3lncr Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Kevin, sorry but the 9780 doesn’t have ‘N’ wifi. We verified it in the forums:
http://forums.crackberry.com/f219/does-9780-have-n-standard-fi-548669/

Plus, RIM’s site only shows ‘b/g’:
http://us.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberrybold/#!phone-specifications

If you could show a screenshot of it showing ‘N’, please do so.

Thanks!

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Thanks for the comment. I’m looking deeper into this. For now, I removed the N stuff from the review.

It’s funny you mentioned the US BlackBerry site as listing the 9780 as not showing N. I actually flagged that as an error to RIM to look at. It just makes no sense that the 9780 wouldn’t get WiFi N, considering the Pearl 3G and Torch 9800 have it. Makes zero sense for it not to have it. It makes no sense also for RIM to leave it off once other devices are getting it.

Posted by Fr3lncr Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Don’t get me wrong, I wish it had ‘n’ too as I liked it on my Torch so when I saw your unboxing last month, I picked one up and noticed it didn’t have it. That’s when I started the thread to make sure.

Interestingly, some in the thread stated they did have ‘N’ but theirs were pre-release versions.

And, yeah, don’t know why they didn’t give it especially since the Torch and Pearl have it.

Oh well… what are you going to do.

Cheers… and keep up the good work!

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Wednesday, Dec 08, 2010 394 days ago

Ok, just did my DIGGING… and man oh man, is it depressing….

Bold 9780 definitely does not have N, which is really stupid to me, considering both the Pearl 3G and Torch have it and this is basically the same chipset.

Word is though that the 9780 was so closedly based on the 9700 that upgrading to n was not easily done on existing architecture so RIM left it out 🙁

Posted by bigspender339 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

thank you kevin! i HATE the 9780. HATE.

if you are a veteran bb user, do NOT do NOT do NOT get the 9780. It’s not the phone, but BB6 is just NOT suited for this for factor as it stands atm. the 9700 is the best phone i have ever used so it’s quite a shame that it’s direct successor is the worst. Everything kevin said about accidental tray shifting and the meaningless notifications bar holds true. Also, i don’t see the point of those 5 trays. If i visit something “frequently”, it is a “favorite”, and if it is a “favorite” it will probably be on the top row of my menu, so really the frequent and favorite trays are useless. additionally, i don’t need a media and downloads tray when i have DEDICATED folders for them!. RIM trying to go the Apple/Android way is really disappointing as it takes away the core blackberry experience.

Again, DO NOT get the 9780 if u are used to and love the 9700. you will be disappointed.

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Yeah, it’s kind of sad. When I went to exchange my 9780, I went back to my 9700 for the day. All I could think was how much quicker it was to use (in terms of homescreen experience) and that if I only had the WebKit browser (and maybe universal search too) I’d be so happy.

Posted by bigspender339 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

You know, I’m actually not high on the whole Universal Search thing. Well, actually I’m not happy with the way it’s set up. When I type something on the homescreen I am used to a near instant result from the phonebook, and I think that’s how it should be. I would be much happier if US was something you could conveniently go to on the home screen (which it is) and THEN search the phone. And if you disable said feature, you are left with app shortcuts, which are equally annoying. I don’t get why typing something automatically pulls up US when there is a US icon on the homescreen! What say you?

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Well… it depends…

I pretty much have all of the contacts I talk to regularly saved to Speed Dial. S 95% of the time, I don’t need to use the address book for placing a call off the homescreen. And for SMS I normally just go to the SMS app (i usually have my most active conversations there and open with active contacts). And for composing emails, I normally enter the app first and then compose from there too.

So as long as I’m in that work track, Universal Search is good from the homescreen is good.

But you’re right.. the instantaneous reponse of the contacts is a nice as it is. It’s almost like you need a way to easily toggle to Universal Search. Hit the space bar before typing something from the homescreen, etc. And even though the icon is there, I don’t like having to scroll up on the trackpad and click an icon to evoke it. If you’re about to type on the keypad, there needs to be a button to toggle US. Needs more settings for sure.

Posted by bigspender339 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Okay so I need your advice. I am seriously (and I mean SERIOUSLY) considering buying a 9700 again. Like I’m about to do it tomorrow. Do you think the next software update for tmo will satisfy a user like me? Or do u think that no software update can possibly satisfy a bb addict spoiled by the 9700? Honest opinion!

The only thing working for the 9780 right now is it’s support for upto 32gb micro sd memory. i am using a 32 gig cause i have a lot of music. (though i should add here that i also don’t like the new media player as the cursor skips without being pressed, u only have to highlight it. when the phone is in my pocket playing a song it often skips through the song because the trackpoad rubs up against my pocket!)

Moreover,how soon do u think it will come?

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Hmm… tough call. I think a 6.1 upate is probably a few months away. Assuming RIM is still working on it (who knows, maybe everybody is working on getting the BlackBerry Tablet OS into phones now – but RIM has lots of people so assume some are still working on BB6 improvements!).

I think Theme Builder 6 should hit sooner though, and from there it’ll take a day for a theme to hit that kills the homescreen views. With that issue solved, then I think sticking on the 9780 is worth it for the web browser alone.

good luck in the decision

Posted by av8ryxx Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

DO NOT wait for the update to 6.0 on the 9700. I really think the new OS needs that extra bit of memory to run properly. I tried to run 6.0 on my 9700 and ditched it after a few days (I know leaks can be buggy). The only reason it lasted a few days was I really wanted universal search to work but the hardware just couldn’t keep up.

The comments Kevin made about the scrolling stuff on the home screen frustrated me to no end. I had the same problems of over scrolling to the left or right, etc. When I had my Storm, I always ran an app that allowed me to disable the screen tilt… would be nice for something similar to stop the scrolling to be available on 6.0 for non touch screens. OS 6.0 just doesn’t feel right on the 9700, it needs a touch screen.

If you must upgrade, I would just take the 9780 with the better specs and hope for a theme or some apps that will allow you to tweak it to act more like a 9700 (as sad as that sounds).

Anyway, my humble opinion…good luck making a decision.

Posted by Diggs31 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I’m a Bold 9650 user who switched to app shortcuts, not because automatic US annoyed me but because I’m used to it. I’m not understanding what’s wrong with US when if you just start typing you’re gonna get to that contact anyway…can you further explain what the problem is because I feel like I’m not getting it

Posted by Fr3lncr Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I sold my 9700 just before the 9780 came out thinking it would be better. Now I wish I didn’t even though I sold it for a good price. I’d go back to the 9700 but they sell it for more than the 9780! (Well, $50 more).

I’ve been using my old 9000 until I can figure out what I will do. Maybe buy a used 9700 to keep me going until the next round of Bold’s. 🙁

Posted by Chriz Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Thank you Kevin for the great Review.
And after reading this i think the 9780 is my next BB. But…Who needs OpenGL on such a small Device? You know the Name PlayBook Kevin? 😉

Posted by Jerry Hildenbrand Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I’ll pass on the phone, but that’s one helluva review Kevin. Nice job.

Posted by Yandar Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

An honest review Kevin. Just the one obvious typo :-

I really like being able to preview my upcoming calendard appointments from the preview, but I find for messages themselves I don’t really use it – if I have emails or tweets or anything else, I’m pretty much heading straight for the app as soon as my LED light blinks.

You have a D on the end on calendar.

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

fixed! i’m sure there are many more typos than that… by the time i get through typing a novel of a review like this i have zero energy left for proofreading. just like to hit publish and fix on the fly 🙂

Posted by LSphone Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Thanks for the review, this was also useful to us CDMA users trying to decide to wait or not. I also find the double-click of app key annoying, like to just click that once and see as many of my most-used apps as possible.

Posted by hunoosh Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Great Review Kevin! Thanx. I am patiently waiting for Att to get it if they are even going to get it. I love my Torch for now but miss my 9700 dearly!

Posted by kmbro90 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

For Christmas I wanted to buy my dad a Bold (he’s currently using an old 83xx Curve) but I can’t decide which one now. I could buy a 9700 off contract for a good price, or I could get the Bold 9780 on contract.

What would you recommend?

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Hmm.. tough call. Once Theme Builder comes out there’ll be themes that don’t have the homescreen views, which will solve what I consider to be the biggest issue with the experience. So 9780 isn’t a bad choice.

But if in six to eight months we see a touchscreen Bold, then that’ll be the one you really want to sign a contract on. So a cheap 9700 off contract till then isn’t a bad idea. Maybe that is the way to go…

Posted by kmbro90 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Awesome, thanks for the reply!

Posted by kevindharner Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

is RIM ever going to increase the built in memory? I mean come on 512mg

Posted by ubizmo Wednesday, Dec 08, 2010 393 days ago

Why? How many people are running out of memory with 512 MB?

Posted by diegonei Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

“9700+512MB+5MP camera=9780” ? Nope, not right.

“9700+512MB+5MP camera+WiFi N=9780” That guy is a genious? He can’t even do the math right… :p

Posted by GG1 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Very Nice review Kevin. Have to say its one the best and well thought reviews I have read. You might want to change “card dashboard” to “car dashboard” when speaking of battery door finish.
Again nice review and couldn’t agree more with everything about it.

Posted by Kevin Michaluk Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

typo fixed. thanks for the kind comments!

Posted by GG1 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

You’re welcome. ..Loved the BMW analogy.

Posted by Brazen9000 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Wonderful review.

So gutted though you fence sat on the Torch v 9780! I’m buying one or the other next week 🙂 I used your hierarchy of needs, weighted them, awarded points and came out with them equal. I decided that when your review came I would make the decision based on it. Looks like I’ll be tossing a coin 🙂

Posted by Karlos349 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I totally agree with the swiping a little too vigorously and ending up on the text view. I do the exact same thing when quickly scrolling to my message icon.

I also am seeing a lot of issues when you turn the font size up. After doing this I find that doing spell check on emails causes the suggestions to pop up under the screen so you can only see half of the first result.

On the upside, I’m LOVING the swipe down to show the full tray, this was driving me CRAZY. I hadn’t realized how instinctive clicking the BlackBerry button had become.

Great review as always!

Posted by spegs Wednesday, Dec 08, 2010 394 days ago

Yes, the side swipe is sooo annoying. And then I have a tendancy to get lost in the tray and not know which way to swipe to get back the fastest!

Also, that down swipe, thank you. I did it once by accident and could never figure out how I did it. I was trying to swipe down, but was never going fast enough.

Loved my old them on my 9700. Can’t wait for themes for the 9780!!

Posted by Diggs31 Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I’m not a GSM head but I have a lot of friends with the 9700 so I thank you Kevin for this review so I know what to tell them about the 9780 when they ask me.

On a somewhat separate and yet somewhat related note, has anyone else noticed that hard swipes within messages takes you to the next message? I can’t remember reading that anywhere and I just accidentally “discovered” a few minutes ago.

Posted by trini_pirate Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

Sorry but I can’t waste my upgrade and go from 9700 to 9780. Nexus S here I come!!

Posted by luqe Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

What about Automatic Font Size Adjustment (AFSA)
is it exist on 9780 device ???

Posted by briswolf Tuesday, Dec 07, 2010 394 days ago

I think it’s really sad that RIM are missing opportunities to put out some great products. They obviously know how to make a phone in terms of hardware, I don’t think anybody anywhere can argue with that, but when it comes to the software running on the phone I think they are just missing the mark. I think OS6 just makes things worse – the only reason I can see for using OS6 over OS5 is the browser – the rest of that awful OS is just there to pander to touchscreen devices like the torch. If I wanted a touch screen device I’d get an iPhone or an Android phone – the only reason I am using a BB is for that keyboard. Ergo RIM, please keep my OS snappy!

– Get rid of this menu->open tray nonsense. It is complete nonsense to make me click twice to get into the tray.
– Get rid of the views nonsense.
– Get rid of all animations. They just slow things down. Obviously trying to make consumers happy here. Get your target demographic sorted out please.
– Bring back the old full screen app list – it is much nicer from a visual standpoint IMO.
– Put the profile icon where it used to be on the home screen (i.e. top left: actually navigating to it on OS6 is now harder, on OS5 you could just swipe left then swipe up, click and press “A” for All alerts off, or “N” for normal. Now on OS6 you have to go up two spots then left – it isn’t as instant and I really have to concentrate to get to it).
– Bring back spacebar to toggle flash setting in the camera app – why would you remove keyboard shortcuts I use every single day!

Lastly, RIM, here is what you need, nay MUST do if you want to stay in the smartphone game. Get rid of BIS. Yep, you read that right, get rid of it! The other guys who are killing you (Apple and Android) don’t have BIS, and their web browsing is SUPER fast because of it. Maybe it is because I live in Australia – but quite often BIS browsing (i.e. not hotspot browser) just doesn’t work for me, I have to try many times and in the end I will just do a google search for something and put the phone back in my pocket, getting it out minutes later to find it has finally gone where I wanted it to go. This whole argument that BIS is good because it does away with managing APN, direct TCP with carriers etc is nonsense obviously because all my friends with iPhones have never heard of APN settings so it seems this day and age it is all handled for you. Also it is now the future and data is cheap(er than it used to be) so you don’t really have to compress my emails and web browsing to save a few bytes if it means my browser doesn’t function at all. You can keep BES because it actually serves a useful purpose, but please, PLEASE, get rid of BIS, at least as far as web browsing is concerned.

All in all, when it comes to appearance, form factor and build quality, talking about the 9780 is the same as talking about the 9700.

Display

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 features the same non-touchscreen 480×360 pixel high resolution display that’s found on the Bold 9700, Bold 9650, Tour and Curve 8900. Overall it’s a solid display and is much nicer than the 320×240 display found in the Curve 3G or Curve 8530/20. If you’re trying to decide between purchasing a new Curve or new Bold, the higher resolution display is definitely one of the reasons I would go with the Bold. The colors are much sharper and brighter and smooth, and in the web browser the extra pixels make a big difference.

That said, like a lot of other BlackBerry users out there, I’m anxiously waiting for the day when RIM puts a touchscreen into this form factor of device. A lot of new BlackBerry users first make the mistake of trying to tap the icons on the screen, but especially with BlackBerry 6 (more on this later) I’ve even noticed myself wanting to reach out and touch the screen. With OS 5 I’ve never really found this to be an issue. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve used BlackBerry 6 on the Torch a lot with a touchscreen so it’s habitual, or maybe there is just something about BlackBerry 6 that is more compelling for touch, but either way, I want my next front-facing keyboard BlackBerry to also have a touchscreen. It would have been nice for the Bold 9780 to be the Bold that introduced this, but it’s looking like we’ll have to wait for the next Bold to get this.

While on the topic of what I’d like to see in the next Bold, I’m also hoping they find a way to up both the resolution and the phsyical size of the display. When people didn’t use the browser on their BlackBerry (because it was painfully slow to use), and before apps became the thing, the smaller physical size of the display wasn’t really a concern – using that frontal real estate for a solid keyboard was more important. Now that BlackBerry has a good web browser and you’re using the phone for so much more than emailing, texting and BBMing, the bigger the screen, the better (assuming your battery can still manage to last through the day – big displays tend to eat battery life). I’m sure RIM realizes this too, so will be curious to see how they address this on the next Bold.

Chipset / Processor

The Bold 9780 uses the same chipset and processor that’s found in the Torch 9800, which is clocked at the same 624MHz processor that the Bold 9700 and 9000 were clocked at. Though software updates have greatly improved the performance of BlackBerry 6 on the Torch since its somewhat laggy debut, the same processor on the Bold 9780 seems to be even snappier at powering the OS right of the box. Maybe the lack of touchscreen contributes to the speed. As usual I’m sure things will get even smoother with software updates (the Rogers unit in this review shipped with OS 6.00.285, but at the time of this writing we’ve already seen OS 6.0.0.359 leak for the 9780).

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 doubles up the internal flash memory from the 256MB found in the 9700 to the now-standard 512MB found in devices like the Bold 9650, Torch and Style. This memory is where the operating system resides, where apps are installed and where things like browser cache and your email inbox eat up space. More memory doesn’t really equal faster speeds, but running low on memory guarantees things will slow down. So compared to the 9700, on the 9780 you can load up more apps and do more on your device before you ever run out of room. Conversely, if you keep things on your Bold 9700 fairly “clean” you should find that BlackBerry 6 will run on it pretty smooth as well. Out of the box, my Rogers BlackBerry Bold 9780 had ~271MB of free space on it.

In terms of additional storage for media and photos, the Bold 9780 comes with a 2GB microSD card, which can easily be swapped out for other cards. It’ll take a 32GB card all good.

Battery Life

Like the Bold 9700, THE BATTERY LIFE ON THE BLACKBERRY BOLD 9780 IS FRICK’N AMAZING! Of course, I do find myself doing a lot more web browsing on BlackBerry 6 than I did on OS 5, which eats into the battery a bit more, but all in all it’s really solid. There’s something really satisfying about going to bed at night seeing the battery level indicator still above (on lower-usage days way above) half full.

Phone Call Quality

This one often seems to vary a bit by carrier, but at least on Rogers for me the call quality of the 9780 seems hunky-dory (it’s a word for real, look it up).

Camera and Video Recording

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 features the same 5.0 megapixel camera that is in the BlackBerry Torch, and I’ve found it’s performance to be the same for me (photography is a skill I need to work on, so any pros in the audience can weigh in if they discover any differences). I went pretty in-depth on the new camera in my Torch review, so if you want further details here click on the link below to jump over to that section.

Everything else on the hardware side is what you’d expect. On the WiFi front, the most noticeable difference to speed for the “average” consumer comes from the fact that the BlackBerry 6 web browser now automatically uses WiFi when available vs. on older operating systems in which you manually had to switch to the HotSpot browser. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 only has WiFi b/g (no N support), which is really stupid to me considering both the Pearl 3G and Torch 9800 do have WiFi N. Doing some digging, the word is that the Bold 9780 is so closely based on the 9700 that upgrading to n was not easily done on existing architecture. So I guess if it’s too hard to do you, you just skip it and wait till you’re making a more major change to a device rather than an incremental one.

GPS and Bluetooth are there working as they should, and the speakers seem to be on par with the 9700. I noticed a few threads kicking around the CrackBerry forums where members mentioned they thought the speaker/speakerphone was better on the 9780, but I’m not certain of that. I’m not aware of any changes here… but could be wrong – maybe some tinkering was done.

For BlackBerry Bold 9700 owners who want to upgrade to the Bold 9780, the good news is that your BlackBerry Bold 9700’s accessories will work just fine. Cases will fit, batteries will fit, and your charging pod will fit. It also means there is a large selection of accessories available at launch. Shamless plug time… Be sure to check out ShopCrackBerry.com for all your BlackBerry Bold 9780 accessory needs. We just rolled out free shipping on orders of $50 or more in the continental US, so you can’t go wrong!

Browse BlackBerry Bold 9780 Accessories at ShopCrackBerry.com

Hardware Wrap-Up

All in all, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 hardware is as good or better than that of the Bold 9700, which by definition makes it a pretty awesome device. You can’t argue with more memory and more megapixels, and I like the blacked-out look. Though you know the moment it hits Rogers or AT&T in white, I’ll be picking that one up!

(taken from: http://crackberry.com/blackberry-bold-9780-review)

Samsung Galaxy S II Review

Posted on:

The Samsung Galaxy S II has a beautiful display with elegant looks and thin design. Powered by Android OS and dual-core processor along with a 1GB RAM and an awesome 8MP camera, the smartphone has certainly ousted its competitors.

The Galaxy S2 is an excellent phone and so is Motorola’s DROID and Apple’s iPhone 4S. The Samsung Galaxy S 2 is a worthy upgrade to the original Samsung Galaxy S (which is experiencing some popularity as one of the prepaid T-Mobile phones). However, this doesn’t separate the smartphone from the other high-end Android smartphone. But, does it have enough features to compete Apple’s iPhone? Or is it one the best phones from Samsung? Well, let’s find out by digging more in depth of the Samsung Galaxy S II and comparing it the iPhone 4S.
Features and Specs of Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy S 2 – Design and Display

One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy S II is its display. The phone has a huge bright 4.3″ screen, which evokes these two words – “Absofreakinlutely awesome!” It has a screen resolution of 480×800 at 218 ppi with a and improved WVGA Super AMOLED Plus (0.37 megapixel) display which delivers better perceived resolution than the Samsung Galaxy S which has the Super AMOLED display. The reason why I recommend any other phone over the Samsung Galaxy S II in terms of display is of course is because of its much bigger display which has eye-popping colors and contrast ratios.

Design wise, the Galaxy 2 has dimensions of 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm which is bigger in comparison to the iPhone 4S dimensions of 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm. The Samsung Galaxy S II was one of the slimmest smartphones, mostly 8.49 mm thick, except for two small bulges which take the total thickness of the phone to 9.91 mm. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S2 is extremely light and weighs in at 113 gms, while the iPhone 4s weighs over 138 gms.

The touch screen is pretty neat and responsive. The smartphone offers several virtual keyboards, including Android, Samsung, and Swype. It also enables users to easily navigate through the menus. Along with that, the smartphone also support motion gestures with which you can mute the phone by simply flipping it, or enlarge (zoom) a picture or the browser by tilting two fingers on the screen. You can also perform tasks such as composing and sending a text message, making a call, and play music.

There are four touch buttons which you will find below the screen – menu, home, back, and search. On the top of the device you will find a 3.5mm headphone hack while at the bottom it features a Micro-USB port. On the left side, there’s volume controller ad a power/lock button on the right.

Apart from the phone’s outer layer being constructed with plastic, like the original Samsung Galaxy S 2, the handset still feels a lot better when held in hand. The back cover of the phone has been re-designed to make it pleasant to hold and is scratch proof as well. However, the back cover is very thin, but isn’t easily breakable even if you twist it.
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – User Interface

Samsung Galaxy S IIThe Samsung Galaxy S II runs on Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread with Samsung’s latest TouchWiz 4.0 user interface on it that is claimed to be “more refined and polished,” which basically means that it has a more intuitive user interface. Certainly the TouchWiz 4.0 has a few improved features along with some carryovers from previous versions of TouchWiz.

By default, it has seven home screens including notification pull-down menu has icons for easily turning on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, flight mode, and screen rotation. However, users can customize these home screens that lets you move through various panels to add or remove icons and widgets. The Galaxy S II responsiveness with the Exynos processor and ARM Mali-400 GPU is very snappy. And like I said, the phone has got several virtual keyboards and has slightly larger space between keys, making it easier to type, though.

The TouchWiz 4.0 UI brings in the ability to easily adjust the screen brightness by simply swiping your fingers across the status bar. It also comes with some useful add-ons like and integrated task manager that displays all your active applications, downloaded apps with the option to uninstall, RAM status, and system storage.
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – Hardware

The iPhone 4S received a processor upgrade, which is an A5 ducal-core chip clocked in at 800MHz, and Apple claims that its performance is much faster when it comes to launching of apps and performing other heavy tasks. However, the Samsung Galaxy S II has a 1.2GHz Dual-core Exynos 4210 processor, which is even faster than the A5. Well, this not only increases the performance of the phone, but also wouldn’t freeze while running multiple apps. It is also said that the Exynos processor is faster than the NVIDIA Tegra 2.

(taken from: http://www.thetechlabs.com/tech-news/samsung-galaxy-s-2/)

Samsung Galaxy I7500 Preview

Posted on:

Check out the new addition to our lineup!

Porsche Design BlackBerry P’9981 comes to the UK

Posted on:

At first glimpse, we weren’t sure what to make of the strange metal-clad QWERTY bar, bestowed with the all-important BlackBerry logo atop its display. We at first, speculated its legitimacy, whether it was ushering in a new design language for the brand as a whole, or if it was some strange custom or special edition device.

It so happens that we didn’t have to wait long to find out its true intent. The hard lines and custom font etched onto that futuristic keyboard were the result of Porsche Design partnering up with the Canadian smartphone manufacturers to create something rather different. The result proved striking to say the least, but left many a ‘Berry fan somewhat lost or at least unsure at how to react.

Porshce BlackBerry P\’9981 Porshce BlackBerry P\’9981 Porshce BlackBerry P\’9981

It wasn’t until a month after its first appearance that we were given the true explanation for this peculiar device, but then everything made a little more sense. Dubbed the BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981, it closely mirrored its everyday counterpart the Bold Touch 9900, with a 1.2GHz single core processor under the hood.

Other specs include a gig of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 5MP camera on the back with 720p HD video recording and of course BlackBerry OS 7, which in fact could make this the last BlackBerry out the gates before RIM focus their attentions on the BBX-laden ‘Colt’, or at least something like it.

The Porsche Design P’9981 was given its very own launch event in Dubai, back in late October with the choice of venue eluding to its luxury-focused target market. The P’9981 was expected to retail for around $2000 and now it comes to the UK market too. If you want one with the intention of giving it as a present for the big day, you only have a short window of opportunity left, but it’s available for a cool £1275 at the world renowned Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London. Reports from the store themselves saying that demand is high and the device is selling fast.

Will you be picking up this unique ‘Berry, or perhaps making it a very special gift this holiday season?

Found: http://www.gsmarena.com/porsche_design_blackberry_p9981_comes_to_the_uk-news-3572.php

iPhone 4 Review

Posted on:

The true value and impressive strength of the iPhone 4 is in three powerful upgrades: a better screen, a better camera, and improved battery life. Actually, the screen is more than an improvement. It’s the best I’ve ever seen.

Design

A body made of glass. It doesn’t quite sink in until you hold the device and see that both the back and the front are transparent. Gone is the now familiar plastic shell. A little slimmer, a bit lighter, certainly more angular, and with more edge. Smooth and always cool to the touch, the glass is chemically treated to be hardened like gemstone, to endure and keep its beauty long after the plastic of other phones have faded.

Apple has always been a company driven by design and this time, I think Jonathan Ives has worked some engineering artistry that deserves a little admiration; a little envy even if it might only find use in a gallery or museum one day.

Reception

The other bold design choice is a metal band that wraps around the edge of the phone and doubles as the housing for the antennas. The idea was to increase the exposure and improve reception. Instead, it’s ignited a heated debate as to whether the design has made the phone more receptive to interference from the electromagnetic fields produced by our own bodies.

I’ve tried to find a real world issue here and cannot. No matter where I’ve traveled within Toronto, using an iPhone 4 running on the Bell network, I can’t find a location or situation where the iPhone 4 suffers a noticeable or sudden loss of signal. I’ve also explored the issue using both the previous iPhones, several BlackBerry devices, and a number of Android-powered handsets and have found nothing of consequence.

Radio signals involve both a transmitter and a receiver, and the system is designed to work even when there is interference. A weak transmitting signal can still be picked up by a strong receiver, and a strong transmitting signal can still reach a weak receiver. Even if the iPhone 4 does drop a few bars, the network’s signal strength will compensate.

To suffer an issue, both sides would have to be very weak, something that is possible in the U.S. where networks are stretched across large areas, allowing some spots to fall through the cracks. But it’s unlikely here in Canada where networks are concentrated, just like our population. It would still be the exception, not the rule, and a circumstance that could impact other smartphones just as easily as the iPhone 4.

No matter what the case, I can’t warn against an issue I’m not experiencing or witnessing.

Retina Display

With the iPhone 4, Apple introduced a new display technology the company has dubbed “retina.” Its resolution can display text and crisp lines unlike any other digital display I’ve seen; a subtlety of detail the reminds me of the crispness of parchment, the refinement of clean linen. Reading pages from books, and blocks of text from Websites is pleasurable and, in my opinion, provides a better visual experience than the E-ink screens of today’s e-book readers or the Super AMOLED display in Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S smartphone.

Camera

In the previous iPhones, the camera has always been one of the weaker features. Now with a 5 MP camera with 5x zoom, the iPhone 4 can finally take better pictures. Apple says a number of improvements to the camera sensor, along with the built-in flash, mean that it performs better at low-light photography. It may not be Xenon as some phones offer, but it’s blindingly bright and if needed, and can be easily turn off.

FaceTime

There’s actually two cameras in this phone. A second, front-facing VGA-quality camera performs quite well for self-portraits, but the true intent is to introduce video calling.

Video calling has been available in other handsets for years now, but has never really taken off. Apple hopes to succeed where others have failed through its own app called FaceTime. Slick and intuitive, the app allows you to make the most casual of switches, from holding the phone in portrait mode to landscape, to switching from the front camera viewing yourself to the rear camera taking in the world. It’s effortless.

The problem is that it’s limited in use only between iPhone 4 cameras and only through a WiFi connection. By the time this feature becomes popular, I might be writing about the iPhone 5 or 6.

iMovie

Apple has made it no secret that the company sees the iPhone as a direct competitor to the Flip and other similar pocket camcorders. That might explain the video editing application for the iPhone before one to edit photos.

The iPhone 4 can now record 720p High Definition video and does so quite well. But to really make the leap to mobile filmmaker, you can download a mobile version of iMovie from iTunes for $4.99. Not available in the iTunes Store at the time that I’m writing this, I can only draw upon some limited demos to tell you that the app delivers powerful features such as the ability to combine clips, zoom into timelines, add music, photos, themes, and adjustable transitions. The touch controls are impressive, as is the way it tries to capture the look and feel of the desktop version. But working such a complicated task on a screen only 3.5″ in size requires a great deal of patience.

Battery Life

With all the new hardware, Apple has managed to offer a couple more hours of talk, surf, and play. In my case, that means going from having to charge an iPhone 3GS at the end of each work day to reaching for the iPhone 4’s charge cable just after dinner.

Three-Axis Gyro

Built-in sensors have allowed the iPhone 4 to detect when its screen is turned on its side, to find its location on a map, and which way it’s facing on a compass. A new sensor added to the iPhone 4, the gyroscope, allows it to know when it’s facing in any direction. Currently there are just a few apps making weak use of this feature, but the potential is there, and we might see it lead to something revolutionary. But not now.

Better Screen, Better Camera, Better Battery

It’s easy to recommend the iPhone 4 when it carries over all of the successful features of the first three models, and all the added software of the iOS 4 updates. If you’re looking to buy your first smartphone, you’ll be hard pressed to do better. The interesting question comes for those considering an upgrade, from a 3G or 3G S. There’s significant value in the three main upgrades: better screen, better camera, and better battery. But it will be awhile before new features like Apple’s FaceTime app, the gyroscope, and wrap-around antenna design prove their worth. Consider that in just six months, we’ll be discussing the iPhone 5.

From: http://www.marketnews.ca/LatestNewsHeadlines/OverGeeked:iPhone4ReviewinCanada.html