Stuck in between it’s predecessor and older brother.
On the usability side, the 9780 sports the same keyboard as the 9700 which is a good thing. Although the keyboard looks the same as the Torch 9800, the keys aren’t as flat making typing on it a faster experience. Above the keyboard, you have the four standard BlackBerry keys as well as the optical trackpad for navigating.
The BlackBerry OS6 is obviously the big change and the Bold 9780 is the first non-touch screen device that I’ve tested the new OS on. In a nutshell, I feel that RIM has designed OS6 to be optimized for Touch screens. Gestures such as flicking the screens and pulling up the menus are a lot more intuitive on a touch device than on a non-touch one. I’m not saying that it doesn’t work on the 9780, but it just doesn’t feel as intuitive.
There are a few things that are easier to use though- such as Universal Search. Since you already have a full keyboard in front of you, it is easier to use this feature on a non-touch device. Also, like the older BlackBerry devices, assigning shortcuts to keys makes you work faster than having a touch screen.
One area where RIM has improved upon is the Battery life. I’m not sure if this is because of newer hardware or the new OS- my guess would be that it’s a bit of both. The original Bold 9700 has a pretty awesome battery life of two days, however, my Bold 9780 went for a full three days on a single charge which is the most I’ve experienced on any smartphone. To the business user, this matters a lot and RIM has done a pretty good job with that.
Overall, it’s a bit hard to recommend the 9780. It has a couple of things going for it, such as its light weight and extremely impressive battery life. The OS6 upgrade is nice but RIM has already promised that to current 9700 owners. However, OS6 seems optimized for touch screens so the Torch 9800 should be the one you should be looking at if you want a new BlackBerry device.