Score:

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Smartphone Review

By on August 1, 2011
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Amazing keyboard, excellent screen and smooth operations.

Good: Beautiful screen, best keyboard for a Smartphone, really fast in everyday usage.
Bad: Updating apps still requires a reboot, Camera slightly slow, battery capacity could’ve been higher.
Price: AED
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

I’ve been waiting for a device like the BlackBerry Bold 9900 since the Bold series was introduced in 2008 in the form of the Bold 9000- a Smartphone that made it into my “Five Smartphones I’ll never forget” blog. It’s the first BlackBerry device in almost three years that has me as excited and I’ve been pretty vocal about that since I first played with it at BlackBerry World early this year. So yes, you might consider this review somewhat biased. But at the same time, I have such high expectation from the Bold 9900 that anything less than extra-ordinary will be a let down. Lets find out if RIM finally delivers.

I didn’t receive the packaged unit from RIM as I was insisting on getting one ASAP but I’m pretty sure that the package will contain the USB charger and headset along with a carrying case. The build quality of the Bold 9900 is plain awesome with no creaking parts. At 10.5mm, it’s the thinnest BlackBerry yet and not so far from the Samsung Galaxy SII which, at 8.5mm, is the thinnest Smartphone I have reviewed. The rest of the measurements for the Bold 9900 are 115mm x 66mm and it weighs 130grams. The following table compares the Bold 9900 to some of the other popular Smartphones of late.

Height (mm) Width (mm) Depth (mm) Weight (g)
BlackBerry Bold 9900 115 66 10.5 130
BlackBerry Torch 9800 111 62 14.6 161
BlackBerry Bold 9780 109 60 14 122
iPhone 4 115.2 58.6 9.3 137
Samsung Galaxy SII 125.3 66.1 8.5 116
Nokia E6 115.5 59 10.5 133

 

The Bold 9900 is noticeably lighter than the BlackBerry Torch 9800. In fact, it is lighter than the iPhone 4 as well as the recently reviewed Nokia E6 which also features a fully qwerty keyboard and a touch screen in a candybar form factor. Overall, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is a lot lighter than it looks and RIM has done a good job of taking the original Bold 9000 and adding a touchscreen to it while reducing the weight at the same time.


In your hand, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 feels amazing- I would rate it right after the iPhone 4 as far as the “premium feel” is concerned. A stainless steel strip runs around the device with the power/lock button on top that, thankfully, is not as easy to press as the BlackBerry Torch 9800 (which used to unlock itself in my pocket quite frequently.) On the left side you have a 3.5mm jack towards the top while the microUSB port sits bust below that while on the right, you have volume buttons with a mute button between them. Personally speaking, I can’t remember the last time I needed to mute a call and thus, I would probably never use that button especially since that option also exists on the touch screen when on a call. Instead, I would have loved to see a slider to put the phone in and out of silent mode quickly. However, I’m sure that people that are on conference calls all day long that will appreciate the mute button. might appreciate it. , but I guess others do. Finally, you have a convenience key that is set to launch the camera application by default. This isn’t a two-stage button though which generally works better for cameras.

The back side of the Bold 9900 is made of a soft rubbery material providing a really nice grip around the edges of the Bold 9900. Unlike the older Bold 9000, the entire back cover of the device does not come off and instead you have a door in the middle for replacing the battery, inserting a SIM card or a MicroSD card. This back cover has a carbon-fiber like design and is glossy which makes it a finger-print magnet but that seems to be the trend with many new Smartphones that sport a glossy finish. While the back cover is a bit on the thin side, it doesn’t feel flimsy or one that will break-off easily.

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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • Mazamil Majeed

    Release date?

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      In two weeks from what I have been told

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      In two weeks from what I have been told

  • Brian

    On a BlackBerry, if you hold the # key, it will switch to the last used profile, so I usually have mine switching between vibrate and normal. Try it out!

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      Nice- that certainly helps

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      Nice- that certainly helps

  • Anonymous

    praise allah. terrorist says what?

  • http://twitter.com/shahriyarali Shahriyar Ali

    hope it releases soon

  • Zaza

    No mention was made of its hotspot capability? Does it have one like in some other phones?

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      From my understanding, the hardware supports that but it is up to each individual carrier to implement that feature or not. Sadly, I dont think Etisalat has that enabled but lets wait for the official release. 

  • Zaza

    Another question/concern to guide me in buying one of the new release handsets – I was reading your reviews and was wondering if Torch 9810 has both hotspot capability and ability to edit Document, etc. Thank for your response.

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      Yes to both. All new BlackBerry devices will have full versions of Documents to Go. The Hotspot capability depends on your telco/career. It is there in the new devices however needs to be enabled by your telco.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jagmohan.swain Jagmohan Swain

    Hi Abbas Glaxy S 2, Iphone 5, Bold 9900 , Torch 9850 . So many good phones how would you rate them?? Which one would you pick for your daily use.And how is Bold 9900 camera?? Is it good enough. 

    • http://tbreak.com/tech t-break tech

      Hey Jag-

      If you prefer a hardware keyboard (which I do) then the Bold is the best option. If not, then, well, I am an iPhone fan but the Galaxy S2 is a pretty sweet device as well. The camera on the Bold is about the same as the Torch- just average. Definitely not comparable to iPhone 4 or Nokia N8

  • Yogesh Ahuja82

    great review… certainly looking forward to picking one up soon.. love how bb has finally caught up to apple and android on specs.. and therefore have also suffered on the battery front… i really love the phone.. and will seriously consider buying it . but firstly is it worth the AED 2600 ish or is it worth waiting for the qnx blackberry promised next year… or conversely even the blackberry bold 9780..?

  • Steamus

    wtf is this guy talking about?! this is the fastest camera i’ve ever used in my life! my friends looked at the camera for half a second before looking away, and I still captured a perfect picture! No blur or anything!

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