Gone are the days when the cellphone was just some gadget you use to call or text somebody. Now it can be considered as an accessory—a wedding band of sorts that you can never part with.
One of the newest additions to the BlackBerry family is the Bold 9780. If you thought the Curve was sleek, wait till you get your hands on this sexy handheld.
The 9780’s external design is essentially identical to the phone’s predecessor, the Bold 9700, with a landscape-oriented screen just above the navigation controls and track pad, as well as its QWERTY keyboard. The 2.44-inch screen does, however, pale in comparison to the large displays most touchscreen smartphones have nowadays. Browsing the web or watching a video does feel a bit cramped but it is still efficient enough to get by.
The keys are a wee bit bigger than the Curve while the design is definitely much sleeker and professional-looking with a small patch of faux leather adorning the back providing a nice, soft, tactile feel.
General typing on the keyboard is made much more comfortably and convenient. The keys are individually mounted making typing secure and responsive. Although, unlike the much more advanced BlackBerry model such as the Torch, having the option to also type on an onscreen keyboard produces much faster results. The 9780 does provide a backlight as a bonus.
For someone who takes massive amounts of photos anywhere at any given time, the best news is that the 9780’s camera has been bumped to 5 megapixels from 3.2MP found in the 9700, and now with its own built-in flash. With autofocus and an LED on board, one can generally take photos that are nice enough. That also goes for its non-HD (640×480) video, though the limit of only 24fps does make the movement a little jerky and inconvenient.
When it comes to viewing videos and browsing the web, the 480×360 pixels is superbly sharp enough to enhance strong colors and produce deep blacks.
No matter how enjoyable most of the features of the 9780 are, there were times when it would get a little frustrating. It is no surprise to the BlackBerry user that the trackpad can get temperamental when overwhelmed with navigation—stalling one minute then jumping to a completely different spot the next. That is something RIM should look into because this is a problem that frustrates most BlackBerry users, especially for Facebook and Twitter junkies like myself.
Despite its glitches, the BlackBerry 9780 is an ideal smartphone for those who like to remain anti-social among groups. I must admit, already having a habit of using BlackBerry Messenger, “Tweeting” and “Facebook-ing” a little too much, this smartphone made my habit even worse—it really did feel like I’ve upgraded to a much better one, with its built-in flash. Not only was I glued to the social networking sites 24/7, but I was compelled to take photos and videos.
FORM FACTOR: QWERTY Candybar
DISPLAY: 480×360 pixels
PHYSICAL DEMENSION: 109 x 60 x 14 mm
WEIGHT (with battery): 122kg
INTERNAL MEMORY: 0.256GB; MicroSD Memory card slot up to 8GB
OPERATING SYSTEM: BlackBerry OS 6.0
• Sleeker and sexier design
• Sharper resolution
• 5-megapixel camera with built-in flash
• Bluetooth, 3G and Wi-Fi capable
• Push Email
• BlackBerry Messenger and GPS
• One-click access to features and apps
• Excellent call quality and battery life
• Class leading messaging interface
• Enhanced web browsing
• Small screen
• Would be further enhanced with a touchscreen
• Temperamental trackpad
• Small keys
• No front-facing camera
• App store is limited
It’s a great smartphone from one of the leading smartphone makers that covers almost everything one needs when one is on-the-go.
Buy Meter: 8.5
[This review originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]