The new BlackBerry Bold 9000 is the successor to devices like the BlackBerry Curve and the 8800.
It is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But RIM's long years of experience really come through in the Bold, and it is far and away the best BlackBerry I've ever used.
Part of this is the elegance of the design, but a number of new features contribute as well, like the HVGA screen, HSDPA, and greatly improved software for working with Microsoft Office files.
DESIGN & BUILD
RIM has dramatically improved the looks of its devices in recent years, and the Bold is a new high point. Its rounded corners and leather-textured back make it somehow both professional and sexy.
And the higher-resolution screen is great, too. The Bold has a 320-by-480-pixel display, which is at least twice the resolution of the earlier RIM models, like the Curve. This is a beautiful screen that makes everything you do with the Bold look great, but especially watching movies.
This smartphone is wider than many of its competitors, but it's also relatively thin. And its width allows the aforementioned screen to be larger, and also makes room for a bigger keyboard. This isn't as wide as the landscape-oriented keyboards you'll find on some smartphones, but it's large enough to be comfortable to type on. There's no separation between keys, but each key has a raised area that makes it easier for you to be sure you're hitting just one at a time. Sadly, the Bold doesn't fix one of my biggest complaints with BlackBerry keyboards: there are no keys dedicated to the most frequently used punctuation marks, including the period and the comma.
Between the screen and keyboard is the trackball. As the Bold doesn't have a touchscreen, you'll do much of your interacting with it through this, and it's up to the job. After a couple of days of use, I began to think that a trackball is a better option than a D-pad and definitely superior to the old BlackBerry track-wheel.
There are programmable keys on both the left and right sides of this device, which is another thing I'd like to see on other smartphones.
There's also a button on top you can use to mute incoming calls. This doesn't answer the call or send it to voice-mail, it just quickly shuts off the ringing sound. You can use this same button to put the Bold in standby mode, which locks the keys and turns the screen off until you hit this button again. It will still take calls, so it's a good way to carry your smartphone around.
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