When parent company, Research In Motion launched the BlackBerry Bold 9900 a few months ago, enthusiasts heaved a sigh of relief. The 9900 revived the design of the original and much-acclaimed Bold 9000. It’s not that the 9000’s successors — the Bold 9700 and 9780 — weren’t successful, they just didn’t look flagship-grade.
But now, RIM seems to be going one step forward and two steps back with the Bold 9790. Just a glance will reveal that this device is a spiritual successor to the 9780. Why BlackBerry has two different cell phones aimed at different segments of the market under the single Bold branding is anybody’s guess.
No doubt, the 9790 is eye-catching. The body is part high-quality plastic and part-metal, with a chrome outline on the edges. Compared to its predecessor the 9780, the keyboard is ever so slightly larger and more importantly, it’s much slimmer. The only fly in the ointment comes in the form of the four buttons on the device. They feel rather plasticky and belie the device’s otherwise fashionable looks.
In terms of hardware, the Bold is capably spec’ed. There’s a 1GHz processor with 768MB of RAM to take care of multi-tasking and gaming. The 2.46-inch screen at a resolution of 480x360 is now touch-sensitive. In addition to 3G, assisted GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11n, the device also sports Near Field Communication (NFC). This wireless standard works similar to radio frequency identification (RFID) since it allows for transfer of data between compatible devices and credit card-free mobile payments. Finally, there’s a 5-megapixel camera that can also record video at 720x480.
New operating system
Switch on the device and you’ll see the biggest change in 9790 — RIM’s spanking new operating system, BB OS 7. To keep it brief, the interface offers more eye-candy — the icons are spruced up and menu transitions are smoother. The new OS also sports better memory management and claims to go easier on the battery.
Average battery life
But the 9790’s 1,230mAh battery (1,500mAh in the 9780) isn’t anything to write home about. You’ll get around a day and a half’s worth of usage, which is strictly okay. While the camera has autofocus, images aren’t impressive either. Close-ups are blurry and with smudgy details. As far as the touchscreen is concerned, it only makes itself useful when scrolling through websites or selecting apps. That its addition is hardly path-breaking only says good things about BB’s tried-and-tested optical trackpad.
The Bold 9790 is quite expensive at Rs 26,490. At this price, there are better phones available in the market with larger screens and bigger cameras. The Bold 9780, which is available for approximately Rs 5,000 less, still isn’t a bad option either. Buy the 9790 if you’re looking for a high-end BB that’s well-sized and stylish.