REVIEW: BLACKBERRY BOLD 9780

Following the much-hyped launch of RIM’s flagship touch-screen Torch, the emergence of its new BlackBerry Bold 9780 has been an altogether quieter affair.

The Bold has, almost through osmosis, become the City-type’s phone of choice, an elegant, practical solution to checking and replying to emails on the go.

At a glance, there is little to tell the new version apart from its predecessor, the 9700. It keeps the slick curves and lauded qwerty keyboard but tones down some of the less popular stylistic flourishes (less faux leather on the rear being the most obvious improvement).

The main change is the operating system – the new Bold runs BlackBerry 6, a tweaked version of the one installed on the Torch.

It sticks to the single inbox for all email, text and instant messages (one of the greatest draws of the BlackBerry range) but adds a second feed for social messages from the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This is a boon for those with lots of “friends” but little time.

The web browsing experience has also been improved, with better text wrapping and faster loading times.

The new Bold, however, isn’t perfect. After more than a year since the 9700 hit the shelves, there are a few niggling issues that really should have been taken care of.

The unlock button, located on the top of the phone, is too easy to inadvertently activate, as is the voice dialling key on the side, which resulted in “say your command” bleating repeatedly out of my pocket last time I was in the cinema. Using it as a digital media player is made difficult by the earphone socket plugging into the side of the phone, meaning it doesn’t easily fit into your pocket.

As a mobile workstation, an email platform with built-in bells and whistles, the bold remains among the best on the market. But in an age when touch-screen is becoming de rigueur, the 9780 is something of an anachronism. With rivals offering a full mobile internet solution, a lifestyle accessory, the 9780 is beginning to look a little like a finely crafted pocket watch in a digital world. (Steve Dinneen)