BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

Can RIM bounce back with the BlackBerry Bold 9900?

For

  • Crystal clear screen
  • Well-built chassis
  • Excellent keyboard

Against

  • Sub-par battery life
  • Average camera

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is a phone designed for the future. Sporting both a keyboard and a touchscreen the it's truly embraced the current trend

RIM's introduction of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is a fusion of the past and the future; the design stylings echo the popular Bold 9000 of yesteryear, but with BB OS 7 on board, it's clearly a phone for the future.

It's packing a clever combination of high-res touchscreen and the full QWERTY keyboard BB fans go gaga for, but will relying on past success bring RIM back to the sharp end of the smartphone game?

BlackBerry Bold 9900: Screen

With the BlackBerry Bold 9900, RIM has taken a step forward in terms of screen technology - at VGA resolution (640 x 480) in a 2.8-inch frame, the clarity is breathtaking - be it web browsing, media viewing or just generally scrolling around the phone, the Bold 9900 manages to match the iPhone 4 in terms of sharpness.

BlackBerry Bold 9900: Camera

If there's a criticism we've been able to level at RIM time and again on the BlackBerry range, it's a sub-par camera experience, and sadly that's the case here with the Bold 9900 too.

The snaps we managed with the 5MP camera looked noisy and washed out, and despite being able to record at 720HD, the quality of footage we nabbed certainly didn't scream high-definition, with a slightly juddering and rough-looking end product.

BlackBerry Bold 9900: Interface

The new BlackBerry OS 7 platform is, once again, more evolution than revolution, as it keeps to the same grid effect for displaying icons and eschews widgets.

However, there are spiffy enhancements with things like a notifications bar at from the top of the screen to give information on messages (ranging from social networks to email to SMS) to missed calls and app updates, plus a handy screen of only your most-used apps.

BlackBerry Bold 9900: Battery

RIM has always managed to imbue its BlackBerry range with a startlingly impressive battery life, which comes from developing its own hardware and software together.

Oddly the Bold 9900 doesn't fit into that mould, offering only a day-and-a-bit (technical term) battery life, which seems mostly down to the presence of that high-res touchscreen atop the (thankfully still excellent) keyboard.

It's nothing to be overly worried about, but you might want to think about keeping a charger handy if you're travelling overnight.

BlackBerry Bold 9900: Verdict

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the jewel in RIM's new range at the moment, as it comes with a premium chassis that feels solid yet manageable in the hand and the latest operating system on a pin-sharp screen.

The web browser has been boosted too, and while it's not market leading it's more than adequate for checking football scores or performing a quick internet search.

While a surprisingly low battery life and a poorly-performing camera mar the experience somewhat, this will still be the BlackBerry stalwarts turn to come upgrade day, and many will be more than content with the top end hardware and acceptable software combo.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Availability: Out now

BlackBerry Bold 9900 UK Pricing: £500 SIM Free, from £36 per month on contract