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Updated: Review: BlackBerry Bold 9790


Back in September, RIM unveiled their OS7 in Singapore, with BlackBerry Bold 9900 heading the foray here.

Now this month, RIM has unveiled the BlackBerry Bold 9790, on 8 December, but why 2 Bolds? Its is something we have not experienced before. Looking at the size, type of keyboard, features on papers, it became clear that RIM want to target those who prefers sleek devices and those who want a larger typing space. Targeted at 2 different spectrum of users, the size differed, hence two Bold’s. The 9790 somewhat follows the footsteps of the Bold 9700 and 9780 hence, perhaps, it follows the 97xx footstep whilst the Bold 9900 closest similarity was Bold 9000, and with its premium materials, it could explain simply why it is at the top of the spectrum, at 9900.

9790 vs 9900

That said, lets have a quick run down of the BlackBerry Bold 9790.

The specifications at a glance:

Dimensions: 110 x 60 x 11.4 mm
Weight: 107 g
Screen: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 360 pixels, 2.45 inches
Memory: 8 GB storage, 768 MB RAM, hot-swappable MicroSD
Camera: 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus
Processor: 1 Ghz
Power: Standard battery, Li-Ion 1230 mAh, J-M1

What came in the box (the small little box like the other BlackBerry’s, Curve and torch)?

  1. BlackBerry Bold 9790 device
  2. Battery, J-M1
  3. USB wall charger
  4. Micro USB Cable for charging and syncing
  5. Stereo earphones
  6. Manual

Did you guys all realize something? Out of almost ALL the new OS 7 BlackBerry Devices did not come with any pouch, desktop CD, in-depth manuals! Only the BlackBerry Bold 9900 came with the pouch which of course was not very good as we all know.

So, powering this device is a slightly less powerful 1Ghz processor as compared to the Bold 9900 and Torch’s but, we don’t expect much of a performance difference. As we have done earlier, the device transfer utility, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 was about 5 or 10 seconds slower than the Torch 9810 when backing up and restoring which was pretty acceptable.

Bold 97xx run out!

Buttons

I have to admit that in low light conditions, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 might be a little difficult to distinguish from the other Bold series (97xx) when it is in one’s hands. While many of us dislike the new classical button layout, another thing admit-ably after comparing with the Bold’s, the refreshed button layout does give it a somewhat modernized look, albeit that “cheap” feeling.

Slimness

Slimness

9360 vs 9790

Slim!

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 is very thin for those who have been using the 97xx series though the Curve wins hands down is the sexy feeling and weight-wise. However, this comes close at 107 grams.

The back

This time, RIM went ahead with minus-ing all of the extra’s found on the BlackBerry it seems; No leather, no carbon fibre on this Bold 9790. Instead, it comes with this gun metal grey battery door (plastic) which has a grippy soft touch rubber feel, similar to the Torch 9860, with the standard BlackBerry logo embedded into it. The camera portion, however, forms the largest part of the phone, protruding outwards but of course, it is very unlike that you’ll be touching that portion. However, one thing that RIM kept intact for the 97xx series is the battery door opening style. Slide it downwards.

Whilst it does seem that the 9780 will have a better grip due to the leather battery door, the rubbery kind of the battery door does indeed give you a firm enough grip. Even though the it seems like its going to slip out anytime, its actually quite a good grip, comparable to the older 97xx. However, the older bold series does give you that kind of assurance to the handling of the phone.

Left side

Left side

Now, like the other new BlackBerry devices, the glaring omission on the left of the device is the convenience key. Some devices had the usb port on the sides but in this instance, its been been relocated away. This, however, leaves only the 3.5mm headset jack on the left side.

The right side

The right side

On the other side, the standard collection of volume controls and convenience key (default: Camera) can be found. Like many of the devices, the 9790 came with the small sleek buttons too.

The bottom

Now, on the older 97xx series, the bottom of the phone has the mic input and just slightly at the side, the contact pins for charging on that cool charging pod. On this modern device, however, the bottom is now replaced by a single Micro USB charging pod. And this, unfortunately, means that docking will require the plugging in of the usb port. But, on the bright side, it means that you can sync data whilst its docked.

The lock button

Now, for the other side of the phone – at the top.
The top, unlike the 97xx series, but yet similar to 9360 or 9900 and to its close counter part, 9860, features only one button – to lock the device. Right in the middle of the whole top is that lock button.

Open up!

Powered by the BlackBerry JM-1 battery, with 1230mAH of juice, identical to the Bold 9900, but will the battery last? As mentioned earlier, it seems that Singaporeans thinks that Bold 9790 will offer a better battery life than the Bold 9900. Will this hold true? For one night of straining, it does not seem so. But we will let the battery fight it out over next few days and update here. Additionally, the battery door comes with the NFC chipset, similar to Bold 9900 and Curve 9360.

Now, as mentioned earlier, the device is powered by a 1Ghz processor instead of the 1.2Ghz on the Bold 9900. However, i was kind of surprised at the much slower speeds given by the phone. Surfing to this site alone, it took about 5-8 seconds longer than the Bold 9900 but still much faster than the Bold 9780 by about 15-20 seconds. Upon further digging, I realized that the speed of the 9790 in terms of the carrier network capability was much slower than 9900, at 7.2mbps vs 14.4mbps.

Screens

The screen seems to be sharper than that of the 9780 even though their resolution was the same. It could perhaps be due to the liquid graphics. The screen here feeling was much different from that of the 9900, offering those kind of screen found on 9860 which has a “thick” feeling as opposed to the 9900 which was closer to the 9800/9810 kind of screen which is much more similar to that of the competition and tablets.
With the smaller 2.45 inch screen, switching over from the 9900 took me some time to adjust to it. However, the touchscreen was very useful to navigate around the interface and was extremely responsive. I really found myself enjoying the touch screen on this device.

Keyboard

Coming over from the 9900, it really took me quite sometime to accustom myself back to the smaller keyboard found on the device. As a quick adopter, after typing on the 9790, i went to try typing on my 9780 and half an hour and back on 9790. The keyboard on the 9790 is LESS tactile than the 9900 and 9780, as its very soft EXCEPT for the Q, A, Alt, P, del, enter key. Those six keys feels pretty much harder than the rest of the very comfortable keys. Else, it would have been good. I’m not sure if this is the issue on this particular set, but the set lent at DevCon earlier as well has the same kind of keyboard.

If felt carefully, you’ll find that the 6 buttons actually feels a little “taller” than the rest of the keyboard. Indeed, the wrap round design was a nice design, but slightly harder feel might put some off. If however, you are looking for the ultimate keyboard experience, Bold 9900 still holds the crown.

The memory card and camera

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 comes with 768MB of RAM and 8GB of built in memory. The hot-swappable microSD card slot allows you have up to 32GB more of memory, with up to 40GB at any one time. The thing about hot-swappable slots allows you to switch the microSD card as and when required which is quite a boon for many people. The blue rubber present infront of the entrance helps to like keep it in (even though not very necessary) and when you open it up, that rubber feels like its going to break anytime soon which is kind of scary. Mentioned by RIM earlier regarding the apps, apps will be installed onto the 768MB portion of the memory, but bigger apps such as games, are allowed to have its data stored on the memory card which helps to reduce the amount of memory consumed.

For many of us, the good news is that the BlackBerry Bold 9790 has autofocus! As I usually use my BlackBerry to snap photos for others especially letters and all, auto-focus is critical for me. However, the lack of auto-focus in 9900 meant that the phone is not suited for my use and i need to carry 2 devices with me at anyone time now. Now, 9790 has re-introduced this back just like the 97xx which is really great! So, how well does it perform? Below is some photos, first 2 will let you compare the colour reproduction of the phones in a mid-low fluorescent lighting. Focus is set on single shot and on auto mode.

Taken on Bold 9780

Taken on Torch 9860

Taken with Curve 9360

Taken with Bold 9900

Taken with Torch 9810

Taken on the 9790

Taken by 9790

Taken by Bold 9790

By my camera

Taking photos

Taking photos..

Taking photo..

Taking photo...

Snap!

This is a extremely fast and snappy camera as you can see, saving the pictures rather quickly.
However, on the video end, this device clearly lacks some power. Only VGA recording like the 97xx series, unlike the Bold 9900 and the new torch’s, which is quite a disappointment.

CONCLUSION

The bold line

 

The Bold 9790 by itself

I know many people are holding off their purchase as the strain their old devices to the maximum of its capabilities especially the trusty o’ 9000. BlackBerry’s have traditionally and so far, has been quality devices (apart from the Curve 8520 and 9300 which have glaring but easy to fix button issues) and I believe this will continue. As many people will believe that my critic is bias, for the record, I do use the iPhone and android devices. I have the Apple iPhone 3GS and 4 in my arsenal as well as the Samsung Galaxy S2. There are several reasons why I am inclined towards berry, with the main reason being email and keyboard, as with what a lot of people say so to.

Now, we know that the BB10 devices are delayed so, its really time to consider getting the OS7 device. The BlackBerry 9790 packs in the modern features of a smartphone, from the touch screen to its ease of use, an updated design which will take us some time to accept as well as the OS7 features. So, as we go around Singapore testing and straining the battery, let’s say the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is a competent device, even as i hoped for similar video capability. Otherwise, the BlackBerry Bold should easily win over the hearts of the current Bold 97xx or even 9000 users.

Moved from:

http://reviews.ourberries.com/?p=396

 

Updated:

Well, now that i have had my hands on my friend’s retail unit, the keyboard issue does not seem to be persistent anymore (seen on the above prototype unit). On average for the past few weeks, battery has been lasting about 1.5days, easily lasting over 30 hours per full charge. With 3G turned on, voice call non-stop lasted for approximately 5 hours before battery gave up. For streaming of data, it lasted around 4 hours only while video playback (h.264 recommended profile) lasted slightly over 7 hours.

With its original rating of 5 hours and 20 minutes for talk time, this ‘real life’ test seems to bring it rather close.

Now, with OS7.1 just released for 9790, how will it last with mobile hotspot and more?

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