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Review: BlackBerry Bold 9900


RIM has millions of BlackBerry subscribers worldwide, some loyal and some not. It’s been over a year since the last BlackBerry was introduced, the Torch 9800 and this device was mildly accepted. RIM has now released a new set of smartphones that all have increased specs and a brand new OS. By far the leader and most anticipated of the pack is the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

Rogers decided to release the 9900 early, it was supposed to be available on the 15th but stores started selling them last Tuesday. I happened to come across a Rogers Store that day and quickly snapped it up and swapped out my Bold 9780. So after using the 9900 for a few days I’d like to share my findings.

This review is using a Rogers Retail 9900, complete retail box running the launch OS 7.0.261. The BlackBerry 9900 is a refresh and resurrection of the Bold line. I say resurrection because I feel that the 9000 should have evolved into this model. The 9700/9780 have their place but should not have been called Bold in my opinion. An elegant device with a large keyboard, large(ish) screen, big bold styling and looks. The 9900 definitely lives up to the moniker now.

Tech Specs
- QWERTY keyboard with trackpad
- 2.8-inch touchscreen (resolution of 640×480)
- 1.2Ghz processor
- Triband HSPA 2100/1900/850 Quadband EDGE 1900/1800/900/850
- 14.4 Down and 5.76 up HSPA+ radios
- 768Mbps of application ram, 8GB on board for storage and up to 32GB with a microSD card
- 5.0 megapixel camera with 720p video recording (camera lacks auto-focus)
- GPS/aGPS
- Accelerometer and Digital Compass
- Proximity sensor for screen
- Wi-Fi b/g/n at 2.4 GHz and 802.11 a/2 at 5GHz
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
- Debut of BlackBerry OS7
- 1230mAh battery

Aesthetics:
The Bold 9900 is refreshing. It’s refreshingly built with metals and soft touch plastics. Where the 9000 looked expensive but felt plastic and cheap. The 9900 looks and feels the part. The metal band trimming around the device is nice and well weighted. Some may say it stole the idea from the iPhone 4. Sure, but this phone doesn’t need a case to get full reception either.

The Bold is appropriately named, has quite some heft to it, and is ridiculously thin. But the thinness has some caveat’s (see battery below).


Keyboard:
Wow, Wow. Wow, Wow and Wow. Finally. The keyboard on the Bold 9900 is the one to have if that’s one of your hot button topics. The first thing I muttered when I started typing to myself was, “Where have you BEEN for the last 2 years?” Those of you who have used and enjoyed the original Bold 9000 like I did just never really liked the 9700 / 9780 keyboard. Sure, we all got used that keyboard, but I’d be hard pressed to find a 9700 / 9780 / 9300 / 8520 user pick up the 9900 and say “nah, I like X better”.

The tactile feel of the keyboard is simply awesome. It’s perfectly “clicky” and depresses just the right amount with an authoritative sink into the pad lying underneath. The back lighting of the keypad is evenly distributed and very easy to see at night.


Touchscreen:
The Bold 9900 features a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen that has a resolution of 640×480. Even back in the Bold 9000′s days many wondered why RIM didn’t include a touchscreen. It would have been the best of both worlds. Some 2-years later we now have the 9900 returning with all its large keyboard glory along with a touchscreen. The touchscreen display is a welcome addition and doesn’t have that gimmicky Surepress setup the Storm had, which in theory sounded good but in application just slowed down the quick Berry typists out there. The display is responsive and quick thanks to the 1.2Ghz processor. After using the 9900′s touch+type setup I picked up my 9780 and instinctively touched the screen to swipe to a different menu, which shows how intuitive the touchscreen really is (and how realistically it should have been here long ago). If you’re pondering, “Do I really need a touchscreen 9900 Bold?”. The answer is Yes. It makes using the BlackBerry that much more efficient.

Reception:
The BlackBerry 9900, as is most of the GSM BlackBerry devices that I’ve experienced, is no slouch for reception. In weaker areas it’s able to maintain calls and sounds flawlessly. Oddly, an issue that’s been plaguing myself and friends lately is that the BlackBerry line seems to be EDGE happy. It keeps dropping back to EDGE (GSM) or flip flopping while idle. Either way I found my 9900 was also doing these odd drop outs to EDGE as well. It worked well on EDGE, if you’re asking.

I also took the 9900 on a typical Drive test*. I’m located in Markham, Ontario and I traveled for about 30 minutes on both side roads and a busy highway. Needless to say the 9900 handled the drive by test with ease, and oddly enough didn’t drop to EDGE while I was driving.

* The drive by test is:
Yonge and 16th, east on 16th to woodbine. North on woodbine to 19th. West on 19th to Bathurst. North on Bathurst to Jefferson. East on Jefferson to Yonge. North on Yonge to Bloomington. Bloomington east to Bayview. South on bayview to Stouffville sideroad. East on Stoufville sideroad to the 404 south. And 404 south to Elgin Mills

Sound Quality:
Incoming:
The 9900 is one of the best handsets I’ve used and heard in terms of incoming call audio and quality. BlackBerry’s niche is business. The 9900 is all business. If you’re the type to still does a lot of voice minutes, then I wholeheartedly recommend the 9900. It has a natural high caliber quality of incoming audio that anyone can appreciate and enjoy.

Outgoing:
The outgoing audio was equally decent. I had no real complaints there other the road noise. When receiving calls from friends who also purchased a Bold 9900 and were driving I could hear the road noise from the handset.

Speakerphone:
The Speakerphone, which is the same speaker on the rear of the slot where you remove the door, is plenty loud. So loud in fact that when I set up my 9900’s ringtones and all the chirps and bells that I have for Facebook, Twitter, BBM, Email and SMS I set all the volumes at 10. That was too loud. This is the first time I can remember commenting that the ringtone volume and alerts on a Berry were too loud. Which is actually a welcome change.

As such the speakerphone is actually decent. While not as rich sounding as the earpiece on handheld calls, I can say I’ll continue to use the 9900 in speakerphone mode when the situation warrants itself (not when you’re walking through the mall, ya, YOU mall guy).


Camera:
The 9900 features a 5 megapixel camera with fixed focus and close up mode. It’s average. I was really wondering how the camera would be on the 9900 seeing as the BlackBerry offers some of the best social connectivity on Facebook and Twitter. Naturally being so well connected you would want to share those memories with your social sites of choice. The camera will get by, but it’s nothing special. Truth be told, most have already commented that the camera on the 9780 with autofocus is actually of better quality, and that wasn’t that great either. They got a long way to go to catch up to the iPhone or various Android camera offerings.

Modern Day Connectivity:
The BlackBerry 9900 is no slouch when it comes to modern day connectivity. Prior to the launch we heard about NFC, Wi-Fi Hotspot and Wi-Fi calling (UMA). You can also use the venerable USB cable and / or Blackberry desktop software.

Hotspot:
Unfortunately at the time of launch, Hotspot is missing and has been omitted. Various documents circling the web show there are software revisions coming down the pipe to re-enable the missing Hotspot connectivity. I was disappointed that it wasn’t available at launch. It seems that the 9900 is the Bold that has been coming for almost 6 months, and it’s still not fully here yet.

NFC:
This is the first flagship phone out of the gate from RIM that features NFC (Near Field Communication). There’s nothing you can do with it yet though. When I played with the Nexus S it read my Visa card “unknown tag”, the 9900 doesn’t. Needles to say it’s better that it has NFC capabilities now then wishing you had it later.

Commerce is convenient but the simple ability to add BBM Buddies and accessories to your 9900 via NFC will make it worthwhile. The security applications as well will be very cool. Using the 9900 to buzz into your building or work will reduce the amount of cards you need to carry in your purse / wallet / European messenger bag

UMA (Wi-Fi calling):
Missing. The hardware supports it and we’ve also posted a document showing that Rogers will bring it as well with a revision. Personally I use UMA, but I’m one of the few. I use Wi-Fi to make my own cellular connections when the network is weak, or just for the fun of it. Why it’s missing I have no clue. Should this affect your purchase? Not really, it didn’t affect mine. More is better though is my mindset and I’d rather have a feature there that I never use supported in the OS/Hardware versus it supposed to be there and not work.

Cradle charging:
Similar to the 9000 / 9700 series there are 2 contacts on the bottom of the device for cradle charging.
This is very convenient. I use my 9780 and will use my 9900 when the dock becomes available, as my alarm clock “But Treatz, what about the blinking red light causing sleepless nights!!” you may say. Bedside mode my friends! Drop it in the cradle, kill the light, dim the screen and show the old school 1980’s flip clock. Ah, serenity now! Plus, you don’t kill your MicroUSB connector when you use the dock connector.

BlackBerry OS 7:
The 9900 features RIM’s “shiny and new” OS, BlackBerry 7. The reality of the situation is that OS7 was originally referred to as OS 6.1, and in my opinion that name is more accurate. The OS, in its current form, isn’t providing UMA, Hotspot and really, it’s really not all that different. The speed and snapiness of the device is more than likely attributed to the 1.2Ghz processor. Twice that of the 600Mhz marvel units of yesteryear. The touchscreen is nice and makes full use of the OS though. If the 9900 had launched without a touchscreen the experience would have been ruined for me.

I will say though OS7, the 1.2GHz processor plus the new “liquid graphics” finally has the 9900 whizzing and popping in and out of menus and apps with gusto. This is a much needed speed change makes the 9900 experience feel even more “luxurious”.

However, another issue of OS7 is the apps. Not all the OS6 apps are compatible. The apps on BlackBerry aren’t nearly as plentiful as the competing OS’s and the ones I do use aren’t ready for OS7. At the time of writing this I was unable to install and use: TimmyMe, Shazam. ING Bank, Cineplex, Canadian Tire and Urban Spoon. It’s also known now that BES X support isn’t ready yet for OS7. They need to remedy this issue quickly.


RIM claims that with OS7 and the 9900 web browsing is “now 40% faster than BlackBerry 6 based smartphones and up to 100% faster than BlackBerry 5 based smartphones”. The truth is the browser is actually decent. Is OS7 the culprit? Is the 1.2Ghz processor the reason why? I’m sure both of these things work in unison. I was able to surf all the web pages except flash, as there is no flash support. Compared to what RIM is coming from this is a much needed and improved browser experience that BlackBerry purists and casual will appreciate. Does it match the performance of the iPhone and various Android phones, Yes and no. Yes in that it’s much improved and can be on par with iPhone and Android, No in the fact that as a consumer I’m not looking for an on par experience. I want each interaction of the device to leapfrog itself and the competition. While the 9900’s browser leapfrogs OS6 and the prior generation, it’s still not markedly better than the competition. All jokes aside, the OS6 browser wasn’t exactly hard to beat either, so a 40% bump in something that was already behind was almost mandatory.


Battery Life:
The 9900’s battery life, in my usage, needs to be improved. I have had to charge it twice daily. It’s a 1230 mAh battery, and frankly it’s not enough. The Bold 9000, 9700 and 9780 all came with a 1500 mAh battery. Why are these batteries getting smaller? Sure the 9900 is 10mm thin, but I don’t recall people saying the 9000 was too thick. I would rather have 1-3mm more thickness if this would afford me a 1750 or 2000mah battery. The construction of the rear door also alludes to the aftermarket making covers with a rear bump to afford a larger battery, plus they will still need to make space for the NFC antenna contact points.

If the 9900 is your main device keep a charger handy, or a spare battery. Are you seeing different batter life then me? Please sound off in the comments.


Closing Thoughts:
The 9900 is the next BlackBerry, but how long will this unit be relevant? My fears are that many developers simply won’t develop for the OS7 platform when RIM’s new QNX platform is on the horizon. As a Developer would you code your app for OS7 when QNX is approximately 6 months to 1-year out? With the Rumored QNX Colt coming first quarter of 2012 we’re not that far off.

If you’re dying to get the 9900 and can no longer use the 9700 or 9780 then you will enjoy the 9900. The keyboard alone and the speed of the OS is awesome. You’ll need to decide if it’s $549.99 outright or 199.99 on 3-year worth of awesome to you though.

Pros:
- Top of the line build quality, fit and finish
- Very quick and nimble feeling OS and BlackBerry
- Best keyboard in the industry
- BlackBerry experience.
- Metal bezel
- 720p video recording
- 14.4 / 5.76 HSPA+ radio access
- NFC
- UMA / Wi-Fi calling
- BES corporate support

Cons:
- No Hotspot, No UMA at launch
- Battery life, 1230mah, versus 1500 on 9700 / 9780
- Not all OS6 apps are ready for OS7
- No BES X support on OS7, yet
- Aftermarket battery solutions may look ugly
- OS7 isn’t all that new

  • Omar

    Great review. Looks like a pretty awesome device, but I think I’ll stick with my Galaxy S II. I just feel that Android has more to offer. If you’re just mainly into talking and texting, then maybe this is the device for you!

    • Jerrik

      @Omar: I completely agree with you. I absolutely love my Galaxy S2 that I snatched up opening day. In fact, I even have it clocked at 1.6 GHz instead of 1.2 GHz. My phone is even faster now. Such a noticeable difference. Looking to flash a custom ROM. However, none of them look that great. One will either come with a custom launcher, which I don’t want because I love TW 4.0, and a good, lag-free broswer, or one will come with TW 4.5 but with a laggy browser. That’s ok, though. This is a new phone and new ROMs will appear eventually. Until then, I will stick with my stock ROM with my overclocked Galaxy S2 :)

    • Manny

      I had the Samsung Galaxy S (Froyo) and had to switch to the 9900. The SGS had great multimedia capabilities but was SO poor on core functionalities like email, calling and calendar (WAY too many major bugs). For what was currently the “best” android device at the time, it definitely turned me off the android platform. I know the 9900 is a next gen device compared to the SGS, but I have to say it has great call quality, solid and reliable email and calendar pushing. I admit, the SGS browsing experience is far superior; but what’s the point when you can’t rely on it for core functionalities. I am happy with the switch.

  • Joseph Gordon

    When does the Blackberry Bold 9900 come out?

  • jellmoo

    Out of curiosity, why no actual rating?

  • TomatoGuy

    They put twice as powerful CPU and slashed battery capacity – why would anyone sane do that?
    Autofocus camera is replaced with fixed focus one to keep device thin as well.
    I don’t mind additional 5 mm thickness if I can get better camera and increased battery life.
    And new QNX based BlackBerries are going to hit pretty soon as well. Why would you sign 3 year contract just to get Bold 9900 right now?

    • jellmoo

      To play devil’s advocate: QNX is essentially unproven in the handset form factor. Add in the fact that first gen devices always have issues and need improvements, and there are some good reasons to go the 9900 route.

      This may be the last yet best of a breed of phone that many people enjoy and know well. I think that in and of itself is a pretty solid reason to pick one up.

  • john

    Very objective Review: A devices that should have been one or two years ago with not many apps for OS 7. If you want it pay for it. The problem is that they are marketing as something new while in reality ist just a bridge device until QNX arrives. Price the 9900 at $400 and it will sell, since the 9780 is going to go into liquidations prices and its not much less than the 9900, plus it has a 1500mAh battery.

  • astudent

    Just a STELLAR review.

    “The 9900 is the next BlackBerry, but how long will this unit be relevant? My fears are that many developers simply won’t develop for the OS7 platform when RIM’s new QNX platform is on the horizon”, I couldn’t agree more but I wonder what regular consumers will think of it. I am sure it will sell well for a bit. However as consumers become more and more educated, may be a bigger problem for RIM in the long run.

  • Hasan Juma

    Nice review! I just can’t get excited about a Blackberry anymore. Battery life used to be one of their major Pro’s – a competitive advantage that they seem to have lost with this unit. I’ll pass.

  • Poonsaloon

    Excellent review! This was the kind of feedback I was looking for.

  • @grumpybuttfunny

    That’s what I love about your reviews, the details are there. Not only there but put in a way it doesn’t sound like your rambling on. Love it! I hope you do a 9810 review as I am courious of your comparison! Thanks

  • Kevin

    I love the phone and am also amazed how much the touchscreen adds to the experience. However, the loss of “column view” in the browser makes reading this article a squinty experience.

    • Dean

      Pinch to zoom works great…absolutely no need for column view at all.

    • kay

      The Column view is a deal breaker. I don’t like pinch to zoom. Its not the same;you don’t get all of the article on the screen. I’m disappointed because I wanted this phone. I’ll stay with my Bold 9700.

  • newphone

    It’s not just your phone, I also just purchased the bold 9900 and found that it does not have a long enough battery life well for my usuage at least. I thought it was just my phone too or that I was doing something wrong, as this is my first blackberry. Anyway, thank you this review was very helpful.

  • materialist_minimalist

    I was excited about this device. I thought it was an auto-focus camera all along, but now that I’ve read that it’s fixed + the crappier battery life, I think I’ve all but discounted RIM for the immediate future.

  • David

    Someone needs to review articles before they’re posted. There are a lot of grammatical errors that made it a horrendous read.

  • Sam

    My 9900 has had pretty decent battery life and I find my camera has not had any issues as others have been saying. Hands down the 9900 is one of the best blackberries to date.

    • materialist_minimalist

      Definitely won’t argue with you on that, it definitely seems to be the best Blackberry to date. However, the problem is it’s 2011 and the competition is leagues ahead in a multitude of features.

  • Blackeryfanmaybe

    Im pretty sure QNX will be able to be upgraded to this phone. As far I can see the phone will have the same cpu so it shouldnt be a problem :)

    I am interested but yes not at the the current price tag!

  • n3olyfe

    more RIM garbage made from stolen apple tech.

    • Jerrik

      @n3olyfe: You and the rest

    • Jerrik

      @n3olyfe: You and the rest of your isheep friends can go suck a dick; and f**k Apple!

  • Brett

    Apparently the latest leaked software update improves the battery life significantly. Not quite to the 9780 levels but enough for a heavy user to easily make it through a full day’s use.

  • Brian

    BES Express works fine, simply, the OTA app has not been updated yet.

  • KidCanada

    I need my 9860 now Rogers!! Let’s go!!!

  • OniBerry

    Yes, but the battery life on .261 is pretty bad. The Stock OS is not very good when it comes to power mngt. I would suggest those who have the 9900 to upgrade to .296 (Vodofone) or .317

    • ofutur

      Have you actually measured this? People on other forums haven’t noticed a difference after upgrading their OS

  • dan

    why are people saying they’ll wait for the QNX devices? Clearly QNX is nothing special, take a look at the PlayBook sales…

  • Paul Q

    Sales don’t mean fucks all. Shit is s**t even if it sells.

    • jellmoo

      I don’t understand… This isn’t an article about Android.

      (I kid, I kid… mostly)

    • ofutur

      I agree, look at the iPhone 4…

  • KidCanada

    @Dan – you’re comparing a phone to a Tablet smh. I thought that alone should make it easier to differentiate.

  • neo

    so whats the rating out of 10 ? i guess none cause of the app selection

  • kevin

    hmmm…this is a very good review, I have always been a huge Nokia fan, and from the current events happening with Nokia, I wanted to switch to blackberry, but reading this review depending onwhat your usage is, I find that my current Nokia E6 is still superior but this IMO, I didnt know that this 9900 had fixed focus as well…the E6 has an 8 mpix fixed focus, and it has a very well developed keyboard as well..and I still find the build quality of the Nokia phones still better, the only good thing i see right now, is the 1.2 processor…and the batterry life on my Nokia is still better I charge once every 2 days under heavy use…

    To be honest i really thought this was gonna be the game changer for me, but as I find out more, this phone isnt turning out to be as great as i thought it would be….hmmm but still a very nice device if youre a loyal blackberry user…I guess ill have to wait for either QNX or Nokia Windows phone…..

    • ofutur

      Go for the 9810 then. Better camera, better battery. A usable keyboard and the best instant email and security features available on a mobile device.

  • Riddlah

    After the first charge, I’ve had a couple days with 30 hours on a single charge.

  • Merc

    768Mbps of application ram, lolz !!!

    • jellmoo

      Er… why is that funny?

  • crunch204

    You commented alot about the EDGE network. Why EDGE? What about HSPA+?

  • stan345

    Dear RIM:

    The keyboard, long battery life, and superb dual speakers on my bold 9000 were outstanding when it came out. The form factor including thickness, were just fine.

    Now you have made it thinner at the expense of battery life, camera quality, and stereo speakers. Why?

    At least you have improved on the 9000 keyboard but now I have to think a bit longer to see whether I will make the switch.

  • EraqEE

    I love Blackberries but the lack of apps and the shitty browser made me switch back to Android. Will definitely switch back once these issues are improved!

    • jellmoo

      The browser in OS 7 is definitely better than before, so there’s that.

      App selection is very unlikely to improve though. If having a massive selection of apps is important to you, iOS and then Android are far better choices.

  • George

    I played with a 9900 at bestbuy yesterday and was impressed. Work is getting me one next month and I am really lookin forward to it.

  • Mike

    So please advise, you are saying the 9900 is NOT wi fi capable right now?

    • faibs

      it is, you aren’t paying attention.
      it cannot be used as a HOT SPOT.
      google the difference.

  • Kevin

    I love the 9900 – the assumption here is that OS6/7 is gone when QNX comes and that is simply not true. You can always wait for the next great thing but the bottom line is this is the best ever Blackberry and surprisingly competitive.

  • Dean

    As for the battery life, I have had a 9900 for five days now. If I text/bbm most of the day, use the media player streaming bluetooth through my car stereo, and use facebook a fair amount, it will be about 15% full end of day. I have had it last 2 full days with light to moderate use though. Sucks it won’t be upgradeable to QNX, but you can’t upgrade OS6 to OS 7 either. At any rate, it’s a fantastic device and I am very glad I sold my iPhone 4 to get one.

  • Steve Dion

    It’s all about the keyboard. Kinda like typing on a thinkpad. Nothing beats a physical kb. I am coming from iphone and sgs2 and love the 9900. I don’t need all the bells and whistles the iphone and android devices bring. I just want to tweet, facebook makencalls and answer emails. I have a tablet (galaxy tab 10.1) and laptop (mba 11) for all the rest. Long live rim! Come on Canada show a little love!

  • Karen Sue Gibbs

    I want one too. I hope RIM is able to stay competitive and in the race, after all they were the first to invent these devices and should be considered number one. The other competitors should be more respectful, and be less hostile. They are just following the leader, that’s all.

  • Blackberry User

    I really REALLY love this phone.

    It’s awesome, and I know RIM will undoubtedly improve upon it with future updates.

    Check this out if you love having a keyboard, touchscreen, and just an incredible device.

    Go to your local stores and try it! It really is amazing, and I can’t be the one to tell you so you need to try it in a store!

  • Tom

    The larger more user-friendly keyboard is probably the selling-point for me transitioning from a 9700/9780.

  • OnKitry

    Regarding the battery :
    Any new Lithium Ion needs to be cycled about 5 – 10 times to get full charge life.

    Charging it twice in a day? Were your streaming your recorded 720p to network in realtime?!

  • ntrsfrml

    BES X is working just fine on 9900.

  • john

    Glitch??
    Telus has the 9900 for $630 no contract and $320 on a 3yr contract and minimum of $50 bill.

    Wonder if its $320 and your contract expires when QNX arrives.

    • Jake

      Actually, it’s $149 on a 3 year contract. On top of that they are also offering a $50 rebate, so $99 from Telus. It’s a hell of a deal and too good for me to refuse :)

  • TheTigerTek

    I traded my Galaxy S II for the Bold 9900. I love it. Battery life is much better than any Android phones I’ve used this year the Atrix and GS 2. Love the new keyboard, phone just works with great performance.

  • D84UK

    I’ve had the Bold 9900 a couple of days now, it’s definitely a nice upgrade from my old Bold 9700, but I am not happy with the battery life or the camera not having auto focus…I thought this phone was a contender…but if you can’t get the simple things right then people won’t be happy. Browsing online isn’t always easy as the phone gets confused and sometimes won’t let you use some of the touch screen functions. I know hear the iPhone 5 is imminent…maybe it was time to switch

  • Dread

    Well there is a market for everyone. But after playing with the Samsung Galaxy S II or 2 weeks – RIM better wake up and make a decision. Only be a corporate email device company or take the other markets more seriously.

  • johentie

    Great Review..

    Initially my battery life was below expectations.. i took it off the charger at 7:30am and by noon it was at 50%..

    Since Aug 9th i’ve been at work everyday so i keep it plugged in..

    Saturday was the true test! i was out all day at ontario place for a concert.. took the phone off the charger at 8am.. throughout the day i took pictures to post on FB. I was bbm’ing, texting, and calling people to arrange meet ups .. browsing as well to see if i can snag extra tickets for concert and a 20min call to the amphitheater to see if i can buy tickets over the phone. took a lot of 720p video at the concert as well.

    came home at midnight with 45% battery… screen resolution set to 30% and OS7 .317 …

  • KronicKatz

    yeah il stick with my galaxy s 2 :D. was thinking about this phone but its not worth my time. Man isnt Rim far behind in the tech world

  • Dimitri

    You guys Forgot to add that the 4 buttons (call,bb button, back & call end ) Are all Touch-sensitive controls. I called blackberry & Rogers & telus to confirm it. I first saw it on Gsmarena.

  • Bluelabel

    I’ve just sent back a Samsung S2 as the battery life was measured in hours instead of days, the handset felt flimsy, poor sound from the speakers, the virtual keyboard was absolutely pants, and worst of all the thing had a mind of it’s own, turning on apps and programs when it wanted to without any input from myself…. I have since ordered a 9900 from vodafone… my previous handset was a Nokia ‘BB’ clone (an E71)
    it will be my first BB and I hope it performs better in all respects than the Samsung S2 which, with hindsight, was a huge mistake…..

  • grekoff

    As of 8/19, Future Shop in Canada is advertising the 9900 (online) on Rogers for $149 (matching Telus and Bell) on new 3Y activations. It remains to be seen if the walk-up price is still $549.

    Here’s what is great about the 9900:
    (1) No latency. When I push the touchscreen button, the application opens up immediately. Not 3 seconds later.

    (2) My battery life is good after 3 days of use. Note that the newest batteries require initial charge conditioning. I have had several Li Ion devices where the manufacturer advised to let the device drain first (they usually hold an initial charge of only 50%), and then recharge. The battery chemistry takes some cycling before it stablizes.

    (3) Notably missing from this Bold (versus the 9900) is teh button on the lefthand of the body. I configured it to change my ring profile. The awkward bottom righthand side button (which is configurable) is still there.

    (4) The authors of Angry Farm need to rewrite to take advantage of Liquid Graphics. The animation is still choppy.

    (5) Some of the great features compared to the 9000 are the “Join Now” feature to auto-dial into conference calls.

    (6) The mute button have been awkwardly moved from the top left (BB9000) to the righthand side (between the volume up / volume down buttons). It was better where it was before. Also, I prefer the “A” key to be the screen lock instead of the button on the top, as is done on the Curve 8520

    Overall, a great phone and significant improvement over the Torch (I returned mine after 3 days due to perpetual dead batteries), and will make Bold 9000 users happy. I doubt it will convert any iPhone fans but it will give existing BB users a migration path and buy time for RIM to figure out its QNX strategy.

  • Kruti

    Hi – did this phone come with a case from rogers???

    do the new blackberry phones no longer come with cases? Did we kiss that privilege goodbye when the torch came out???

    I haven’t gotten a new blackberry since the bold 9000 came out and back then it came with a beautiful leather case!

    • Jake

      RIM hasn’t forgotten you. All the 9900/9930 come with a nice swivel holster.

  • kasn

    well! thanks for the great review – if the low bettery life and lack of auto focus on the camera are the only complaints – I can handle that – I think I am an average user – heavy at times and not at others – and have had pretty good luck with my phone so far!
    I have to say, I had the curve 8900 and when I got that I was told it was the best on the market and now I’ve upgraded to this – WOW!!! I dont want an iphone and want to stick to blackberry and am quite impressed with this.
    Ive noticed a couple times however in BBM or facebook when when I touch the screen to select the spot to start typing it takes a few seconds for it to activate (maybe its just me?)

    anyway! LOVE the phone – and to be honest… Im not worried in the least of this one ‘going out of style’ any time soon!

  • freddyd

    Great review. I recently switched from BB to Nexus. Am I alone in thinking this was a terrible idea? (I suspect not). I signed for 3 years on this thing, and can’t wait to get back to BlackBerry. Honestly, I want a phone that just works. All the extra bells and whistles that the Nexus offers are pretty great, but there is a missing sense of reliability that comes with BB. Sure my browser sucked (old curve), but I never had to worry about missing emails, phone calls or text messages. At any rate, I can’t wait to get back to BB.

  • I’ll Pass

    Unfortunately, the market has votes with it’s feet at these devices are collecting dust in stores while superior Android phones are flying off the shelves. With RIM laying off thousands and the stock price falling like a stone, who wants to sign a three year contract for a brand that could well be history before the contract is up.

  • bob

    I will tend to agree with some of the comments about talking and texting in my opinion BB is the best that’s why I keep my curve 9300 but I m still married to my iphone G3 and that is a beautiful thing …;)

  • mike

    Earlier I went into my local Rogers and I asked on the bold 9900, they said that the enter key would pop off, and that 3 people have brought it back about that so far, so it may break, is this true? Please reply, i’m a little confused on weather it will or will not break.

  • Ev

    I absolutely love my Blackberry Bold 9900. The touchscreen with a full keyboard is fantastic and the picture quality on the screen surpasses any of the iPhones that my colleagues had in class. There were 14 of us, 11 with iphones, 2 with android run phones and my 9900. The Bold 9900 is wider, but thinner and lighter than the iPhone. Apps are not a priority for me but able to type fast as time is essential, receiving and sending e-mails and syncing files are important to me. I’m sure the iPhone is a good product if you want to do nothing else but play games and watch movies. Kudos to RIM.

  • Ramy

    I am happy with my Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc tyvm. I never ever ever putting my hands on a Blackberry device again. Worst phone experience in my life was that crappy Bold 9780 of theirs.

  • Lenana

    i’ve been thinking of getting this phone… but from my research, i may be at a loss… the battery life sucks (and i NEED battery life i mean… it’s the most important thing)the only sure thing that i’ve heard from people is that it has an amazing keyboard… and why would i want to buy a new expensive phone for its keyboard… and before i know it a “new best blackberry ever” will come out. the screen is too small for touch screen and videos…. and it’s a bit faster… yet everyone i know keeps returning it… can someone give me a REALLY good reason why i should buy it????

  • blahblah

    i have the 9900 with BELL. now this comment is in regards to the battery life statement. when i first got my phone i thought it was VERY ODD that i had to charge my phone every 5 hours or so(1 time during the day and then when i went to bed..i work late) so i took the phone to the store i purchased it at and they swapped it. now my battery does still die quickyl. i previously had the 1st verison BB torch and that battery (usage dependent) could last from 8am when i started my day and removed from charger until say 11pm when i got home from work and i would be on yellow battery bar(so i would have 1 battery bar remaining)i agree the battery life would make the phone alot better. other then that i am COMPLETELY happy with the 9900. :D

  • Owais

    Overall solid device. However, this is how it should have been 3 years ago.

    The battery is HORRENDOUS… and an unforgivable offence.

  • Zess

    I have never had more of an issue with a phone, than I have had with my 9900. I have had to exchange it twice, and now am dealing with a trackpad issue. The size of the keyboard is the only reason I find myself unable to switch back to the Torch. I find it that bad.

  • Peter Guenard

    Can the 9900 support an app that allows you to dictate a text or email message into your Jabra bluetooth and have it typed, then send it?

  • mat

    Who put that battery in ?? Deal breaker for me.

  • Jonathan

    This is a decent Blackberry, however it was due when the iPhone 4 was out. This model seems rather dated, and quite frankly Blackberry only enhances their features, there isn’t too many new functions to the phone aside from the touch screen. Blackberry has seen their glory days unfortunately, and are going to have to make some drastic changes if they hope for their legacy to live on. It lacks features like; hotpot (available on both Android and iPhone), dual cameras, and a decent selection of apps. If this phone was released a year ago, Blackberry would have still had the market, but now, their future is just bleak.

  • Laura

    I also don’t understand the battery life. I know it’s bad, but mine, would be fully charged and about 4 hours later, with minimal usage and it sitting in my purse, it would die. They are sending me a new one, but I’m not sure its going to improve. I’m afriad I don’t know what to do.

  • dien

    to everybody on board buy 9900 or renew hardware plan, this is going to be the last phone wit keyboard.rim is planning to have full touchscreen on upcoming blackberry phone

  • Jo

    Blackberry has failed yet again. Great phone for bbm/ texting. The h+ aka “4g” feature and wifi are virtually useless, unless you can have it plugged into the charger constantly. Worst battery life as of yet!!!!!!!! I have to charge it twice daily on BASIC usage.
    DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF PURCHASING THIS PHONE !!!!!!!

    Good job rim, no wonder your company is going under, you keep trying to bring phones out to keep up to the comp. but they are no where near the level they need to be to survive.

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