BlackBerry Bold 9000 'A Hit,' BlackBerry Thunder Strikes Soon


The BlackBerry Bold 9000, the latest smart phone to join Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd.'s device arsenal has earned at least one favorable review weeks before the handset is set to hit the streets.

Months before the device is expected to be publicly available, gadget blog the Boy Genius Report got its hands on a BlackBerry Bold for review, despite rumors that the Bold has been plagued by delays and troubles caused by battery life and overheating. The review, while favorable, highlights some outstanding issues with the BlackBerry Bold, but could take some of the spotlight away from the Apple iPhone 3G which was released last week to great fanfare.

RIM unveiled the BlackBerry Bold in May at its Wireless Enterprise Symposium. It is expected to be released in September by most carriers.

According to Boy Genius, firing up the device was a bit trying, but after a quick software update it was up and running.

The Bold offers a 480 x 320 resolution screen, which Boy Genius said is "the screen to beat," with its vibrant color. On the downside, however, the blog said the screen scratches easily, thanks to a less-than-adequate plastic. There is also a plastic, faux-chrome strip bordering the device that is prone to scratches.

"We kept the Bold in either pants pockets with nothing else in there or a BlackBerry leather holster," the review said. "After only a day or so, scratches started to appear out of nowhere on the gorgeous display. They better ship this thing with free scratch protectors."

Along with the screen, the Bold features a brand new browser that Boy Genius said surpasses older BlackBerry models, displaying Web content in its intended format.

"It's pretty darn good," Boy Genius said of the browser. "It's no iPhone, but it definitely does the job."

As for the full QWERTY keyboard, Boy Genius said it will be easy for the BlackBerry faithful to get up to snuff, as the keypad is similar to those of other BlackBerry models.

Battery life, which was rumored to be causing some of the delays of the BlackBerry Bold's release, is better than believed, the review said. The battery held its own for nearly 18 hours during which 300 to 500 emails were sent and received, an hour's worth of calls were made, the user surfed the Web over 3G for an hour, the Wi-Fi was enabled and the Bluetooth transmission was turned off. Also, the rumor of overheating "definitely wasn't crap," Boy Genius said. "The device gets a little warm, but nothing to get too concerned about."

Additionally, Boy Genius said the Bold 9000 is a smart phone users' dream when it comes to connectivity. It offers 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi, which the review called "a hit."

And, while BlackBerry may set the gold standard for mobile computing, the device is also a phone. Boy Genius' review said the sound quality of the Bold is improved over the BlackBerry Curve. Music playback is "not great, not terrible" and the review said it could be a little louder and music distorts a little on the loudest volume setting. The speakerphone could also be louder, the review said. Call quality, however, is "fantastic," the review indicated.

"It's definitely the most phone-like BlackBerry to date," Boy Genius said. "People we spoke to sounded crystal clear and they said we sounded great."

Overall, Boy Genius said the BlackBerry Bold 9000 is worth the wait.

"This is the device every single BlackBerry user has been waiting for," the review said. "Finally a BlackBerry that has it all. 3G, GPS, Wi-Fi, QWERTY keyboard, camera, great screen, clean styling and more."

Next up is the BlackBerry Thunder, RIM's touch-screen answer to the iPhone. While Boy Genius hasn't gotten its mitts on the device yet, the blog quotes two independent sources confirming that the Thunder will start rumbling in mid-October through Verizon Wireless, after a huge marketing push starting in September.