When the Bold 9900 was launched a few months ago, Bold 9000 fanatics, who never quite took to the Bold 97XX series were jumping with joy. The good ol' real Bold form factor was back. But their joy at possessing the only 'real' Bold in the BlackBerry line-up has been rather short-lived with the launch of the Bold 9790, which takes its form factor cues from the narrow QWERTY 97XX series. There has been a fair bit of speculation on why this new Bold has been launched, and whether there can be two ‘Bolds’--everything from RIM aiming for the fairer sex downwards, but suffice it to say that the Bold 9790 is just part of the horde of smartphones that RIM has released in the past few months and is simply about providing greater choice to the consumer.
Unlike what some think and much to the chagrin of Bold 9000 series worshippers, what defines the Bold series isn’t design but the quality of materials used. High quality plastics and metal, scratch-resistant glass, grooved buttons that make typing almost a pleasurable experience--you get the drift. And true to that, the Bold 9790 is built well. And let's not forget the handy little optical trackpad, now combined with a touchscreen. Vital statistics are 110 x 60 x 11.4 mm.
Decently comfy keypad
The Bold 9790 looks elegant, and chrome makes a comeback after the noir 9780. The front is glossy black and if it weren't for those trademark grooved 'Bold' keys, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for the sexy Curve 9360. The keys are flush on the sides and taper towards the edges--every millimeter of keyboard real estate has been well used. Similar to the new Torch 9860, the Menu and Call buttons are raised and individual ones on this device, unlike the Bold 9900 and even the Curve 9360, which feature the flushed one. The display is a 2.45-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 480 x 360 pixels. The viewing angles in all lighting conditions are good.
Similar to the new Curve models
The top has a lock key and like other devices in the new OS 7 series (except for the 9900) the side media and convenience buttons are rubberized with protruding ridges. Bit tougher to use as compared to a regular button, since they are quite narrow, but you have to pay with some inconvenience for sexy good looks. Sadly, the left convenience button looks like it is well and truly history. As with all other OS 7 devices, the Bold 9790 is missing the left convenience button too, and I think it's a terrible pity. Perhaps a cost-saving measure, but from a convenience perspective, a retrograde move.
What's unique about the 9790 is that the charging/micro USB slot is at the bottom, which is welcome, since I found it easier to use the device when it was being charged, which in line with all modern 3G-capable smartphones is a regular activity.
Slim with ridged keys
Weighing in at 107 gms the 9790 is noticeably lighter than Big Brother 9900, which clocks 130 gms. A hot swap memory card slot is also available under the cover, which is missing on the 9900. The 9790 features 8GB internal storage, same as the 9900. The 3.5 mm headphone input is on the left side.
Features and Performance
The Bold 9790 is powered by BlackBerry OS 7 on a 1GHz 32-bit Marvell PXA930 processor and 768 MB of RAM. I found the device responsive and smooth and the touch experience was good, too. Thanks to the plethora of apps I use, I do see the clock (previously hourglass) that keeps me tapping my feet in frustration, but I must say I see this unwelcome friend far less often after OS 7. Despite the 9790 sporting the 'Bold' keyboard, I didn’t like it as much as previous ‘Bold’ keyboards. In fact, I preferred the Curve 9360's keyboard! I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. One of the reasons could be the space between keys on the 9360. The keyboard was decent enough, but is nowhere near RIM's best. If you are very heavy QWERTY user, and your budget permits, I'd urge you to look at the Bold 9900 if you want the best.
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