BlackBerry Bold 9790 Review, the Bold just got sexier

Launched last month in Indonesia alongside with the BlackBerry Curve 9380, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is one of the latest BlackBerry smartphones powered by the new BlackBerry 7 OS. Check out below to see how well this newest BlackBerry Bold offering performed in our review.

Design

The last upgrade from the BlackBerry Bold (97xx) line left a number of BlackBerry fans disappointed. Many did not find it worthwhile to upgrade from BlackBerry Bold 9700 to BlackBerry Bold 9780. Except from the minor bump of internal memory from 256 MB to 512 MB, 3.15 MP to 5 MP camera improvement and a jump from the OS 5 to OS 6, the physical features remained identical.

This time, RIM stayed away from the previous and introduced a refreshing, new design. Although the dimension hasn’t been trimmed down significantly, the new BlackBerry Bold 9790 is a quarter centimeter thinner, 15g lighter and definitely sexier than its predecessors.

RIM made an almost entire facelift on the BlackBerry Bold 9790 making it look like it belong to a different class.

BB Bold 9790 01

The silver chrome lining has been trimmed down on the front, exposing more of the black bezel on the bottom part of the phone below the keyboard. The Call, Menu, Escape and Power keys have been individually raised, forming a new layout. On the sides, the lining has been nicely contoured, hugging some of the areas where the previous buttons have been sitting.

BB Bold 9790 02

The buttons on the sides of the have been notably reduced. On the right side of the smartphone, the old rubberized volume control and shortcut key have been replaced with a much thinner and sturdier plastic-rubber Volume control and a customizable Convenience key. In the middle of the Volume control is the tiny Mute button previously found on top of the older models.

BB Bold 9790 03

The micro-USB port on the left side has been removed and placed on the bottom. The Smart button was also removed leaving the 3.5mm headset jack as the only sole connector.

BB Bold 9790 04

The top of the Bold 9790 has been given a more appealing arch form. With the Mute button placed on the side of the phone, the top now only holds the Lock button which is currently positioned in the middle.

BB Bold 9790 05

The back has a new look and the faux leather back has been replaced with a smoother rubber-like casing. It has also been ergonomically shaped allowing me to have a better and a more comfortable grip on the smartphone. The camera, the flash and the speaker stayed at the same position.

BB Bold 9790 06

Sliding the battery cover will reveal the battery, SIM and the memory card slots. At the back of the cover is the NFC (Near Field Communication) antenna. I can open the battery cover without difficulties although I find it unusual that the memory card slot is designed at a 45 degree angle.

Specs

Although the BlackBerry Bold 9790 maintained the same 480 x 360 pixel display, it now features a 2.45 inch capacitive touchscreen. The touchscreen and multi-touch feature makes it easier for me to browse and navigate through the different panels and screens.

BB Bold 9790 07

The 1GHz CPU coupled with the 768 RAM upgrade basically improves the overall performance and speed of the smartphone allowing me to run different applications smoothly. RIM’s current flagship phone, the BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 has a 1.2GHz CPU but the .2 GHz difference would be not that noticeable in my opinion. Integrating an 8GB internal storage was also a plus from just the microSD slot which can now support up to 32GB of additional storage. The previous models only had 256 MB of internal storage.

The BlackBerry Bold 9790’s camera was also upgraded and now sports a 5MP autofocus, LED flash camera but this is one area where BlackBerry smartphones are not known for.

One of the major enhancements in the 9790 is the BlackBerry OS 7. Aside from providing a more fluid graphic display, the new BlackBerry OS 7 also offers a faster and more stable browser and a number of apps and tools for an improved user experience.

User Interface

Among the first things that I noticed on the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is its brilliant, crisp display. I compared it to a couple of my colleagues’ BlackBerry smartphones running on BlackBerry OS 5 and BlackBerry OS 6 and the Bold 9790 presented better graphics, more responsive optical trackpad and a more fluid user interface – all attributed to the BlackBerry OS 7’s Liquid Graphics technology.

BB Bold 9790 08

The Home screen contains five panels: All which shows all the applications, shortcuts and folders, Favorites, Media, Download and Frequent panel which lists the frequently accessed applications and shortcuts. The Home screen is customizable and you can opt to show only selected panels to appear on it and also set the number of Icon rows.

A hard press on the Menu key allows you to quickly switch to other running/open applications.

On top of the Home screen are the Battery Indicator, Wireless Indicator, Sound/Alert Indicator, Notification View and the Search button. Tapping on each part will display the details or options for that particular module; tapping on the Notification View will show you the new messages and other notifications, tapping on the Wireless indicator will show you the options for managing the network.

BB Bold 9790 09

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 contains a powerful Search tool that allows you to search or query the entire smartphone’s data. Same as with the other modules, you can customize the Search tool to just look for or include specific data sources. You can also use the Voice command for the Search.

Messaging

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 has an excellent messaging feature. Its Messaging client allows me to send Text Messages, Emails, Instant Messages, Facebook, Twitter, Social Feeds Posts, PIN and BBM Messages. It also allows me to integrate my Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and setup and manage my Email accounts without a sweat.

The Text Messages are chronologically arranged and it also allows me to combine sequential messages and set the conversation style.

BB Bold 9790 10 BB Bold 9790 11

Perhaps my newest favorite is the advanced BlackBerry Messenger that allows me to chat and send files with my BBM contacts. Sending files is a bit sluggish though, a friend sent me a 3.41MB file and the transfer took 58 minutes to complete, of course this is carrier-dependent. The new BBM also allows you to share apps with your BBM contacts via the BBM Connected Apps.

Aside from its good looks, I just love how the Messaging UI allows me to easily attach a picture, video, location, audio, voice note, contact or share an appointment. It also provides me with a lot more options with just a single tap on the screen or a press on the BlackBerry Menu button. It also provides a single bucket for all messages and notifications.

Social

BB Bold 9790 12

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 has a decent app for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The interface may not be as attractive as compared to the social apps for Android smartphones but so far, I haven’t encountered any glitches using the smartphone’s social applications. In addition, this phone gives you the ability to subscribe to RSS Feeds and Podcasts.

Apps and Games

The Bold 9790 comes with a number of productivity applications and games. There’s the Documents To Go for your documents, Password Keeper, BlackBerry Protect that allows you to Backup and Restore your smartphone’s data, the Task Manager and File manager among others.

I also got the chance to play around with the smartphone’s Voice Dialing features and Compass applications. I’m still having a hard time installing Wikitude, a new Augmented Reality application that comes with the new BlackBerry smartphone models, bet it’s a pretty cool application as it gives you a different view of your surroundings using your camera (MI:4 style). Currently, I only have two Games installed on the smartphone, the BrickBreaker and Word Mole. I’m used to bigger screens and the smartphone’s 2.45 inch screen isn’t surely the best display for mobile games.

BB Bold 9790 13

Downloading applications and games on the BlackBerry App World is pretty straightforward. Just don’t expect the same number of applications from other smartphone platforms though.

Multimedia

The BlackBerry Bold 9790 speakers provide a louder sound when compared to other smartphones but overall, the sound quality is nothing special.

The Music player provides preset equalizer settings and an audio boost. It also allows you to organize your music by Artist, Album and by Genre. The Video player is lightweight and allows me to play movies and YouTube videos nicely.

BB Bold 9790 15

The improved browser that came with the BlackBerry OS 7 is faster and renders web pages more easily. I tried opening a number of webpages at the same time and the browser was able to handle them efficiently, even the heavy graphics websites. We tried to do the same on my colleague’s BlackBerry Curve upgraded with OS 6 and sometimes the pages would fail to load.

BB Bold 9790 14

The 5-megapixel camera provides 11 Scene modes to match the shooting conditions and a Geotagging feature when taking photos. Same as with other BlackBerry smartphones, the Bold 9790’s photo and video quality is subpar compared to its rivals. The camera/video also gets shaky when zooming.

Check out some sample photos and videos taken by the BlackBerry Bold 9790 below.

[nggallery id=28]

Maps

BB Bold 9790 16 BB Bold 9790 17 BB Bold 9790 18

One of the things that I love about the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is the Map. I am impressed on how responsive and fast the Map browses and search for a location. The Navigation feature of the Map is excellent. I can easily search for a location and Get Directions. I can also select Route options. Aside from the Turn-by-turn instructions, I can also Show the Whole Route and View my current location and driving speed in real-time.

Battery Life

The BlackBerry Bold 9790’s battery capacity was slightly dropped from 1500 to 1230 mAh. For the past week or so, I’m using the BlackBerry Bold 9790 as my primary phone. It usually takes me around one and a half hour to get a full charge and its battery would last me two to three days.

Verdict

If RIM’s last upgrade on the BlackBerry Bold’s 97xx line failed to impress a lot of people from the BlackBerry community then this time RIM made it sure to provide enough reasons for their fans to upgrade their smartphone with the introduction of the BlackBerry Bold 9790. The spanking new look of the Bold 9790, matched with the decent 1GHz CPU, 768 MB RAM and 8 GB of internal storage makes this a solid, mid-range smartphone.

Moreover, the BlackBerry OS 7 brings in the necessary improvements over the previous versions and introduces new, powerful features for an enhanced user experience.

BlackBerry Bold 9790 Specs
Marvell Tavor MG1 1 GHz CPU
480×360 pixels, 246 dpi, 2.45″ display
768MB RAM, 8 GB internal storage
Expandable memory up to 32 GB micro-USB slot
5 MP camera,  auto focus, face detection and image stabilisation
VGA Video recording (640×480)
JM-1 Li-ion Battery
NFC (Near Field Communication)
WiFi 2.4 GHz b/g/n | 5GHz a/n
BlackBerry OS 7
SRP: Php22,890 (as of Jan 2012)

13 Comments

  1. JmBalicano /

    Kind of sad that Blackberry is going through some tough times these days in a lot of major markets. They really do make a lot of quality phones that really maximize the possibilities of mobile messaging. Playbook sales never really got off, their servers at one point in the last year that had BBM fans hot and bothered, and they even had a truckload of Playbooks worth $1.7 million stolen at a truck stop in the US. I’ll admit to LOLing at that last one, but still in a sad way in that, “Geez, can’t these guys catch a break?”.

    They still have a strong following in some Asian markets and a moderate following in ours. While I’ve never used their phones, I still hope they can dig themselves out of this hole and continue to provide the complete messaging experience to those who need it.

  2. I’m curious which is a better buy – 9900 or 9790? I like 9790 for its not-so-wide size as compared to 9900 and its autofocus camera. I am also curious if the silver bezel of the 9790 is the same as 9700? Because if it is, then it’ll fade easily or get scratched off.

  3. ok po ba battery life nito? di po agad mabilis malowbat? and dun po sa maps pede po gamitin kahit di nakaconnect sa internet? thanks

  4. Griswold /

    wow what an extensive review. i just hope that this would bring down the cost of the old bold really low… like curve price.

  5. keysha07 /

    i’m a bit doubt about the battery info u type here. is it really stay with u for 2-3 days? coz i just bought it 3 days ago, and it doesn’t even stay 1 whole day.

    i’m waiting for your replay to this one. thanks!

  6. smile! /

    Pwede ko po bang gamitin ang lumang smart simcrad ko dito sa 9790?

  7. smile! /

    *sim card

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