Blackberry Bold 9900 – Welcome back old friend

Posted on October 17, 2011

In February of this year my trusty old Blackberry 9000 died a sad and final death. The inhouse IT department couldn’t do anything with it, the blinking lights suggested the motherboard was friend and the external repair party wanted R600 to look at it. They also admitted that if it was motherboard it was uneconomical to repair. Eish. With 6 months to go to renewal the device was temporarily replaced by the 8520.

An aside on the 8520, there is very little that the top models can do that the bottom don’t. Sure, the screen isn’t as nice, the keys are smaller, it doesn’t have GPS. It does do twitter, bbm, mail, browsing, Kindle, mxit, whatsapp, and pretty much everything a smart phone should, a little slower yes, but it does work.

After 6 months of the 8520 the upgrade finally happened. Choice 9780 with no pay in, or the 9900 with a R1000 paying. Newer OS, touch screen, bigger keyboard, sold on the 9900.

The most immediate feeling on unboxing and typing in a few setup details, welcome back old friend. My I have missed the keyboard. Blackberry bold 9000 had the best keyboard on a mobile device, ever. The 9900 is the true successor to the 9000. The others were just pretenders.

The new OS is pretty. Still not up to iOS or Android, but is still Blackberry and is an improvement

The new browser is much quicker, renders better, and nicer to use. Big plus here.

The keyboard is great (as above).

The touchscreen. Its there. I use it from time to time. It works well and is unobtrusive. Sometimes navigating is a whole lot quicker touching a few icons, othertimes scroll pad and keys are the thing. You definitely get the best of both worlds, I like.

The trackpad replaces the old track ball. The only thing I disliked about the Bold 9000. It used to get dirty quickly, then get stick and partially work. Ugh. Replaced it after a year, that worked better for 6 months. The trackpad avoids all of that. No moving parts, nothing to get dirty inside. The 8520 had the same and it worked well. Only problem, with my big thumbs from time to time I catch the bottom of the touch screen when scrolling and the cursor jumps. Long term problem or more care needed I’m not sure. Maybe a software fix that disables touch screen while you are scrolling.

I loaded my normal set of applications. Twitter BBM facebook all preloaded just needed updates. Blackberry Travel, Google Sync, Word Press all work great.

Amazon Kindle. Does not work, won’t load as it isn’t compatible. Damn. There has been much talk of the Blackberry platform dying. Amazon doesn’t support the flagship device with the new OS. That is sad, and perhaps an indication of developers abandoning the platform. I hope not, and that Amazon prove me wrong, but in the meantime no catching up with those few pages of my latest novel while standing in the queue at the airport, shopping centre or other stolen moments.

Lastly, Google Sync. As the owner of any smart phone do yourself a favour, install this product. It backs up your contacts and calender to the cloud and synchronises it between devices. My Blackberry, Nokia E71 and Android HTC Desire all share a common address book which is also available in Gmail. Perfect. Get a new device, plug in the credentials your address book is there waiting for you. Perfect use of the cloud, just love it.

Battery life is adequate, seems better than the HTC Desire and the 8520, not up to the levels of the E71 (which I hardly use for online access anymore) but for a fully featured smartphone the 9900 seems to have more than decent battery life.

The device is thin and sleek, wide to allow for the screen and the bigger keyboard, not bulky to worry me in my pocket. The build quality seems solid and has a nice sturdy weight and build to it. Not heavy.

In conclusion, yes, iPhone and Galaxy S II are better, but if you want BBM and mail and uncapped internet and a device which just works, or your organisation says Blackberry is your only choice then this device is a really good choice. Loving it.

(Pictures to be added)

** review typed while waiting in the boarding queue, this keyboard really works well :)

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