BlackBerry 7 Smartphones Buyers Guide

BlackBerry 7 Devices
By Adam Zeis on 7 Sep 2011 03:19 pm EDT

So you've decided you want a new BlackBerry Smartphone? Let our buyers guide point you in the right direction!

The latest BlackBerry 7 line of smartphones from Research In Motion brings some great new devices to the market, but choosing one that is right for you can be a challenge. Each device caters to a particular set of users, but we'll help shed some light on things so you can better decide which device is for you. The first thing is always checking with your carrier to see what devices are available to you. You'll also need to know if you're on a GSM carrier (AT&T, T-Mobile, Rogers and other global carriers) or a CDMA carrier (Verizon, Sprint and other North American carriers) before your new device as your next step as a BlackBerry user.

View all BlackBerry 7 phone on our device page 

BlackBerry Product Families

Research In Motion puts their devices into different product families, of which each represents a different type of user. Of the new BlackBerry 7 devices, we're seeing the Bold, Torch and Curve refreshed, however there is no continuation of the Pearl or Style series.

BlackBerry Bold

BlackBerry Bold 9900

The BlackBerry Bold is Research In Motion's flagship line of BlackBerry Smartphones. The Bold is known for its distinctive form factor and features the classic BlackBerry design with a full QWERTY keyboard and trackpad navigation. The latest Bold devices, the BlackBerry Bold 9930 (CDMA) and BlackBerry Bold 9900 (GSM), also feature a full touch screen interface. The BlackBerry Bold series is a premium alternative to the BlackBerry Curve series and typically carriers a higher price tag as well.

Who it's for: Users who want the best possible BlackBerry experience. 

BlackBerry Torch

BlackBerry Torch 9860BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch is Research In Motion's touchscreen device. The new BlackBerry Torch 9810 (GSM) builds on the original BlackBerry Torch 9800 (GSM), carrying a full touchscreen and trackpad navigation as well as a slide out QWERTY keyboard. The BlackBerry Torch 9850 (CDMA) and BlackBerry Torch 9860 (GSM) are full touchscreen only devices with trackpad navigation but no physical keyboard. The larger screen of the BlackBerry Torch make the device desirable for those looking more for browser or media viewing.

Who it's for: Users who want the full touchscreen experience. 

BlackBerry Curve

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve is Research In Motion's consumer line of BlackBerry devices. This device is sometimes known as the "entry level device", featuring lower specs than that of the premium BlackBerry Bold series. The BlackBerry Curve features a thin, lightweight design as well as a full QWERTY keyboard and trackpad navigation. The latest BlackBerry 7 models are the BlackBerry Curve 9350 (CDMA), BlackBerry Curve 9360 (GSM) and BlackBerry Curve 9370 (CDMA/GSM).

Who it's for: Users who want a good BlackBerry device but aren't looking to spend a fortune. 

Comparing BlackBerry 7 Features and Specs

New BlackBerry users may not get down into the numbers when it comes to device specs, but for those that want to get in a bit more we have a comparison chart so you can see how each device matches up across the board. The new devices all have mostly the same specs and run the BlackBerry 7 OS, so picking your form factor (touchscreen vs QWERTY) is really the biggest decision.

  BlackBerry Curve 9350 BlackBerry Curve 9360 BlackBerry Curve 9370 BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Bold 9930 BlackBerry Torch 9810 BlackBerry Torch 9850 BlackBerry Torch 9860

109 x 60 x 11 109 x 60 x 11 109 x 60 x 11 115 x 66 x 10.5 115 x 66 x 10.5 111 x 62 x 14.6 120 x 62 x 11.5 120 x 62 x 11.5
Display 480x360 480x360 480x360 640x480
480x640 480x800 480x800
PPI 246ppi 246ppi
1000mAh 1000mAh 1000mAh 1230mAH
1230mAH 1230mAH 1230mAH
1.2GHz 1.2GHz
Internal Memory
512 MB 512 MB 1 GB 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 4GB 4GB
512 MB 512 MB
512 MB
768 MB
768 MB
768 MB 768 MB
768 MB
5MP Camera Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
          Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
EDOF (all-focus)
 Checkmark  Checkmark  Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark      
GPS Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark

802.11 b/g/n

Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
802.11 a/n

      Checkmark Checkmark      
NFC Checkmark
 Checkmark  Checkmark  Checkmark Checkmark

Decision Time... more information...

For more information on all of the new devices, be sure to check out our full reviews, help forums and device superpages.

Bold 9900
Bold 9900 Superpage
Help Forums
Buy Accessories
Bold 9930
Bold 9930 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Curve 9350
Curve 9350 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Curve 9360
Curve 9360 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Curve 9370
Curve 9370 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Torch 9810 Reivew Torch 9810 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Torch 9850
Torch 9850 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Torch 9860
Torch 9860 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories

View all BlackBerry 7 phones on our device page

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry 7 Smartphones Buyers Guide


The Bold 9900 is the best smartphone I've ever owned. Far from "old," it combines a trackpad, keyboard, and high-resolution touchscreen with a fast processor and a dedicated GPU in a thin and light package with robust fundamentals (i.e., reliability, call quality, battery life, messaging, etc.) for the *first time ever.*

For others with different priorities, the Bold may not be the best choice. One size *does not* fit all.

Notice the bottom of the line BB 7 devices are actually 25% more powerful than the Torch1 from last year.
BB is really picking up their game. I would say, if money is not the main issue the Bold is very nice but for the value the Torch2 at 49.99 is just a steal. The specs are the same and it rocks! I left BB but came back after the disastrous battery life problems of the Droid HTC Evo when the Torch 1 was released.
I was torn but my decision was based mostly because I wanted to leave AT&T. I went with the Bold at Sprint but If you are at AT&T I would recommend the Torch2. It is also an awesome device and the bigger screen is nice and you don't have to give up the keyboard.

As always, the best thing to do is go to a store and try it but remember to shop, because even the Sprint phone can be purchased at Walmart or for less. I've read the same at Verizon.

Switch to T-mobile. The money spent getting out of ur contract is well worth not having to stress about release dates.

A little off topic...well a lot... how do you like Tmobile. Coverage, customer service, etc.

I am highly considering TMobile. Can get a cheaper plan all around. I am on the phone a lot for business and have unlimited calling/data with AT&T. Costing me a grip. Can get unlimited everything from TMo and pay at least $50 less a month, maybe even more if I switch to a 500 minute plan with 2GB of Data (plenty for compressed files on BB). My understanding is that UMA WiFi calling will be available mid November for the 9900. Wifi calling at the home office will work out nicely to fill in the rest of the call time I will need.
Life is like a cup of coffee

You can buy an iPhone and get a processor that is 20% slower and no Keyboard. That really is not the end of the world so you can get by. The iPhone has way more apps and you can download movies to your phone.
Frankly, I had an iPhone before and I never downloaded a movie. I even went to the site and looked around but never saw something I would actually want to watch on my phone. I did not care for the e-mail and the phone quality was dubious. Although they have improved their battery life. The wow factor (due to marketing) wore off and I got a different phone.
I believe the iP4 is the only phone Consumer Report said not to buy when it came out. Antenna Gate and all. However, many iPhone users are happy with it so you should try it at the store. I believe you should consider the iPhone vs. The Torch2.

About the same screen size and if you want to use a keyboard, there it is and it won't cut your screen in half for the virtual keyboard. Also, you can back up your entire phone to the SD card now as well as have a spare battery or memory. The iPhone does not provide these options. Also, the BB is more customizable with speed dial and filtering of information. Lastly, it is the most secure phone. It does not matter until it does and then it is too late. Why mess with that?

Great article. It summed up the entire line up in a neat and clear package. Will recommend this post to prospective BB7 buyers I know :)

I realize this may be a dumb question, but is the 8GB of internal memory for apps?
Will I finially have enough internal memory that I wont have to worry about the ongoing memory leak issue of my 9700/6.0? No more battery pulls!?!
Also, on that topic, has the memory leak issue been resolved on OS7?

No, apps will be on the 768MB. Think of the 8GB as an internal SD card. You can do the same things on the 8GB that you could always do on microSD

The battery life is my biggest beef. Yeah, I'm charging mine sometimes twice a day, but I'm a heavy user. It is getting a bit ridiculous that I have to reach for my charger so often. RIM has to find ways to conserve the battery power by slowing down the clock speed on the processor when it's powered off or just shutting down services to the minimum. Even when off, it uses significant amounts of power.

Finally, the other thing I don't like about the 9860 is the touchscreen. This is common to all other touchscreens out there today except for the SurePress Storms. I am constantly selecting things that I didn't intend to select. Menus and dialogs keep popping up all over when I'm not intending to activate them, just carrying the phone. The same occurs with my iPod Touch, so this isn't a problem with the 9860 itself. Why folks hated SurePress so much, I don't know, but I do know that I appreciate SurePress SOOO MUCH MORE now!

Otherwise, the 9860 is a great device. BB7 is well designed to do things efficiently, giving you quick access to basic config (mobile network, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.), managing and organizing all your apps and data, and bringing the most pertinent things to view quickly. BB7 UI is slick. Universal Search and Voice Universal Search are fantastic. Notifications are quick and easy to access. The device itself has a gorgeous 3.7-inch screen. It's also quite responsive. Altogether, the 9860 is just an awesome BlackBerry experience!

An OS patch might be able to resolve some of my battery headaches, and perhaps some future phone will resurrect SurePress. Hey, I can still dream!!!

Owning 2 Androids cured me from complaining about BlackBerry battery life. And both (Captivate, Atrix) had capacitive buttons, so the spurious selection problem was even worse.

At least the 9860 has a trackpad, so you don't have to try 8 times to select the correct web link.

Does anyone know if the trackpad on the Bold 9900 is supposed to be 'raised' or 'flat'? Mine is almost flush with the menu and back buttons, and this kind of annoys me. Is everyone's like this?

Great article and summaries, this should help people decide what they need/want. It is also helpful if you are trying to show someone who is thinking of switching to BB what is available.

fantastic article, really helps my brother to decide if he can live with a 9360 or spend extra on the 9900.

I'm vote for BlackBerry Jennings 9810 is the best, 4G and Auto Focus camera ... :D

So the new bold and torch screens are the same size just turned in different directions? So for the times I turn my torch sideways to view something that would not have to be done with the new bold? You just lose the portrait mode real estate?

I have a 9810 and was going to switch to 9900 when it got released for AT&T, because I thought Bold would have a faster processor. But, since they have exact same specs, I'm set! Loving my 9810, and now I don't have to give up that beautiful touch screen real estate for crunching power! untse untse untse

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. I don't know, I may have to hold out for the 9790. :) Like the form factor of my 9700. 9790 has all the internals of the Torch 2 and 9900. If it has an autofocus camera, I am in. Might have a long wait though!!

Life is like a cup of coffee