BlackBerry 7 Smartphones Buyers Guide: Bold 9900 vs. Bold 9790

Can't decide between the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the BlackBerry Bold 9790? Let us help!
BlackBerry Bolds 9900 & 9790
By Joseph Holder on 21 Nov 2011 01:41 pm EST

There are a lot of BlackBerry Smartphones out there in the world. Our Founder and Fearless Leader, Kevin Michalukrecently counted more than 30 devices released by Research In Motion just since the BlackBerry Bold 9000 started selling "way back" in 2008. With all the different models out there, it can be a little daunting to keep track of all the phones available to you. That's why CrackBerry is here to help.

Recently, Research In Motion announced a few new phones in addition to the OS 7 Smartphones announced earlier this year. Two phones, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the BlackBerry Bold 9790 are similar in name and innards. On the other hand, the look and feel of the devices are quite different. So let's take a look at what separates these two models.

BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 vs. BlackBerry Bold 9790

BlackBerry Bold 9900

BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930

This is Reseach In Motion's flagship BlackBerry Smartphone. It's the thinnest Bold the company has ever made, has a distinctive stainless steel band surrounding it, and has what many call the best QWERTY keyboard in the mobile world. The Bold 9900 has all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a top of the line BlackBerry Smartphone: a fast processor, a high resolution touchscreen, BlackBerry OS7, and a decent 1230 mAH battery. Frankly, there just isn't room in this short article to learn all about the Bold 9900.  Check out our CrackBerry Superpage for our complete coverage.

Who is it for: Users who want the best possible BlackBerry experience

BlackBerry Bold 9790

BlackBerry Bold 9790

The BlackBerry Bold name is not one tossed about lightly, so you know that the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is an excellent Smartphone. In terms of specifications, though, the Bold 9790 is a step down from the BlackBerry Bold 9900. It's not as large as its 9900 cousin, the screen resolution is less (but still a touchscreen), and the processor is not quite as fast. Still, the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is an impressive addition to the BlackBerry lineup.

As to why RIM created a similar but less-powerful Bold, there are several reasons. RIM tries hard to create a BlackBerry Smartphone for everyone. The 9790 itself is physically smaller than the 9900; not everyone likes a giant Smartphone. More importantly, the Bold 9790 is a Bold-on-a-budget. The slightly lowered specifications means this Bold should sell for substantially less than the 9900. Everybody likes a good deal.

Who is it for: Users who want a top-quality, front facing keyboard BlackBerry without breaking the bank. The Bold 9790 is actually being marketed toward women (smaller hands, smaller phone) by RIM as well.

Bonus Feature: The Bold 9790 has a 5 MP auto-focus camera. This is not the same as the much-bemoaned EDOF camera in the Bold 9900. Score!

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. 


  BlackBerry Bold 9900 BlackBerry Bold 9930 BlackBerry Bold 9790
  Bold 9900 Bold 9930

Bold 9790

Size(mm)(LxWxD) 115 x 66 x 10.5 115 x 66 x 10.5 110 x 60 x 11.4
Display 640x480 640x480 480x360
PPI 287ppi 287ppi 246ppi
Battery 1230mAH 1230mAH 1230mAH
CPU 1.2GHz 1.2GHz 1 GHz
Internal Memory 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
RAM 768 MB 768 MB 768 MB
5MP Camera Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Auto-focus     Checkmark
EDOF (all-focus) Checkmark Checkmark  
GPS Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark

802.11 b/g/n

Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
802.11 a/n
Checkmark Checkmark  
NFC 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 Review Bold 9900 Superpage Help Forums  Buy Accessories
Bold 9930 Review Bold 9930 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories
Bold 9790 Review Bold 9790 Superpage Help Forums Buy Accessories


Reader comments

BlackBerry 7 Smartphones Buyers Guide: Bold 9900 vs. Bold 9790


My wife wants the 9790.

trying to convince her the 9900 is the way to go! But the band around the phone hurts her ear.

Not sure this is great upgrade from the 9780.. :)

im with tmobile usa and the os for 9900 is .250 not sure if this is the reason my bb keeps restarting in its own. i dig the 9900 which i thought be too big since my fav bb is 8900. but when i got my hands on this which costs $650 (overpriced) i fell in love. so i noticed the os leaks are way better than .250 does not restart like before. the piss off of this device besides battery is no UMA , tmobile sed in nov it will hav softw update and have wifi calling. if they dont have this soon i will go nuts on tmo. 9790 lookin more better. any1 know if 9790 will b 4g? im on .540 since 17th no self restarts yet

Tmobile renamed their 3G to 4G, many carriers have done this, so there isn't any real 4G.

Mind correcting your spelling unless you typed it from your blackberry, it was difficult to read. :/

The Bold 9790 has NFC, and have specs (CPU, RAM, etc.) that is *faster* an substantially better than even the recent Bold 9780 (previous generation of top-of-the-line Bold).

And Bold 9790 comes at a budget price.

What more can you ask for?

Oh no, don't ask the question "what more can you ask for?" I've come to learn from all the whining and b**ching that goes on around this site that if you combined the best of Blackberry, Iphone and Android all into one phone it still wouldn't be enough for most people! They still want more!

Hi! Have been facing this exact problem with my 9900! Even last night!I basically put it into charge when it had not battery at all..

After 3 hours I go and pick it up hoping I could see the green light showing the end of charge and all I see is the red light.. Go and pick it up.. As soon as I push various buttons(BB menu-pick/hang up call) the red light turns on and off with noreal reason. Had to take off the battery and so it rebooted itself and put into charge again. By the way.. the battery was charged at 95% and I do not know whhy it did not complete the whole charge! It happens a couple of times per week and it pisses me off BIG TIME!!!

I really enjoy the size, the high-end feel, the vibrancy, sharpness, and the keyboard of the 99x0. The software update that will end the "bricking" needs to come yesterday. I choose 99x0, but the 9970 does seem like a mighty mouse.

I have the 9900, but rarely use the touchscreen and am always hitting the screen and doing things I don't want (like dialing the bottom number on my recent call list or opening the app right above the trackpad). Would love to disable the touchscreen on my 9900.

It's really not that much slower and the screen resolution differences wouldn't even be recognisable. That just means the 9790 coupled with the better camera would have better battery life. It would really come down to size.
also targeted at women... sure but its not that feminine :P

regarding the comment I'm replying to. One of the big reasons why I can't be arsed with touch screens. I'm happy to stick with my 9780 for now. It would be awesome if you could disable the touch screen after all, we have all the added benefits of a keyboard and hardware buttons.

for me its simple, i love all blackberries, except for the storm1 and storm2, what the heck was that ll, anyways, if you have big or fat fingers go with bb99xx, small fingers go with 97xx

If you can stand the camera, the 9900 is a great phone. If not, you'll hate it every time you (fail to) snap a photo and you'd be better with the 9790.

Me, I got. 9810 because of the 9900's camera.

Also, to be pedantic, the 9900's wifi radio is a/b/g/n.

why you is no good english? Blackberry gps vlingo calendar youtube money making machine papi, comprende?

lol this article i a riot , and the comments are evan better :)

I am seriously considering 9790 from 9900 even though the 9900
is a work horse.

"The Bold 9900 has all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a top of the line BlackBerry Smartphone"

-- Well, something wrong with me over here. I seriously don't expect a 'no autofocus' camera in the top of the line SMARTPHONE from ANY Manufacturer's stable.
The day we 'Blackberry Frogs' step out of our 'Blackberry Well' into the real world, we'll be in for a shock!! And RIM is hell bent on pushing us out of it's well, into the real world, or should I say, iWorld ;)

"The Bold 9790 is actually being marketed toward women (smaller hands, smaller phone) by RIM as well."

-- Wow! This one is a gem. Where did this come from? I am so sure that this is the author's personal (biased) opinion, cause if THIS indeed IS RIM's strategy to market this phone, It is Hara-Kiri!! So guys who don't prefer the substantially larger 9900 and prefer the smaller form factor like the 97XX, are actually womanish!!!

-- Why do the articles on crackberry always smell of the author's bias/ fondness towards/ against a particular model.

I don't think any of the authors here went to journalism school. Although, it's common sense that an informative article should not be biased.

And yes, they sacrificed auto-focus for a more slick look in the 9900. I have found that autofocus is a must have if you are taking pics of bills or documents from time to time.

Actually, the comment about the Bold 9790 being marketed to women comes from Kevin's hands-on video with the Bold 9790. As for bias, we express our opinions all the time - that's the nature of a blog, in my opinion (no pun intended). Truth be told, my new BlackBerry isn't a Bold - it's a Torch 9860.

During the 9790 hands-on and walkthrough video, the product marketing guy mentioned the phone being more geared towards women. Also, I do see the 9900 as being a work-oriented phone with the 9790 as being less serious. Regardless, after holding out for a 9790, I think I may have to get the 9900 for the reasons mentioned above..

Even with larger hands I loved my first 9700 & continuing the love with 9780, doesn't matter if it is targeted at women (as long as it isn't pink).

What is so practical is having a complete QWERTY in the small-form factor that fits easily in a jeans/suit pocket.

The marvell chip in the 9360 blows, I get more hour glasses then I ever got on my 9700. I have used the 9900 and the 9860 and can say the Snapdragon 1.2GHz is way better then the marvell cpu's.

Try taking pictures of something that's less than a foot and half away.

AF on the 9810 is pretty quick in decent light, and AF on, say, the Samsung Galaxy S2 or iPhone 4S (the 9900's contempories) is also quick.

The lack of AF was a serious misjudgement. Put it this way: there's a discussion on Ars Technica today about using your phone as a replacement for a good stand-alone camera, possibly even a consumer SLR. You could make a weak case for the iPhone 4, and a strong one for the SGS2 or 4S, where the 9900 would be challenged to replace a checkout-counter disposable.

And yes, I'm bitter. I really liked my 9900 and am really annoyed at having to give it up because someone at RIM doesn't think a decent camera has a place in a flagship smartphone in 2011.

Never owned a bold, had a pearl, storm and now curve 8520, I love the small form factor, if I had a choice, it would have to be the 9790, small, lower price!

Never owned a bold, had a pearl, storm and now curve 8520, I love the small form factor, if I had a choice, it would have to be the 9790, small, lower price!

Correct, I don't know why the 9930 was even shown in the comparison chart since the 9790 is GSM/HSPA only, so there's NO chance the largest U.S. network (Verizon) will carry it.

dang! I was hoping that I missed something and that this smaller bold was headed my (verizon) way

ahhh I want to get the 9790 but since the author said its for woman
I'm not gonna get one... that's a girly girl phone lol.
I seriously miss my 9700 it fit so great in the pocket and was so light
and small and still looks amazing.
never liked the 9000/9900 dunno I guess the size.
So my choice is the 9790

I had the 9800 thought it was the best phone I've ever had ..untill the 9900 got into my hands!!
I don't understand what's the significant differnce between the 9900 and the 9930 though?

At&t falsely advertises the 9900 as "4g"...the only real difference is the 9900 is for GSM networks, and the 9930 is for CDMA

Is the 9790 the same size as the old 9700? If so, I might have waited for it instead of jumping on the 9900. No huge reason, except that my Playbook takes care of all my fancy large-screen needs, and I had to spend over $100 to replace my 9700 accessories. Also...if the 9700 accessories _do_ fit the 9790, I may be able to give someone a deal....

well if you take a closer look on the 9790 photos you'll notice that it's a completely new build, just like the 9000 compared to the 9900. the charging port of 9790 is now at the bottom of the phone, the volume rockers are different, even the battery door shape is different, you'll never be able to use your 97xx accessories anymore, unfortunately..

meanwhile, Kevin/Adam, have you reviewed the 9790 yet?? please do so, lots of my friends are waiting!

The 9900 has the flush send, menu, back, and end buttons, just like the torch. I, unlike most people, do NOT like the flush buttons. I prefer the 9790 ones. If the 9900 had those buttons, it would be perfect to me. The flush buttons keep coming off on my torch.
But I like the faster processor of the 9900, and the better resolution.

As for the camera, I'm not sure what the difference is honestly, maybe someone can elaborate on that a little?

I'm not due for an upgrade until april... I will probably wait for a bbx platform BB.

The AutoFocus allows you to hold the phone/camera very close to the object and take clean, clear photos of it. (macro focus)

I can understand that the BB is a business phone and photography is not the biggest issue, but this macro focusing allow you to photograph documents ANYWHERE and immediately send them.

On my 9650, the photos of documents look far better than fax'd documents.

It is amazing to be able to send and/or save clear copies of paper documents to the phone.

Often, I take the photo and just throw away the original paper copy. That way, I keep my work space clear of paper clutter.

I definitely want the 9790, I currently have the 9700.........dont get me wrong, I have used the 9900 before and its fantastic!. I just love the size of the 9790, the fact that it can fit into your pocket almost invisibly and yet have all that power! WOW!!!! cant wait!!!!

Hi @facegirl,

Alex from RIM here. While I’m a Bold 9900 user myself, you can’t go wrong with the 9790. It features the same BlackBerry 7 OS and NFC technology as the Bold 9900, but in a more compact design. Bottom line – it packs a lot of punch into a little package.

If you want to take a closer look at the Bold 9790 before you pick one up, check out this “three things you should know” post on our Inside BlackBerry Blog:

Alex, RIM Social Media Team

Rally liking the 9790. Fun reading all the crackberry articles and forums. So we know it been released in Indonesia. Baffled that the real question hasn't come up. WHEN WILL IT BE AVAILABLE in Nothe America? C'mon Kevin, not one leak or hint after days of discusiing this???

Never owned a bold, had a pearl, storm and now curve 8520, I love the small form factor, if I had a choice, it would have to be the 9790, small, lower price!

Wonder if the 9790 will suffer the same issues as the 9900 did. Did RIM specify if it was the 9900 with issues or if blackberry os 7 has issues.

That is a NO BRAINER 9900 WAY WAY WAY BETTER cant even
compare them.




Tmobile 9900 4G 9790 only 3
ATT 9900 4G

all other carries 9900 only 3G

I, unlike most people, like the look of the 9790 better, but the keyboard on the 9900 - OMG that keyboard! I must have it.

I'm waiting on my Bold 9790 to arrive within a few days. Personally I'm not excited about the phone like I haven't been excited about anything from RIM since the Bold 9000 but since it was given to me for free so it may worth selling along with the Torch (which should have been torched since RIM gave the name) to help me get out of this prison contract with my phone company.
My first disappointments came from realising that the processor wasn't the 1.2Ghz 'Snap Dragon' that's in the Bold 99x0 series. RIM lack of innovation and creativity is the reason for their own troubled demise. The Bold series, Torch series, Storm series, the Curves, the Pearls, Flip.... OM-flippying-G, RIM seems more confused than ever designing less than subpar devices and expect customers to accept failure with them. Since RIM like to compare both 99x0 and the 9790 so much, let's help them make it easier. Put the specs of both phones together and they still hardly make one really good phone as compared to the iStuff not to mention a few Droid devices.
All in all, the new Bold with OS7 should be somewhat of a better change though from the Torch 9800 with the OS6 (relate with me back to Windows: ME and Vista) happened to be epic failure!

blackberryyy 9790 is pathetic...i am using it from last 1 year......its pathetic.....hate sucks.....battery life sucks....