BlackBerry Bold 9700 Business User Review

T-Mobile Bold 9700
By Craig Johnston on 5 Nov 2009 12:01 am EST
0
loading...
7
loading...
0
loading...

While Kevin, Chris and Adam are concentrating on the hardware and consumer aspects of the Bold 9700, I'll be reviewing the device through the eyes of a corporate BlackBerry user. If you are someone who already has a BlackBerry and is wondering if they should upgrade to the Bold 9700 when it is released.

Visual Appeal

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the most beautiful and stylish BlackBerry to date. It oozes class and sophistication, from the angled edge on the sides of the screen, to the flush finish made possible by the optical trackpad, to the chrome edges, and leather battery cover.

Owning a BlackBerry puts you in a class all of your own to begin with, but owning the BlackBerry Bold 9700 projects an image of success. This BlackBerry looks and feels very well made. Nothing is even slightly loose. The keys don't wiggle, and the battery door is firm when latched.

As a business person you always want to project an image. For example a CEO isn't going to pick up his clients in a Toyota Yaris. He's going to show up in a Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW, or Audi. This extends to the boardroom. Carrying the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is an extension of driving that Cadillac. Your clients and colleagues will be impressed and I'm sure jealous.

RIM has paid so much attention to detail that even the battery compartment is beautiful. The Micro-SD slot is now right at the top of the device out of the way, and the only slot still in view is the SIM card slot.

Keyboard

The keyboard on the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is very well crafted. I was a little worried about the keyboard after using the old Bold 9000's keyboard for so long. It does not disappoint though. The keys are a little smaller than the Bold 9000, but a bit larger than the Curve. The keys have the original Bold design where they have a very small gap between them and the inner edges slope down. Like the original Bold, the keyboard has a very luxurious feel. The keys have a soft but sure-footed feeling to them. The click feeling and sound are both dampened.

I think that this keyboard is just as good as the original Bold 9000's keyboard, even though it is slightly smaller. The keyboard on the Bold 9700 really does allow you to type quickly and for extended periods of time. Both important features for the business professional.

Speed

Today's business professional needs to waste as little time as possible. Luckily the BlackBerry Bold 9700 delivers speed in 3 ways. CPU, 3G, and OS 5.0.

CPU

While the CPU at the heart of this new BlackBerry is not officially known, it is rumored to be running at 624MHz. It certainly feels like this Bold 9700 has lots of horse power to spare. It's like driving a Cadillac CTS-V. As you drive it, you can feel that it is not trying very hard at all to move you around. It is the same with the Bold 9700. It handles all of the tasks you throw at it easily, almost taunting you to load up a large PowerPoint presentation for it to crunch on.

3G

The T-Mobile version of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is T-Mobile US's first 3G BlackBerry. Being the last US carrier to roll out a 3G GSM network, they were only able to pick up frequency ranges that no other GSM carrier is using. This meant that while any 3G GSM phone would work on any carrier around the world, it would not work on T-Mobile's 3G implementation. The T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold supports UMTS bands 1, 4, and 8 (2100 MHz, 1700 MHz , and 900 MHz). In contrast, all other Bold 9700's will support UMTS bands 1, 2, and 5/6 (2100 MHz, 1900 MHz, and 850/800 MHz). Both versions of the BlackBerry Bold will work on UMTS 3G networks outside the US.

A few unscientific tests I did was to load some web sites on a Verizon BlackBerry connected to their EV-DO 3G network. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 supports UMTS/HSDPA while the Verizon BlackBerry I compared it against was running EVDO Rev 0.

To me it generally felt like this BlackBerry was able to download attachments and web pages faster than I normally see.

OS 5.0

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 came with OS 5.0.0.330. It seemed very refined, fast, and visually appealing. OS 5 brings a few new features to the business professional that will be welcomed.

Flag a Message

The ability to flag emails is a huge time saver. When you flag a message, you can choose the action to take. For example Follow up, Call, Review, or Do not forward. You can choose the color of the flag, its status, and if it is due by a specific date. This is an extremely useful feature to have while on the road. For the flags to synchronize back to your corporate email system, your company must be running BES 5.0 or later.

T-Mobile Bold 9700

Calendar Improvements

OS 5 allows you to open files attached to meeting requests. It also allows you to forward a meeting to someone. As a travelling professional, these 2 features will allow you to work more efficiently.

Browser Improvements

OS 5 adds Google Gears support. This technology allows the BlackBerry to take advantage of more powerful web applications. Gears lets applications interact with the BlackBerry, store data locally on the BlackBerry in a fully searchable database, and runs JavaScript in the background for browsing speed improvements.While Gears web sites are not that popular yet, they could become more widely used and you will be ready for them. In addition your company can use Gears on their Intranet to make interacting with your companies internal web sites more efficient.

T-Mobile Bold 9700

Visual Voicemail

T-Mobile (and maybe other carriers) will be offering Visual Voicemail for the BlackBerry Bold 9700. As with other visual voicemail systems, you do not have to call into a voicemail center to retrieve your voicemails. As soon as someone leaves you a voice mail, it is pushed to your BlackBerry.

This means that you can listen to your messages while out of coverage, even save the audio files on your BlackBerry and attach them to emails. Voicemails appear right in the Messages application along with your emails.

T-Mobile Bold 9700

Visual Voicemails is a time saver, and adds flexibility to the whole area of voice mails.

Saving Money

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 supports Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), also known as GAN. This technology allows your BlackBerry to switch seamlessly between the 2G or 3G cellular network to Wi-Fi networks and back again. This happens in mid-call with no interruptions.

It has 2 main benefits.

  • It expands the coverage of the carrier. Any Wi-Fi Hotspot now becomes a cell tower for your carrier.
  • While on Wi-Fi, calls you make to your home country are 100% free. Some carriers charge a flat monthly rate for this service but it is worth it because it ends up saving you a lot of money on phone bills. International travelers save the most because instead of paying $1-$5 a minute, you pay nothing. You can read a more in-depth article on UMA here http://crackberry.com/saving-call-charges-recession-your-blackberry

As a business professional, saving money is always a top priority and this new BlackBerry enables you to do so, as long as your carrier supports it of course.

Editing Documents

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 has a beautiful 480x360 pixel screen and includes DocumentToGo. This allows you to not only download and store email attachments, but to edit them too. The screen provides enough space to comfortably read documents, presentations, and spread sheets, even adding the ability to freeze panes so that rows freeze in place as you scroll through a spreadsheet.

T-Mobile Bold 9700

Simple document editing can be done for free, or by upgrading DocumentsToGo, more advanced editing like inserting rows in tables in Word documents, or AutoSum in Excel can be leveraged. Once documents are edited and saved, the new version can be emailed right from the BlackBerry.

Battery Life

While I have not had the Bold 9700 long enough to really test out battery life, it seems that after 2 days, the battery may last longer than the original Bold 9000. A long battery life is very important for the business professional that is always on the phone, checking email, or browsing the web. The official battery figures are:

GSM Talk Time: 6 hours; GSM Standby Time: 19 days
UMTS Talk Time: 6 hours; UMTS Standby Time: 15 days

That's better than the Bold 9000, which was rated at 4.5 Hours of Talk Time and 13.5 days of standby.

Conclusion

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 saves time, saves money, allows you to be very productive on the road, type long emails, edit documents, and talk for hours on the phone.

This is the most beautiful BlackBerry yet. It is stylish, sophisticated, powerful, and fast. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 will impress in the boardroom, but is still very capable of taking stunning pictures with its 3.2 Megapixel autofocus camera, playing movies, or music while on holiday or over a weekend.

Related Links

Topics: Device Reviews

23 comments

mbs

Lets see a head-to-head...to-head comparison of the top 3 'berries. The Tour, the new Bold and the Storm 2.

Craig Johnston

I think thats a great idea.

Kevin?

brindaarnold

Nicely done! Thanks Craig!

mordenxp

EVDO Rev.0 is not a fair comparison to GSM 3G.

EVDO Rev.0 is technically a CDMA version of 3G technology, however, it's actually barely faster than GSM EDGE.

A fair comparison would be to test the speeds on a Storm which runs on EVDO Rev.A which is very close in speed, technology wise to GSM 3G.

Just my 2c

Craig Johnston

You're right there. I didn't have access to a Tour at the time so had to just use the 8530 numbers. I think what I was trying to say was that the Bold 9700 still seems faster than all other BlackBerry's I have used in the past, including the original Bold, Tour, and Storm 1.

I think its a combination of T-Mobile's 3G implementation, OS 5's browser, and the faster CPU.

CarBob

Excellent review, Craig.

The BlackBerry BOLD 9700 seems to have it all, especially if it is being used for business purposes. E-mail is very important to me, and I like and appreciate being able to flag messages, by colour and by what action to take, etc.

Also, the speed factor of this device would save the user a lot of time and effort when he/she is very busy, on the go, and has important deadlines to meet.

- CB

mbs

The email follow-up flag function is part of the BlackBerry OS 5 upgrade. It should be available to anyone running a 5.0 BlackBerry.

I have it on my Storm 2 which also comes with 5.0 out of the box and the flags are both very handy and supported by my office's BES (hooks right in to Outlook's flags, so your desktop Outlook will pop up reminders, too).

keymaster

I don't know why but this review does not seem like a typical, non biased Crackberry review. Instead it seems like a commercial for T-Mobile. Especially with the unfair GSM comparison of 3G to EVDO Rev.0. The whole visual appeal section seems very off and unnecessary me.

Craig Johnston

You have to remember that I was reviewing the T-Mobile version of the Bold 9700. Kevin, Adam,and Chris all reviewed the AT&T and Rogers versions.

So its not an overall Bold 9700 review. So I'm sure this is why it felt very slanted towards T-Mobile.

I think the original Bold and this new Bold 9700 are all about visual appeal and luxury. Its sort of the whole point of the device. Its the flag ship BlackBerry. It is the best of the RIM device family.

The speed comparison between HSDPA and EVDO rev 0 was just a time constraint thing. If we ignore the comparison device I used, I still felt that browsing and downloading attachments was much quicker on the 9700 than on any previous BlackBerry model I have used. So at the end of the day, it may be the speediest.

gdasilva16

after reading this review i really really really want one now. great review Craig.

roninksb

You mention calendar improvements, the one improvement I have been waiting for is the ability to copy/duplicate any appointment. Has this been added in the new calendar version?

Please say yes.

HofstraJet

Will BB ever implement this feature? It is the one thing I miss the most.

BTW - great review, Craig. Keep up the great work. I can just hear you reading that review. :-)

nfldberryuser

First of all, thanks for the great review! Secondly, I looked back over the review for the Tour (including the BGR one in which they admit proclaiming each new BB superior to its predecessor) and I too was wondering how they shaped up in an actual side-by-side use comparison. My carrier (Telus) just launched its HSPA+ network and like many people the question for upgrading is going to be between the Tour & Bold 9700. A head-to-head piece on these would be fantastic.

PedroAvila

Since you have in your hands the T-mobile 9700, I would consult in wich bands works 3G? Thanks in advance

NeverBePeace

So the 9700 will have Visual Voicemail?! I'm sold.....I will be picking this up once it goes live.

That70sGAdawg

Does it have to be a Holiday, or Weekend to take pictures or listen to music on the new Bold? Is the one speaker as good as the 9000 two speakers?

That70sGAdawg

The work prospective is appreciated.

angelmann

Nice review Craig, thanks.

ffwilson

Still up in the air on this topic, Currently using the 8830. Which is the best overall smartphone 9700 or 9630?

wwa

To all BB users,

Would like to know about Blackberry platform.

Reasons:

1. I would like to know what seems to be unique/special/advantage of the Blackberry platform (especially today as we have no many other SmartPhones eg Nokia E71, iPhone)

2. Is it due to Blackberry platform's Push Email?

3. I have Nokia phone-shop guy telling i can actually perform all things a Blackberry can do on a Nokia E series (like Push Email, Instant Messaging) without neeeding to pay for the Blackberry license.

Thanks.

gerry702

good review, everything was spot on. i know i love mine, it does everything i need it to do

ViralTrojan

For highlighting the ability to flag a message, had one for 2 weeks now and just knew about it today..

ghettobomb

Good review this just highlights the reason why I have one it just covers all the bases