BlackBerry Bold 9700 First Impressions

By Adam Zeis on 5 Nov 2009 12:01 am
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The BlackBerry Bold 9700 takes all of the great BlackBerry features from recent devices, as well as some new flair, and packs a punch that some will argue is the best BlackBerry yet. With an excellent combination of size, a great keyboard, trackpad navigation and BlackBerry OS 5.0, the 9700 is a force to be reckoned with. The device is perfect for both business users and consumers. Those who are new to BlackBerry will have no problem adjusting to the new device as the OS 5.0 improvements keep getting better and better. Here we'll take a look at the best features of the device, and check out the BlackBerry OS including standard features as well as the latest OS 5.0 upgrades.

The Device

TMobile Blackberry Bold 9700

The Bold 9700 is a great little device. It feels good in your hand, and the size makes it easy to handle. It doesn't have the "bulk" of the Bold, and is not nearly as small as the Pearl. The full QWERTY keyboard feels good to type on, and the keys are just the right size. The new trackpad (which was introduced on the BlackBerry Curve 8520) is a welcome relief to the trackball on other recent devices. The trackball was known to stick or wear out, so hopefully all those issues are gone for good. The charging port is well placed on the top left, and the convenience and volume keys are in their standard positions. The back of the device is smooth and the mock-leather battery door adds a nice touch to the overall feel.

TMobile Blackberry Bold 9700

I like the overall feel of the device. The size is great - a good balance in the middle of the BlackBerry spectrum. I don't like to use skins or cases on my devices, so I like the fact that the back won't get too scratched up easily, and the sizes have a rubber coating to protect them from daily use. The screen is big and vibrant sp typing emails, instant messaging or watching videos are all done with easy. The trackpad makes navigating much easier than the outdated trackball. I don't fear that the trackpad will wear out, and as it has virtually no moving parts it just feels better all around. The command buttons and keyboard all feel solid, and if my Tour is any sign, will stand up to loads of use and never lose a beat. The charging port is in a good location and allows you to still type fairly well when plugged in. One of my only gripes is the low placement of the right side convenience key. It is lower than most, and I seemed to catch it a bit more when typing.

TMobile Blackberry Bold 9700

The Software

When firing up the device, we are greeted with the new OS 5.0 boot screen complete with progress bar. Once started, the applications are neatly spread out on the homescreen and folders for easy access. The T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9700 is running OS 5.0.0.330. This means some great improvements from earlier OS versions that are sure to make things easier. Pre-installed are the native BlackBerry apps that include calendar, memopad, tasks, messages, browser, camera and others. We can also find IM applications like BlackBerry Messenger, AIM, Google Talk and MSN Messenger. The clock, maps and various games round out the applications.

TMobile Blackberry Bold 9700
If you are coming to BlackBerry for the first time, it may take a bit to get into the swing of things and find all the goodies hidden away in the BlackBerry OS. There are many applications to simplify and organize your daily life. Before you get started, you may want to check out some of our helpful articles on getting up and running with your new BlackBerry:

Lets take a spin through some of the new features that come with BlackBerry OS 5.0. If you are a seasoned BlackBerry vet these may not be new to you, but first time users can get a glimpse of what is improved in the latest OS versions.

Boot Screen

Boot Screen

The new boot screen simply shows a "BlackBerry" logo with a progress indicator showing the bootup process.

Messages

Flag for Follow Up

OS 5.0 adds the ability to flag emails with the new "Flag for Follow Up". This options notes a message with a flag and allows a reminder to be set for a follow up reply. BES users can also access folders as well.

The date also now stays on top of the message list and does not scroll so there is no confusion as to what date the messages fall under.

Camera/Sending Images

Users have the ability to resize images before sending via MMS, BlackBerry Messenger, Email etc. You may choose from 3 resolutions (only smaller resolutions are shown) and resize before sending.

Calendar

BES users will see some great updates in the calendar application, allowing for forwarding of events, conference call options and attachement viewing. The standard options for BIS users are still present. Allowing for daily, weekly or monthly views as well as the ability to add multiple events to multiple calendars, set alerts, reminders and more.

BlackBerry Button

Application Switcher

Users can now press and hold the BlackBerry button to activate the application switcher. You may also press the BlackBerry button twice to activate the menu and take the default action.

Options Menu on Home Screen

Options
Options

The addtion of the options menu on the home screen allows users to change wallpaper, layout, theme and choose a download folder.

System Sounds

Options

Users can now assign even sounds for the device. Sounds may be assigned for startup/shutdown, USB cable connect/disconnect and battery status.

Email Setup

Email Setup

On previous OS versions the email setup was very simple and low-featured. The new application allows for full email setup as well as the ability to edit signatures and filters for each associated email address.

Profile Enchancements

Profiles
Options

The user profiles screen has multiple enchancements. A menu option is now available to edit the current profile and users can still access a menu to edit all profiles. The name of the current profile also now shows in the titlebar when editing. For each notification, users may select volume (silent or 1-10), count (times to play sound), vibration options and LED option. All profiles with the exception of Normal, Vibrate Only and All Alerts Off may be renamed or deleted.

BlackBerry Messenger

BBM 5.0
BBM 5.0

Although not bundled with the OS, BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 includes updates as well. User can now set avatars, locations and more. There is also the addition of groups, barcodes and other additions. For full features and usage, check out the Definitive Guide to BlackBerry Messenger 5.0.

The Verdict

Overall using the Bold 9700 for the first time (or jumping in from another device) couldn't be easier. There is obviously a learning curve if you are a first time user, but that is to be expected. The new email setup options in OS 5.0 are an amazing improvement from previous versions. No longer is it a confusing mix of PC and BlackBerry browser just to setup an email address. The messages, calendar and updated BlackBerry Messenger all round out an amazing device. With the ability to find loads of free and paid apps to suit your needs, you'll be able to tweak your new BlackBerry Bold 9700 to your liking, and never go back to the "Dumbphone" world again.

If you're looking for a little more on BlackBerry OS 5.0, BlackBerry Messenger or the BlackBerry Bold 9700, check out these helpful links for more information:

21 comments

pinky82

I can't wait to get my hands on this! Great review!

username0001

hurry up and release this phone before I lose my mind. I can't take all this video of everyone just being all happy and clicking, using the trackpad....blah blah blah.

StraightWisdom

If only Sprint would hop on some NEW stuff

kneeman

What buttons did he press on the home screen to pull up the screen that showed what OS it was using?

Adam Zeis

Hold down ALT+SHIFT+H to get to that screen.

ennTOXX

any idea if we'll be seeing an all (with keyboard) WHITE version?

samgbx

dont get me wrong i LOVE my 8900 but i didnt know anything about blackberrys before i got it, all id seen is youtube videos of un boxings etc and just new id love one, i didnt really know how old the curve is, so it really makes me mad that literally as soon as i get it a new blackberry comes out! iv still got just under 2 years left on my contract which is a LONG time and im one of these people that if something new of something i have comes out i really want it! extremely jelous of people who have it! i suppose atleast its taught me to do extreme research before getting anything else.

RLC44

Anyone recognize the weather app he's using?

jlb21

I don't knoooooooooooow......that trackpad looked a little laggy.......

:)

The Gift

I know you are just doing a job, but reading these reviews is like having a deja vu....with the last few handsets that RIM has released this year...nothing has really changed has it. We're just reiterating the same ol stuff, minus a couple new changes.. e.g trackpad.

The 9700 is hardly a big jump away from the curve 8900 and tour. Isn't the Bold meant to be the flagship phone?

I'm ready to take advantage of a t-mobile upgrade, but switching from my 8900 to the 9700 will be like moving sideways rather than up imo.

goldie52

Luv my 8900 to death but daaaammnnnnn u 9700!!!! What a decision I have to make ;-)

netposer#CB

At the beginning he said it's available on ATT...not true...yet.

abolds4397

I am glad that this review for the T-Mobile version of the 9700 was shown. I am impressed! As soon as I possibly can, I will upgrade to the 9700 (I have an 8320 right now)! Speed indeed, that is what I need!

owenmcstravick#CB

Where can I get the 9700 theme on this phone for my bold 9000?

Havraha

Since we're seeing so much of the T-Mobile Bold 9700, does that mean its released? Or is this all just pre-release stuff?

AMITYVILLAIN45

I cant wait i sent a letter to tmobile asking to be let go of my contract after all of their mess ups (I have a sidekick we all know what went wrong). This blackberry is soooo nice i just need tmobile to release mefrom the remainder of my contract and wait for this phone to roll out on AT&T

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gmeighan15

This device has all the best features of RIM’s lineup. While it is up to personal preference, the size of the new Bold is the most perfect yet. While the curve lineup feels fine in my hand, a heavier device like the Tour or Storm2 gives me a sense of the power the phone has. The Bold2, I’m sure, give me the exact feel that I'm looking for in the perfect BlackBerry. The Tour is the device right below the new Bold(imo), and used to be my favorite BlackBerry, but ever since I saw the Bold 9700, I was hooked. The new trackpad eliminates the annoying problems of a trackball (ugh) and will make this device actually work for the entire two years of a carrier contract. The keyboard on this device is awesome. It's by far my favorite part. It extends almost all the way to the edge of the phone, maximizing the ease of use and the typing speed. Also, the 9700 is the only qwerty device with the official OS 5.0, and I can’t go another day without 5.0 and threaded SMS.

So, please, Crackberry. Make my life.

jasonnet

I use an old Pearl equipped with a mini-USB port that can be used for charging. I charge by GPS, handsfree, Pearl, etc all via mini-USB. I have powered USB cables strategically placed in all my haunts. I can charge off my computer, wall, or car.

I'm worried that the existence of a charging port on the 9700in addition to a micro-usb port mean that we can't charge the 9700 via micro-usb.

So I ask...

Can I charge this with the micro-USB port?