BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Hands-On Video and First Impressions

By Kevin Michaluk on 2 May 2011 09:54 am EDT

* Update: We've posted more hands-on videos below. Check them out!!! *

OK, so the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Experience Room at BlackBerry World is a zoo right now, but I just managed to spend a few minutes of hands-on time with RIM's newest Bold and all I can say is wow wow WOW WOW WOW. For anybody out there who wants a Smartphone with a front-facing full qwerty keyboard, THIS IS THE BLACKBERRY FOR YOU. We'll be reporting back later with a lot more info, but you can check out the video above to get a quick look and comparison to the Bold 9780, and keep reading for some initial impressions!

BlackBerry Bold 9930/9900 Hardware Impressions: 

  • Deceptively light. Looking at the device you'd think it would be sort of heavy, but picking it up the new Bold feels very light in the hand
  • THIN. Definitely the thinnest BlackBerry to date.
  • RICH looking. The one piece metal band around the perimeter of the device really ups the look and quality feel of the device.
  • Awesome keyboard. The device is tied down for security reasons, so haven't been able to really stress test it fully, but even so you the typing I've done on it feels great. The extra width on the keyboard makes a big difference and RIM has re-shaped the keys slightly to maximize the strike area on each key.
  • Wicked display. At 287ppi and 640x480 resolution on a bigger 2.8" diagonal display (as compared to Bold 9780/9700), the screen on the new Bold is really hawt. I was super impressed when I pulled up the full website on the browser and could read the blog post text with no zooming in. The text was tiny, but still legible.  
  • FAST - 1.2GHz in on the BlackBerry Smartphone OS is huge. Really makes the whole OS feel more modern. Definitely helps to keep the Smartphones in alignment with the awesome performance of the QNX OS on the PlayBook.

BlackBerry 7 First Impressions

  • Obviously very similar to BlackBerry 6, but thanks to the faster processor and GPU the experience definitely feels improved. It's faster and the the UI is much more smooth and fluid (RIM calls this liquid graphics)
  • New icons throughout the OS update the look and do look nice
  • Being able to customize the homescreen and changeup the homescreen views is huge
  • Lots of new features we stlil have to go back and play with! NFC, Magnetometer, etc.
All in all, I'm super stoked for the new BlackBerry Bold. Need it now!! We'll be playing with the new Bold all week, so I'll follow up in next couple of days with a more in-depth review. It's definitelly a BlackBerry Smartphone to be excited about. Start saving your pennies!

More BlackBerry Bold Touch Hands-On Videos

1. BlackBerry Bold Touch In-Depth Hardware and BlackBerry 7 Walkthrough

2. NFC Demo on the BlackBerry Bold 9930

3. Web Browser Shootout: BlackBerry 7 on Bold 9930 vs. BlackBerry 6 on Bold 9780

Discuss the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 in the CrackBerry Forums

Reader comments

BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Hands-On Video and First Impressions


RIM needs some serious help with marketing

this should be named Blackberry Bold 4G

and with the introduction of the video chat app why not a FFC

i wish they would delay the blackberry touch and put a FFC on it and call it the Blackberry Touch 4G

They really don't. Marketing won't make people buy blackberries. People who buy blackberries are either business users who already have one, or teens who see friends' blackberries and realise that they totally want one. In marketing, these don't stand a chance. Word of mouth and actual user experience however, make it the awesomely successful platform it is.

Very true with everything now having something social applied to it video or tv and also apps. It comes down to the fan favorites and also word of mouth which is the tired and true method of marketing....

I agree, blackberries are mainly for ppl who are stoked about their amazing functionality, like me!:p Though I gotta admit, I hope the charm slot(if it even has one) is on the bottom like on the 9000 and not on the side! So damn annoying on my 9780, had to remove my charm cuz it was always in the way. >.<

I can't wait for this one to come out... I think it's the perfect blackberry yet... they definitely improved with this one... although they are missing a front camera, other than that... it's a great device!

True but if you see those apple commercials ..yeah the "if you dont have an iphone" commercials.

They show you a lot about the device and that grabs people, i think RIM dont do that with their commercials, when you ask someone why they are going to buy a blackberry they will say because it have bbm.

They should have more commercials with their devices doing the things they do best (i know they have those few super apps commercials)

I hope they have something that would make people say "wow thats nice i would love that on my phone"

I'm just saying that their commercial should pack more punch and show why someone would buy a blackberry not just for BBM.

As far as word to mouth goes with all the "cool" feature IOS and Android have its had to persuade someone to get a blackberry just for BBM.

Where i live it seems like BB are for teens and the business sector only and they have no appeal to the middle class that's why i want their commercial to pack more punch so those folks would see that blackberry is also for them.

Ya and those commercials are so bogus. The latest one they show 3 apps: Delta, Starbucks and a third one that I can't recall but I know that I have all 3 of those apps on my blackberry!! And BTW the Delta app is a joke compared to Blackberry Travel.

I think they should do a commercial totally around BB Travel.

Ya, they definitely need to market their devices. The only reason blackberries are still selling is because they have bbm, organisers and the qwerty keyboard.... apple however has managed to sell just as much devices if not more, by just have a touch screen (which the blackberry torch has), ALOT of applications(which blackberries also have) and face-time (which blackberries can easily get). They made all these features seem better than they actually are by just MARKETING. The Ipad vs the Playbook, the only reason i was going to buy the playbook instead of ipad was because, i wanted something different, and for bbm :), but once i found out it wasn't gonna have bbm i understood why. RIM didn't foresee the whole GROWTH...realistically BBs were not made with teenagers in mind....or even socialites... so when more people started buying blackberries RIM decided to make them more eye-catching with different colours. Then came the touch screen, when the iphone 4 became more popular. And then the playbook, when apple owned the monopoly of tablet computing. If RIM put bbm on the playbook, less people would buy their phones, and seeing as the ipad 2 is still awe-ing the masses, less people would still buy the playbook. So ya they are clever, make more people buy the phone if they want the tablet, that way the are still playing the game. Personally I think its not enough, RIM need something completely new, that will stun us. One of the only countries where Blackberries sell more than anything else is Nigeria.... people will do anything to get their hands or even a finger on a blackberry smart phone.
Oh ya and they should have various aspects for teens, middle-aged and old people, and obviously still have that business feel to them.

Exactly they neeed to understand its not even about how good a company is these days its all about marketing

Agreed. The naming convention with names and numbers is silly. RIM makes too many devices IMO.

Have a Bold 4G a Touch 4G and maybe a Style 4G if the flips are selling well. Use Pentaband radios like Nokia so that you don't need a special sku just for t-Mob and the AWS crowd.

mehhhhhn i really want this...i need a phone right now and wanted to get a Torch but it seems i'll have to hold out for this. Release date and pricing info, please!

you're killing me with all these videos and reports. I want this dang phone NAOW! I'm gonna be waiting at the store for it to open when this comes out.

I think it's a perfect time to release a mobile version of Playbook (Dual Core, QNX, ...)
But ok, let's look at what we have now...
Faster processor ... but others brand are moving to dual core
More RAM ... but still less than 1GB
Better screen .... at least in RIM product maybe?
Thin...... even Playbook is thinner
No Adobe Flash (may be it's really laggy product from Adobe like Steve Jobs said)
No front camera (it's really a phone for business, food for thought)

"Faster processor ... but others brand are moving to dual core"

BB are optimized more than other devices and don't NEED dual core at this point. QNX isn't ready to be put on phones, so why force out dual core devices when it isn't needed at all.

"More RAM ... but still less than 1GB"
More than enough RAM for a phone like this.

"Better screen .... at least in RIM product maybe"
This screen is top notch, for any product.

"Thin...... even Playbook is thinner"
If you go too thin, the thing would fall out of your hands. Plus, the iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4 and will most likely still be thinner than the iPhone 5. Will you still compain then?

"No Adobe Flash (may be it's really laggy product from Adobe like Steve Jobs said)"
Flash works great on my PlayBook, so I don't think Jobs is even close to right.

"No front camera (it's really a phone for business, food for thought)"
FFC is the most overrated feature on any device. My fiance has an iPhone 4 and has NEVER used the FFC. In fact, about 90% of iPhone 4 and iPod Touch owners that I know have NEVER used the Front Facing Camera.

I've see that you have Playbook, which is really good in my opinion.
So why you have to buy an inferior product like 9900? like you buy iPad 2 and then buy iPhone 4 when you know iPhone 5 is coming (and probably before 9900 actually release).
But you did prove me something, there will always be customers for RIM, which is the greatest essential thing for any company in this world.

If you do own a playbook then you already know that once you have one you don't need your phone to do much. You can basically take your playbook everywhere so the phone will be used much less and this phone has all the specs it needs to do what needs to be done very fast.

I could care less about dual core on a phone. In fact I could care less about QNX on a phone, once you have the playbook you already have QNX in your hand.

Because the 9900 is a smartphone and the PlayBook is a tablet. I own a PlayBook (posting from it right now)and a 9700 and anyone who owns both will tell you that while there is overlap in functionality, the two devices are clearly used for different tasks. The 9900 is without ANY doubt the best BlackBerry smartphone to date and addresses basically every request of BB users in the past 3 years. I don't know how you could possibly call it an inferior product. But as per usual with any upcoming RIM product, it doesn't really matter what you think, if the product is a significant upgrade and suits my needs, I'm going to buy it. This is certainly the case with the 9900.

Dual core is still just a checklist feature rather than a clear benefit over a faster single core while we are in this transitional phase of mobile hardware, just like we saw on the desktop.

Since all Ram needs to be powered even when you are not using it, you will see that all manufacturers won't just throw more of it into a product like they can in a normal computer because it has an impact on battery life.

If you look at the pixel density of this device, it basically beats everything this side of an iphone 4, resolution is not the only important thing with mobile screens.

In the real world the playbook and this device are the same thickness, this phone is not the thinnest in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but it closes the gap sufficiently that it isn't a bulky option nor has it sacrificed battery life in a pointless quest for excessive thinness.

The playbook disproves Jobs' comments about flash, but in the case of this device, it probably wasn't considered a big enough selling point to go to all the effort to properly integrate it into something that is an evolution of os6 after all.

No front camera doesn't imply a thing about who the phone is for, it just means that they haven't bothered including something that is rarely used even on phones that offer it compared with alternative options such as computers and now tablets.

I was woundering what phone to go for next I phone or another blackberry and now I know, can't wait to get my hands on one. Now I'm counting down the days.

Osama bin laden is dead then this gets announced all within like a 24 hour time frame...Im playing the lottery tonight! No seriously though i have been away from blackberry for a while and this little gem might bring me back ..The only thing that could make this beauty better is if it came in white on the cdma version :) But it is a very snappy device and its good to see RIM putting out some quality stuff ..If it had a front facing camera no hesitation I'd dump my evo on day one ..But this is still great.

I cant wait for the full review of this fantastic model,and ma` surely next device,with all the Crackhead goods(videos,pictures,comparisons,contests....)

REALLY wish someone would do a side by side comparison between the Bold Touch and the original Bold 9000 instead of the 97xx series Bolds. BTW, how many speakers(for speakerphone & media) does the 99xx series have? Thanks.

I would really like to see that comparison (9900 vs 9000) as well.

Looking, the 9900 is definitely thinner and appears to have the same size keyboard.

I love how no one is mentioning that the "wider" form factor is actually more like the original Bold 9000 than any phone that has been released since. The real comparisons should be made against the 9000. Took RIM long enough to bring back the true form factor that everyone seems to have forgotten about the original.

Badass! **** well all my complaining and everyone else to bring back this bad boy finally paid off !!!! heheheh wooo!@

Well, he's jacking off to Crackberry TWICE in one hour then he needs help indeed! And he needs to tell me his diet...

tbqh, steve jobs can shove his doubts on flash on blackberry phones up his ass. Im running on my BB Torch 9800 and Youtube loads on my webpages and I can click play, adjust volume on the YouTube. It doesn't actually play, but it shows the loading sign and that shows promise and potential to me! One time I waited for it to load for a while then it said 'please update to flash 10' or something like that. It didn't even recognize it not having flash until a long while. I think that flash is around the corner imo... Anyone else able to do this on their blackberry torch?

Quit being so narrow minded. We should actually be thanking Jobs for pressuring adobe to finally attempt to make a decent Flash product.

Yep, i need this, just have to convince the wifey after buying the 64gb playbook, which i can now bbm on!!!

nice phone i'd get it if i wasnt on android but nice touch screen and keyboard concept i spent a long time waiting for that and it never happened ....well hope you guys have fun with it

and apparently it's official that OS 7 won't work with current devices using OS 6.. bleh.

explains why they canned 6.1 hey? But it's hard for me to believe that there won't be a lite version of 7 for these current phones.

In regards to this phone. 9900/9930 - it looks great and seems to run well. Love the form factor but I could certainly do with this phone without the touchscreen. give me a way to turn it off without the chance of accidentally setting off an option and I'll be fine with that too.

Btw Kevin, I hope you're right about how comfortable it is. Thin doesn't always equate to comfort. It looks way to flat to feel nice in the hand.

One last thing, its just a shame that on newer devices from RIM that the trend is to no longer have a second convenience key. taking something away that was useful isn't convenient at all!

I love how we're still glossing over the fact that this site, and especially the forums, are basically unreadable with 6.0 (and now 7.0 apparently) using the RIM browser (as Kevin mentions above), as are many others. There's no way I'll consider Blackberry OS "good" until I no longer have to use Opera Mini just to read the text on so many websites.

is this device going to be 4G?

I read this on another site... "T-Mobile has already committed to bringing the BlackBerry Bold 9900 to market later this year as its first 4G-capable BlackBerry."

5 MP is more than enough for me. More than about 3 MP surpasses the ability of the optics, so you just end up with a huge file containing a mediocre image.

Was anxiously anticipating more info on this since I heard about the leak on the BB website. This could definitely be my next phone, replacing my Bold 9700.

I like it a lot!!!!!

Hmmmmm, no comments from the iFreaks yet about the similar banding on the sides? those are always funny.

Well I just found my next phone. Was going for the Torch but I really like everything about the 9930. I don't think not having a FFC will matter at all. Nice work RIM!

Wow I'm totally in this one. Great job RIM and excellent coverage crackberry. Look forward to using this device.

I loved the original Bold ... my only complain was the weight on the original BOLD ... it seems with this new one that issue is resolved.

cant wait to get this ...

THIS Bold cannot be called a dinosaur, I loved my Bold 9000, but know I have a Torch. It sounds like this is the best of both ...who could ask for more! My fingers are crossed.

Engadget already has a RIM guy walking them through os7 including the browser, Social Feeds 2.0, FB 2.0, etc! Where is the good stuff CB?? He didn't demo Universal Voice Search. Could you, please? Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still don't believe this phone won't be out sooner than the "summer"...It's already detailed pretty well on ....why the hell would they promo this May 02, and then wait almost 2 months? I still think at&t, Verizon, Sprint will get the Bold 9900/9930 within the 1st couple of weeks of June, and T-Mobile end of June.

phone looks really nice. a lot slimmer and the screen is bright and crisp.

quick question though, does anyone know what theme he's using on his 9780?

I have to be the UK's biggest BlackBerry fan. Whats the chances of one of these babies for me over the water?

Very impressed. Would really like to see the 9900 side-by-side to the touch. Have the 9000 and will be upgrading soon. Have to give some thought.

Now that is what I am talking about, RIM! Finally a BB I can get excited about. I would have to see how it survives the first few rounds of reviews, but it looks awesome. Looks can be deceiving though, as I found out when I got the 9530.

Surprised Kevin didn't go in to check out the size of the OS and free memory like he usually does before he gets caught lol

At least 100 more wows than the 9800 Torch, the 9900/9930 looks great. Faster engine, bigger clearer screen - sounds like RIM's got another winner!

honestly im not happy at all

I will not be happy until they confirm the release date for the blackberry touch.

9700 user

I am on my 8th death bed...trying to hold out til this is release on Verizon.....Ah man my finger tips are blue paleish and i am seeing dots before my eyes...Hurry up RIM

What a beautiful device! After mostly enjoying, but sometimes enduring my Tour 9630, I can only imagine how awesome it would be to own a 9900. I can't help but be impressed with its specs, the speedy processor,bigger display,larger keypad, and no more trackball! Bring it on!

I love this phone, i cant wait to get my hands on it. love the touch screen and how clear and slick everything looks. Plse t-mobile carry this phone on ur line up of black berry.

Holy Cow! I can't get used to my Torch's tiny keyboard and regret my Bold 9000. I'm getting this device as soon as it comes out in France!

Too many things r the best about the new FLAGSHIP touch and 1.2 proceccor ! I guess the main reason is I support rim so I get every new BB that comes out ! So I never win anything at CB cause I tell the truth about device and new os !

The Engadget hands on is pretty nice the device loaded Engadet's full site beautifully and fairly quickly. My 9700 OS6 browser always crashes. This has been a marvelous day. I've had a really hard time getting any work done :)

Switched from a 9700 to an Iphone 4 when it was released, and i have to say that the 9900 might convince me to switch back to Blackberry. Not to say the Iphone isn't amazing, i think its a brilliant piece of technology along with all the new android OS phones (esp. Galaxy s2), but this 9900, in my opinion, might be the best overall phone for my needs, i definitely miss a physical keyboard

Hmm looking at the previews I had originally thought it was taller….I think slightly taller with a 3” screen would work great….oh well

btw did anyone else see the video of the guy comparing the dimensions of the 9900 with an iPhone 4? Looks to be slightly shorter but wider

Sweet look and cool specs. Looking forward in RIM kicking some butt with new phones coming out this year.

Bold Touch 9900 / 9930 - Now that is what I'm talking about!
Blackberry has a hit on its hands with this one with the combination sure to please the BB faithfull and bring new serious people into the fold.

More power, More memory, More Speed, More Screen, More Input Options! Lighter! Faster!

More Real World Satisfaction!

Maybe Crackberry and Blackberry should go on the road this summer with:

"The Boldly More Tour!" Good job RIM! Nice to see a winner, WIN!

Please bring the BB Touch to T-Mo with compatability on all bands for AT&T and T-Mo and make it HSPA+ 42Mbps.

I was hoping they wouldnt have the trackpad anymore. Mine had broken down twice and no one knows why. Its the trackpad useless with the new touch screen?

this would be a great phone for our daily lives!!! with fast processor, HD vid-capability, 5 MP cam, big memory for apps suited your own wants and needs! simply the best!

With the new hardware upgrades, this new Bold seems to be a pretty good successor to the previous version. Many other mobile platform users may call the specs out of date, but as we see in the videos, the hardware and software work pretty well together to generate a smooth experience. Will the rest of the world besides BlackBerry users consider the 9900 dead on arrival? More here:

It was a BB Torch that converted me. Having kept away from blackberry because of their (up until OS6) poor web browser I found the BlackBerry Torch an excellent phone. Personally I think the torch would have been better with a higher resolution display and not being a slider... It appears that this Bold 9900 might be the perfect phone.

Here's my shortlist:

iPhone = I had an iphone 3G.... Easy to use and stylish but iTunes sent me running.
Android = I was very, very impressed... I'll be debating between the 9900 and an android device.
Bada = What I have. I bought it based on paper however Samsung don"t live up to their promises on their 'social hub'. This is the worst for communications and instant mail.
Windows Phone = I have a linux PC at home... enough said.
BlackBerry = I had a Torch for some time and I was impressed. If I can have the same thing without the slider I'll buy one. The blackberry notification system and their communications infrastructure is IMHO the best of the pack.

I want to new 9900 it looks amazing plus thin / lighter then all the bolds. I hoope my wish comes true..... come on Crackberry I need a New Blackberry.

i think it looks very sleek and very cool. i started with the curve and i have the latest bold. i am excited for the new one to come out!!!!

Well I must say it looks very interesting. I have been a blackberry user for a number of years. I was totally looking forward to the Storm but was not happy with it and shied away from the storm 2. Currently I am using a Tour and am very happy with it. Reason for the Tour instead of the Bold was the size of the keys on the keyboard. slightly bigger for us with big fingers. Have been interested in a touch screen and was patiently waiting for a new version of the Storm or something totally new. Well it seems the new Bold 9930 seems to have fit the bill, combining both touch and QWERTY. Looking forward to it.

This is looking great and the slim look is a plus look forward to seeing this phone in my hands and using it to its fullest. Keep up the work RIM

I am actually tired of hearing that the 9900/9930 is the thinest BB. Sure, compare any BB to the silver band, yup. But if you compare to the thickness of the band plus the battery compartment, not so much thinner......

Is the OS 7 based on the QNX? If it is, this whole package looks extremely inviting as an upgrade to the original 9000 that I'm still using.

okay... I was actually thinking of maybe buying an HTC Android phone.... well..... guess I'm going to wait for this phone haha
does anyone BTW know when this phone will arrive in Belgium?