Editorial

I switched from BlackBerry 10 to BlackBerry 7 and survived!

Devices

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 makes a return to ShopBlackBerry in North America

Editorial

I hope the BlackBerry Classic's trackpad lights up and powers down like it does on the Bold 9900

Editorial

The real reason My Cousin Vinny downgraded from the BlackBerry Z10 to a Bold 9900 and is waiting on the Classic...

Editorial

Have you ever tried using your old BlackBerry 7 phone after upgrading to BlackBerry 10?

Devices

The best BlackBerry you can buy right now

BlackBerry OS

Bell issues software update for Curve 9360, Bold 9790 and 9900

BlackBerry OS

Official OS 7.1.0.991 for the BlackBerry Bold 9930 from Verizon Wireless

BlackBerry OS

Official OS 7.1.0.923 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from DoCoMo

BlackBerry OS

Official OS 7.1.0.912 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from Telstra

CrackBerry Polls

CrackBerry Asks: Do you use the U key shortcuts on your QWERTY BlackBerry?

News & Rumors

Official OS 7.1.0.825 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 now available from Vodafone DE

News & Rumors

Official OS 7.1.0.794 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from China Unicom

News & Rumors

CrackBerry was on site as Rogers and CIBC made the first mobile payment in Canada with a BlackBerry smartphone

News & Rumors

Rogers and CIBC bring first mobile credit card payments to Canada using BlackBerry smartphones

BlackBerry OS

Official OS 7.1.0.746 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from Rogers Wireless

News & Rumors

Official OS 7.1.0.746 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from UTS

BlackBerry Accessories

Keep your BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 safe and stylish with the Incipio PREDATOR case

News & Rumors

Official OS 7.1.0.714 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 from Vodafone UK

News & Rumors

Leaked OS 7.1.0.714 for the BlackBerry Bold 9900

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BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review

"The superb keyboard is reason enough to buy the BlackBerry Bold 9900. Add in the touchscreen and blazing processor, BlackBerry 7 OS and a great web browser, and you have a recipe for pure CrackBerry bliss!"

CrackBerry's BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review
By Kevin Michaluk on 15 Aug 2011 02:09 pm EDT
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The Video - Bold 9900 Full Walkthrough

Everything you need to know about the BlackBerry Bold 9900 in 10 minutes! Check out CrackBerry Kevin's walkthrough of the best BlackBerry ever to come out of Waterloo. 

Youtube Link (expand video for full view)


The Good

Best keyboard ever! We love the addition of a high-resolution touchscreen display to the classic BlackBerry design. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is well-built, feels great in the hand, and the styling is tastefully luxurious. BlackBerry 7 improvements and solid tech specs deliver a super-fast user experience. It's the traditional BlackBerry experience on steroids.

The Bad

We could rant on there not being enough apps available, but we realized the economy was in better shape before people started playing Angry Birds on their phones - so we'll let it slide since the 9900's full keyboard design is more focused on productivity and communication than wasting time. That said, we're sad the battery got downsized. We want all the BlackBerry juice we can get! 

Conclusion

It's the best BlackBerry we've ever used or reviewed. Period. Exclamation Point! 

 

In This Review
Bold 9900 Hardware Review
BlackBerry 7 Impressions
Bold 9900 Final Thoughts
Pros/Cons Summary

More Bold 9900 Info
Bold 9900 Features & Specs
Bold 9900 Help & Discussion Forum
Buy Bold 9900 Cases & Accessories
Visit our Bold 9900 Super Page!

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review

BlackBerry 7 Smartphones - Pick your Form Factor!
Five new BlackBerry 7 Smartphones in three distinct form factors:
BlackBerry Torch 9810 (slider), BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 (full keyboard), BlackBerry Torch 9850/9860 (touch only)

After months of anticipation, we're now witnessing the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones, with Research In Motion rolling out five models of BlackBerry 7 Smartphones to some 225 carrier and distribution partners around the world. With the new phones all based off the same hardware and software platforms and delivering mainly similar features and performance, perhaps the most critical decision to be made by would be purchases is determining which design form factor is right for you.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Bold 9930 are of the iconic BlackBerry design, showcasing a front-facing physical keyboard. The Bold 9900 is the GSM version of the phone (ie. AT&T, T-Mobile), while the Bold 9930 will be heading to CDMA carriers (ie. Verizon, Sprint). The Bold 9900 reviewed here is from Rogers in Canada, which was the first carrier to start selling it. From a hardware design and software standpoint, the Bold 9900 and Bold 9930 are the same device, so this review is representative of both. That said, we've also done a separate mini-review of the CDMA 9930. Be sure to read our BlackBerry Bold 9930 Review and check out our BlackBery Bold 9900 / 9930 Carrier Pricing and Release Date for more info on the Bold of your choice.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Hardware Impressions

BlackBerry Bold 9000 vs. 9900
The Bold 9900 brings back the wide body of the original Bold (left), in a much sleeker design   

Having used and reviewed a LOT of BlackBerry Smartphones over the years, it only took a few minutes with the Bold 9900 in hand to realize this is the best BlackBerry RIM has built. Within the BlackBerry family of smartphones, the Bold brand is positioned as the premium offering, representing the best of everything BlackBerry, and more than any Bold before it, the 9900 lives up to its name.

While the Bold 9000 definitely made a bold statement with its sizeable dimensions and big keyboard, the abundance of plastic-chrome and faux-leather trimmings yielded an image of a BlackBerry that was blinged up in cheap jewelry. Don't get me wrong, it was still eye-catching and probably my favorite-designed BlackBerry up until the 9900, but it felt more like feigned luxury. With the next generation BlackBerry Bold 9700/9780 (and Tour 9630/Bold 9650 for that matter), RIM took a more conservative approach - downsizing the Bold to be more Curve-like in stature, and going with styling that while tasteful, was maybe a bit too understated to be considered Bold.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
From top: Bold 9000, 9900 and 9780. The Bold 9900 is the thinnest BlackBerry ever!

The new BlackBerry Bold 9900 exemplifies what the Bold brand is about - luxury by design. The 9900 makes a welcome return to the wide-body design of the original 9000, but in a much sleeker package that makes use of premium materials throughout. Goodbye plastic-chrome, hello metal! With the addition of a touchscreen on the outside and hardware platform upgrades on the inside that deliver more performance than we've ever seen from a BlackBerry Smartphone, this is the BlackBerry Bold we've been waiting for.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Features & Specs

Appearance, Form Factor, Build Quality

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The iconic BlackBerry design, updated with a touchscreen. Notice how the phone looks like its smiling?


At BlackBerry World I attended a media briefing conducted by RIM's senior VP of Industrial Design, Todd Wood, who walked us through the creative process and design philosophy behind the BlackBerry Bold 9900. It was interesting to learn that before the designers get to the fun part of modeling, it all begins with the "product inspiration board." The inspiration board Todd showed us for the 9900 targeted a fictitious urban male in his 30s and the other kinds of products he owned. On the board and inspiring the design team for the 9900 were other classically luxurious products including a BMW sedan, a Panerai watch (the exact same model that appears in a few of the photos in this review actually!) and Prada leather boots. By infusing that inspiration with a respect for BlackBerry's own lineage, many iterations of design later the BlackBerry Bold 9900 were born.

Knowing the inspiration behind the Bold 9900, its readily apparent that RIM succeeded in their design goals. The Bold 9900 oozes luxury and feels more like a quality product than an electronic gadget. At 10.5mm, it's the thinnest BlackBerry to date, and also the most solid. A big part of the reason for this solid feeling is the brushed stainless steel band that surrounds the perimeter of the phone, adding a touch of class (and no, I didn't see an iPhone 4 on RIM's design inspiration board!). In the hand, the Bold 9900 feels great. At 4.59oz (130g), it weighs less than you expect it to, and the width is perfect for a phone with a full physical keyboard. With its "PopTart" like shape, the overall footprint of the phone is fairly large, even when compared to the Bold 9780, but thanks to its thinness I've found the 9900 to still be easily pocketable in the front of my jeans.

At a glance, from the front the Bold 9900 actually looks a lot like the original Bold 9000, with the update from the trackball to trackpad being the most immediately noticeable difference. Closer inspection reveals many other subtle changes. Below the display, now gone is the color from all buttons. The keypad buttons went all white on the Bold 9700, and now the Send/End keys have lost their green and red coloring. Aesthetically, I love the change.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The glass composite door looks high tech. It's a bit easy to smudge, but we're digging it.


Above the keyboard (which we'll talk about more in a bit) is the expected row of BlackBerry controls, which allow for the one-handed navigation experience BlackBerry owners like myself value so much. Instead of individual buttons, the Send, Menu, Back and End keys are all part of the same piece, with the trackpad centered in the middle.

The trackpad on the Bold 9900 has received an awesome update - it now lights up in the dark! Taking things to a new level, RIM's designers worked with the engineering team to even design the power-off sequence of the Bold 9900. When the backlighting times out, first the keyboard dims off, followed by the display, then the BlackBerry navigation buttons and finally the trackpad. It's an awesome effect. One less-awesome thing about the trackpad to be mindful of is its close proximity to the display. Now that there's a touchscreen, if you're sloppy with your trackpad up scroll you could find yourself accidentally swiping on the screen without wanting to. I wouldn't call this a problem by any means, but it might take some re-adjustment if you've been using a non-touchscreen BlackBerry and have been swiping onto the display all this time. Above the navigation is the new touchscreen display, and above that on the top right is the good ol' crack light - the blinking LED. The LED on the Bold 9900 is now circular in design, vs. the more rectangular design on previous Bolds.

The back of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is stylish yet functional. The outer perimeter receives soft-touch rubber treatment, which aids in gripping the phone. The battery door has a high-tech carbon fiber look to it, and is made of a composite glass material RIM developed that is friendly to RF transmission (actual carbon fiber is not). I like the look of the battery door a lot. My only complaint is that it's easy to smudge and can make the phone a little bit slippery if you're holding it in such a way that you're not making contact with the soft touch rubber. The battery door holds on tight and is pried off from the bottom where there's a little gap, which also serves as the audio port where sounds emerge from the phone. 

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Brushed stainless steel looks great and makes the Bold 9900 feel solid. Even the buttons are metal.

The usual buttons and ports surround the perimeter of the BlackBerry Bold 9900. The right side of the phone has the standard volume up and down keys, with the mute key relocated from the top of the phone to be in between the volume keys. They serve double duty as media keys when playing music as well, for skipping tracks and play/pause. At the bottom right is the programmable convenience key.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The left side of the Bold 9900 is kept clean, with just the 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB port present.

The left side of the Bold 9900 features two ports. At the top is the 3.5mm headset jack, and below that is the microUSB port for syncing and/or charging. Because the port is cut into the stainless housing, it makes for a nice snug fit on the connector, eliminating the sloppiness we've noticed in the past on some models.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
At the top of the phone is a single button, for locking/unlocking the screen.

Centered at the top of the phone is a single button for locking and/or unlocking the screen. At the bottom are two contact points for the BlackBerry Charging Pod, which are mounted on a thin plastic strip which spans across the bottom. The brushed-plastic here is done so well I just assumed it was also metal.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The two circles are charging contacts for the always-popular BlackBerry Charging Pod

Under the battery door, RIM has engineered things to fit nice and tight, with room left for the removable battery, microSD memory card and SIM card. My only gripe here is that unlike the Bold 9700/9780, you can't insert or remove the memory card while the battery is in the phone. If you try and remove the microSD card while the battery is in place, you'll find yourself wedging the card into the battery, which puts you in a difficult situation (watch this video to see what happens!).

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Things are kept tidy under the battery door, with room for the battery, memory card and SIM card.

This really is an exceptional BlackBerry from RIM. I love the design and style direction they've taken with the Bold 9900. From a hardware and manufacturing standpoint, it's the best I've seen. Over the years I've had a habit of ensuring my BlackBerrys are Made in Canada units, but the four Bold 9900s I bought and unboxed were all Made in Mexico and seem pretty perfect. As for durability, I think the Bold 9900 should be able to stand up pretty well. During the filming and videoing for this review I managed to drop it a couple times -- once from chest height onto a hardwood floor - and the 9900 emerged unscathed.

 

Processor / Chipset / Performance

BlackBerry Bold 9900

All of the newly-announced BlackBerry 7 Smartphones, including the BlackBerry Bold 9900, are running the Qualcomm Scorpion MSM 8655 processor clocked at 1.2GHz on the Snapdragon chipset. An Adreno 205 GPU (graphics processing unit) is also onboard, powering BlackBerry 7's hardware-accelerated graphics, which RIM has dubbed "liquid graphics." At 1.2GHz, the processing power is roughly double the speed of previous generation BlackBerry Bolds. In addition to more speed, this hardware platform upgrade addresses a lot of the other nagging wants we've had for a while now, including 3D graphics support (has been lacking to date on GSM BlackBerrys), HD video recording and more.

While there may be faster processors and even dual-core phones on the market already on other platforms, when it comes to the BlackBerry OS I don't think what matters is the exact spec -- be it 1GHz, 1.2Ghz 1.4Ghz, etc. - but rather the experience it delivers. And 1.2Ghz on the BlackBerry OS is like injecting it with steroids. It actually took some getting used to the overall snappiness of phone and responsiveness of touchscreen. Honestly, it almost felt too fast at first, until I adjusted. Basic OS tasks like opening and closing apps are instant for the most part, and in five days of use I really haven't experienced any sort of hiccups or slow downs. The only time I've really seen the evil hourglass is while installing apps from App World, but even then I've been able to continue to use the phone.

It honestly has been a night and day difference compared to my Bold 9780, which even on the most recent OS builds has been running slow and hourglassing like crazy as of late. Some things still take some time on the Bold 9900, like booting up the phone after a battery pull, but so far I have yet to experience the need to be forced to pull the battery. Between the hardware and BlackBerry 7 software, everything seems to be running smooth so far. I hope this speed holds up as I get out of review mode and into even more real world use (I'm curious to see how it performs after I turn the wireless connection back on after being on a four flight - an action which normally makes my 9780 unusable for a few minutes). I'm thinking it also might be time for another BlackBerry Stress Test! Stay tuned for that.

Keyboard / Typing

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The best keyboard ever put on a smartphone.

Best. Keyboard. EVER. Seriously. The previous holder of this title was the keyboard on the original Bold 9000, which I thought was unbeatable, yet RIM managed to improve upon it. The Bold 9900's keyboard is actually 5% wider than the 9000's keyboard, and the keystroke itself has improved. It takes very little pressure to press a key down, yet the rebound is still extremely fast. The keys make that definite click action and sound, which help you get into a great typing rhythm. If you want to experience something magical, try typing on the BlackBerry Bold 9900's keyboard.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Keyboards
BlackBerry Bold Keyboards. From top: Bold 9900, Bold 9780, Bold 9000.

I actually upgraded Miss CrackBerry from her Bold 9700 to the Bold 9900, and having never having experienced the original Bold 9000's keyboard she was absolutely blown away the ease and speed of typing on the 9900. Her exact words were, "It's like typing on air... or clouds, yeah, it's like typing on puffy clouds." Not exactly the most technical reaction, but she made me realize a good point. The keyboard on the Bold 9900 isn't exhausting. I've pounded out some super long emails on the Bold 9900 now, and by the end my fingers don't feel like they've put out any effort, which hasn't been the case for me on previous BlackBerry keyboards.

If you spend any significant amount of time each day on your phone sending emails, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, BBMs, etc., do yourself a favor and try out the keyboard on the Bold 9900. Your thumbs will thank you.

Touchscreen Display 

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Adding a touchscreen to the iconic BlackBerry design adds to the overall user experience 


Finally! It's almost comical to think about how long it took RIM to get a touchscreen into the traditional BlackBerry form factor, but it's finally here. It's responsive, it's smooth and it really adds to the overall usability of the device. After a few days on the 9900 I picked up my Bold 9780 again, and literally within seconds found myself tapping the screen and cursing that it didn't have a touchscreen. Oh, how the times have changed!

In addition to touch functionality, the display itself received a nice bump in physical size, color and resolution, from the previous generation of Bold. The BlackBerry Bold 9900's 2.8-inch (diagonal) 24-bit display runs VGA at 640 x 480 pixels, for 287ppi. By comparison, the Bold 9780's 2.44-inch display delivers half VGA at 480 x 360. The BlackBerry Bold 9900's display really is nice. Colors are crisp and vivid, and the display is bright - even at the default 70 percent setting. RIM tells us the display is made of "extra hardened glass," so there's no plastic here.

Now that we have a touchscreen on the iconic BlackBerry form factor, I have two new missions for RIM's designers and engineers for the next BlackBerry Bold:

  1. Find a way to increase the height of the display by 25 percent or so. While I'm a huge fan of the pinch to zoom functionality in the web browser, I think a little additional height would make the display that much better for a touchscreen. Let's take that empty space currently above the display (and below the speaker/LED) and stretch that that screen out.
  2. Find a way to work the BlackBerry PlayBook's bezel gestures in here. As a PlayBook owner, on more than a few occasions now I've found myself swiping down from the top of the 9900's display in anticipation of an option menu popping out. I'm hoping/assuming this functionality will come with a future BlackBerry/QNX SuperPhone, but I sure wish I could do it on my Bold 9900 instead of having to tap the menu key. Side note, if you're a keyboard kind of person and on the fence between getting the BlackBerry Bold 9900 or waiting for the first QNX SuperPhone, the rumored BlackBerry ‘colt' is going to be a full touchscreen device (no keyboard). So don't wait. Get the Bold 9900 now and upgrade later when the time is right.

Overall, the Bold 9900 sports a great display and I'm loving the touchscreen experience!

Memory

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Memory
Application Memory after five days of use and a handful of apps installed.


The BlackBerry Bold 9900 ships with 768MB of RAM and has an additional 8GB of onboard memory for media storage. Additionally, there is an expansion slot that supports up to 32GB microSD cards (whether or not a microSD card comes in the box will be carrier dependent - the Rogers unit reviewed here did not ship with a microSD card).

The 768MB of RAM is up from the 512MB found on current in-market BlackBerry Smartphones, but unfortunately the user in terms of additional Application Storage doesn't realize this increased capacity. We found Application Storage Free Space out of the box to be 229.9MB (with unused languages removed), which is actually less free space than my Bold 9780 had on it when I made the switch to the 9900 (it was sitting at 242MB of free space). I reached out to RIM here to see what was eating up all this additional memory and received the following response:

The additional RAM is used to power the capabilities of Liquid Graphics and the higher resolution displays found in these BlackBerry 7 devices. The amount of free application space remaining on the device is dependent on the number of languages preloaded on the phone, applications and user data in memory. In the Applications Management screen users can manage/delete their applications as needed and delete unwanted language packs. In addition, many applications efficiently utilize both the on-device Device Memory and Media Card to store portions of the application. This is true for many of the larger, graphics intensive applications such as the 3D Roller Coaster Rush Jurassic 2 game.

So is this slight drop in Application Storage memory a big deal? With 512MB of RAM in BlackBerry 6 devices, I've personally never come close to running out of memory, so I don't foresee it causing an issue for the vast majority of BlackBerry owners. It just sucks from a value proposition standpoint - I think most CrackBerry readers, myself included, we're under the impression that the jump to 768MB of RAM would mean a ~200+ megs of additional memory to take advantage of, and that's not the case.

Battery Life

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The 9900's 1230mAh battery is smaller than previous Bolds, but should get most people through the day OK.

BlackBerry smartphones have a track record of having pretty amazing battery life, so I winced when I learned RIM chose to downsize the 1500mAh battery found in the Bold 9700/9780 to the new 1230mAh JM-1 found in the Bold 9900. If anything, batteries are something I'd like to see get bigger - not smaller! The new battery is very thin, so I'm assuming this downsize was a forced compromise in attaining the status of thinnest BlackBerry ever.

Considering the new Bold has a faster processor and bigger, higher-resolution display, even prior to release we were concerned about battery life. But talking to BlackBerry Product Managers at BlackBerry World and BlackBerry 7 Fan Night, we were told that the Bold 9900's target battery life was a full day of use. RIM continues to make gains in their power management on the BlackBerry platform, and I can only surmise they'd be ok with shrinking the battery size if they knew they could hit their target. 

Here's how RIM rates the battery life on the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930:

  • CDMA Talk Time: up to 6.6 hours; CDMA Standby Time: up to 12.8 days (9930 only)
  • GSM Talk Time: up to 6.3 hours; Standby Time: up to 12.8 days
  • UMTS Talk Time: up to 5.9 hours
  • UMTS Standby Time: up to 12.8 days
  • Audio Playback Time: up to 50 hours
  • Video Playback Time: up to 7.4 hours

So how's the real world battery life been?

Since getting our hands-on the new Bold, the crack team has been tracking battery life closely (see our initial Bold 9900 battery life analysis here). Our initial observations have been positive overall, with the 9900's battery typically getting us through the day with a little BlackBerry juice left in the tank, even with gadget-lust type use. Under more average usage conditions we've even seen the battery indicator read above 50 percent come bedtime after an 18-hour day. Not too shabby.

That being the case, average users shouldn't have to worry much about daily battery life, if at all. Heavier users may find themselves wandering into the low battery zone more often than they'd ideally like to see, but for the most part should be able to make it through a day of regular use. As for the hardcore CrackBerry addicts, no battery lasts long enough. It's a good thing we sell BlackBerry chargers and BlackBerry Bold 9900 batteries!

It's still early days for the BlackBerry Bold 9900, so I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic about the battery life but put the Happy Dance on hold for now until we experience it running on more carriers. As much as we've seen the battery last a full day and then some, we've also been hearing a few reports from some Bold 9900 owners claiming their battery needs a top-up by midday and that its not performing as well as their previous or other BlackBerry under similar conditions. We're going to keep out our eyes glued on our battery indicators over the days ahead, so keep it locked to CrakBerry and we'll follow up with our ongoing findings.

Phone, Audio, Data

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Yes, the car is parked! Phone in hand while driving is bad. Don't do it!


When it comes to using the BlackBerry Bold 9900 Smartphone as a phone, it appears to handle that task just fine. Throughout testing I've had no real issues with sound quality or voice quality when talking to the people I normally talk to. My mom of all people volunteered up (without any prodding on my end) that I sounded more clear than normal, so maybe there are some subtle improvements here over previous generation BlackBerry models. ... Mothers have a way of knowing these things.

The microphone pickup is a tiny slit on the front bottom right corner of the phone, the slit is on the plastic chin below the keyboard, right next to the stainless housing. As long as you hold the phone normally when talking you'll always be good to go. I did find that by kinking my neck left and sandwiching the phone between my left shoulder and left ear, it positioned the phone in such a way that I was blowing directly into the microphone which caused some loud annoyingness for the recipient on the other end.

We did quite a bit of testing of the speakerphone, and found it to be pretty good. As mentioned earlier, the port for sound to come out is located on the back of the phone at the bottom of the battery door cover, but with the shape of the device its positioned in such a way that isn't blocked when lying flat.

On the data front, the new hardware platform on BlackBerry 7 Smartphones now sports a 14.4 Mbps HSPA modem, which is a big jump up from the 3.6Mbps modem on BlackBerry 6 Smartphones. On the Rogers network, my homescreen no longer shows a 3G icon for activity, but rather a H+ one denoting HSPA+. Is it really a 4G BlackBerry? You're going to see the new BlackBerry 7 Smartphones get marketed different ways by different carriers. The bottom line is that there's a 14.4 modem on board, so while data will be quicker, the whole 4G vs. FauxG issue is up for debate. If you want more insight into this, check out our article on Clarifying 4G vs FauxG.

Cameras / Video Recording

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Hooray for HD video recording on a BlackBerry. Finally!

HD Video Recording: FINALLY we have HD video recording on a BlackBerry Smartphone. The Bold 9900 records video at 720p (1280 x 720 resolution) and I've been really impressed with the quality so far.

To see example HD videos recorded my the Bold 9900, check out Sample #1, Sample #2 and Sample #3. Be sure to set the video playback up to 720p for full experience.

5 Megapixel EDOF Camera: One of the only real disappointments I have on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the loss of autofocus functionality from the camera. We reached out to RIM to see what was up here, and got this response:

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 has an always in focus 5MP camera (also known as EDOF, Extended Depth of Field) which allows for excellent image quality and it has an ultra thin footprint, which allowed us to achieve the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone to date. The EDOF camera keeps subject matter in focus while offering high quality images and 720p HD video capture.

Essentially, this was a design decision that only affects the Bold 9900. Where there's a will, there's a way - I'm sure RIM could have figured out how to get it in there, but I'm guessing it was cost-prohibitive and the business decision was made to simply go with EDOF only. As for the other newly-announced BlackBerry 7 Smartphones, the new BlackBerry Torch 9810 and Torch 9850/9860 all retain autofocus. The EDOF camera still takes some great photos, including the one below I snapped on the 9900, but there are definitely times when autofocus will make for a better photo. How much this affects you is going to depend on your camera usage. I'm definitely hoping the next Bold brings back the autofocus functionality, and maybe adds a front-facing camera to the mix as well.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Taken on the Bold 9900's 5mp EDOF Camera

For additional Bold 9900 photo comparisons, click here.

NFC

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The Bold 9900's NFC Antenna is built into the battery door. ... Clever!

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the first BlackBerry to support NFC, or Near Field Communication, which is a short-range wireless technology (4cm or less) that allows two devices to communicate - there's always an initiator and a target. On a device like the Bold 9900, that can mean a few things, like bringing the phone close to a poster to launch an action such as downloading an app, or pairing accessories together, or even making wireless payments. RIM is committed to NFC so expect to see a lot of progress here over the months and years ahead as you start using it for more and more things. The photo above shows exactly how RIM put the NFC antenna into the BlackBerry Bold 9900. They built the antenna into the battery door! On the Bold 9900, you can turn on NFC from the homescreen by pulling down the Manage Connections menu. You'll want to start training your brain to spot the NFC logo everywhere you go. 

NFC

It's an emerging standard, so much so that I couldn't find anything NFC-enabled to test the Bold 9900 out on yet while working on this review. To learn more on NFC you can read up on it here and be sure to check out the demo video we recorded of NFC in action on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 back at BlackBerry World.  

Other Internals - Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi , Other Sensors

BlackBerry Bold 9900
I'm not sure why the Bluetooth on my Bold 9780 was shaky, but it's rock solid on the Bold 9900.

Bluetooth: Bluetooth isn't something to get excited about these days -- the functionality is a given -- but I have to give props for the Bluetooth in the Bold 9900/BlackBerry 7 as it solved whatever issue me Bold 9780/BlackBerry 6 was having with Bluetooth pairing in my car. I think the issue was really specific as I could never find a solution to it (I could occassionally pair once after a battery pull, and it would never repair after that), but whatever the problem was it no longer exists with the 9900. 

GPS: The Bold 9900 has GPS on board, and the few tests I've done so far have found my location very quickly and very accurately.

WiFi: WiFi connectivity is present in the form of Dual-Band Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 GHz and 802.11 a/n at 5 GHz.

But what about the ability to turn your BlackBerry Bold 9900 into a Mobile Hotspot? Back in early 2011, when we first saw the roadmap leak for the new lineup of phones, we saw that this functionality was on the feature list. After all, the chipset definitely supports it and we've even seen/heard of earlier builds of the BlackBerry 6.1/BlackBerry 7 OS that had the functionality built-in. We reached out to RIM on this one too, and got this for a response:

Mobile Hotspot functionality is not available. 

Obviously there's no explanation here for us, but we can hypothesis a few scenarios: either RIM chose not to include the functionality (they tried and it just didn't work well on the BlackBerry OS), or that it's still coming but just isn't available yet, or it was ready to rock but they didn't get carrier support for it and pulled it out. I'm not sure what the story is exactly, but I'm still holding out hope that we'll see this feature get rolled out via a software update, as this leaked document from Bell shows

Other Sensors: The BlackBerry Bold 9900 includes a few other sensorts that add to the capabilities of the device, including an accelerometer for device orientation, a magnetometer that acts as a digital compass, and a proximity sensor that turns off the touchscreen display when you're on the phone.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Accessories

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Charging Pod & Case

With the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 offering an all-new design, you're pretty much going to be on the hook for all new BlackBerry Bold 9900 accessories, especially when it comes to BlackBerry Bold 9900 cases and BlackBerry Bold 9900 batteries (you'll be good to go with any microSD cars you own, and we *think* most microUSB chargers should work ok but are going to do some testing there to make sure).

RIM has even changed up the look of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 Charging Pod away from the old silver design to a black stand-like version simliar to that of the BlackBerry PlayBook. Depending on your mindset, perhaps the ultimate accessory to the Bold 9900 is the PlayBook. I've found the 9900 to handle the BlackBerry Bridge app better than my Bold 9780 did, and tethered web browsing feels quicker thanks to the faster modem on the 9900 (followup posts on that to come).

BlackBerry Bold 9900
Perhaps the utimate Bold 9900 accessory is the BlackBerry PlayBook!

For more information and to buy accessories for your BlackBerry Bold, be sure to visit our ShopCrackBerry.com store.  Canadians be sure to head to our CrackBerry Canada store. Keep it locked to CrackBery for reviews of all the new accessories as we get them!

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Hardware Wrap-Up 

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The BlackBerry Bold 9900's hardware gets two CrackBerry thumbs ups!

On the outside, the Bold 9900 is a drop dead gorgeous BlackBerry bombshell. I can't even think of one thing I would change about it. Honestly, I'm smitten. I've actually caught myself staring at it unknowingly on multiple occasions now. I love the way it looks and I love the way it feels - the way I can swipe on it and especially the way I can type on it. I know it sounds lame, but honestly, I can't help but feel that RIM designed this phone just for me. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the best BlackBerry ever built and answers the call to everything I've been wanting in the iconic BlackBerry design.

But you know what they say ... it's what's on the inside that counts. And on the inside, the Bold 9900 delivers as well. The new 1.2GHz processor and Snapdragon chipset provide an overall level of performance that has to be experienced to be appreciated. It's FAST. But to attain that gorgeous exterior and thin form factor, a couple of compromises had to be made on the inside. The battery had to be downsized and autofocus functionality was dropped from the camera. I'm going to overlook these as minor character flaws... That's what you do when you're in love, right?

BlackBerry 7 OS Impressions

BlackBerry Bold 9900
BlackBerry 7 - it's like BlackBerry 6, but faster

The BlackBerry OS got a major overhaul last year with the debut of BlackBerry 6 on the Torch 9800, which modernized the user experience and optimized it for touchscreen displays (see our in-depth BlackBerry 6 Review). In addition, it introduced a WebKit rendering engine that addressed BlackBerry's historically poor web browsing experience.

While BlackBerry 6 fundamentally changed the homescreen and user experience, BlackBerry 7 refines it and adds new features based on the capabilities of the updated hardware platform. This is the primary reason RIM re-branded what was originally BlackBerry 6.1 to BlackBerry 7. Because many of the improvements found in BlackBerry 7 are tied to the hardware -- hardware that doesn't exist on the current in-market BlackBerry Smartphones -- BlackBerry 6 Smartphones won't be able to update to BlackBerry 7. Distancing the OS numbers helps deliver this message. Plus BlackBerry 7 just sounds cooler than BlackBerry 6.1.

The biggest hardware-related OS change is the implementation of "Liquid Graphics," a term RIM has trademarked that reflects the hardware-accelerated graphics experience of BlackBerry 7. While it seems a bit silly to brand something that's been on other platforms for years, we love the results - this is a much more responsive, smoother BlackBerry interface.

BlackBerry Bold 9900BlackBerry Bold 9900
If you hate the side to side panel scrolling of BlackBerry 7, you can remove it entirely! 

Complimenting the improved Liquid Graphics experience, the homescreen experience gets a minor but welcomed facelift, with new application icons and the ability to manage panels. I like the new icons! They feel more app-like than the wireframe-styled icon set in BlackBerry 6. And I love that I FINALLY have the ability to manage the homescreen panels, going so far as to disable all additional panels.

BlackBerry Bold 9900
The BlackBerry 7 Web Browser is Much Improved!

Saving the best for last, the web browsing experience is greatly improved in BlackBerry 7. RIM tells us it's 40% faster than BlackBerry 6 and 100% faster than OS 5. In a head to head web browser shootout against the iPhone 4 and Google Nexus S, the Bold 9900 showed it was competitive. Finally! Between the web browser optimizations, the faster processor and faster modem, the web browsing experience on BlackBerry has moved from being one of tolerance to one of enjoyment. There's always room for improvement though - I want to see BlackBerry kill the competition in browser speed.

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Conclusions

CrackBerry Buddah is smiling because he LOVES the BlackBerry Bold 9900!
CrackBerry Budai is smiling because he LOVES the BlackBerry Bold 9900!

Bottom line, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the best BlackBerry to date. We love the design, and the upgraded hardware platform delivers a ton of performance to the end user. It really is the best of BlackBerry as we have known it.

That said, there's nothing fundamentally different in BlackBerry 7 that's going to change the way you use your BlackBerry. For some that's not a bad thing. For others it may be. There has always been a lot to like in the BlackBerry OS. And this is the same BlackBerry OS, with the same strengths and the same weaknesses. It's still by far the best mobile platform for communication and it's still lagging in areas like the quality third party apps.

But if you're buying a phone with a keyboard in the year 2011, it means you place communication and messaging as a priority in your Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs. The BlackBerry OS suits that priority. As does the BlackBerry Bold 9900's keyboard. Seriously, the keyboard alone is reason enough to buy the BlackBerry Bold 9900. Don't believe me? Go try it!

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Summary

Pros

  • 1.2 GHz processor is FAST
  • Much improved web browser
  • Welcome return to the "wide body" design
  • Best keyboard ever!
  • Touchscreen adds to the usability of the iconic BlackBerry form factor
  • Luxurious use of materials
  • Excellent build quality
  • HD Video Recording finally here!
  • NFC support is nerdy cool, even if we don't know what to do with it right now

Cons

  • Smaller battery than on previous Bolds
  • No autofocus on the camera
  • More RAM but less usable memory

Things We're Watching For

  • Battery Life - we hope it holds up to more real world use!
  • WiFi Hotspot - will it come with an OS update?
  • Apps - are developers going to get onboard with BlackBerry 7? 

Reader comments

BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review

237 Comments

What to do?? WHat to doooooo?????????????
My current feelings are:
33% Go for the 9900 Bold
33% Upgrade to the new 9810 torch
33% keep my ole' reliable 9800 Torch for another good 6 months or more... who knows maybe prices go down a bit?
01% iPhone... just kiddn! :D

I guess I won't really know until I get to try them out as soon as demo units are available at Carrier stores...

PS Damn you AT&T!! MAKE THE 9900 AVAILABLE FOR US NOW!!!!

Ian

I went in to buy the 9810, I walked out with a 9900. There is a massive difference in build quality and finish. I cannot stop playing with this phone, I have 0 regrets. Get the 9900.

Awesome! Thanks!! That's kinda what I'm hoping to feel as soon as I try one out.

I just hope I wont miss the screen real estate on the Torch... i guess I can pull out my PlayBook when I feel the need for larger screen.

Enjoy your 9900!

Exactly my experience. Went in to buy the 9810 and walked out with the 9900 and am still blown away by this phone. Just the feel and the build quality.
The keyboard alone makes me more productive.

As a current torch user I was 99% sure it was going to be torch 2 for me... I went into futureshop and asked for the 9900 to try it... Beautiful I have to admit!! After playing with it and using it... I did a full 180 and I'm going to use my upgrade for it... Astonished me with the hardware!!

The fact that BB 7 devices cannopt be activated on BES is a huge Con and yet it was not even mentioned.
Its like brnad new spanking car with no tires...useless

hi kevin ,
first of all i've been a fan of this site and im an old time blackberry user.
straight to the point, im quite dissapointed, in fact im tottaly dissapointed buying a 9900 to replace my old trusty 9700 after reading your review of 9900.

-Battery life , the most important aspect in a phone for me, cause no matter how fast the proccesor, how good the graphic, etc, it will all be useless without a battery power. and this 9900 is totally the great example of that theory.
i don't considered my self as a heavy user as i carry 2 phone for me everyday. used to be a BlackBerry 9700 as my bussiness phone and an Apple iphone 4 as my personal phone.
i carry them everyday.
i do bussiness stuff on my blackberry, mainly BBM, calls, emails and text massages only.
i do my leisures stuff on my iphone 4 , camera, video, games, browsing, etc.
normally both phone will last for 1 day usage.
i always go out from my house with fully charged bateries at 9 am and go home at 6 pm, by the time i was home, both 9700 and iphone 4 still have about 50% batteries left .
but with this 9900, my battery life is very very terrible.
i go out at 9 am, normal usage, few calls, bbm, email and text. at arround 2 pm it went dead on me !
so dissapointed in this.
i did everything i could, screen brightness set to 10, signal to 2G (even this defeat having a 3G enabled phone, might as well go back to blackberry 8900)
turn off wifi, bluetooth, etc. still it only last me 6 hour at the most of normal usage.
i don't know if theres people that reporting to be able to make it last for a day, maybe they only make 1 phone calls and let the phone rest on their tale for the rest of the day. but for me, this is very very very bad.

-built quality
this is also important
i'm on my 5th 9900 now,
the first 4 have some defect, either track pad is very off centre and croocked, squeaky trackpad, squeaky menu or back button, flickering screen, etc.
even on my current one, my 5th, i have squeaky back button, and somethimes the trackpad move by it self not in the bright sunlight, even in my bed room while im getting to sleep, so thats not normal, or atleast not supossed to be like that. but i'm just so tired of changing my phone and restoring the data over and over again.
to say this is a very good built blackberry, is totally missleading.
i have a friend who own a mobile shop and he said to me that lots of people return / exchange their 9900 for the exact same problem.

-camera this is minor and this nothing to do with your revew as you said the camera is poorer than 9780. but i just want to let out my steam here to RIM if they are reading this.
please don't get us excuse that you can't put an autofocus in the 9900 cause the phone profile is to slim to put autofocus mechanism.
look at iphone, it's slim and yet pack an awesome af camera, in fact its one of the best outthere. ithink RIM purposelly do this for marketing purposes, eg. directing us to buy 9810 if we need autofocus, or maybe if they in fact put and autofocus to 9900 the battery life gonna be worse as the mehanical aF need battery to operates.

anyway thats just my thought , actually i don't critisize you kevin, you have been a good reviewer, but im critisizing RIM for theese.
why can't you make a 'decent' phone for God sake ?

the on;y thing that i love about my 9900 i the keyboard, yes the keyboard is heavenly, but then aggain whats the use of a great keyboard if the phone can't be functioned because it runs out of battery juices ?

just designwise, i regret all my comments, take as much time as you want or need, this is a magnificient review!

In the "BAD" you "forgot" to mention the lack of memory and the downgrade on the camera.. both of which are HUGE DEALS!

Sure I did. Not in the teaser summary at the very top, but it's in the Full Cons list at the bottom. And also mentioned within the review extensively. Not even room at the top for every con.

I dunno Kevin. Seems to me that the camera con should be at the very top of the con list. Hate to say this, and don't take this wrong, but its almost like you are catering to RIM to not put this at the top of the list. IMHO, this is nuts to downgrade the camera, when more and more people are using their phones as their main "point & shoots." Even though I use my BB as my main phone (5 out of 7 days), I've made the decision to not buy the 9900 based solely on the downgraded camera. If I absolutely need a quick browser, or play games (I never play games), I will pull out my iPhone I keep in my briefcase. Not everyone is going to want to do that, or perhaps can't. I hope RIM saw your reviews, and the camera comparison, AND heard the comments made.

Hopefully, in future phones, I hope they keep the bold shape, and hit the ball out of the park, instead of making these strikeouts.

You are making an uneducated statement. Take a look on the comparisons of the camera technology before you jump so quick. Snaps faster, better for video, and loses the auto focus for up close things. I have the phone and had the torch version with auto focus. Give me good 720p video and good camera speed over autofocus.
If you don't own the phone you can't really make a judgement call.

Kevin, I have a deal breaker question concerning the new BB7 line up for you. In a recent Engadget article titled 'BlackBerry to run Android apps on future QNX devices?' http://engt.co/o5d3wB It was stated that the new line up of BB7 devices WILL NOT run the Android App. The Android App will run on QNX devices. By the process of elimination this directly suggests that new BB7 devices will not be upgradable to the QNX operating system.

Is this correct?

If you don't already know the answer, could you please look into this for all us RIM consumers? If RIM isn't planning on programming QNX for use on, say, the 9900, then it will greatly impact my next Blackberry purchasing decision as I will be forced to wait for the QNX crop to pull the trigger. In addition, Blackberry users deserve to know!

HUGE DEALS, huh?

I didn't realize a phone camera with no auto-focus could be considered such a HUGE DEAL... Like seriously, what are you taking pictures of? Are you taking them to Blacks to get them developed or something?

Nobody wants to see blown-up pictures of your stupid cat Mittens. A phone camera is convenient, not a replacement for a real one.

And from the sound of the response Kevin got from Blackberry, the larger applications can utilize the internal media storage... otherwise, applications on the app world are relatively small, and will most likely stay that way until QNX reaches the phones.

if you take a lot of close up pictures and/or pictures of text, IT MATTERS. I take pictures of my computer screen, books, magazines, other pictures all of the time. So this is a huge deal...possibly enough to make me keep my 9700.

good thing it has a 5MP camera so those closeups don't need to be closeups ;)

So, it doesn't matter to the point of not buying this phone...

I'm sure you can figure out a work around to your book picture taking problem. Pictures off your computer screen doesn't make much sense since the phones have browsers and it's super easy to zoom in on your desktop, but whatever I guess...

Ok, these lies seriously need to stop, I have the torch 9800 with auto focus and you cannot I repeat CANNOT take closeup pictures of text with it.

PDF scanner works for this but the camera on the 9800 DOES NOT WORK for taking closeup picture of text documents.

"Nobody wants to see blown-up pictures of your stupid cat Mittens."

+100! Unless Mittens is literally blown up. That'd be kinda cool.

If I'm not mistaken, Kevin must live offroad… This is a well presented review and have pretty much made my decision to buy the 9900 when I save the money up!

If you will never turn the 9900 on, you will get a great battery performance.... I want from Blackberry minimal 2 days full performace without any need to charge the battery. Thats what I know from my 9780 and thats what I want from 9900. Everything else is for nothing. I want a Blackberry, I dont want an iPhone!!

iPhone is less than a day. More than a day is too risky anyway you should be in the habit of charging every night, otherwise you forget an doh! you might as well have an iPhone in your hand.

Good in depth review. Obviously a little biased since this is a fan site but i think you got most of the shortcomings right

seemed kind of like a biased review to me, trying to put a positive spin on very negative things. a lot of 'but who needs its'... What about music audio quality?? How does it compare to say an iphone/ipod?

why don't you go sk8 some more! go push a piece of wood with wheels around... think you've fallen off and hit you're head too many times

Agreed. I especially liked the part about 'few reports' when talking about the battery issues when every second reply in the neighboring topic is negative. Don't get me wrong, I'm a BB junkie but i wont play the apologist when RIM ignores something as fundamental as battery life. I mean, what does a 9000/9700/9780 owner to do when he migrates to 9900. From 2 to 3 days of solid use to barely one. Not cool RIM, not cool at all.

Coming from the Tour I'm going to say the 9900's sound quality is much better. I use higher end headphones and noticed the better quality sound right away.

Everything, what you can read under the cons is what made Blackberry stonger than the competition...RIM, what have you done...

If I had a camera and a giant "thumbs up, foam hand" I'd send you the biggest "thumbs up" picture for this review.

You do realize that if there will be a white one not every career will have it, right? And you do realize Kevin is not the CEO of X Wireless, right?

A good review, but I think that you took it a little too easy on RIM for the camera issue. Other companies are producing thinner devices with AF cameras. No excuse for RIM releasing a "flagship" device with a camera that is inferior to its two predecessors, the 9700 and 9780.

you have no idea how someone else uses their camera, so how can you tell them to get over it?! how about you get over some people wanting AF?

I'm so pumped. My device arrives today and i'm going to read this review. This day cannot get any better :)

Great review Kevin, you never disappoint. While I feel like the switch to the Bold 9700/9780 was a genius move by RIM, I will agree that they have done well returning to "perfect" the Bold 9000 form factor in the 9900.

The phone having NFC support is really cool, but I wonder if the technology will really catch on. If so, then RIM is being pretty forward thinking in including it on the 9900.

Again, this is an awesome review!

Hi @dbowe4415,

Alex from RIM here. I’ve been using my Bold 9900 for a few weeks and I’m a fan of the new slim and sleek design, as well.

In case you didn’t know, the Bold 9900 and 9930 are the first BlackBerry smartphones to deliver Near Field Communications, or NFC. The technology is still in its infancy, but already delivers many new and exciting capabilities from reading SmartPoster tags to pairing devices – all with a simple tap of the smartphone.

For a deeper dive into NFC and its potential, check out this video we shot at Mobile World Congress earlier this year: http://bbry.lv/h3DdnK.

Cheers,
Alex, RIM Social Media Team

Ok, good information, but am missing one lil tid bit. Is the touch screen like the Storm that it takes skin contact to make it work so that you cant pocket dial. And if so what happens when you hold the phone up to your face to talk?

As far as I can tell, the phone requires a button press for the screen to activate, and the screen turns off if you press the lock button at the top, which is a lot less likely to get accidentally pressed when you have the phone in your pocket, at least when I compare it to my 9700.

Kevin -

Thanks for the detailed review.

MEMORY: Since I upgraded my Bold 9700 to OS6, my available memory is often less than 30MB! How was your memory so high on your last Bold? What's the best way to find out what's taking up memory, so I know what to get rid of? After 30MB of free memory, anything else would be an improvement.

AT&T: Ugh! November? Why does AT&T need until NOV when every other carrier seems to be releasing their new BB line up in AUG! I was hoping AT&T would get theirs out this week, for my birthday. Would have been great timing for me.

How'd you figure November. That is a MAJOR setback to my upgrade plans. I so don't want to stick with Tmo but if it's gonna be November, looks like I'm SOL.

Kevin was referring to his 9780, which has 512mb RAM. The 9700 only has 256, which is why your phone only had about 30MB space. 9700 was designed for OS5 but luckily was upgraded to 6, which was the same thing that happened with the 9000 that was designed for OS 4.6 and eventually got 5.0 (I had even less than 30MB with that!)

Thanks. I didn't realize the 9780 had so much more memory than the Bold. I keep looking for things to uninstall from the 9700 to get back some memory. Looks like the 9900 would be a huge jump in memory for me... assuming AT&T ever gets the d@mn thing!

I think Kevin was comparing it to his 9780 which had more memory than the 9700. Without shrinking OS, my 9700 had about 35MB after OS6 and about 10 apps

Great review, but you forgot something important: do OS 6 apps work on the Bold 9900? How 'bout Kindle, Kobo, Google Maps, Score Mobile, Globe News? When trying to install old apps OTA, which is more likely to work: the non-touch version for the previous Bold or the touch version for the Torch 9800?

Some, yes. Others, no. Google Maps for instance works. Not particularly well - I hope Google makes an OS7 version that takes advantage of the OpenGL avaliable to them, but it works. Whereas from what I can see, Kobo doesn't work, at least it is listed as "incompatible" in App World. Some apps that SAY that they're compatible don't actually work - Settlers: Seafarers for example is avaliable, and I even paid money for it, but it appears to be a Torch version, and requires Portrait mode, so it gets stuck at the initial "Rotate the screen" prompt.

So support seems highly dependent on how the original authors wrote the applications. Now I haven't tried side-loading some of the apps that App World says won't work, so I don't know how accurate that is.

Hey Kevin,

Love the nice pics of the Panerai watch... err, I mean Bold. Just kidding buddy, great review.

Seriously though, nice watch!

Hahah oh boy no one does epic phone reviews better than BB Fanboy #1 Kevin
nice job :)

The Kool-aid is flowing free at Crackberry today. No auto-focus, smaller battery, no hotspot, more RAM but less usable - all this plus the dismal selection of apps. Really makes me want to run out and buy something else.

Then go for it??..aint no one stopping u from going to another device but theres a very good chance that you will be back before you know it

EDIT: Noticed that you only gave 4 stars for every category???...if the keyboard is the best then why not give it a full 5 star rating?? or are you worried that someone might say your being too biased??.

Auto focus is a bummer from camera perspective - Agreed.
Even though the battery is smaller still its much better comparing to most of other smart phones. Even BGR has appreciated the battery life of Bold 9900 in his review. I think Kevin mentioned small battery size only to compare it with previous bold. About Hot Spot, it's on the way with software upgrade and it seems to be related to carrier specific.
Lastly if you consider BB has dismal selection of apps and that is your criteria of selecting phone then I guess you are in wrong forum as any new model will not suddenly change the Apps listing. For sure with stronger CPU and better performance and nice touch-screen, we can start expecting some better games to come which were earlier limited due to it.
Overall I think it is good and fair review by Kevin. Thumbs Up.

Kevin, would it be possible to post some photos straight from the camera at their full resolution for comparison purposes?

your review here kevin is made want to drop my iphone and my android and rock just the black berry which i think i will do once its out with tmo 31st of aug thank u sir

Me too drooling for it to be released on TMO on 31st Aug and so is my wife :) Hopefully some official confirmation from T-Mobile soon.

Good review Dude,

Except cam,everything makes one of the best bb as on date!

Keyboard of 8700c (with 69.5mm width) is probably the Best Ever KB for a smartphone,

9900 may be present timers choice due to great hardware support!

Great review. This is the website to stay on top of BB developments. Looking forward to using the augmented reality browser. Went to a box-cart race and was looking for my wife thinking about how cool it will be when this phone allows me to spot her in a crowd.

If the keyboard is that good it is just going to get crazy!

By the way, I may have missed this but this BB has world phone capabilities. That is also a major plus on Sprint and Verizon over the competition. I don't want to have an international phone mailed when I travel.

i believe so if you go to the verizon website under accessories it says "Sim card Pre-installed..." and "Global support kit" so yeah i think it is (:

Great review. To all those who still nag about the camera, they chose better video capture over point and shoot. This wasn't a mistake made or a lack of effort whatsoever; so just drop it and get informed. This was a choice and I, for one, prefer the ability to take great 720p video over crisper closeup, but overall bland colored, single snaps.

Although, after all the hell being raised though maybe RIM will put the auto-focus back in anyways. In which case, mission accomplished!

Hold it further away, and zoom. It should work fine. I don't have any problems getting stuff in focus as long as I hold the 9900 (conservatively) about 10-12 inches away from what I'm taking a shot of. So far I haven't had any problems adding BBM contacts from QR codes even closer than that, as I suppose they don't have to be 100% sharp.

RIM was hunting the thinest phone and made a handheld with a creapy camera and with a weak battery. Not good choice, better 2 mm more thick than this.

Like the new layout for the review... I was going to wait for the QNX phones, but I think my wife is going to be introduced to the Rimpire via my old Torch 9800.

Kevin, nice review. I think I'm pretty much sold but I really want to see a photo comparison of the 9700/9650 sitting on top of the 9900/9930 so we can see the size difference. I haven't found anything online yet that puts the two through a side by side size comparison. Please have the Crackberry team get on this! Thanks.

Lack of Apps put down to nothing important. Kevin sees apps as a waste of time as people shouldn't be playing games. But there are business applications out there that help productivity.

Wow.

Speechless. Fanboy ? Ah, that answers it.

Excellent review, but that battery life is not looking good. Getting about 10 hours of not very heavy work out of it. Running Vodafone UK. Have already bought the emergency charger.

Lovely piece of kit, though.

[slowclapping]
Can't wait to have this in my hands tomorrow. I'm on the 9650, i've owned the 9000. The size is great, looking forward to the 9000 feel and added touch screen.
Also looking forward to the bridge with my playbook.
[Drool]
...
...
[/Drool][/slowclapping]

Fantastic review.....very professional. I'm not sure how objective it was, given all the months of whining for a 9900........:)

I like the way the detractors are focusing on the camera and the relief that there was actually something to complain about. I'm sure we'll hear about it more in the future. I've also heard the WIFI hotspot is going to be a software update.

Again, good job Keven and I hope you're enjoying the 9900 as much as you seem to.

The camera is still really good for a phone in my opinion. It still focuses quite well from my experiences with it, plus it has other features like condition settings (sports mode, low light etc)

My 9900 isn't as snappy as I thought it would be though. I get hour glasses a lot when I receive messages and sometimes the hour glasses last 20-30 seconds.

It also has the funny issue where sometimes when I take it out of my holster the back button becomes the app switching button (like pressing and holding the blackberry key). I can only fix this by locking and unlocking my screen with the button on the top.

I've been arguing with the back button myself. Thought I was losing it for a bit there. Get stuck in a menu and back takes me to the app switcher. Switch back to the problem app and am still stuck in the menu. Hit back again and I'm back to the switcher. The end button sometimes gets me out of this funk but I will try the lock button.

And battery really is an issue with this phone for me. My 8900 would easily last 2 days on a single charge (after almost 3 years on the same battery). I would get a full day if I used it to listen to mp3s on speaker phone for about 5 hours while still using the phone moderately. Today I specifically did not charge the battery after 9am. With 40 minutes on the phone, a couple of BBMs, twitter checks every now and then and by 9:30pm coming home on fumes at 25%. If I go out after work I know my phone is going to nod off like an old geezer by 11. This is the first time I've ever spent any time looking at spare batteries and a desk charging stand.

Kevin says: "On the outside, the Bold 9900 is a drop dead gorgeous BlackBerry bombshell. I can't even think of one thing I would change about it. Honestly, I'm smitten. I've actually caught myself staring at it unknowingly on multiple occasions now. I love the way it looks and I love the way it feels - the way I can swipe on it and especially the way I can type on it. I know it sounds lame, but honestly, I can't help but feel that RIM designed this phone just for me."

Ha..Ha... I was on the floor laughing.... Miss Crackberry watch out !!

Excelent review. I am disappointed with the camera though, as i take a lot of pics to send with msg's.

Thanks.. Kev..

Great review, thanks.
No words on wikitude and augmented reallity? Or is that coming in another post? Good to hear that the next QNX superblackberry will be touch only, that sets me for the 9900.

The review didn't mention if the non-AF camera will be able to function as a bar code scanner. Any thoughts on that Kevin?

Not impressed w/Keyboard - and the phone is just a faster version of whats been out for years.
The Torch series -- at least the ones with pinch, zoom display (like apple) is innovative and ready for todays app needs

Waiting to see who carries the 9850 or 9860

I love my new bold 9900, but kevin; or anyone for that matter, mine didn't come with a memory card in it or in the box? Do they not come equipped with them?

The dimensions on the specs diagram are inverted.

It's going to be:
Great keyboard + blurry pictures + worse battery life (9900)
vs
OK keyboard + AF + usual Blackberry Battery life (9810)

The 9780 is still a contender for people looking for a cheap upgrade and don't need an awesome browser as all the communication features are already there.
I'm not convinced the 9790 is going to be that great given the size of the screen. It already looks awkward to use on the 9900. But it will have a better battery and AF :D

Hey, Kevin. So this new bold is 2in high and 4in wide?

Apart from this unacceptable oversight (I mean, come on, what have you been doing!) the review is not bad...I too will award 9/10 :)

Well done, now you can sleep!

Great reaview. I find it to be very objective. Looking forward to owning my first Blackberry on Sunday. Switching from EVO.

Agree with Kevin on the screen for next model could go a little bit bigger if the keyboard is moved down a little bit and Blackberry logo is moved to the top on the side where the lock key is. Or they could make the chassis a little bit longer altogether. This may give enough room for an AF unit.

You hit on my thoughts exactly. I count on my BlackBerry a lot at work. My Bold 9000 worked extremly well with its physical keyboard and the countless emails and text messages I have to send and reply to. I held off till I got my current daily driver, my Torch. Your statement about the new QNX phone possibly being all touchscreen tells me that might not work well for me. I'm sure I will get one and learn to accept it, but for now, I'm a physical keyboard person. My large hands work better on a physical keyboard rather than the virtual screen where I faceplant into the world of typo's.

No mention That it looks exactly the same as the old bold. That it has not a single piece if revolutionary or evolutionary tech in the phone. It's not hard to be the best blackberry, it's still behind the smartphone powercurve. Waste of money and time.

Let's remember that the battery on this phone is bad by any means. It might not be as strong as the Bold 9700/9780's batteries, but it's still a good battery.

yeah, it's a great review for all! thanks Kevin!

i'm using the Bold 9780 at the moment and i'm still tied in the contract with my carrier till the end of 2012, i might gonna consider the Colt with the QNX i think even though yeah.. this Bold 9900 starts to drool me out!

I've had no problem taking pictures of text with this phone. I've been snapping away at receipts since I read this review and they have all come out clear and legible. Maybe you just need some bifocals, Kevin?

Other than that I agree with this review. It is such a great device.

Go for it, it's nice upgrade with significant enhancements, especially from performance perspective. And it's good mix of touch screen and keyboard. Lovely.

Great review Kevin but i think as crackbery is the best place on bb on the web and you are the number 1 person here, you have oressure on you to rate bb phones high

The EDoF camera is bad and need more lines criticising the lack of auto focus but instead it got some few words other than that am fine with the review

good job nonetheless

Thank u for the GREAT review. I have mine ordered from verizon and look forward to getting it in my hands. I was quite shocked about the camera as I currently use mine daily for business. Guess I will have to take some steps backward for a good pic...lol, I am a little concerned about this one.....what was RIM thinkin! I read as well(which wasn't mentioned) that the speakerphone sounds great which I have to use alot too.
I have used apple,droid, and BB. Currently using my old reliable Tour, and tomorrow BOLD 9930. Keyboard is the most crucial for me as I answer ALOT of emails daily on the go. Their are some great phones on the market with many more to come. I just always L O V E D my crackberry, even after using droids n iphones.

Lovin Life :)

soooo anyone have any idea if that soft shell case will let you charge it on the charging pod without removing it.? and how come no one is showing more of the wikitude app and the new social feeds in OS7.?

will someone PLEASE tell me if going back to blackberry is worth it!?
I left last summer for android because of trouble with the storm2 and now have an incredible2. it is awesome and has alot of bells & whistles! but i do miss my BB!
and which one should i get? NFC vs the touch like i have grown used to in the full screen incredible2!?
one minute i'm ready to go back and the next i'm not!
UGH UGH UGH!!!
I am a business consultant owner and look at docs & all on my phone! I do like other things too and my phone is my life! for personal AND work!!!
if i could only make up my mind!
sad but true!!!
help?! anyone?!?!?

Sigh...im not trying to troll but I was waiting on this device hoping it would be everything my 9650 was not. Then a couple of weeks ago after waiting forever on Sprint to release it, I got an android phone. I do miss the push email but thats about it.

My phone does things that BB should do. Awesome browing, FAST as lightening, FLASH, battery life is awesome I am a heavy user and at the end of an 18hr day I still have 40-50% left. Thats better than my 9650 with an extended battery. Even after this review I am happy with my choice. Battery life is MAJOR!! Why have a wireless device that has to be plugged in twice a day or more (then its not WIREless).

Great review! I almost ordered it from verizon last night, but I'm too dead set on the 9850 this sunday on sprint! Also, well done on the camera autofocus issue.

A 9 out of 10? Come on! This phone looks nice but it is not up to todays standards. This phone should have it all. Front facing camera, auto focus and hot spot. I have a 9650 and it looks exactly the same. Im not impressed...Bridge browser is what is keeping me from leaving BB. This phone is not worth getting imo.

Great Review Kevin
I've an irrelative question though ,
Regarding the Panerai watch , what model\series is it ?
I've searched for it in Panerai's website , but I couldn't find an exact match to it

Thanks , much appreciated ...

Nice review!

Just can't stand the reports about battery life - can care less about the camera. Hope the CrackBerry team is right...

NOTE!!

Typo: CrakBerry (search for it)

Thank you Kevin for this fulsome account of the 9900.

It mustn't be easy to keep researching, preparing, filming, photographing and writing article after article and be exposed to so much flotsam jetsom type critiscism.

Thank you again.

This would of been a great Blackberry in 2009 not 2011.
Wake up Rim stop jerking around your loyal fan base I'm sick of hearing tired excuses why BB rules.
Oh and fix BIS-aka- Your bread & butter. It crashes way to often outages left and right.

Hey Crackberry,

I was wondering, if I purchase the BB 9900 of contract at full retail price, will I be able to get 3G or 4G* on T-mobile or will it be EDGE?

A simple answer will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

(*) If available

I saw an advanced description flyer from T-Mobile and it said it had Docs to Go Premier included. Is this this the case? I remember the 9700 only coming with a basic version. Although its only 15 dollars, it still nice. Is it the version 3 that Dataviz put out in beta a few months ago?

Yes it's premium. Version 3.0.0.103 and it's nice. I was worried I'd have to buy a new version of premium to work with OS7.

The phone is sweet. The camera doesn't kill it for me but the battery is a concern at this point. UMA had better be fixed soon. I suspect that's one of the things killing my battery.
Rogers has stated that a patch will be available shortly. RIM has got to stop rushing things out the door unfinished.

RIM was known as a producer of good longlasting devices for hard working people. The 9900 is a sexy slim device, but definitelly not a handheld which I would like to use on a daily base. To charge the battery twice a day - forget it. I make very often photos of documents, notices from meetings etc - forget it without AF. I will stay with my 9780 and will wait for the version 9910, I hope, RIM will learn from the stupid mistakes they mady now.

This is my first CrackBerry.com comments and I must say the review was pretty damn thorough.

So, let me get this straight:

1. Crappy battery;

2. Crappy camera that doesn't even allow me to take a proper, up close picture, of a business card or label or bar code or whatnot;

3. No hotspot functionality;

4. No front camera....

What a disappointment!
I get it, this phone is beautiful, no denying that. But it should have been out in early 2010, not mid-2011!!

I'll hold on to my 9780 and wait out for the next wave, thank you very much. I work hard for my money.

Before this phone came out, I said my two deal breakers were WIFI hotspot and UMA. Not only does this phone not appear to have those, but the camera functionality and battery life are actually worse. Despite the lovely appearance and the great keyboard, I cannot justify buying this phone. I will either keep my 9700 or jump ship. I've been a BB supporter for years, and am a PB owner, but I have grown weary of waiting for these guys.

We could rant on there not being enough apps available, but we realized the economy was in better shape before people started playing Angry Birds on their phones... O_o

Great review. Wanted to know what would be the benefit of getting this phone on a 2 year contract when it will not support QNX. Since the economy is in such bad shape I would like to save some $.

@Kevin
Not trying to burn your review but Why give RIM a pass? Heck Rim should of given you free 9900s for such review.
Reviews like yours that go soft on calling RIM out is one of the reasons they keep building this junk!

Blackberrys key competent to its customers is great battery life.
Bold 9900 falls well short of living up to it!
Camera is junk compared to previous Bolds.

Add to that NO wifi Hot spot.
No Front cam.
No HDMI Video out /DLNA
Lack of software.
Lack of memory.

The end result is a very simple phone with beautiful keyboard & form factor with strong build quality that's it.
Thanks RIM!
Now dump smartphone label , cut sell price to 149.99 & rename it "Almost Bold"

Does anyone know when tmobile will release the 9900. I'm thinking of switching from att to tmobile. I know I can unlock the phone but 600 dollars is rather expensive.

Have any of u seen reviews from other sites of the new RIM devices? It looks as though not everyone is fond of out new BlackBerrys as we are here at the forum! While they agree the 9900 and 9930 are the best Devices RIM has ever created, and they praise the keyboard as being the best, they still can't help but bring down BlackBerry and state that its dying and cant keep up with the New Tech being pushed by every other brand out there! Looks like we in some trouble! TAKE NOTICE RIM... DO SOMETHING NOW! They all state in the end that besides the BlackBerry Diehards... they wouldn't recommend the phones to any other users looking for smartphones! Engadget gave the 9930 a 7/10 - http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/blackberry-bold-9930-review/ the torch 9810 a 7/10 - http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/blackberry-torch-9810-review/ and the 9850 a 6/10 - http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/blackberry-torch-9850-review/ What u all think about this? Oh and BGR also reviewed the 9900 - http://www.bgr.com/2011/08/11/blackberry-bold-9900-review/ .... Most the reviews end with the same... Blackberry is outdated... nothing really new... the best Blackberrys available but anyone not a DIEHARD BLACKBERRY fan should pass... RIM needs to release the QNX phones ASAP... these phones are just a small step forward toward a still losing battle! I'm gonna wait for the reviews of CNET and GSMARENA to really see if im gonna get these... as for now i am really let down with how everything has turned out :( sad sad....

I'm in Thailand and I still waiting for BB Bold 9900 come with Blackberry 7 OS great new web browser and touch screen. The camera should be come with auto focus.

Perfect upgrade to my Bold 9000! been waiting for a device like this all the while.. the keyboard is definitely the best. I was happy with the original bold's size and performance, with the exception of the 128MB Ram, which resulted in the frequent memory low indications and lag. So this will be the perfect upgrade... cant wait to get my hands on the 9900

Here we go, my second post.

Hope I win.. Wooooop wooooooop! BTW, these competitions are a good way of finding out the average amount of 'active' users. Great marketing on it's own.

Any news on the zoom feature in the 9900 video camera ? I cant seem to figure out how to zoom in but I am guessing I am not able to. Can this be a fix in an update to OS7 ?

I was frustrated by my 9700 almost two years ago when I bought it. The few BlackBerry data outages just after purchase certainly did not help. I replaced it within a month with a Nexus One. After that came other huge screen smartphones, with the only one I liked typing on being the HD7 Windows phone, and none that could easily make it through a day of use until I got an HTC Sensation. I finally now am using an Android phone that I feel gives me close to what I want in a smartphone.

Then I read this review.

I am now thinking seriously about buying another BlackBerry. I miss the keyboard, the battery life, the way emails work, BBM and now GTalk (since people actually can actually use it with their other phones), the charging pod, the bluetooth connection to the BMW, the keyboard (I know that's twice now) and the password keeper. Also, the new browser is good enough to get by...

I may take the plunge. If I do I really hope it is worth it.

Can anyone please let me know if they have any information on when AT&T is planning to launch this phone?? dying to get my hands on one

If I browse to a URL with a streaming download that the browser does not like on my shiny new 9900, I get the rotating buffering icon forever. Thereafter, I can't play any stored videos without a battery pull.

Anyone else found this?

by reading ur review i 1st had no doubts on buyin this phone but wid the camera issue.. i m gettin one... i wanna clarify is the camera issue soo serious.... bcoz i hv used iphone 4 nd it has a good cam... :)

OS 7 - Can one FINALLY copy an appointment to then paste to another day? A deal breaker for me. The calendar is probably my number one app and this has been in my craw for years that you can't do it!

Another calendar item I hope to see - when looking at a contact the ability to immediate schedule an appointment via the menu drop down and have that person's contact information and such be in the appointment so one can easily move back and forth between the two. (This feature and copy/paste of appointments where in my on Dell Axion Pocket PC years ago....)

Kevin insinuates that the Application Storage is in RAM? Is this true? How would the apps remain in RAM? Am I missing something?

Excellent review. I'd like to know I see one circular LED light which gives the alerts and then I see another similar circular space beside it. Does any1 else notice this and what is it for? Its right beside the flashing LED!!

same on my Torch, seems to be for when it deadlocks :s
when your phone freezes to the point it cant recover and HAS to reboot, you get a dim red LED to the side of the notification LED while the phone pulls itself together then the normal boot sequence begins

recently ive seen this happen MANY times on my Torch :(

So does no autofocus mean the camera lag is gone as well? I don't have a clear picture of my three year old on my 9700, since by the time the shutter goes, she's already gone.

I've had my Bold for less than 24 hours and this is my summary (if anyone cares). Let me first say that I've had many phones. I've had all of the iPhones, LG phones, and every single Blackberry other than the Torch and Storm. The Bold really is a great phone. I love the keyboard, the speed, and the size. It feels great without a case, and with a case. The camera isn't as bad as everyone made it out to be. It takes decent pictures. The battery doesn't seem to be THAT great. I haven't talked on it for more than five minutes at a time, but I've done a lot of texting, browsing, and email. I'm guessing it will last through a day of heavy use, which is more than I can say for the iPhone 4 and Droid phones. It's tough to find a phone with good battery life these days. The touch screen is pretty good, although I've noticed when you touch it sometimes it doesn't read the exact spot you're trying to tap and will hit something else. This happens with all of the other touch phones as well, so it's not a surprise. I also noticed that there are some things you can't touch. Like when I'm composing an email and I want to go back to a previous word or sentence and I touch it with my finger, the cursor doesn't go to that exact spot and you have to use the trackpad. All of these things are minor, but I thought they were worth mentioning. I switched from the iPhone 4 to this phone and I couldn't be happier. I was so sick of the auto-correct and the terrible battery. It's worth sacrificing the iPhone 4 camera for everything else the Bold has to offer. I hope I helped with some of the questions that people may have!

Hated the torch keyboard. Love the curve 3g keyboard. Still looking to hang onto my curve just due to that fact...but looking forward to playing with one of these as soon as AT&T pulls the trigger.

Got it through Tmobile USA, $600 + tax ? ouch! this is a beautiful piece of equipment...I miss the macro zoom camera....the browser is sweet! also the touchscreen is a great addition to the Bold experience....no UMA is a letdown...does anyone have an update on a potential UMA update?

First of all sorry for my english. Im since Many Years a BB user and i Love this Label. I Start with Nokia in The Late 80, then i Change 2007 to The very First iPhone and soon After all Kids buy also iPhones i Change to BB... My First was Bold 9000... After Many Years using curve 8900 .. Then Storm 9520.. And back to curve 8900 and now bold 9700 ... Plus torch 9800... My Next will Be torch 9810.. But yet arrive to Europe. Here my Topic, Please RIM CEO s live your Job to Young more powerfull guys....Blackberry is a fantastic Brand Name... And there still a Chance to Play in The Big smartphone World... So please please. Crackberry Users can help The Company a Lot..we Know that Apple is The Big Player.. But don't forget...Why Samsung still on The Top????
There is a Time that we need Change...so Change RIM... We Love what you did for The samrtphome World but my hearth is bleeding if i See what is going on at The Big office.....Peace

My take on the 9900:
I wish BB had made this phone 2 years ago, they may have changed the market place. I really like the phone, the keyboard is perfect. The touchscreen is amazingly responsive and accurate. For someone who uses there smartphone for productivity and a little entertainment, you cannot top the 9900.
I was using BB for years and switched to Android and now switched back to BB. Android screens are impressive, not as responsive as the 9900 however. There are apps for everything, but really how many do you actually use? Battery life on Android is terrible.
There are a few questionable shortcomings of the 9900. Why didnt they make the screen a 1/4 bigger, there is so much space where the "Blackberry" label is?

Awesome phone but the battery drains like crazy! I can't even make half a day with it.. thinking of swtiching with the 9810 but the phone is so nice im hesitating...

pffft haters'll hate right?
Kevin, that was a quality review...so much so that I'm upgrading to the 9900 next week
as for the cons you listed?
Camera: as a matter of course, i carry a Casio Exlim 2200ix3 (not the best, but does me fine)
Battery: I've always carried two batteries for every smartphone I've ever owned. Just in case, y'know?
Memory/RAM: really domt care. Not in the slightest. if i wanna download millions of apps every five seconds, i have my PlayBook and my (soon to be) old Torch 9800
Overall, the review was well written, very informative and after reading it, i went to my local Orange UK store and played with the demo phone for 10 minutes. I'm sold. i ordered one as my upgrade, due in a week or so :)

I Know you may not be the guy to ask, but..I recently upgraded to the 9900 and bought a charging pod. I had two for my 8900, one for my bedside and one for my desk, The bedside one needs a charger, but the desk one I power from my laptop docking station. Is there anyone who will or does supply a pod without the charger. £25 for a charging pod once makes me wince, twice...when I only need a pod, not good.

Dear Kevin,
I should say you’ve done very detail and very good works in 9900 reviews. But I still need to have some additional information for you and Blackberry fans to share.
I like BB very much because of its outstanding feature. No any smart phone can beats it in typing function. I think most of fans like it in the same thing. It is worth to give up a wide screen for browsing website. I imagine we have double screen that one side for typing, one side for browsing. It is possible to use the back side of iphone to install one more screen.
Turn back to 9900, there are some big mistakes RIM shouldn’t made. One is never get down grade feature in an upgrade phone. Battery, auto focuses, input method, design outside looking. Of cause, there are something very good in the new model, like keyboard, it is good enough. We love BB but we hate BB also. It let other smart phone overhead BB a lot in no reason. I should say RIM acted like an old man in the past 2 years.
For battery
Capacity of battery goes down from 1550mAh to 1230mAh. Let many fans disappointed. Higher resolution, higher CPU speed, how can you imagine with a lower capacity battery. It must be crazy! I rather give up 1 mm thickness to earn 300mAh. You shouldn’t do that, BB designer! Don’t use your weakness to compete with others strangeness.
Auto focus
Point shot is very common in everyone especially in business. Document scan, sample close up…need auto focus much. 9780 video is very ok. We don’t need 720 HD. What an idiot idea!!!
Input method
9780 associate input method is quite good. A little bit ahead to iphone and google input method. But 9900 is really backward. I can’t accept so stupid and slow method in 9900. In Chinese input method, it is also a big backward. Typing and choosing are very slow. The bigger screen couldn’t show all letters up. That’s why I hate iphone. Maybe cause from touch screen reason. But I don’t think we need to use touch screen when typing. Touch will be more slowly. Just keep the 9780!!! My god!
For outlook design
9900 look as same as 9000, my god! RIM wants to proof to the world they are stepping backward.
9780 is a very nice machine. Many people said they will not change model in their life after got 9780. I have the same feeling too. The phone looks elegance with very good design in every angle. The new model 9860, may develop from 9780 but looks very ugly. I even shy to show it up in my business luncheon. What are people look at me like a game boy!
I though RIM just lost a good designer. I don’t think one who design 9780 still work for RIM. Also, they may change a CEO. What CEO will make backward decision?
Some tests for battery in normal use for your reference (30 minutes phone call total, compose email and read email about 20, read face book, twitter 5 minutes)
1, Battery use for 6 hours
Conditions: Signal 3G/2G, Yahoo messenger opened, travel in the car with auto change 2G and 3G frequently
2, Battery use for 15 hours
Conditions: Signal 3G/2G, stay at home, every app shut down
3, Battery use for 24 hours
Conditions: Signal 2G, stay at home, every app shut down
Every app shut down, use 2G, haha, that’s the purpose we buy the BB?
Reason for huge battery consumption maybe some activated function or app couldn’t resume. The machine body will be warm after working 10 minutes. Even it is just only typing. There is a lam near missed call lam. It will in a dark red when making a phone call. But some time, we do nothing it still flash in dark red. I turn of the phone many times till I think that is normal. So, if you fell battery running fast, you should take your battery out of the cabin for a while.
Hope RIM can read my words. I really want BB go far. I’m worry they will be beaten in coming years because they lost their direction. They forgot what their advantage is. They try to go to Game field; they try to compete with ipad. They give up their input method. They give up their elegance. They maintain the old model and cut off battery. They seem no place to go. They like Audi in automobile-not speedy than BMW, not luxury than mercedes-Benz. They just remember that they were number one in the world in the past.
Pleased comment or share you in twitter: @chaukvn

Dear Kevin,
I should say you’ve done very detail and very good works in 9900 reviews. But I still need to have some additional information for you and Blackberry fans to share.

I like BB very much because of its outstanding feature. No any smart phone can beats it in typing function. I think most of fans like it in the same thing. It is worth to give up a wide screen for browsing website. I imagine we have double screen that one side for typing, one side for browsing. It is possible to use the back side of iphone to install one more screen.

Turn back to 9900, there are some big mistakes RIM shouldn’t made. One is never get down grade feature in an upgrade phone. Battery, auto focuses, input method, design outside looking. Of cause, there are something very good in the new model, like keyboard, it is good enough. We love BB but we hate BB also. It let other smart phone overhead BB a lot in no reason.

For battery
Capacity of battery goes down from 1550mAh to 1230mAh. Let many fans disappointed. Higher resolution, higher CPU speed, how can you imagine with a lower capacity battery. It must be crazy! I rather give up 1 mm thickness to earn 300mAh. You shouldn’t do that, BB designer! Don’t use your weakness to compete with others strangeness.

Auto focus
Point shot is very common in everyone especially in business. Document scan, sample close up…need auto focus much. 9780 video is very ok. We don’t need 720 HD.

Input method
9780 associate input method is quite good. A little bit ahead to iphone and google input method. But 9900 is really backward. I can’t accept so slow method in 9900. In Chinese input method, it is also a big backward. Typing and choosing are very slow. The bigger screen couldn’t show all letters up. That’s why I hate iphone. Maybe cause from touch screen reason. But I don’t think we need to use touch screen when typing. Touch will be more slowly. Just keep the way like 9780 will be good.

For outlook design
9900 look as same as 9000, my god!
9780 is a very nice machine. Many people said they will not change model in their life after got 9780. I have the same feeling too. The phone looks elegance with very good design in every angle. The new model 9860, may develop from 9780 but looks no good. I even shy to show it up in my business luncheon. What are people look at me like a game boy!

I don’t think one who design 9780 still work for RIM.

Some tests for battery in normal use for your reference (30 minutes phone call total, compose email and read email about 20, read face book, twitter 5 minutes)

1, Battery use for 6 hours
Conditions: Signal 3G/2G, Yahoo messenger opened, travel in the car with auto change 2G and 3G frequently

2, Battery use for 15 hours
Conditions: Signal 3G/2G, stay at home, every app shut down

3, Battery use for 24 hours
Conditions: Signal 2G, stay at home, every app shut down
Every app shut down, use 2G, haha, that’s the purpose we buy the BB?

Reason for huge battery consumption maybe some activated function or app couldn’t resume. The machine body will be warm after working 10 minutes. Even it is just only typing. There is a lam near missed call lam. It will in a dark red when making a phone call. But some time, we do nothing it still flash in dark red. I turn of the phone many times till I think that is normal. So, if you fell battery running fast, you should take your battery out of the cabin for a while.

Hope RIM can read my words. I really want BB go far. I’m worry they will be beaten in coming years because they lost their direction. They forgot what their advantage is. They try to go to Game field; they try to compete with ipad. They give up their input method. They give up their elegance. They maintain the old model and cut off battery. They seem no place to go. They like Audi in automobile-not speedy than BMW, not luxury than mercedes-Benz. They just remember that they were number one in the world in the past.

Pleased comment or share you in twitter: @chaukvn

Hi, I have been using this devise for a few days & let me blow off the neagtives on the battery. Guys its fine. I am a heavy cell user & trust me it lasts for one day striaght. Plus the keyboard is majestic & speed is awesome. Great work by RIM.

Though people are complaining about auto focus, but I would like to ask the Business users, how many times* u have used the camera on your devise?

P.S. Unless snapping pics comes in rotuine use.....

It is surely the best blackberry ever...I had it for 2 month now 2 weeks out of which was at the service centre...THE BATTERY LIFE has ruined what is simply RIM best phone thus far...WHY, Why!!!!! They changed the battery for me and it is like nothing has changed..it does not more than 5 hours max.....And Yes, I tried every trick in the book, and 9 of the 10 tips for saving battery life except the 10th one which is to buy a spare battery...
The funny part is that the promoters sitting inside the bb booth inside one of Etisalat's main centers are advising me not to waste my time with fixing it and bluntly trying to sell me another battery...RIM...fix the battery issue and fast...5 of my friends bought it and are now back to using their 9780....

Hi guys I really hope you can help me. I want to get a blackberry, and I was ppanning to get the new 9900 Bold, but with the announcement that RIM made bout the new BBX NEW OS, and the battery problems, I'm afraid my bb will soon be obsolote, and with the price I'll have to pay for the phone, I'll be stucks with it for a long time (around $600 to $700). So I was thinking about other options first the BB 8520 /$200) or the 9780 which is not like the latest bold but has very decent specs and will cost only half bb 9900 price here in Peru, without a contract. I really hope you can help me decide the pros and cons of me getting the 9900, since I'm a college student and live on a limited budget.

what's the use of a nice looking phone if it goes dead after a few days?
DONT BUY the 9900!
A lot of other people have their 9900 die on them too.
I have one and it is dead after 2 weeks.
Going back to my Bold 9000.

RIM again provided us with a subpar "leather" case with this Bold. Every time I take the Bold out of the case it takes a picture (the case squeezes the convenience button). I'd rather they just not provide a case, period. Also, there is no place to attach a lanyard. I don't use one personally, but my Mom and many other people I know do use one and now they have no way of attaching one.

Update on my TMo 9900:
Have had it 2 months; love the device; (WHEN IT WORKS)
Have spent 4 days on the phone with RIMM; (error messages & white screen)
Finally, TMo acquiesed, & gave in to replacing the phone
Still not sure if it'll be a refurb, or new
Hopefully, the next one will be more reliable
BTW: horrible battery life; (max 13 hours), compared to my 9700
P.S. RIMM techs, all told me to download as FEW APPS as possible, & to CLOSE them out, when not in use. Maybe that'll help
Good luck to all us BB Bold believers.

Wow there's some bad stuff on here and I'm a little confused about it. I have had my new 9900 for a couple weeks now and I use it for maybe 8 calls per day of a few minutes each and some light surfing, with some bridging in the evening. I am actually really happy with the battery life. My OCD leads me to close any application completely so maybe that's why it is lasting so long, but I am surprised to read about such horrible battery experiences when mine has been great. I needed a phone for business: texting, email, and talking, and I don't think I will be leaving Blackberry. We tried some android phones and the iphone, and although they were very slick, my inner pragmatist just wanted a highly functional tool rather than what I perceived to be a phone/toy. Again, I could not be happier with the 9900, and as a professional photographer, I have never once taken a picture with any cell phone ever, so that wasn't an issue either. My wife picked up the Torch 9810 and loves it as well, and we admittedly are a little pleased that we are supporting a Canadian company rather than sending our money abroad.

Hey Kevin,

I'm curious how you can say it's the best blackberry to date? My first experience with one was with random reboots over and over for no reason on fresh installs. Other people are complaining about constant bricking and a simple website crashes the browser? If this is the best, It's rather disappointing don't you think?

I'm not claiming that my experience is that of others but it seems with the number of issues arising with the 9900, 9/10 may not be a fair rating.

Don't know how it is in the US or even if it is the same with all carriers, but mine (Optimus - Portugal) 9900 has "Mobile Hotspot" as an option in "connections". I also tried it and it works

I really like the 9900, the keyboard is perfect. The touchscreen is amazingly responsive and accurate! Cant wait to see what the Q10 is like?