BlackBerry Bold 9930 Review

A Mini-Review of the CDMA BlackBerry Bold 9930. Be sure to read our full BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review for in-depth analysis

By Adam Zeis on 16 Aug 2011 09:00 am EDT

The BlackBerry Bold 9930 is the CDMA version of the long-awaited BlackBerry Bold 9900. RIM's latest device brings back the styling of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 in a much updated form. The revamped keyboard mixed with a touchscreen is a killer combination. This high end device is sure to be a crowd pleaser and welcome upgrade to those users with a BlackBerry Bold 9650 or earlier device. It's not often that CDMA carriers get the latest and greatest, but this time around RIM did things right and released both the GSM and CDMA versions all at once. Read on for our quick review of the Verizon BlackBerry Bold 9930. 

BlackBerry Bold 9930 Specs

BlackBerry Bold 9930 Review

BlackBerry Bold 9930

The BlackBerry Bold 9930 is one sweet device - it's as simple as that. It brings RIM's well known full QWERTY form factor and adds in a touchscreen to mix the best of both worlds. The Bold 9930 sports a 1.2Ghz processor and 768MB of RAM so you know it's ready to rock. CDMA users have typically been left behind when it comes to having the newest devices, so this time it's a welcome addition to the CDMA arsenal. 

BlackBerry Bold 9930 Back

The Bold 9930 is a high end device and it shows. From the illuminated trackpad to the stainless steel band that surrounds the device, you know it's a quality product. The thinnest BlackBerry to date, the Bold 9930 also feels light and is easy to hold for work or play. You can see the time that went into the design -- right down to the way the device fades out when dimming. 

BlackBerry Bold 9930

BlackBerry Bold 9930

The Bold 9930 keyboard is the best in the business as well. It feels like previous devices were good, but they were all just paving the way for the 9930. Typing on it is a breeze and it just feels amazing. The keys are "clicky", but they have just the right amount of movement and keep the words flowing. The navigation buttons and trackpad fit right in with the sleek design of the Bold 9930 as well.

BlackBerry Bold 9930

The Send, Menu, Back and End keys are plain white this time around and blend perfectly with the face of the device. The welcome addition of the touchscreen changes things up a bit in giving users new ways to navigate and get things done. Browsing the web or even just getting around the new BlackBerry 7 OS is a breeze when you can simply tap the screen. The internal hardware is powered enough to keep things moving along, and the hourglassing that BlackBerry users may be used to is few and far between. Perhaps the only real gripe is the new EDOF camera that loses it's auto-focus in favor of a smaller footprint to keep the size of the device nice and thin. 

Best Selling BlackBerry Bold 9930 Accessories

Also something to note is that NFC is absent from the Bold 9930 though we're not sure why. The NFC battery door is there and it's the same device as the 9900, but there is no option to turn it on or off under network settings. So although you can get the option back with a leaked software update, it's definitely something we'll have to investigate further. 

For the full breakdown of all the new features of the BlackBerry Bold 9930, you can check out our full BlackBerry Bold 9900 review. As the devices are essentially one in the same you can get the scoop on all the pros and cons of RIM's flagship device from top to bottom. 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

BlackBerry Bold 9930 Review


I do believe he was talking about the 1st guy.. LoL, I'm jealous BTW, WTH is the news on TMo getting this Beast!

t-mobile will have it released on the 31st but its going to be $300 for an upgrade. i'm excited for the phone but the price is just too much.

What an awesome device. One thing I'm interested in is the fact that it is a world phone. I don't know why the iPhone is not on Verizon but really not into virtual keyboards anyway.

The camera is not great for super close ups but it actually takes the pictures very quickly and when there is more than one subject it actually gets them all to be in focus better in my view. Since 95% of my pictures are of my three boys, that is very nice. With the old Torch many great moments were gone before the long delay on the actual picture but this device takes them fast. Don't know if it is the processor or camera though. Regardless, if you are trying to take pictures of little boys then fast is good.

Glad they added HD recording. Again, most of our recording is about our kids running around and the quality of the screen and video capture is awesome.

The iPhone on Verizon is not a world phone so when you travel you have to do a switch for a device that works in say, Germany.
Not a bid deal if you don't travel but I do so it is nice to have one less thing to think about.

ahhh ok. It reads totally different from what you meant to say. Thanks for clarifying!

@ john_v

Thanks buddy, thank god it wasn't just me that misunderstood it the first time around. lol

on last thing, Adam, your review is very good but please have a cup of coffee next time you review a product. You sounded bored or tired. Maybe it is just me since I'm already on my third but it is just a little feedback. You are reviewing the most awesome BB ever!

I know and totally can't argue. Had some last night blogging sessions last night to get these done, so recorded this video around 1am. Tried my best to sound alive but I promise I'll do better next time :)

You are awesome man. I'm just so pumped about this phone I can't wait for it. I guess they call it Crackberry for a reason.

Hey Adam,

I am not sure if you said something about the NFC, couldnt hear that well, but i noticed it was missing when you clicked the top of the screen to look at connections. Do you know what the deal is?


VZWis being evem more shady with the 3G/4G* and that little asterisk. I assume they are saying it will "operate" on their 4g network but at 3g speeds. Unless this puppy is going to be upgradeable somehow.....

That's a CrackBerry graphic, not a Verizon image. I'm sure CrackBerry asterisked the 4G since in some circles HSPA+ on GSM networks is considered 4G.

"Also something to note is that NFC is absent from the Bold 9930"... Interesting! Wonder if an OS update will add this. Maybe due to the CDMA radio??

But I remember seeing reports the Verizon was not going to allow NFC capabilities on their version, along with T-mo, but there was never anything to come out in regards to Sprint.

I just went through and re-read the Sprint announcement for the devices and here is part of the press release, "Near Field Communications (NFC) support for a secure exchange of information between NFC-enabled devices over a very short distance"

So, I am figuring that NFC will be enabled on the Sprint 9930 because I don't know why they would mention this in their press release if they were not going to support it.

WTF - a little disappointed to just now be hearing the NFC issue - my phone is in transit for delivery today including the switch from ATT to VZW which I hope goes smoothly.

Crackberry team, this is noteworthy and should be a point to track down and figure out what's really happening with NFC and should be clarified on the 9900/9930 features pages.

RIM continues to try my patience, I want to be a loyal fan but if this phone is crippled of cool feature sets... that Galaxy S 11 is looking more and more interesting.

Not sure why this small issue would "try your patience"?! NFC is still fairly new and not used in many markets. RIM may solve the issue in the future with some OS update. Who knows why it's absent from the 9930 when the 9900 has the option. Until some more facts come forth, I don't think it's much to worry about.

It is available on the same device on Sprint, this is not an issue for Rim to solve in the future with an OS update, it will require Verizon deciding that they don't want to block a feature on this device from their customers.

Why assume that the problem is RIM? The NFC antenna is there, so it seems more likely that the carriers are disabling it.

it isn't RIM it's VERIZON.

Glad to get this info. I'm leaving AT&T because of all the dicking around with RIM (no 9900, the bridge issue etc.) and was considering Verizon, but now it's Sprint for me... unless they have terrible data plans or terrible international plans.

The only crippling being done here is by Verizon, which has famously crippled various features on devices past in order to push their own versions of apps or what not. I'm betting the 9930 is equipped properly for NFC, but Verizon, for some reason or another, is disabling it for the moment.

Am I the only one who has caught him saying "the SIM card is under the battery?"...on both this review as well as the Sprint review. Uhm these are CDMA devices, they do NOT use SIM cards. Who hired this guy anyways? What an embarrassment to CrackBerry!

They are CDMA devices but they do use SIM cards becsuse they are world phones. Maybe you should do a little more reading before being so quick to judge.

9930 is a world phone and also has a physical SIM slot for travel outside the US. It's CDMA (VZ/Sprint), and GSM outside the United States...

Actually, it does have a SIM card. This (like the Tour and several other models) is a world phone. It has a SIM slot so when traveling abroad you can pop in a SIM card and operate on a GSM network.

Don't jump down people's throats before you know the facts, dude.

It's a "world" phone, so yes the SIM card is under the battery. Just because the 9930 is CDMA, doesn't necessarily mean that it is not capable for other types of networks. Do some research! The 9900 is the GSM version, although they are essentially the same device, with exception that the 9930 has a CDMA radio and lacks two UMTS bands.


Best bet is don't post messages with too much confidence. lol, Verizon and Sprint have a few BB models that are GSM capable (world phones) and do have sim card slots, (i.e. 9630,9650) 9930 included in that batch.

Is it okay for us to now say " Who allowed this guy to register? because these devices DO use SIM cards. What an embarrassment that you didn't know your facts before posting on Crackberry!

It isn't nice for any of us to say that to each other, therefore I take it all back!

I hope you are thoroughly embarrassed with yourself right now!

The moral of the tale is two fold:
1. Do some research before posting such a bold and confident statement;
2. Don't slam people for not knowing what they're talking about, when you aren't absolutely sure of what YOU are talking about.

Now go stand in the corner till lunch.

wow!!!! sometimes i just really dont understand people. I mean are you trying to be cool. hey everyone im gonna be an ass to someone so maybe oh idk every one knows im an ass now and on top of all that you are wrong. Maybe next time you should oh idk. ASK on the post hey why is this guy saying this when i thought it was this cuz guess what you thought wrong and now look like a dumbass.

Ditto the SIM card/world phone comments. I personally don't have many uses for it, but it is an awesome option to have if I ever decide to travel to Korea or overseas. Hopefully by then, I will be sporting the new Bold 9930. Loyal Blackberry devotees, your patience has been rewarded with these new devices! I can't wait to get my hands on them!

im lookin @ this video....y does it say 3g when it suppose to b running on torn bet full touch sceen n bold 9930....verizion better hurry...and wats good wit the apps..when r we going to b able to video chat on fb ..nexflex...n stuff like tht.. come on u guys...f*ckin hate iphones....

It is not a 4G phone, specifically not LTE or WIMAX. AT&T and other GSM companies are touting this phone as 4G because it is HSPA+ capable which depending on how you want to define 4G, it is now acceptable to call it just that, but I consider it to be more along the lines of 3.5G. So, the 9930 will not be 4G as they are calling it because it is running on CDMA networks.

Does anyone know (i.e. measured bandwidth) if the improved hardware benefits data speed in the 9950, at all? I know that the GSM models have gotten a boost due to the HSPA+ capability. Any benefits for those of us on CDMA?

Looks nice. Not nice enough to make me switch back to RIM but I wouldn't say no if someone handed me one for free! lol.

BTW... The phone was out of frame a lot lol. Someone was slleeeeeepy.

I'd love to hear more about battery life on the 9950 to see (a) if it matches up with the 9900, and (b) whether it seems (across multiple devices) to show the same inconsistencies in battery life that are being discussed int he forums with respect to the 9900.

Anyone have input here?

It should hold about the same battery life as the 9900, but I believe it is spec'd to have a slightly better talk time. For a good judgement on the battery go look at the full review for the 9900 since it is just the GSM variation of the 9930. Kevin from Crackberry states he is getting approximately 18 hours after a solid day of use which IMO I feel if Kevin is getting 18 hours than most every day average users will get the same if not more, but check out the actual review by Kevin which is linked within this review for further details.

I just don't understand the continued attempts to justify the removing of Auto-Focus from the Bold 99xx's camera.Now it's because it's to preserve the thinness of the design? I've read a lot of posts longing for the Bold 9000-size keyboard but I've never read that the older Bolds are too thick.How does RIM release a new flagship device yet remove features that the device it's replacing already has?

I couldn't agree with you more. I carry a BB on my person daily, and carry an iPhone in my briefcase. Because of the iPhone's camera (and my 9650's for that matter)I no longer carry a small point and shoot in my briefcase. Less stuff. In the past, I have used my iPhone for surfing and screwin around, while using my BB as my biz BES phone and device. Switch out to the iPhone on the weekends courtesy of googlevoice. Frankly, I was hoping to move to only the BB 9900 series for use during the week. That camera with its fixed focus completely negated that idea. Sorry RIM, major fail.

Baaahahahaha!! Not going to switch because of a camera that doesn't take macro shots. News flash I own the 9800 and it CANNOT take macro shots of documents clearly.

Well you are in the .1% of the population that cares about macro shots on their cellphone. That is RIM doesn't need to care about you and I'm glad they don't.

Well, "Kiddo", perhaps there's something wrong with your device's camera. The 3.2 MP auto focus camera on my 9530 rocks the house on macro shots, as I'll bet the AF cameras on similar-generation RIM devices do. Also, nice job with the ignorant ".1% of the population" have absolutely no evidence to back that up and cannot possibly speak to the reasons why most people are going to switch to a 9900/9930. Every person has their reasons for using a particular device. Stick to yours and leave the others alone.

If macro is such a big issue for you, and holding the phone slightly further away and using the zoom doesn't work for you, buy a different phone. It's OK if you buy a phone that has the features you most need! That's why I'm glad all phones aren't identical, it gives consumers like you, me, everyone, choice! I wouldn't blame someone for buying an iPhone if they really wanted to play Angry Birds or have solid integration with iTunes. So please, feel free to buy a different phone! For all my macro uses, I can get perfectly functional images by holding the camera far away, and using the digital zoom. This doesn't provide me with pretty macro images, but it does give me legible text, etc. So I'm not particularly bothered by the lack of an AF camera. But if that's not going to work for you, then first: let RIM know directly that this was a priority. and second: move on, and buy different.

You should be able to. Double check if 3G will be enabled on GSM while in the U.S. with the unlocked Verizon/Sprint 9930. My unlocked Sprint Bold 9650 only gets 2G with T-Mobile here in the states.

I was more looking forward to the BB 9850/9860 on the Verizon network. Was willing to upgrade but may upgrade to an Iphone 5 when it does come out later this year. BB has been really slow to put out phones which I was holding out for. The camera on these phones also seem to be a bit behind as opposed to the other new Droids & Iphones that are coming out. I have been a loyal BB customer for the past 7 years. Think it's time for me to move on.

with the verizon 9930 having the nfc battery door but no software, when the official sprint os comes out and we load it on verizon, could that make the nfc work?

I am a current user of the 9630 Tour and I am looking to upgrade. I have done some research on the Bold and other than this forum I did not like what I heard. Now keep in mind I researched "Bold" and not the exact model. What I read was the battery life was terrible and it seems to freeze up often. Not good for someone who lives on his crackberry.

My needs are international so my choices are limited. Also depending on the carrier you may or may not get international on the same phone. As stated in an earlier post the iphone with Verizon does not have an international feature. the iphone with ATT does.

I have considered changing carriers because Verizon has really pared back their international service and cranked up the costs. However in fairness I have not thoroughly researched other carriers, which for me there is only one other, ATT.

So my question is how do you guys (&gals) like the 9930? Any downside yet? I was on the phone with BB tech support and the gal that helped me said she really loved her Torch and the Torch II is suppose to be even better. Again another example of not all carriers offering international calling on the Torch (II).

The beginning of this forum seemed to have it together and offered some positive feedback. However as I read further the conversations really started falling apart. Alot of useless snipping. Not good for anyone and certainly not impressive. So for a guy just looking for some good info to go on......what do you think?

All constructive input would really be appreciated.

Thanks to all.

Here is something constructive, go back and do more research and stop the lies you spew here. The 9800 is an AT&T exclusive and it operates everywhere in the world.

Battery life is terrible. I seriously f-ing doubt it. RIM wouldn't put out a phone that can't make it through the day. What you are likely encountering is people that have had curves or maybe bolds that can go more than two days without a charge, this Bold likely needs to be charged after one, but hey how hard is it to plug in your phone at the end of the day????

Now if it is less than a day you are in iPhone territory and that is unacceptable, but as someone said above if Kevin at Crackberry gets 18hours that's good enough for pretty much anyone.

Yes the iPhone from Verizon without international seriously sucks, but then again the iPhone sucks generally if you really use it as a phone (battery life, data hog etc.) this is a world phone and you don't need to worry much. I too travel internationally (about 8 trip a month to Europe and Asia) no probs with my Torch or any other BB I've owned. When I had an iPhone my life was miserable because it just sucked overseas often not connecting to local carriers at all or connecting and dropping off. Damn I hated that phone.

1 day battery life is enough for you? Are you kidding?? I can use my current 9780 2-3 days with full business running. Thats great. 1 day is nothing. Please, dont tell stupid things.

Yeah, the camera really sucks. With the exception of video, think of it as a camera on a 1996 cell phone. 5MP or not. Lousy Fixed focus lens instead of autofocus.

I absolutely LOVE MY NEW BOLD 9930!!!!! I'm getting sick of these Droid fanatics talking sh*t....getting me sooooo mad!!!!

okay can anyone tell me if the 8gb onboard memory and 32gb expandable memory can be used together i.e. if i use a 32gb memory card will i be able to sync ~40gb of music with my phone? i've posted this in forums but no definite answer.

also, any idea when berries will support 64+ gb expandable and what internals are required for this?


definitely the best yet, disappointed about nfc and ptt not being available yet but otherwise a must have device

Just discovered where some of the memory went for the new Bold 9930! - Open the PDF viewer and notice the HUNDREDS of PDF's for Warranty information in every different language!!! Can only delete one at a time :(

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 - the torch 9810 a 7/10 - and the 9850 a 6/10 - What u all think about this? Oh and BGR also reviewed the 9900 - .... 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 just received my 9930 in the mail today and I have to say, after owning a Droid and an iPhone...this is by far the better choice for me anyway! The keyboard is just...just...just PHENOMENAL!!! There aren't words! (Even Kevin can't come up with any - you just have to type to understand) It is pathetic that these other sites are dissing this phone. Their reviews of the device are ridiculous to begin with! They don't know ANYTHING about BlackBerry's to start, and when they DO mention something awesome about the phone, they contradict the statement with a ludicrous one two minutes later! It's time we step up from #TeamBlackBerry to #BlackBerryArmy!!! It's time to go to war, and we need to start ripping off the heads of all these little green monsters running around for two hours because they can't hold a damn charge! And start pointing out that apples taste better when they're complete!!! The iPhone is NEVER complete - and thats humorously reflective of its ugly logo!! who's with me?!?!? lol

Glad to hear... I'm really thrown off a bit about buying it! I was super hype about getting it from since it was announced... but then the camera side by side comparisons started to let me down... THE memory pissed me off, and then the battery just really got to me! So i just don't know what to do right about now! I was going to sell my 9700 and my 9650 and get it with the money i get from them! But now i really don't know anymore! the reviews killing me... the little let downs drowned my hopes! I just don't know if i should spend my money getting this phone and in like a month something GREAT is going to come out... Android or iPhone 5. Plus i read rumors that RIM is going to release QNX phones sooner than expected! I want my next phone to last at least as much as my 9700 did... it was a love hate relationship with the 9700 and the 9650 i must add! I just feel like getting this phone might be a good thing for a little bit! EXCITEMENT for a while then the sadness for not waiting for something great a little later! Wish RIM would not do this to their consumers and they should have release some game changing QNX phones, dual Core 1.2 processors, 8mp or more cams.... front facing video call cam, at least 700mb of app memory remaining like i thought was going to be the case with this phone, 1080p recording... the Great 2+ days of battery life as expected from them! U know that kinda stuff just to start off... Then i would have gotten this phone and had no doubts the product i got would be the PERFECT choice and no hesitations to get it and flaunt it!

Yea I hear ya completely! I was debating the same thing! But it's always going to be that way no matter which phone you choose, there will always be one that comes out a month or two later that makes you question your purchase decision. I have to say though, I am THOROUGHLY impressed with this phone and despite the camera issue (which I think isn't even major - it still takes great pictures) and despite the smaller battery (which again isn't even major - still AWESOME battery life), this phone will keep me happy for a very, very long time. I don't want the first batch of QNX phones anyway, I'll let BlackBerry figure out how to perfect the new OS, which should lineup right around the time I'm due for a new upgrade. Good luck with choosing, all I can say is that this phone is nothing short of breath-taking!

Thanks! At least your giving me a little hope of getting it! Will see what happens as soon as i sell the other phones! ha

I honestly don't think the camera is that bad! I've been taking some damn good pics with the phone....I get your point though!

I just recently bought my 9930 and love it! One problem: I noticed on the top left corner a spec of dust under the screen!! It didn't come that way but as I was playing with it I noticed it appeared. Is this only the beginning? I hope I'm not being picky but damn! I hope this is not a flaw with manufacturing and a lot more will appear. I don't want to bring it back because I think the people are gonna be like "its only a spec". What do I do? I'm thinking there is nothing I can do, what till it builds up the bring it in. My day of happiness has been yes, a spec of dust.

can someone tell me if it syncs two-way with gmail on verizon bis? My tour just can't do it and it pisses me off. Also, sound quality through the music player? can you turn off the stupid fade-in when shuffling songs? I'm coming from OS 5, never touched an os 6 device.

Bold 9930. Why? Because my 8530 is crapping out on me, hard crashing, and rebooting. i missed msgs from my kids the other day, and they were rather important. My upgrade option isn't available with Sprint until December and I need a new phone now. Prefer Bold over Torch because of the physical qwerty. Thanks!!!!!

Think about it. If the 9810 was the FIRST TORCH and it was released along-side the 9900. I bet most people would go for the 9810 "hands down".

I soooo want this BlackBerry 9930. I've been feigning for it since I found out it was coming out. I unfortunately recently changed providers....from TMobile to Verizon. I was spoiled by my BB 8900 and decided to get a Droid 2 when I got Verizon. I tnought the Droid was suppoed to be the best but as I type on this crazy qwerty keyboard that this Droid has...I long to be back with the BlackBerry family. I called myself waiting for the 9930 to get a newer BB but now my 2 week grace is up and Big Red won't cut me any slack and I'll have to pay full price for a new 9930. I sooo want this phone...better interface,qwerty,bbm,no nonsense apps and I could use it better in the fast paced world of Organ Transplant. Please choose me.

So glad to be back on a BB w Verizon after years on an iPhone, in addition to be free of ATTs bad service in LA. And love this forum I just found. Quick question - Has anyone had issues with the BB enterprise server and being able to reconcile back and forth from the device to the server? Seems my IT guys and Verizon are stumped. The emails are deleted/updated from the server when I delete from the BB, but not when done from my CPU or iPad. Although it does work when I reconcile manually. Software update coming?

well if you havent figured it out by now, stick your finger nail in that space at the bottom and pull hard

Several reviewers have criticized the Blackberry Bold 9930 for poor call qualifty. Any thoughts on this? That's the only thing holding me back. Thanks.

I don't know if it's the device, or my carrier (Bell), but phone reception is generally poor. It is at its poorest inside buildings. I have to almost be a contortionist to get a decent signal: stand on r/foot- hold l/hand in air- assume a 30degree (backwards) posture and bend the head fwd. If I follow Ll those steps, I *might* rx a signal. >:(
OK, so that may be a bit exaggerated, but what really pi**es me off, is that the voice recognition doesn't work at ALL! No matter how many names or numbers I have tried to makeit dial, it a,ways asks to dials a *VASTLY* different number.>:(
Not good for a high-end device.

Comment number 100. Wish blackberries were as popular as they once were when the tour was released with 174 comments here on crackberry. I miss those days :(

I just wanted to say I love my BOLD 9930. I got rid of my iPhone 4s and got this phone. This is the best Blackberry ever. Thanks RIM I get the great keyboard and touch screen all in one.