When the BlackBerry Bold 9780 was first announced I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. I had made the full-time jump from my CDMA ways to GSM with the Bold 9700 and it had quickly become my favorite device. I explained why I wasn't the biggest fan of the Bold 9650 and instead chose the 9700, and while along the same lines, the same goes for my choosing of the Bold 9780 over the Bold 9700. The decision of the 9700 over the 9650 is a tough one to field since it means jumping from CDMA to GSM, so the argument of the Bold 9780 over the 9700 comes a bit easier with both being GSM.
If you're at all a BlackBerry fan and are on the GSM side of things, there is really no denying the Bold 9700 is one of the best -- if not the best -- GSM BlackBerry devices there is (argue that as you see fit). Each user has his or her own opinion of why a device is good for them or what makes it "great", and the 9700 fits the bill 99% of the time. Myself, Kevin and Bla1ze have said over and over again how we love the 9700 as far as form factor, battery life and usability. Bla1ze has continued to use his Torch 9800 the past few months, yet I have decided to stick with the 9780 as I find it to be a great device and a great upgrade from the BlackBerry Bold 9700. I'm not saying that the upgrade is worth it for everyone, but for me it does the trick and does it extremely well. Keep reading for my thoughts on why I choose to use the Bold 9780 over any other BlackBerry on the market.
My BlackBerry Journey
Since I first got into BlackBerry I was stuck on CDMA. Verizon was my carrier of choice for as long as I can remember and it has never let me down. I started my journey with an 8830WE, moved up to a Curve 8330, got on the bandwagon with the Tour 9630 and finally landed on the Bold 9650. Along the way I stumbled across the Bold 9700 and decided to give it a spin on T-Mobile's FlexPay so I wouldn't be locked into a long-term contract. For a while I found myself carting around two devices. I was starting to really enjoy the 9700 but found that T-Mobile service in my area (northern New Jersey) isn't really the greatest. For that I had my Bold 9650 by my side just in case, and found more times than not it came in handy. Eventually I chose the device over the network (which really is the wrong way to do things) and left my "Verizonness" behind.
My daily use of the Bold 9700 really left me no complaints. I loved the look and feel of the device and everything I needed it to do it did very well. The only problem was the network. I couldn't seem to get around the fact that T-Mobile wasn't helping my cause and totally selling me on GSM. Enter the Torch 9800. On release day I rushed to my local AT&T store to pick one up. I signed my life away with a new 2-year contract, got my shiny new Torch and was on my way. I was totally happy with my purchase for quite a while, but eventually found myself longing for my 9700 once more (my touch vs. non-touch battle with come in another story). So after a bit of a debate with the voices in my head, I found myself back on old reliable, only this time with my AT&T SIM holding the reigns and keeping me free of the craptastic T-Mobile network.
So there I was back on my favorite device, totally content with my choice, but missing the newer features of OS 6 that I had started to adjust to on the Torch. The revamp of menus, Webkit browser and 5mp camera were just a few things that made me want to jump back to the touchscreen device. Instead I kept thinking "I'll just wait for a 9780" and trudged through until release day. A few weeks of waiting, a phone call or two and a brand new Rogers branded BlackBerry Bold 9780 was on my doorstep. So there I was with an updated version of my favorite BlackBerry, factory-blacked out and ready to roll.
Enter the Bold 9780
Kevin made some good points in his review of the Bold 9780 and explained why it may or may not be the best device out there. Now while I don't totally disagree with everything Kevin said, I do find that for me it was definitely worth the upgrade, and since I haven't had the same issues he experienced with his device (ie the trackpad problem), I'll continue to use it until the next big thing comes down the line (QNX Berry anyone?). I enjoy the features of OS 6 -- namely the Webkit browser, Universal Search and just the overall look and feel. In addition, having the extra memory and 5mp camera really helps in my book as well. The Bold 9780 is the Bold 9700's more refined younger brother, having an all black bezel and "tighter" patterned battery door, it also feels a bit more solid than the 9700 in my opinion. It still feels great in hand and slips right into my pocket. A huge reason for sticking things out and not moving to the Torch is the battery life. I love knowing that I'll go through the entire day or more and not once have to worry about losing my battery. The device stays charged and rocks out all day long, unlike many others that drop off towards the end of the day after regular use. I'm a big fan of the form factor of the 9780 as well. I like the feel of it and having the keyboard there ready and waiting for me, without having the extra step of sliding as on the Torch.
Many will argue that the 9780 isn't a significant upgrade from the 9700 to which I don't disagree, but I think that if you are at all a fan of BlackBerry 6 or having some upgraded features it's the way to go. I'm not saying the OS makes the device, but it doesn't hurt it either. Granted there are OS 6 leaks for the Bold 9700, but in my use with those I found it to be laggy at times and the bugs I came across didn't help the cause.
When it comes down to it, I get all the features of my favorite device (the Bold 9700) and more. It's a breeze to get through the OS and navigate around, and when directly compared to the 9700 running OS 6 there is a noticable difference (for me anyway). I really like having the 5MP camera as well. Before, I shyed away from taking photos on my device since I knew 99% of the time they would come out pretty crappy. Now I've noticed I use the camera much more than in the past. I really like the "blacked out" look as well. I won't say the 9700 (or any other device) looks bad with a chrome bezel, but the 9780 just looks badass being all black. Not to mention the battery life which is truly outstanding as well.
When it comes down to it, the upgrade isn't for everyone. For the most part the community actually likes the Torch over the 9780 any day of the week, but I think if you are really attached to your 9700 like I was but want the latest and greatest, then the 9780 is the obvious way to go. Can you stick with a 9700? Sure. I doubt you'll feel like you're missing out on anything for the most part, but I really do enjoy having the upgrades of the Bold 9780. If you're like many users, you may very well want to stick with OS 5 -- which the Bold 9780 can't offer. I actually tried going back to my Torch for a bit as well (numerous times now) to see if I was attached to the OS or the device, and I made it about 4 hours before jumping right back on my Bold. Overall I'm totally happy with my choice of the Bold 9780. I like knowing that the OS if official and stable, I have the power I need to get things done and everything I loved about the Bold 9700 is still going strong (stronger I guess).
So what do you think? Are you a Bold 9700 user that made the upgrade? Did you pick the Torch over the 9780? Or will you be passing on the 9780 for now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.