Bruce Perens famously said, Choose your logic. Choose your percentage. Contextually, Research in Motion (RIM) has been reported to be losing subscribers leaving it in droves for a fancy iPhone or Android platforms. Analysts of all hues croaked about being in a death spiral. Amid tumbling stocks, motivated negative cannards by technology websites and high profile resignations, RIM released updates to OS 7 and announced Blackberry 10 OS due to release next year.
This reviewer upgraded to BlackBerry Bold 9790 from prior Curve Series phone. The difference in sleek build quality (110 mm x 60 mm x 11.4 mm) and tapered design was immediately apparent. A volume rocker and convenience key is on the right of the phone with lock button on top of unit. After first boot, a helpful set up screen allows various tweak options with a smooth transition affected through phone switcher.
The touch and type phone has a brilliant capacitive touchscreen (2.45 inches), 480 x 360 pixels of resolution and 245 ppi pixel density. A hybrid approach works best in this reviewers opinion since a pure touch interface is good enough for brief bursts of activity alone. Even after screens brightness is reduced to minimum, it is functional with crisp legible text in direct bright sunlight without squinting your eyes.
Bold has littany of standards compliant connectivity options, from 3G to Bluetooth and low power near field communications (NFC). A software upgrade made the phone capable of acting as a mobile hotspot with connected Wi-Fi. The crowning glory for any BlackBerry handset is the physical keyboard and with strategically angled keys, it has reached its zenith with Bold series. A back up service, BlackBerry Protect has to be installed which allows OTA sync and back up of essential services. This reviewer adores the LED coverage indicator which turns red in case of any pending notification.
This review doesnt cover the hardware specifications; suffice to say, Bold has gutsy innards to run Java based OS 7 effectively. A decent, 5 MP with flash, camera allows to shoot pictures of acceptable quality.
This reviewer often faces pointed questions about availability of applications. The apps dont run the smart phone, its other way round. Unlike Googles ecosystem being full of malware and Apples walled garden approach through its proprietary and bloated iTunes interface, BlackBerry is functional with plethora of options for fine tuned granular control and inherent security. Android apps send phones location or some of them hijack its security to dial out premium numbers as security risks are never mentioned in glowing reviews elsewhere.
The central question: Does your smartphone really make you smart Choosing a BlackBerry is just about being more productive. Setting up email, reminder flags, tasks and memos dynamically linked with calendar and over the air sync remains unparalleled. This means, never a missed opportunity for significant events. True multitasking is this reviewers delight.
Further, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is as good as any social network. Group chats/ Broadcasts and user generated avatars were all pioneered by RIM on their phones facilitating video/audio and text exchange with a wireless plan. Alternative applications like WhatsApp have similar functionality but are not as evolved or as secure as BBM. Data compression saves money if you are on limited plans. It features as standards compliant browser, although this reviewer prefers Opera Mini instead.
Although its difficult to browse on limited screen space, but linking it to Playbook via Bridge is a superlative experience. This reviewers Bold is able to run multiple media formats, movies, streaming videos (through connected Wi-Fi) and the browser can run Flash, if required.
An excellent product, it comes with only one caveat of battery. A full charge lasts through about 7-9 hours with continuous phone as well as BBM usage.
Individual mileage may vary.
A phone need not be all about cosmetics alone, but has to be a balanced design and be able to integrate with your work flow. Pair this with awesome form factor and practical menu, Bold is a clear winner in its category. This reviewer abhors other platforms marketed solely based on buzzwords and prefers to put his hard earned currency on a product that is total value for money. BlackBerry promises this amply.
The writer is a practicing doctor with keen interest in technology