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RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 review

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £350
inc VAT

A smart, well-made phone with top business credentials, the Bold 9700 can be a pain to set up correctly, and doesn't offer a large screen or a wide variety of apps


BlackBerry OS 5.0, 2.4in 480×360 display

The latest BlackBerry Bold doesn’t look much different to previous models, with its full QWERTY keypad and leather back. Under the hood, however, it has a faster processor is lighter as well as smaller in every dimension. The screen’s resolution has gone up too, and with 480×360 packed into only 2.4in of space, text and images are really clear and sharp.

Like the Blackberry Curve 8520, the new Bold has an optical trackpad which we found responsive, and which is less prone to mechanical failure than the rollerball it replaces. While the keypad may be narrower than before, it’s just as usable, with moulded keys that have excellent feedback.

The interface has changed too: rather than a full screen of icons, the first thing you see now is a pretty background, with a single row of icons at the bottom of the screen. Pressing the BlackBerry button now shows the full application list, as well as acting as the menu key once in an application.

BlackBerry’s strength has also been its email, but now most other smartphones come with push email and decent virtual keyboards. Account creation and setup can be a nightmare as well, depending on how your carrier or IT department has set the phone up. Although the phone comes bundled with office viewers and some decent business tools, Blackberry’s App World still lags behind the likes of the Android Market and Apple App Store.

In the revised interface, we found it took a while to get to know the icons, which aren’t as distinguishable as they used to be. You can group applications into folders, or drag them into the top row so they appear on the home screen, but this still means you’re limited to having only six applications readily available, unlike an Android phone or iPhone. Delving into the Options screen is still a nightmare of text menus, however, and is probably best left to your carrier or IT department.

As expected, the Bold 9700’s battery lasted far longer than most other phones. As well as push email, there are security features that will please IT departments, so if your company runs a BlackBerry server it would be a good choice. The small screen won’t appeal to those who want to take a lot of photos or movies, however, and BlackBerry’s App World doesn’t have the variety of competing app stores.


Price £350
Rating ***


Main display size 2.4in
Native resolution 480×360
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 3.2-megapixel
Video recording format 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPS yes
Internal memory 256MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 2048MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/1700/2100
Wireless data EDGE, HSDPA
Size 109x60x14mm
Weight 122g


Operating system BlackBerry OS 5.0
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange/BlackBerry
Audio format support .3GP, MP3, WMA, ASF, WMA, MIDI, AMR-NB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+
Video playback formats XviD, H.263, H.264, WMV, MPEG4, Flash
FM Radio no
Web Browser BlackBerry browser
Accessories headset, data cable, charger
Talk time 6 hours
Standby time 17 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 42h 38m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £363
Price on contract £30-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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