Of all the changes in BlackBerry 6, the new WebKit-based browser was surely one of the most hotly anticipated. The same engine powers the glorious browsing capabilities of the iPhone, the Palm Pre Plus and Android phones such as the HTC Desire HD.
With that in mind, we (and many others) were hoping for a big leap forward for BlackBerry web browsing.
And, well, we've got it. It won't leave Apple or Google nervous about their dominance in the mobile browsing stakes, but it certainly produces the rich web experience we're now used to on smartphones.
Speed-wise, it doesn't win any awards. We'd say its comparable with the Internet Explorer browser on Windows Phone 7 devices, such as the LG Optimus 7 or the HTC 7 Mozart, and is lagging slightly behind Apple and Google's respective efforts.
Once a page is loaded you can zoom into text and it will reflow fairly quickly to make it legible on the 2.44-inch screen. The browser does an excellent job of this, and type is nice and readable thanks to a fairly high 245ppi display density.
Navigating a page using the trackpad feels awfully old-school on a phone these days. Moving a cursor around feels odd, but is perfectly serviceable in the end. It changes to a magnifying glass when you're over something worth zooming in on (such as a text column), and then turns to a standard text cursor when the words are big enough.
Using this, you can copy and paste parts of websites, and there's also a Find on Page option to quickly search for a term.
Tabbed browsing has arrived, and you access it by selecting the button in the browser's top-right corner. There's a neat Cover Flow-style interface to flick through, and you can close open pages from here.
Responsiveness when browsing tabs was all over the place. Sometimes we'd be waiting a couple of seconds for any commands to be picked up, while other times it would be smooth as butter. Tabs don't need to load when you open them thanks to the ample 512MB of RAM on the Bold 9780 – you just choose them and they pop up ready to be browsed.
Pages can be added to your Home screen for fast access to them, and there's bookmarking and the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds (and they'll then be added to the Social Feeds app).