So you want to buy a smartphone that handles media well? Buy an iPhone.
That's the conclusion many people come to if they don't do their research to explore the just-as-capable handsets provided by Microsoft and Google in particular. Then there's BlackBerry. It's a business phone brand, but the BlackBerry Bold 9790 does cope with media better than many would probably first think.
RIM's been honing this aspect for a while as it goes after the youth market, and what we have here is actually a cracking little PMP. There's even a credible alternative to the iTunes music store preloaded in the form of the Amazon MP3 store, which we've used extensively and found to be just as good (and cheaper in many cases.)
Getting your non-DRM-protected music on board is as simple as plugging the cable in and using the RIM software. Both PCs and Mac are supported, so unless you're rocking Linux or Chrome, you'll probably be OK.
We were particularly impressed that the Mac version syncs playlists from iTunes, and does so with all the relevant info that one would expect. You're also able to sync your iTunes music from your computer to the BlackBerry Bold 9790 via Wi-Fi.
Syncing video is also fairly easy, although we'd recommend doing it the old-fashioned way. If you use the official software, it seems to go through some kind of optimisation process that takes forever.
However, if you go into drag and drop mode, as long as it's one of the supported file types, it'll still play but just take less time to get on.
At least RIM has been generous here and put 8GB of space on the BlackBerry Bold 9790, which means you have something to play with out of the box. And with support for up to another 32GB on top, there'll be enough storage for even the most vociferous of hoarders.
When you do get videos onboard, they look great. Colours are, again, represented extremely honestly, and you're left with a really good medium to watch your movies on. Indeed, the only downside is the screen size, but that's to be expected.
Best stick to shorter YouTube clips then. But there's no YouTube app - in fact, the YouTube icon is merely a link to the mobile site. We would say we feel cheated by this, but we saw the same thing on both the Curve 9360 and Bold 9900, so it's not a massive surprise.
Sound quality is amazing over the headphones, picking out the mildest of details that other phones (even a certain fruit-flavoured one) didn't. And a big plus for BlackBerry is that it has obviously put some thought in by enabling you to create playlists directly on the BlackBerry Bold 9790. Small things like this go a long, long way when you're using the phone every day.
Unfortunately, RIM has left one small thing off that annoyed us - an FM radio. Yes, we know that there hasn't yet been a BlackBerry phone featuring an FM radio released, so we hardly expected there to be one on the BlackBerry Bold 9790. But RIM is trying to position BlackBerry smartphones as fully-fledged media devices as well as communicators, and a radio would really have been the icing on the cake. At least that support is coming in BB7.1!