BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

Finally some top-end specs. Has BlackBerry ripened with age?

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News that will come as a relief to RIM fans: the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is as excellent as always for messaging.

Multiple email accounts are possible and you can use BIS (BlackBerry Internet Server) or BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) depending on your/your employer's needs. It's all easy to set up and most operators will even give you a helping hand over the phone (they're nice like that).

You can customise how you want it to look and can have your emails separate from BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), or from your SMS or throw the whole lot together into a consolidated inbox. It's not really much different to what we've seen before, but once again everything just seems to work.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

BBM is one of the big success stories of recent years for RIM. Its proprietary messaging app was always there, but nobody really used it for a long time. Then came the relaunch, the advertising campaign and now it is one of the main selling points – particularly to the younger market.

And as a staple part of the OS it is, of course, present in OS 7. It's been slightly updated but there's not really anything to message home about.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

Remember how we told you how disappointed we were with the low levels of integration between contacts and social networks? Well, we have dried our eyes enough now to tell you that's not the case with messaging. Hurrah! Get yourself a tweet or a Facebook message and it'll appear in your inbox.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

While we're on the subject of Facebook, can we just say a big fat hooray? After what seems like years of the same old (bland-looking) app, Facebook has finally been given a makeover. This all-new look is such an improvement.

There's now a drop-down grid that gives you access to all of the major functions and it just looks so much better. It's been a while in the making, but this is how it should have always been. Facebook places, Facebook chat, photo slideshows, an improved news feed – the list goes on.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

Twitter is also sporting a new look. It's not as radical as the Facebook one, but still a little prettier. The improvements are more basic and include a lighter colour scheme, the option to hide the tweet composer in the home timeline and so on. Nevertheless, they're all welcome. As for that display, again it really sets the Twitter app off.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

BlackBerry's own Social Feeds app is also present, although we feel that this is a waste of time and memory. When you click on any feed, it takes you to the relevant app anyway and we were unable to open it after the first instance without restarting the Bold 9900.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

Other IM methods, including Google Talk, Yahoo and Windows Live, are on board and you can always add others within seconds.

As for typing, we can comfortably say that we think this is the best BlackBerry keyboard RIM has ever offered up. It's same old BlackBerry but has more of a matte finish than the gloss of the 9700/9780, which makes it easier for fingers to grip and key presses give a satisfying click.

Not only that, because it's slightly bigger than the 9700/9780 (which we have used with ease), we found that it was the perfect size and couldn't believe how quickly we were bashing out lengthy messages on it.