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BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

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

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

For years, nothing could compare to BlackBerry battery life. The phones truly were the proverbial workhorses, able to last for days and days. In fact, aside from the legendary Nokia 6310, many would say BlackBerry battery life was unmatched.

Sadly, that's changed over recent years as the colour screens, cameras and other signs of the 21st century have arrived on Planet RIM. They're still good for a day or so, though, which is more than can be said about certain Android handsets. That's not bad, but it's not amazing either.

We're still sad to see that the Bold 9900 only comes with a 1230mAh battery. That's less than the 1300mAh of the Torch 9800 and significantly smaller than the 1500mAh which came with the original Bold 9000.

RIM may argue that OS7 is more battery-friendly, but let's not forget that this handset is also packing a 1.2GHz processor and that's bound to have an effect on battery life.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

We don't understand what RIM was thinking. Yes, this may be the slimmest BlackBerry ever, but is that because they have scrimped on battery size? And if so, is that the right approach for a flagship handset that's evidently aimed at the power user?

In reality, our battery got us through a day with moderately heavy use. Namely, it was taken off charge at 6:30am and since that point we got a few emails pinging in, 26 messages sent (between text and email), about half a dozen photos and videos shot, music was played on a 45 minute journey via headphones, we made 30 mins worth of calls and did about half an hour's (painful) web browsing over 3G and Wi-Fi. By 11pm, it was down to 10%.

That's fairly respectable but if you have a really heavy day, you may need to keep a portable charger with you. Luckily, like so many handsets these days, the Bold 9900 charges over micro USB and with cables cheap as chips, it's no great hardship to keep one in your bag or work drawer to connect the phone to your computer to charge over USB.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

Connectivity-wise, we have the usual suspects: HSDPA 3G and HSUPA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. Bluetooth is not just reserved for calls but also streamed music wirelessly to our stereo via A2DP which we were very happy with.

The Wi-Fi signal was strong and we had no problems with the speeds of our T-Mobile 3G signal, although we did have page loading delays which we mentioned earlier.

Of course, the big plus here is NFC. Near field communication is to phone operators now what integrated GPS was back in 2007. All of the manufacturers are talking about it and telling us it's the future, yet BlackBerry is one of the first to bring it to market, which you really have to commend them for. In theory, the technology will let you use your phone to pay for goods by touching them against a sensor.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

We tried it years ago when O2 were trialling it using an older Nokia handset and it allowed us to use our phone as an Oyster pass (for those outside London, it's what is used to navigate the tube network.) We could definitely see the potential.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

In practice, it's not that much use yet, because nobody's really using it. It's nice to have and we are sure some retailers will use it as a selling point, but aside from bragging to friends you have an NFC mobile, we're slightly unsure what good it is. You may also look like a wally when said friends challenge you to show what it can do.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, GPRS
SAR Value0.76 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyBold
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourCharcoal
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Product Model9900
Screen Size7.1 cm (2.8")
Screen Resolution640 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 7.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height115 mm
Width66 mm
Depth10.5 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameBold 9900 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Product LineBold
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor, Accelerometer, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-39473-019
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

Have it your way. Every time.

Whether you're typing an email or accessing data - the new BlackBerry Bold lets you have it your way, every time. From the responsiveness of the BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard to the fluidity of the touch screen - you can communicate and interact with information like never before.

Loaded with power and performance.

With a 1.2 GHz processor and 8GB of expandable memory, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone is the very definition of high performance. It also features the best in Wi-Fi technology - so you can quickly tap into Wi-Fi hotspots whenever you need to. And with an HD video recorder, you can even capture exceptional moments in all their vivid detail.