BlackBerry bold 9780

Ultimately, the story with the Bold 9780 isn't the hardware, but the new BlackBerry 6 operating system.

The aim was to be more refined and take another step towards appealing to a market outside of the business types normally associated with BlackBerry.

That's not to say no tweaking was made on the phone, with a welcome camera improvement and some spec tweaks to really get that new operating system humming along.

We liked

BlackBerry 6 is a great stride forward in terms of refinement and usability. We're big fans of many of the tweaks made – especially the Quick Access Points. The Social Feeds app is another very handy addition, and works to make social networking as integral to the BB experience as messaging.

The browser is probably the single biggest change, and it bumps the internet experience on the phone right up to date. It may not be class-leading, but that's fine. It's plenty good enough.

The changes to the media options are nice too, with music in particular being much improved.

The improved camera is a bonus, though it's hardly the best around. Still, it can take some nice photos, and the video recording wasn't too bad either.

As usual, the Bold 9780 is a very well-made device, with a sturdy build and nice materials. The screen is also lovely and sharp, just as it was on the Bold 9700.

We disliked

The keyboard hasn't changed from the Bold 9780's predecessor, which might not be an issue for some, but we're not keen on it.

BlackBerry 6 does have moments when it feels like a new operating system, despite it being generally polished overall. More than that, it seems far better suited to a touchscreen than an optical trackpad.

On T-Mobile, we found we got far worse signal than on other smartphones. When you're in a clear, strong area, it's fine, but any trouble spots were really bad – losing signal completely while other phones had a couple of bars of Edge.

Verdict

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 is a worthy upgrade to RIM's flagship range. The new operating system is a significant improvement, making the phone more relevant to the wider market than anything that's come before.

While we're still not too sure about the size of the keyboard, there's no denying that this does what BlackBerry does best – integrated messaging – and then some. It's a far better internet and media experience than ever before, and social networking addicts are well taken care of, too.

But you are better off using it the middle of a nice 3G-covered city. Maybe on a high floor.