BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

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

The definitive BlackBerry Bold 9900 review
The definitive BlackBerry Bold 9900 review

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It wasn't until the launch of OS 6 that BlackBerry really managed to convince us you could surf the web on one of its devices. Quite frankly, the older browser was appalling.

OS 6 came along boasting of its WebKit prowess, but it still wasn't enormously quick on the 9700/9780 and navigating pages was a bit of a bore because of the device's screen size.

Apparently, part of the attraction to OS7 is its increased web capabilities. According to the PR blurb we should expect general level performance gains from Liquid Graphics, which should deliver faster rendering and seamless panning and zooming, plus the bonus of a JIT (just in time) JavaScript compiler to improve the load time speed of web pages.

We really, really wanted this to be true. However, our findings weren't as promising as RIM's.

Firstly, the good news: pages, when loaded, do look great. That's mainly due to the resolution. So even though the screen isn't as large as iPhone or Android handsets, that's not a problem.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

But in our experience, pages didn't load as quickly as they do over other handsets - the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S2 both had the edge in side by side tests, although the Bold 9900 is definitely a step forward.

When the page did load, we panned around using the touchscreen - although here we encountered a problem as the screen sometimes proved unresponsive and the display didn't follow our finger.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

Another issue was the page rendering - when we zoomed in on an article and then scrolled down, we were frequently shown the dreaded white and grey checked background.

It was only momentary, but it spoiled the experience somewhat, and we're getting used to not seeing it with today's dual core offerings.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

Don't get us started on Flash though, or rather the lack of it. We don't buy the excuses that it's horrendously buggy, since our Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Incredible S have managed it for months.

BlackBerry bold 9900 review

RIM, if you're going to bang on to us about how this phone has such a great processor, then also give us one of the basic elements of modern web browsing.

So what if it supports HTML5? Both that and Flash should be included as standard and we should not even have to write this paragraph again on another review. It should just be there, like the speaker, the hang up key and an internal antenna.

At least RIM has updated the bookmarks – so instead of getting them in a list format, you get little thumbnails of all of your sites. The same goes for your history.

The browser now isn't too far off the rest of the competition when it comes to a competent browsing experience; it just needs a couple of iterations further (and in this case, a larger screen) to be considered class leading.