In recent months there has been an increase in the number of Blackberry phones seen around our city. They are quite popular with business men/women and more recently, have become quite popular with the younger generations as a easier and more efficient method of communication. Seeing as we aren’t that old and we like to think we are hip and still somewhat youthful, we decided we wanted to give the Blackberry Bold 9900 a whirl and see what we thought. Want to find out our thoughts on this newest device from Research In Motion? Check on past the break to find out more.

Hardware

With this being the newest iteration of the Blackberry Bold it is to be expected that it was going to gain some weight. We don’t mean this in a bad was as the specifications make it somewhat wider which means it fits very nice in the hand.  We found the dimensions to be quite pleasing at the specifications being touted at H4.53″ x W2.60″ x D0.41″.  With the users of Binary Wasteland having never used a Blackberry before, this was a new experience for us.  We liked the sleep button on the top of the device and the volume rockers on the right hand side of the device.  We found the convenience button (camera button by default) almost a competitor to the Windows Phone 7 feature with the ability to press the side button and take a picture, only there was no waking the Blackberry Bold 9900 when the convenience button was pressed. We liked the size of the screen and the trackpad which was convenient when navigating the menus.  The keyboard is where we got stuck, in the sense that we found it too small for our thick fingers. The screen is the real gem on the Blackberry Bold 9900 with the capacitive touch screen. The staff at Binary Wasteland found themselves using the touch screen more times than the track pad. With all of these features combined into a palm sized package we think that this is a prime choice for developers to start programming for and on.

Software

This has to be one of the easiest operating systems we have had the pleasure of using in our illustrious career of using smart phones. We found the Blackberry 7 OS to be quite an improvement upon the previous version as we has a Blackberry Curve 9300 before the Blackberry7 OS update was applied.  The big advantage was the faster CPU and a better Graphics Processor, enabling the Liquid Graphics Technology to be enabled. This technology has enabled the bold to become faster and more efficient. We also enjoyed the fast blackberry browsing experience where we were able to utilize the touch capacitive screen with zooming in to small text using the pinch to zoom technique.  We also enjoyed the Near Field Communications (NFC) addition a breath of fresh air as we have been looking for a device to start developing applications using this exciting technology. With this software bundled up in the slick encasement we feel that development on the Blackberry Bold 990 will be exciting but also make our applications look slick as well.

Performance

Powered by a QC 8655 1.2GHz processor or in laymen terms,  a Second Generation Snapdragon processor this device is a force to be reckoned with.  We noticed how snappy the device was when we got around to using the voice commands and our results would appear instantly with very minimal slivers of time it to search for the applications. The expandable memory (up to 32GB) really adds to the performance, allowing developers to add as much media, developed applications and documents that would be needed.

Camera

The camera on the Blackberry Bold 9900 is said to tout a 5MP camera that is capable of 720p video recording. We found this to be slightly off when it came to the video as it did not seem to be 720p video but the camera and video camera both took great shots. We wanted to demonstrate the quality of the camera on the Blackberry Bold 9900 so below are some shots taken to show you how good it really is.

Connectivity

If it is one thing we value after battery life, it would have to be cell phone call quality and cell phone reception.  Our staff here at Binary Wasteland aren’t sure what Research In Motion are feeding their phones but the reception we get is amazing.  Maybe just a Canadian thing but I have receive no less than 3 to four bars wherever I go.  This is great when you are testing your application and you don’t have to worry about going around that bridge because it will make your connection drop.  The call quality is great as well, with not so much as one dropped call and we held the phone in any position we wanted without loss of signal bars.  We also found the clarity of the calls was good as well with minimal glitching of voices.  Not to fear with the Blackberry Bold 9900 and testing your bear tracker application in the wilderness.

Battery Life

The battery life on this device in one word? Great.  We heard from others that have used Blackberry’s before that the standby time has lasted days, more specifically 15 days.  While we did not experience this ours did last the better part of a week on standby and two to three days when using it heavily.When we talk about using a device heavily we mean that we have seven to ten email accounts on the device, posting to Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis and in this instance using Blackberry Messenger that comes included on Blackberry devices. This device is a developers dream when it comes to battery life for those times we are in the field and need to test an application for long periods of time.

Conclusion

With all of these features being touted on paper, or in our case the web, it seems like an impressive phone. Actually holding the device and using it for a week has drastically exceeded our expectations. Although we could do with a larger keypad (call us spoiled from other devices if you will) the build quality of the Blackberry Bold 9900 is outstanding. We really enjoyed the operating system, having never used a Blackberry before. We realize the potential of it being used as a business phone and we are going out to get one to use it in such a manner. This phone is one we would recommend to a developer wanting to start coding for the Blackberry environment. Until the next review, Happy Hacking!

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