We take a quick first look at the upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9790 that will be available here in early December.
By GABEY GOH
The first thing one notices about the BlackBerry Bold 9790 is how slim and narrow it is.
It's been a while since I've touched a BlackBerry smartphone but muscle-memory from frantic texting on wider, older BlackBerry models meant it took a little time for me to get situated with the dimensions of this new Bold.
In terms of aesthetics, the 9790 is certainly pleasing, with the classic chrome band back in play after a few product cycles of pure black chassis within the Bold family. This new addition sports sleek lines, a curved finish and sturdy build-quality.
The slightly rubberised grey backing was also another plus, and gives a sense of security when gripping the phone, especially when the fear of having it accidentally slip out of one's hands is still fresh.
This is mainly due to the keyboard design, which sees the keys now flush and curved with the sides of the phone. It was certainly a minor test of the dexterity of my thumbs.
That being said, this pocket-friendly smartphone with its 2.44in form factor features a couple of the Bold 9900's best features, namely the touchscreen and 'fret style' angled keys.
Despite the narrower design, typing on the physical keyboard was not too painful due to the raised keys and the 2.45in touchscreen display wasn't too difficult to tap around on.
The LCD display is not particularly outstanding with a lower 360 x 480-pixel resolution but it serves its purpose, and regular BB users would already be accustomed to smaller screens as compared to those on full touchscreen devices.
Running on the BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 7, those who already own a Bold 9900 would be very familiar with this interface.
There are numerous app drawers users can swipe through such as Favourites, Recent and Downloaded with an option to manage which ones you want to see via the menu.
It also houses the same features such as Near Field Communications (NFC) technology for smart tagging, and in the future, mobile payments. This is not a major trend in Malaysia yet but least you know you're covered in that regard with this phone.
It also has a with a slightly slower 1GHz processor than the 1.2Ghz processor on the Bold 9900. While the web browsing experience was decent, some sluggish speeds were encountered with more image-intensive sites.
However, it does boast a faster experience than older BlackBerry models sporting OS 6 and below and existing users should definitely consider an upgrade.
The 5-megapixel camera with flash is more than enough for casual photographers and social media postings.
I noticed that even though I had the touchscreen option to navigate around with, my preferred method remained the optical track pad, which proved to be the most efficient method.
Of course, the touchscreen still rules for plowing through a marathon session of Word Mole.
In short, this latest model to the BlackBerry family is designed to be a compact high performance model and is certainly one to think about when it hits the Malaysian market, come early December.
Just don't forget to buy a case for it to protect that touchscreen from all the sharp objects you may have in your bag or pockets.
BLACKBERRY BOLD 9790
(Research In Motion)
NETWORK: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, UMTS 2100/1900/850/800
OPERATING SYSTEM: BlackBerry 7 OS
DISPLAY: 2.45in touchscreen (480 x 360-pixels)
CAMERA: 5-megapixel, flash, 2x digital zoom, VGA video recording
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, WiFi, micro USB 2.0, NFC
EXPANSION SLOT: microSD
STANDBY/TALK TIME: 408 hours / 5.30 hours
OTHER FEATURES: A-GPS, voice dialling, voice commands, voice recording
DIMENSIONS (W X D X H): 60mm x 11.4mm x 110mm
PRICE: To be announced
Review unit courtesy of Research In Motion, (03) 7960-4877.