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Aug 6, 2009

The Truth About The BlackBerry Bold

BlackBerryBold2

 

Midnight.

The streets are empty.
In this part of town, even the cats are hiding.
You can hear the sounds of the winds, something is coming!

Suddenly a flash!
A red light, indicating just one thing:

'It' is here...

Night

Silence.

The light strikes again!

Now it's obvious, now it's for real -

You have new mail!

NewMail

 

OK, so after this long opening, I think it's time to begin.

For the past few weeks I've been using a BlackBerry Bold device.

I was interested to learn more about the BlackBerry phenomenon, through using one of the best models RIM has developed. I wanted to check what makes it so popular and trendy among business people and how come you barely see people using other devices as their business phone.

After using it for a while I must admit I'm now convinced: BlackBerry Bold is one of the best smartphones I've ever used.

But not everything is perfect in the BlackBerry kingdom, and today I will reveal some other sides of the Bold, including some exclusive pictures taken by our special paparazzi agents.

So there we go: The Truth about BlackBerry Bold!

truthBold

Let's begin with some form factor and hardware stuff:

Congratulations! It's a bold!

its a bold

So the bold is indeed an impressive phone.

It's almost as big as the Touch HD although the screen area is of course much smaller.

The form factor of the Bold is the best one in my opinion: Candybar QWERTY. You get a smaller screen but in return you have a full QWERTY, no need to slide anything, a complete d-pad etc.

The Bold has an amazingly convenient QWERTY keyboard, and the best part of it is the navigation panel which consists of 2 context sensitive buttons and the trackball. (more about that later one)

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Something I didn't like about the phone is the back cover which reminds me of the upholstery of car sits used by... pimps...
This unusual leather like cover has another problem - it's a bit loose.

Other things you get with your Bold are a nice 2 Mp Camera (not amazing) and a really strong speaker - you can seriously hear music with this speaker - it's surprisingly strong.

bold

The Bold is a thick phone, but it has a metal stripe around it - it protects the phone (which is good) but it also makes the side surface uncomfortable to hold (or to pull from a back pocket) and so I dropped the poor Bold 4 times already - and I only have it for about 1-2 months. Bad statistics for a smartphone...

Nevertheless, the overall design of the Bold says one thing: Prestige.

BoldandBeautiful 

User Interface:

As usual, when it comes to BlackBerry, don't expect too much of the user interface in terms of graphics and animation. Most of the screens are quite standard, the main shell includes a list of shortcuts combined with some visual indication when the application has new information (i.e new mail) and some folders.

The skin is the same one used by all the latest BlackBerry phones, it's very clean and of course can be modified or completely replaced.

The thing that I like about the BlackBerry is that the user interface works very fast. It's probably the fastest mobile OS today, and so there is no hour glass, windows lags, etc. Everything is working quickly and smoothly.

bold

Other improvements in the user interface involves new fonts (at last! The old ones were simply primitive!), colors, rich text support and more.

The OS is still as stable as it has been in previous versions, it's working fast, it's not fancy, but as a productivity device it's good.

Navigation

There are devices which require a stylus, devices that require a lot of practice using 4-5 soft buttons and sometimes even more than that, there are phones with only touchscreen which are self explanatory but require a lot of finger movements all across the screen.

The BlackBerry navigation model includes only 3 buttons: left menu (for the full context menu), right "back' button to go back or to clear pop-ups etc. and the genius trackball (taken form the Iron Man power source...).

BlackBerryBold1

Sigh... trackball, I'm in love with the trackball... I can play with it all day long (well... you know what I mean...);

So, to summarize, 3 buttons. Zero time to adjust. Very friendly for non- technical users. Probably RIM's best kept secret for success.

Addiction

Yep, the bold is definitely an addicting product. Before anything else, BlackBerry devices are great email and PIM tools. And the good (or bad) part of it is that you become addicted to this tiny little red dot blinking every time there is a new message in the inbox SMS or mails). BlackBerry people stare at their phones all day long, walk with their heads down towards their phone, they write emails during meetings, they are the ultimate smartphones junkies.

(Seinfeld made some funny jokes about BlackBerry junkies)

Bold2beWild 

Simplicity = Productivity!

So we've already mentioned the simple navigation buttons, and the simple UI, but BlackBerry also has a lot of nice tricks to make the device perfect for increased productivity, here are 2 examples:

1. When you send a mail, and for some reason it failed to delivered - you do not get a scary error message - you get back your mail into your inbox with a red mark next to it. you can open the mail and see the reason was it was not sent - of course the default menu item in such case is "resend". Beautiful. No need to look in the Outbox folder, sent items, etc...

2. When working on emails you can simply save them before sending and they will be kept as drafts. Here, as well, since the main working surface is the inbox view - the draft will be saved in the same list, for easier access when you need to get back to it.

I'm actually using this feature as a replacement to my notes - I'm using mails and saving them as drafts.

3. Spell check. Every mobile OS has something, but I claim that the BlackBerry spell-check is simply the best. you get a thin line below the misspelled word, clicking on it gives a list of suggestions, sending the mail goes over the misspelled words and check this out - using the trackball jumps automatically between misspelled words - see how many different features around spelling - just to make sure you don't send mails with typos. I think that's amazing.

BoldBBBold

Things that I didn't like about the Bold:

The volume keys do not work unless you are in the middle of the call. The only way to change it is by changing the profile which is somewhat annoying.

Web Browsing: the default web browser is really REALLY weak comparing to other devices. It's slow, it raises a lot of error while loading pages, it has a lot of issues - I hate it.

Opera mini - here I come!

Battery life: what happened to that? my older BlackBerry used to keep on working 3-4 days without any issues, the Bold needs to be charged almost once a day...

Applications and freeware - are really hard to find when you are using a BlackBerry. the entire concept of browsing the web and finding all sorts of free stuff, themes, tweaks etc. is not something you do a lot with a BlackBerry, so you end up with pretty standard stuff, Opera mini, facebook client, twitter and that's about it... pretty boring.

Speaking of Twitter; Are you following me or what???

Summary:

BlackBerry Bold is one of the best smartphones I've used. It's fast, reliable, stable, it has some great user interface features which may not look fancy but are working in a friendly way, creating a device which is a true "smart" phone, optimized to increase productivity.

Even though the media features were improved (comparing to older BlackBerry devices) and the speakers are great - the phone is still the perfect fit for business use and less attractive for people looking for an entertainment unit.

I'm keeping the Bold as my main phone at the moment. I believe it is the beginning of a true friendship. 

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1 comments:

Dean Murphy said...

I moved over to the dark side (BlackBerry) at the start of this year.  Prior to this I'd thought that the power and flexibility provided by Windows Mobile devices could not be beaten.

Have I been converted??????  I must confess that I'm now on the fence.

There are things that I really like about my BlackBerry (Curve 8300) and things that I like about my Windows Mobile phone (HTC Touch HD) which is why I have both!!

One of the most impressive features of my BlackBerry is the voice dialler, I've not found a command or name that it doesn't recognise including my boss's Polish surname.  Despite recording voice tags on my Touch HD it occasionally fails to recognise what I said.

When I heard about the BlackBerry app store I downloaded the app store browser application and searched for some free stuff....and didn't find anything interesting.  The apps store is slow and difficult to navigate, maybe we've been spoiled by Apple app store which is easy to use (apart from the "Top 25" listings included poorly rated apps).  I expect the Microsoft app store to be somewhere between the Apple and BlackBerry.

I think I'll always have a Windows Mobile device as I use it for many things including personal email, sat nav, traffic feeds, London tube maps and more.  I could do these things with a BlackBerry or iPhone but I've bought and paid for this software and it easily ports from device to device.

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