Sunday, September 11, 2011

BlackBerry Bold 9900: my initial impressions

Having used the Bold 9900 for the past 2 weeks, I thought it was about time to put pen to paper and describe my impressions thus far.

A lot has already been written about RIM's newest flagship device, both good and bad, but having used a BlackBerry of one from or another since 2004, I think it is my turn.

One of my favourite devices, size wise, especially keyboard, was the first Bold.....the 9000. and I was one of the many BlackBerry users shattered when RIM introduced the successor to the 9000, the 9700, and, for me, its cramped keyboard. That said, we are a adaptable bunch, for it wasn't long before we were all rocking the 9700 and thumbing out emails, tweets, posts and the like from its keyboard.

So I move onto the Torch 9800 and then the Bold 9780......and now the Bold 9900. And it took me all of about 2 minutes to re-accquaint back with the larger keyboard....welcome home!  And loving it! And while we are on the keyboard etc, I really do like the highlighted surrounding of the trackpad......rather cool.

The Bold 9900 is of course hefty but oh so slim (for a BlackBerry) and feels great cradled between my hands, or in one hand......but, and yes I understand the NFC requirements, but a smooth back plate??? Hmmm, not too happy about this, and already I have caught my Bold twice as it slid off a couple of places (where normally a BlackBerry would not). Unfortunately for me, I prefer my BlackBerry devices to be naked, so a skin is not the answer. Need to be a little more careful though.

OS7: well yes, it is an evolution of the BlackBerry OS and a nice one. Anyone coming from OS6 will immediately feel at home. I like the icons and colours. I also like the way you can manage the panels ( only have one panel: All).

The higher spec single core processor was both urgently needed but gratefully received. There is significantly less hour glassing than ever before, and things do seem to move around much more fluidly. Yep, happy with this. The increased RAM is also appreciated. Boot time has been reduced further....nice (not that you have to reboot the 9900 as often as previous devices, but good to know, nevertheless).

Touchscreen: I wondered whether this for me would be a redundant feature, and pleased to say I was wrong. The touch screen for me is very useful to hunt around for the needed application & to click on it to open, something easily achieved while holding the 9900 in one hand (and there are lots of times you only have one hand to operate your BlackBerry with).

Battery Life: in one word; hopeless. Sorry, but I cannot get through 2/3 of a day without running out of juice. Screen brightness is set to 10%, most apps set to either not auto-refresh, or set at a longer refresh interval, WiFi switched off (don't really use it too much anyway), and while this has made a little difference, there is still a way to go. Spare battery has been ordered and that will sort the problem for now. Perhaps later OS upgrades may/may not alleviate the problem. But in essence, running a smaller battery, than the previous 9780, but with bigger screen, and touch, etc, doesn't quite add up.

Charging: Here's a little hint. If you have a PlayBook, use the rapid charger for your Bold 9900 (charges oh so much quicker). I have also found that the previous car chargers I have been using, now no longer charge the Bold 9900. So I purchased a Motorola Rapid Charger for the car, and this one works perfectly.

But the battery life is something I can put up with, especially given the improvements to both hardware and software, that RIM have implemented.

Challenge: to all of you who went to another manufacturer: try out a Bold 9900, and see what you think. For me, staying with the BlackBerry brand has been worth it (and the sometimes pain associated with previous lesser spec devices). Try it for yourself.

Good job RIM.