BlackBerry Bold 9790 review

Reviews Paul Briden 14:30, 25 Jan 2012

We take a look at RIM's latest BlackBerry Bold handset, the 9790

Rating: 
2
Pros: 
Excellent screen, decent build quality, good power and performance
Cons: 
BlackBerry OS 7, lock button is annoying, uninspiring design, fiddly keyboard
Verdict: 
The BlackBerry 9790 is a decent handset made unbearable by a sub-par operating system

BlackBerry externals are something of an acquired taste, particularly in the case of the iconic fixed Qwerty keyboard design the 9790 uses. As BlackBerrys go, this one is fairly slick looking, with a nod to modern design elements such as a more squared-off and narrower shape than its predecessors.

However, two things occur after handling it for only a few minutes.

Firstly, even though it's the latest BlackBerry, the fact that it's following more or less the same old format makes it look quite dated compared with the Android, iPhone and Windows Phone crowd. Unless you're a BlackBerry aficionado you might be hard pressed to notice this is a brand new phone.

Secondly, although we appreciate solid keys for the feedback they give compared with on-screen touch keyboards, the 9790's is a little too densely packed and makes typing fiddly at the best of times.

Build quality is reasonably good and although some may dislike the small screen size there's no denying the image quality it puts out is fantastically crisp, bright and sharp. It sports a 2.45-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with very good sensitivity, multi-touch capability, a 480x360 pixel reolution and a pixel density of 245 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

We did notice one thing about the design of the phone which was really irritating - the lock button. The lock button is situated in the usual place for BlackBerrys, at the top of the phone. The problem here, however, is that it's not so much a button as a large section of the phone's bodywork with a padlock icon on it that depresses reluctantly after you've mashed at it for a bit. It's not an elegant solution, it's simply irritating to use.

The rest of the experience is pretty much dictated by the operating system, BlackBerry 7. Power isn't an issue here, as BlackBerry 7 isn't a particularly demanding platform and RIM has a habit of optimising its processor setups very well anyway.

Arguably the 9790 doesn't need this much power but that's not something we're going to complain about. Inside is a single core 1GHz Marvel Tavor MG1 processor, which ticks over nicely when backed up by 768MB of RAM. We didn't experience any stuttering or slowdown while navigating the interface, and responsiveness from the touchscreen and trackpad controls was silky smooth.

Onboard there's 8GB of storage and this is expandable via micro SD cards by up to 32GB.  Connectivity is catered for with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro USB, GPS and NFC.

The camera is reasonable, though, not spectacular. It's a 5-megapixel setup with a 2592x1944 pixel resolution, LED flash, autofocus, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, digital zoom and image stabilisation. Video capture is VGA quality, so passable.

Specifications

Typical Price £340
UK Launch Available now
Frequency GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 / 800, HSDPA 900 / 1700 / 2100
Thickness 11.4mm
Length 110mm
Width 60mm
Weight 107g
Built-in Memory 8GB, 768MB RAM
Additional Memory 32GB microSD
High-speed Data HSDPA,HSUPA
Connectivity Wi-Fi,NFC,Micro USB,Bluetooth
Screen Size 2.45-inch
Screen Colours 16 million
Camera 5-megapixel
Camera Resolution 2592x1944 pixels
Zoom Yes
Flash LED
Video Resolution VGA
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WMA/WAV/eAAC+/FLAC
Song Storage Yes
Radio No
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Battery Standby 408 hours
Talktime 5 hours 20 minutes

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