Pros and Cons: Before you buy a BlackBerry Bold

With interest in Apple’s iPhone 3G continuing to rise among enterprise users, Research in Motion (RIM) has tried to answer the call with its newly released BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphone. And while the Bold may not be a game changer for RIM, analysts agree the BlackBerry maker has released another solid entry to its enterprise-focused 8800 series.



Trying to compete with Apple’s screen couldn’t have been an easy task, but RIM has appeared to have done the job. “The screen resolution is breathtaking,” Mark Tauschek, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, said. “Half VGA, 480-by-320 resolution, and a really dense pixel per inch ratio. It’s really gorgeous.” Ryan Reith, senior research analyst at IDC Corp., said the screen will certainly be a huge initial attraction for prospective buyers of the device and called it “crisper and clear than anything on the market today.”

Web browser

While still lagging behind the iPhone, Bold features a solid Web browser which allows users to pull either the WAP or full version of any Web site out there. “If you’re using Wi-Fi, you can pull up a full version of any site and get and overview of it,” Reith said. “There is a short cut key that will zoom in or reformat the page if needed.”

On-board memory

For BlackBerry users looking to take advantage of media files, the Bold will comes equipped with a 128MB Flash memory drive and 1GB of on-board storage memory. “Some BlackBerry users in the past were having issues with their call logs and text messages being wiped out when low on internal memory,” Reith said. “RIM upped it to 1GB, which is three times what it’s offered in the past.” The handheld also comes with a microSD/SDHC memory card slot.


Battery life

Even though the iPhone has stronger Web browsing capabilities than the Bold, its BlackBerry counterpart does have the Apple device beat in the battery department. Unfortunately, not by a very large margin. “It’s not as good as the Curve, which I could use consistently for two days without recharging,” Reith said. “With the Bold, you need to get it on the charger every night.”

Scratch resistance

The lack of a touchscreen hasn’t made the Bold resistant to heavy scratching, according to Info-Tech’s Tauschek. “While the screen is really gorgeous it’s plastic, as opposed to the iPhone screen, which is laser cut glass,” he said “It will get scratched up on you and you’re probably going to want to have a screen protector on it.”

Operating system

In spite of some minor upgrades, Tauschek said, the BlackBerry OS is starting to show its age. “The fact remains that it’s still a 10 year old OS,” he said. “When you compare it to something like an iPhone that has Mac OS X as it’s operating system, you’ll see it has a lot of catching up to do.”

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