We know it's the beginning of the year and life is starting to get hectic again, so we'll help you save time by telling you the verdict right away: The Bold 9900 is a great phone, the best BlackBerry handset so far. But do you want to know why? Read on then.
Looks and feel
The Bold 9900 is now the flagship phone of Research in Motion. This model is their most stylish, their slimmest, their most powerful, and as expected of a standard-bearer, it has both their latest software-BlackBerry OS 7 – and their latest hardware.
The Bold 9900 feels good in the hand, it has just the right size to reach all the buttons with your thumb, and it's well weighted. It's as if the dimensions alone are already egging you to use it and join the legions addicted to their “Crackberries.” Just grasping it already makes you feel more important, more serious, and more businesslike. The chrome ring around the phone is a final touch of elegance for the Bold 9900, establishing it as the premium model in their lineup.
Speaking of looks and feel, a special paragraph must be devoted to the leather clip case that came with our test unit. Cases with clips used to be the domain of nerds who always tucked their shirt in. But BlackBerry's case is made of leather (we smelled it) and nicely finished. A magnetic clasp locks into place once the phone is inserted. It feels luxurious yet durable at the same time, protecting the phone and maintaining the upscale look simultaneously.
For novice BlackBerry users, the BlackBerry OS 7 is simple to use. The glowing square scroll button in the center leads your thumb to all the Bold 9900's functions. It's touch-sensitive; all you have to do is move your thumb around it and click on what you want to access.
Near the top of the screen, just below the clock, resides a status bar where all your updates are summarized (Facebook, mail, SMS, BBM, etc.). At the bottom is a menu bar with six icons. The menu bar can be configured to display frequently used apps, favorites, media programs, downloads, and everything else. Clicking on the title of the grouping will bring up the whole menu. It's easier than it sounds, trust us.
The key to making the most out of the Bold 9900, or any smartphone for that matter, is to have an unlimited – or at the least very generous – mobile data plan. That's because the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is a very good social networking aggregator – maybe one of the best.
Let's start with its flagship programs: Mail and BBM (or BlackBerry Messenger for those of you still wondering what we mentioned three paragraphs ago). These two products are the linchpin of what makes BlackBerry devices great, and they're still proving their worth.
BBM isn't revolutionary for what it is, which is an instant message program. But it does this instant messaging business rather well. You send and receive messages from anyone in the world connected to the BBM network, and you can share photos, videos, music, and send and receive messages of unlimited length (take that SMS). And what tickles our fancy the most is that message delivery and review is confirmed in real time. You will know if people received and read your BBM message, no more excuses.
And BBM has a special feature that irritates the Indian and Indonesian governments as well as the United Arab Emirates – all messages are encrypted and cannot be scanned by a third party. (This begs the question, can normal SMS messages be intercepted? Take a guess.)
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