Design and Ergonomics

It’s not just the design that is of question here. I fortunately happened to have a Torch with me during the course of the Bold 9780 review and believe me when I say this, the difference in the build quality between the two is quite startling. With the Bold weighing in a very noticeable 40g less than the Torch at about 122g (4.3 oz), it feels uneasily light compared to the reassuring heft of the Torch. Adding to the notion that the build quality of the Bold isn't very confidence inspiring is the entirely glossy plastic build of the Bold that squeaks at certain points.

This is reminiscent of a lot of recent Samsung devices in that the device itself appears well-built and put together, but the weight and materials used in the construction belie the actual build quality. Oh, and the glossy plastic finish on the front and rear-top edge of the Bold is an absolute fingerprint magnet that also seems as though it will eventually be covered in micro-scratches as it shares your pocket with keys, coins and other devices (yes, my jeans have large pockets!). However, the back of the device feels better put-together, dominated by the typical BlackBerry leather finish surrounded by soft-touch rubber.

Because the 9780 is identical to the previous 9700, it comes with the excellent contoured QWERTY keyboard that all BlackBerry smartphones are known for. Although the device doesn’t weigh a lot, the weight distribution itself is very good and typing longer than usual emails on the phone is not a problem. That being said, on our particular review device the plastic tab at the bottom of the keyboard with the operator branding on it would make a creaking sound when pressed on the right (the left side of the tab seemed secure in place). This may very well be a one off, but it was irritating to hear the creaking every time you used the bottom-right of the keyboard as your right thumb would rest over this tab. This whole piece of plastic actually peels up so different plastic inserts (with different carrier branding) can be snapped in place. It feels commoditized because frankly, it is. 

In addition to the keyboard, the Bold is ergonomically spot on for single-handed use, particularly for left handed users. The left-side convenience key falls right under your thumb, the volume buttons under your index finger, and the right-side convenience key under your middle finger. Navigation using the optical track pad is also a smooth experience, although it takes a little getting used to the sensitivity (which can be adjusted of course).

Blackberry Bold 9780: Minor Updates to the 9700 Display and Camera
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  • SonicIce - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    just kidding lol Reply
  • radium69 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Too bad the market for blackberries is getting saturated in europe.
    All of the teens have either a blackberry or an iphone.
    The image of a blackberry is getting seriously raped over here. Carriers are promoting the blackberries like mad, with a text bundle etc.

    Allthough it's a nippy little device, I will not buy it.
    Allthough the battery life is as always, good.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    "the javascript performance as reported by the SunSpider benchmark has improved by a staggering 54% compared to the numbers before the update (which in itself was a decent 13% better than those posted by the Torch, which basically has the exact same hardware specs as this Bold)."

    Lesson in simple arithmetic. When comparing performance numbers that result in better score as "lower", the gain in performance is found by dividing the higher number by the lower number.

    For example:
    10612ms vs 22752ms

    22752/10612 = 2.14x or 114% faster
    Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Agreed. What I meant to say in the review was it executed the SunSpider benchmark in 54% less time. Reply
  • klatscho - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    i have been using the 9700 for 18 months now; the previous OS was terrible, but with the current os 6 it really works fine; i especially enjoy the search functions and the long battery life; the device is quite small and robust; also the keyboard augments my productivity.
    i would really like to see more hardware like this (small form factor, keyboard, long battery life) instead of all the supersized phones that are currently hyped. larger devices are fine for private used, but in a typical business environment, the just not cut the cheese.
    Reply
  • Kosh401 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I've been on the Bold 9700 for quite a while now and love the thing. It's functionality with my job is a huge time saver and being able to use BBM with coworkers and all my friends who have berries has been a nice touch. For entertainment I have a couple games on it but I don't really use it much for games. Play poker the most with some friends, otherwise just good old fashion solitaire. I probably watch more Youtube and check the news more than I play games on it I'd guess. So for me that's all the entertainment I require out of my phone :) Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Do we know yet if the Torch is getting that update that improved the Bold's Javascript performance so much? With the same processor it would make sense that it would. Reply
  • Vinny N - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    There's an error in the article...the display resolution is stated as 320x480. It is actually 480x360. Someone must have been thinking of the 480x320 resolution of the original bold 9000... Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Fixed! Reply
  • tech6 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I can only partially agree with this review as it seems to approach the 9780 as a home user device. For the average home user this phone will not be very interesting so if you want apps to show off to your friends and family then get an Android or iPhone. The Blackberry is a corporate communicator and it servers that purpose very well delivering security, the policy based management functionality of BES and the focus of the UI. For business these are indispensable qualities that the competition doesn't yet offer. That is not to say that Android or iOS are inferior but their focus is more on turning phones into media consumption devices than serving business and your review needs to reflect that.

    I also don't agree with the assessment of build quality. I changed my 9700 for a 9780 a couple of weeks ago and it is every bit as sturdy as the Torch or the 9000 and 9700.
    Reply

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