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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  • bplewis24 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Off-topic observation:

    I read your post and when I read the word "serves", I made sure to go back and re-read it, because I often subconsciously type out "servers" or "server" whenever I plan to type out "serves" or "serve" respectively. Lo and behold, you typed out "servers."

    I don't know what it is about that word that forces me to add an "r" to it, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one :)

    Brandon
    Reply
  • buhusky - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    10 years from now RIM will be nothing more than an article on Wikipedia Reply
  • Stuka87 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If this is their idea of an update, I am not sure they will even last that long :/ Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The original signal attenuation numbers in the article were infact based on the "alt nmll" method. But as Faruk88 mentioned above, and based on what I saw myself, those numbers aren't nearly as accurate as the ones shown in the engineering menu which needs to be unlocked. :) Reply
  • vision33r - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If you look at the recent earning numbers from RIM, the company is raking money on services.

    Any Android handset maker can only dream of making the dough RIM is taking in. Not even Google makes this much money from their own Android phone division excluding their ads and search revenue.

    The only other company that makes this much money off their handset and services is Apple.
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    But they warn of a rough quarter ahead:

    "It predicts its smartphone sales to fall at a time when the smartphone market overall is growing. It says to expect fiscal Q1 sales to fall between 13.5 and 14.5 million units. It also warns that its gross margin (a measure of profitability) will drop 41 percent."

    Nevertheless, excluding Google's ad/search revenue from the mobile division is being completely blind to their business model. They license open-source and essentially free software so that they can make their money on search/ad revenue. Excluding that when making a profit comparison is like comparing a wage-based employee's income to a commission-based employee's income by only comparing wage-based income.

    Brandon
    Reply
  • worldbfree4me - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I have got to give it up to RIM. They sure know how to milk something for all its worth. The Marvel 600 MHz cpu certainly have achieved economies of scale by now and then some. But my problem is this, it's like a V8 5.7 L (350 cu in) of yore vs. V8 6.2 L (376 cu in) of today, it’s a relic, plain and simple! Grand Ma doesn’t mind, but I do, so no sale period! Reply
  • Wurmer - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    I agree and it's way pass time RIM equips their flag ship devices with much more powerful processor. Compare to other top of the line smartphone it's rather weak and with the coming of dual core CPU in smartphones they better stepup their game or they will be left in the dust. In these times of rapide changes I think it's not realistic to expect to use the same CPU for more than 6 to 12 months. My wife has both the Torch and the Iphone 4 and the speed doesn't compare, Apple product is a lot more snappier and faster. Reply
  • NCM - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The Anandtech site takes pains to be precise in its technical data and analyses, so the lack of attention to similar precision in use of language continues to disappoint.

    Only the latest of many examples:
    • The trademarked spelling of the RIM smartphone is "BlackBerry," complete with mid-cap.
    • Words in the English language do not form their plurals using a "grocer's apostrophe." The plural of "Blackberry" (even if that singular were correct) would never be the "Blackberry's" seen in your product review. Unlike the fruit, the plural of this trademarked name would normally be "BlackBerrys." RIM, however, says that there is to be no plural form of their trademark, but that "BlackBerry smartphones" should be used instead.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I've corrected the spelling to BlackBerry, thanks. Your other two comments, while correct, do not appear to be present in this article. The only reference to "BlackBerry's" is on the summary page where we state, "the Torch and the Bold can both run the latest revision of BlackBerry's OS 6". While it may be more correct to say "RIM's OS 6" or simply "BlackBerry OS 6", you can look at it as the OS belong to BlackBerry and it would be correct. I've removed the apostrophe S anyway, as the full OS name should be BB OS 6. Reply

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