Ronen and I have had our hands on the Bold 9700 for a couple of days now, so I guess its time for some first thoughts.
Summary: In my opinion, best BlackBerry yet–hands down.
Although the high end style and functionality of the Bold 9700 makes for a perfect comparison to the original Bold, I find that in the new small and sleek form factor, the new Bold 9700 is more like the newer Curve 8900.
Form: The Bold 8900 shrinks the original big Bold down to the size of the current small Curves and the Tour (Dimensions: 4.29 x 2.36 x 0.56 inches). It is super light in hand (weights only 4.2 ounces with battery, which is also lighter than the Tour). The keys are a little more scrunched together but a completely usable QWERTY nonetheless.
Specs & Upgrades: The screen size remains the same (480 x 320), despite the diet the Bold was put on. The familiar trackball has been replaced with the new touch sensitive BlackBerry trackpads. The touchpad is a little more sensitive than the touchball and takes a few minutes to get used to. I find it makes it a lot easier to scroll through longer lists and it just feels classier to use. Ronen has been experiencing some ghostly phantom scrolling (the phone randomly scrolls when he isn’t touching the trackpad), but his apartment may just be haunted by his old cat (story for another post).
The processor is the same speed as the previous Bold (624 MHz), which is speedy. The RAM has been bumped up from 128MB to 256MB, which makes things run a bit smoother. I loved the screen on the previous Bold but for some reason the resolution on the 9700 seems to “pop” more to me.
One of the biggest upgrades to me in the Bold is the move from a 2.0 megapixel camera to a 3.2 megapixel camera. Some test shots from my drive into Manhattan this morning are below.
Side Notes: Ronen notes that when he had the phone on the counter and used the speaker the sound was muffled. I made some speakerphone test calls earlier and didn’t have this problem (I am starting to think Ronen’s specific unit might be damaged). But one thing that both Ronen and I do agree on, the volume buttons on the right side are pretty hard to press compared to all the other buttons. Ronen has also been experiencing some weird issues where the trackpad scrolls down and to the right by itself as if it has a mind of its own. Make of that what you will.
Carriers: The 9700 is pretty big news on T-Mobile. This is the first 3G BlackBerry on T-Mobile’s network and its friggin awesome. For AT&T, this is a nice addition to its already huge lineup of BlackBerries. I have been testing the T-Mobile one so far and have had very few complaints. Also, because the 9700 also has WiFi, if you are using T-Mobile this phone will let you use their UMA WiFi at home service to make calls over WiFi using your T-Mobile number (see previous post here).