By Steve Wanczyk
For the better part of a year-and-a-half, the BlackBerry Curve has ruled RIM’s roost. The incredibly popular device swept across all carriers, and, even now, is still ranked among the “best” cell phones by wireless aficionados across the Internet. It also happens to be one of Wirefly’s best-selling cell phones.
But, this fall, BlackBerry is poised to unleash two new devices – the BlackBerry Bold, and the BlackBerry Storm. While the Storm is still a week or two away from hitting shelves, the Bold is currently available at Wirefly, and we’ve had some time to play with this particular phone.
It’s a beautiful, eye-catching device that takes a significant step into the high-speed data world, and will certainly please any Curve enthusiast looking to upgrade.
If you’re curious about the name BlackBerry decided to bestow upon its new model, one look at the Bold’s display will answer any question. This is an aptly named cell phone; the Bold boasts twice the resolution of any other BlackBerry, displaying 480 x 320 pixels and over 65,000 colors. The result is an astonishingly crisp, clear, and bright display with “bold” colors.
As a further test, we ran several videos on the Bold. There were no pixilation issues at all, and, in the end, we were pretty convinced that there isn’t a smartphone currently on the market that can compete with the Bold’s ability to display multimedia.
Other design improvements include cleaner edges with silver highlights, and a luxuriously smooth form factor. The back of the Bold sports the faux leather look and feel that’s become quite popular on high-end cell phones. It adds a touch of class, and, in addition, the back-plate is replaceable for anyone who wants to add a touch of color to the Bold’s basic black scheme.
The second of the Bold’s two most notable new features is the inclusion of HSDPA/UMTS high-speed data. The Bold is the first BlackBerry to enjoy 3.5G speeds, and users will likely notice and appreciate the difference. Plus, in waiting to roll out an HSDPA equipped device, BlackBerry conquered some of the battery drain issues associated with similar 3.5G cell phones. The Bold handles its high-speed data network very well.
In addition, the Bold comes loaded with GPS, stereo Bluetooth 2.0, and WiFi. You’ll be able to connect with the Bold via any means necessary.
The Bold supports plenty of multimedia features as well. While a 2.0-Megapixel camera isn’t exactly top-of-the-line, it’s plenty good enough to take sharp pictures (especially when you’ll view those pictures on the Bold’s beautiful display), and includes a 5x zoom. The built-in media player supports a good selection of video and audio formats, complemented nicely by a set of solid cell phone speakers.
The Bold also comes with an improved web browser, which allows you to switch between full desktop HTML pages, and a version designed for mobile use. You’ll navigate the web with the simple-to-use trackball, flipping from page to page, and zooming in and out.
When we take into account all the things RIM has already mastered – push email, document viewing and editing, productivity applications, and powerful multitasking – the features that the Bold adds really inject excitement into this new BlackBerry cell phone. The Curve is a beloved device (in fact, I use one as my primary phone), but between the incredible new screen and the 3.5G data speeds, the Bold is likely to step up and seize the mantle of the BlackBerry brand.
That is, until the Storm comes along and attracts the touch-screen crowd.