May 20th, 2008
Okay, here it is; our very brief preview of the new Blackberry Bold AKA Blackberry 9000 AKA Meteor.
Our Bold is a preproduction unit. Things might change from now till when production units are available.
Compared to the previous series the 9000 brings all the various 8000 special features like GPS, WiFi, camera and puts it all in one device. You also get HSDPA (3G), a higher resolution display, faster processor, more user storage space (1GB), 3.5mm stereo jack (standard size so you can use your iPod’s headphones), external memory card slot (not internal) along with an extra side button and a possibly iPhone inspired look (I think of the look as ‘iBerry’).
Software-wise you get the latest version Blackberry OS 4.6. The most notable features of 4.6 is a more modern looking browser, new menu skin (it has animated menu icons and is more readable text because it’s high contrast).
Here’s the tour: If you look at the edges the Bold looks just like an iPhone except instead of being chromed (shiny) it’s a matte finish. The keys are very similar to the 8800 except they’re slightly flatter and have a bit more travel to them. I also found that I was less likely to accidentally press neighboring keys on the Bold – I’m not sure why. The trackball feels about the same.
On the left side there’s a hole for the left speaker a 3.5mm headphone jack, mini USB connector, voice recognition (convenience) key and Micro SD card slot. The last ‘button’ is for the cradle.
The right side has the other speaker, the other cradle connector, camera button (convenience key) and volume buttons.
On top you get a mute button, the power button has migrated to the END key (for better or for worse, probably for better since it was kind of confusing to have 2 identical feeling buttons on top).
The bottom has the microphone and rear cover release key. I’m not sure what the other hole is for
The screen has a resolution of 480×320 which is noticably sharper than the 8800′s 320×240. Text is crisper, that sort of thing. The finish on the screen cover is more matte and doesn’t reflect as much light. It’s also noticeably brighter. It reminds of the first gen (current gen) iPhone.
The plastics used in the Bold feel a little cheaper than the 8800′s. One difference though is that the Bold will have a pleather back (or so I’ve been told – the one I have is just regular plastic). The Bold’s also slightly lighter which makes it feel less substantial. Their footprint’s are about the same, though the Bold has more curves.
Out going sound quality is terrific. Incoming doesn’t have much his but it’s slightly muddy sounding. Hopefully this will fixed in the production version.
The speaker is really loud and has reasonable fidelity.
Software wise the menu’s look has been updated. The new browser renders pages like they would on a desktop computer. Aside from those 2 changes the Bold doesn’t feel all that different.
RF wise the Bold is noticeably better than the 8800. It’s able to place and hold onto calls where the 8800 can’t. Sound quality is also noticeably better. What’s great is this Bold is a pre-production unit so RF and sound quality might get even better (who knows?).
It’s too soon to conclude much but really with the exception of the build quality (which is slightly worse) the Bold is a noticeable improvement in almost every aspect.
We’ll have some more pictures and possibly a video later so stay tuned.