BlackBerry Bold 9790 review

Reviews 8 Feb, 2012

The Bold 9790 is the latest BlackBerry to run RIM’s new BlackBerry 7 OS, but does this budget offering for business users cut too many corners to compete? Julian Prokaza finds out.

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Verdict: 
The Bold 9790’s lower price makes it a more tempting proposition than the 9900 for BlackBerry owners looking to upgrade to BlackBerry OS 7, but as with that other device, it otherwise offers little to attract defectors from other platforms.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 was a real return to form for RIM, although it’s still too early to know whether or not the platform has much of a long-term future.

The recent leak of its next-generation ‘London’ smartphone did at least show that RIM hasn’t forgotten how to excite with its hardware (assuming it’s the real thing), but until its overdue BlackBerry QNX devices launch later this year, users have the new Bold 9790 to keep them busy.

The Bold 9790 sits below the top-end 9900 in the BlackBerry range and isn’t quite so opulently appointed. It still feels like a solidly built smartphone, but the screen is plastic rather than glass, as is the back cover, albeit with a rubbery finish.

As with the earlier 9700, the design of the Bold 9790 is combination of the Bold 990 and the more consumer-orientated Curve. It’s very much a classic Bold from the front, but has the Curve’s wider silver band around its sides. The 9790 is also a few millimetres shorter and narrower than the Bold 9900, and packs a smaller keyboard and screen as a result.

The 2.45” screen is 0.1” larger than on the old Bold 9700, but has the same 480 x 360 resolution, but neither figure compares terribly favourably with the large, high resolution screens on smartphones from other manufacturers.

Plastic screens are particularly prone to showing greasy finger marks and the one on our review model gained a small scratch within days, but it’s otherwise both clear and bright. The low resolution does mean lots of zooming is required to read text on web pages though, making this a less than satisfactory smartphone who spends a lot of time online.

Specifications: 

Operating system: BlackBerry 7 OS

Processor: Marvel Tavor MG1 (1GHz)

Storage: 768MB RAM; 8GB user plus microSDHC slot

Screen: 2.45” (480 x 360) capacitive multi-touch

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP & EDR, microUSB 3.5mm headphone socket

Other: AGPS, NFC

Bands: GSM 850/900/1800/1900Mhz, HSDPA 800/850/1900/2100MHz

Camera: 5MP rear with autofocus and LED flash

Battery: 1230mAh (up to 5.3 hours talk time, 18 days standby)

Size: 110 x 60 x 11.4mm

Weight: 107g