Blackberry Bold 9700

For full disclosure, I’ve been a Nokia fanboy for many years, in fact I have not owned one non-Nokia phone. I’ve played with a number of other phones, but never for more than a few days. But in my opinion, Nokia’s UI is getting more stale than last week’s stock at your local greengrocer.

My last phone was the E71, which I absolutely loved, so I will draw some comparisons.

Sleek packaging, a BLACK box, half the size of the usual nokia boxes, but with the same amount of stuff in it.

Switching it on and starting the configuration was easy enough, it guides you through the initial parts, to the point where you can use the phone, but no more.

This is where the intuitiveness falls down, and I had to start digging to get to the rest of the configuration options.

My BIS wasn’t activated by the time I was on and ready to go, so I had to wait a while before being able to setup anything more.

Once that was on, I quickly visited the mobile google site, clicked the Sync link. Software install was seamless, and setting it up required a user name and password, and voila, I had a full contact list and calendar, all there, and no neeed to jump through configuration hoops like I had to with the E71 to get the sync working for a month

Installing applications are easy, not sure if a non-geek user will find it as easy, but seeing that I haven’t opened any manuals yet, I don’t want to comment on that.


I can use BB chat across networks, everyone else I know that has a BB is on Vodacom, and I can now chat to them for almost free, no more SMS charges required.

Setting up email was a breeze, I chose to just use my existing mobile address (there’s a story around that setup), and all I had to do was type in my email address and password, and it figured out the rest.   But after a week this just started failing, not sure if it has anything to do with Neotel being the ISP for this mailbox. I then chose to setup a new mailbox on MTN’s BlackBerry service, and this was even easier to setup than the previous.

Size wise it is slightly bulkier than the E71, but it feels lighter, if that makes sense. Still fits into all pockets .

Conversations in the messenger app, I remember one of my old Nokia’s doing the grouping like this, but I didn’t have the feature on any of the last 4 or 5 phones I had.  Don’t know if it was there and not enabled, I just never bothered to look for it, but having used it now, I will look for this every time.

Keyboard, the buttons are a nice size and easy to press, the E71 I had to press with my nail or absolute fingertip.

User interface, at first I didn’t like it that much purely because it was different to what I’m used to, this is not a bad thing, but having had Nokia phones for the last 13 years means I’m not used to anything that deviates from that.  After some time on it, it is more intuitive than what the Nokia ever had.

Don’t like

Menu system, everything isn’t where I expected it to be, but after browsing around for a while I quickly found everything I needed.

The camera is slow, so slow that I can’t even get my baby daughter to hold her smile long enough to take a photo. If seen tortoises in peanut butter move faster.

Keyboard, I liked the function on the E71 where if you press and hold a key, you get the Alt text, BB gives you the ‘Shift’ text, that makes typing a bit slower.

Battery life, with bluetooth and wi-fi on, the battery life is dismal, about a day and a half if you’re lucky.  But seeing that I normally don’t use either, I’ve turned it off, and now get about 4 days on a charge.  Better, but not perfect.

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