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RIM and Rogers Wireless this week introduced the BlackBerry Bold smartphone to customers in Canada. The smartphone operates on Rogers' 3G network and features a newly designed, precision QWERTY keyboard, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and a rich set of multimedia capabilities including a 2 megapixel camera with video recording and media player to play music, watch videos and view pictures.

It features a 624 MHz mobile processor and BlackBerry productivity applications, including phone, email, messaging, organizer and browser.The
BlackBerry Bold also lets customers edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly on the handset using the preloaded DataViz Documents to Go software suite.


RIM and Rogers Wireless this week introduced the BlackBerry Bold smartphone to customers in Canada. The smartphone operates on Rogers' 3G network and features a newly designed, precision QWERTY keyboard, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and a rich set of multimedia capabilities including a 2 megapixel camera with video recording and media player to play music, watch videos and view pictures.

It features a 624 MHz mobile processor and BlackBerry productivity applications, including phone, email, messaging, organizer and browser.The
BlackBerry Bold also lets customers edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly on the handset using the preloaded DataViz Documents to Gosoftware suite.

Price: $599 / $399 if you have a three year plan for voice and a data plan that exceeds $45 per month
 

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There have been so many delays on this one that you have to wonder what kind of issues Rogers ran into. With past BB models, it was pretty much just a rubber stamping exercise. Makes me want to just sit back a little and see want starts to pop up on the various forums.

My old BB is in dire need of being retired. Who knows maybe it can hold out a while longer until the Thunder gets released.
 

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Holy high prices batman.
Got a chuckle from that. Someday I wish I can afford a smartphone!
 

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Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to put it down. As I said, my tired old BB needs to be replaced and I've been waiting for this one to officially launch. No use going with a Curve when the Bold was always lurking around the corner. Seeing that we are basically at the end of August now, and the BB Thunder is rumored to be coming out in Oct/Nov, I may decide to hold off for the touchscreen of the Thunder instead.

Yes it's a new version of the OS, but then again, every BB that comes out has a new release of the OS. I've been involved to some extent with BBs in my company since the 857/957 models that came out years ago, and I don't ever recall there being a delay on a BB launch. Hell, the 8700r got released earlier than expected.

From the info that we were originally given, the Bold was going to be launched by the first week of July. For Rogers to keep pushing it back for nearly 2 months tells me that they came across something that caused issues on their network. Not sure what networks it's been launched on overseas, so I'm not sure if their running it on GSM or HSDPA there, but my gut tells me that it may have been having issues with HSDPA.
 

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Holy high prices batman.
My thoughts exactly.

I get the feeling RIM is really relying on their business customers to buy this thing. They cannot expect to compete with the iPhone, HTC Touch Diamond, Samsung Instinct, etc. with prices like that.

I'm sure it's a very good BlackBerry, but the game is changing, and I don't think this product is up to snuff, especially considering the high price.
 

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Wow I was looking to replace my pearl with the bold but for 399, that's too much. I am not saying I can't afford it, I am saying it is priced incorrectly. There's nothing special about it. Gadget prices should be going down not up.
 

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I think RIM needs to launch some future BlackBerries better. But the Bold has been selling out everywhere so far - despite this fairly quiet launch.

I paid full price for a no-contract BlackBerry Bold at Future Shop. (I didn't want to add any further contracts to my existing plan). Normally I don't pay this much for a phone, but it's well worth it for things like the ultra high-res screen, the superior keyboard (I like it more than both Curve and 8800), the better web browser, 3G, video recording, sending photos/video as file attachments to outgoing blackberry emails, HTML email, Word/Excel editing, good map graphics for GPS, ability to run multiple chat applications in background, good multitasking capabilities, etc. I downloaded a bunch of useful third party stuff for it including MSN, VNC, etc. too. Had to hunt down and download these individually, as no integrated iPhone-style AppStore yet, so have to hunt down apps separately, but hopefully RIM's own integrated software store will arrive in a 2009 update as rumored...

There's so many radios built into this thing: GPS, WiFi 11a/b/g, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth. Makes for a battery power hog if you enable many of these radios simultaneously, but if you are reasonable the battery life is not bad for a 3G device due to its 1500mAh battery. (Once the novelty wears off and you stop using the web browser non-stop.) Camera on this thing is much better than the camera in my former Curve, less noise and clearer picture. During bright light with a clean lens, it is actually better quality than my first full-size 2 megapixel camera I got a few years ago (a Toshiba PDR-M5), no small feat for a pinhole cellphone camera. This thing now does video out of the box too (something I don't think the iPhone does just yet). Videos are somewhat blocky though, but at least they are full resolution (320x480) and they make very fun file attachments, sending video emails on a BlackBerry to desktop computers, and playing the attachments in QuickTime from a desktop computer...

With support for high bitrate H.264 video playback, it included a demo movie trailer for Speed Racer built in, and it looked stunning, no compression artifacts, super sharp -- just like on an iPhone (Actually sharper, because of the smaller screen that has higher dpi). It literally looked high def, even though the screen was only 360x480 -- that's attributable to cramming ~225 pixels per inch on a screen. Also the new software now can synchronize to iTunes (for DRM-free material). It also has one of the clearest audio-quality speakerphones, according to people who've heard it in action (I'm deaf myself, so I use it mainly for data), and it has that 3.5mm stereo headphone jack too, and --yes-- Bluetooth Stereo. People who have heard it in action, has remarked on the great quality.

This is a 460Kpixel LCD screen (320 x 480 x 3 for the primary color subpixels), so images look much sharper on this screen than the typical 230Kpixel viewfinders on the current best digital cameras - this is a far better LCD screen than the sharpest/best 2" or 3" LCD viewfinder in a digital camera. Text with the newly improved scalable BlackBerry fonts is approximately 225dpi on this unit, and even 1-point and 2-point text is readable if you have good eyes (I tested in BlackBerry Browser, which now has very good anti-aliased zoomable capability -- tip -- use the "i"/"o" keys to zoom in and out very quickly in 25% increments). Big improvement over previous BlackBerries. Some quirks still abound, browser could be even better but renders many sites, such as this one, in full desktop layout.

It is full of unexpected little features. One example is that this unit is now an excellent alarm clock with its new bedside mode built in. Upon plugging in (when configured in options), it automatically display a full screen clock (black background), automatically lower its backlight to 1% (in the darkness) so that it's super dim and not light up a room, optionally automatically turn off its radio, and automatically turn off the LED light (no charge light, no flashing green light to annoy a bedroom). Basically you plug the BlackBerry AC adaptor in and the BlackBerry instantly enters alarm clock mode. Great for travel. Alarm can be configured to vibrate or any MP3 file you have copied to your device, and it will be persistent even if you ignore it, until you hit snooze.

There are other good phones, granted -- but this one definitely deserves a look by any videophile/audiophile. This is the Audiophile/Videophile BlackBerry! Not your grandfather's BlackBerry...

Now, if RIM can fix the pricing, and bring these such devices to mass market pricing like Apple and iPhone. And fix a few bugs such as browser glitches on some sites. But a very impressive device nontheless, with the crystal clear screen. Time will tell, I guess...
 

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Thanks for the detailed review Mark.
I've been waiting for this phone to come out for a while. Now I just need to see what I can do to get Rogers to upgrade my old BB 8700. It's on a corporate account and I've only had it for a year and a half. I have been having some problems with my 8700 (shutting off intermittently).
Anyone have any success getting Rogers to do a hardware upgrade in a case similar to mine?
 

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Does the camera on the Bold have autofocus and flash? Rogers' website says yes but some other site such as gsmarena doesn't say so. Also, what is the max capacity memory card supported. Even just on Rogers there seems to be contradiction. Is it 8G, or 32G?
 

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Also, a couple of other points where info/opinions seem inconsistent:

1. Can 3G be turned off?

2. Are web-browsing and downloads appreciably faster on the Bold vs. the 8900 Curve. Logically it would seem the 3G-less 8900 Curve should be able to compete with the Bold on browsing and download speeds, but opinions seem to vary.
 
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