The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 updates the popular Bold series with BlackBerry OS 6, bringing with it such improvements as a more-capable browser, enhanced multimedia capabilities, and a refreshed interface. It's a good device to be sure, but we'd be lying if we said we weren't disappointed by the lack of hardware upgrades. You do get a higher-megapixel camera and double the flash memory, but otherwise the Bold 9780 is largely like the Bold 9700 in design and specs. As such, if you're coming from the Bold 9700, we don't see a real compelling reason to upgrade since you'll be getting a BlackBerry OS 6 update in the future. However, if you're coming from the Curve or looking to get your first BlackBerry, the Bold 9780 would certainly be a solid choice. The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 is available in either black or white and costs $129.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.
The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780's design will be instantly familiar to BlackBerry owners, particularly Bold 9700 users since the two smartphones are pretty much identical. They're the same size at 4.29 inches tall by 2.36 inches wide by 0.56 inch thick and 4.3 ounces. It's a comfortable fit as both a phone and messaging device, with a nice soft-touch finish along the sides and textured battery cover.
The screen measures 2.44 inches diagonally and has a half-VGA (480x320 pixels) resolution. Though it's not an upgrade from the previous Bold, the display remains sharp and clear, as we were able to easily read e-mails and view media. That said, we did have to zoom in on Web pages to read text because of the display's smaller size.
As we noted in our review of the BlackBerry Style, BlackBerry OS 6 works well with non-touch-screen devices, even though the interface was designed with touch screens in mind. With the optical touch pad, it's easy to move through the various menus and select items.
Below the display, you get the traditional talk and end keys, back button, BlackBerry menu shortcut, and aforementioned touch pad. Along the sides are a few more controls, including a volume rocker and a user-defined convenience key on the right and another customizable shortcut, a Micro-USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. Though they're hard to see, there are mute and lock buttons on top of the device. You can find the camera and flash on back, and the microSD expansion slot behind the battery door.
Again, there isn't any notable difference between the keyboard on the Bold 9700 and the Bold 9780, which is fine by us since we like it quite a bit. The rectangular buttons are a good size, but users with larger thumbs might have some problems. However, the keys feature a slight ridge, making the buttons easier to press and helps reduce mispresses.
T-Mobile packages the BlackBerry Bold 9780 with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a belt holster, a 2GB microSD card, a wired stereo headset, and reference material.
The main draw of the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9780 is that it ships running BlackBerry OS 6, RIM's major revamp of its mobile operating system. This means that in addition to the user interface changes, you're also getting an improved Web browser, enhanced multimedia features, and universal search, among other things. We'll highlight some of these features here, but for a more in-depth look at the software, please check out our hands-on look at BlackBerry OS 6.
As a phone, the Bold 9780 offers quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, voice-activated dialing, smart dialing, conference calling, speed dial, and text and multimedia messaging with threaded chat view. Bluetooth 2.1, 3G support, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), and GPS are all onboard. In addition, the Bold can make calls over a Wi-Fi network. Note that there is no additional charge for this feature but the minutes are deducted from your regular voice plan.
One area where BlackBerry has always excelled is messaging, and the Bold 9780 is no different. The smartphone can sync with your company's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), with support for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise, to deliver corporate e-mail in real time. Of course, the enhanced security features--remote wipe, device and SD card encryption, and transport encryption--are another reason BlackBerrys remain so popular in the corporate environment.