We tested the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 in San Francisco using T-Mobile. Call quality was good, but not without its flaws. On our end, we heard our callers loud and clear, with no audible background noise. Voice quality was a little bit distorted, however.
Callers could hear us clearly as well, but they reported a similar voice quality issue. They said we occasionally sounded a little crackly, as if we had a terrible sore throat. It was intermittent enough that it didn't bother us that much, but it was certainly noticeable. Speakerphone calls were quite good. Callers did report more of an echo effect, but that's not unusual.
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9930 call quality sample
We were quite pleased with the fast data speeds on the Bold 9900. However, they were more typical of 3G speeds rather than the 4G speeds that T-Mobile claims. We loaded the mobile CNET page in around 11 seconds while the full CNET site loaded in around 30 seconds. We had no trouble loading YouTube videos or HTML 5 videos, though we did have to suffer through a few seconds of buffering.
The Bold 9900's 1.2GHz processor makes it much faster than its predecessors. Navigation felt smooth and quick, and launching apps was zippy as well.
There's no question that the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the best OS 7 handset that RIM has debuted. With its premium design and truly great QWERTY keyboard, it's clear that RIM paid attention to these details when developing the handset. The 1.2GHz processor is also a treat, as are the 720p HD video recording and the various improvements of OS 7. Yet those looking for a dramatic change might be disappointed, as OS 7 isn't too different from OS 6. We would generally be okay with that, except that T-Mobile has priced the Bold 9900 at $299.99 after a rebate and two-year contract. Seeing as how many comparable Android handsets are selling for $50 or $100 cheaper, we just don't think the Bold 9900 is deserving of such a high price. We're sure many BlackBerry fans will happily pay the money for the new Bold, but those unfamiliar with BlackBerry will be tougher to convince.