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BlackBerry Bold 9700: Less big, more bold

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 crams all the smart phone goodness of the first Bold, the Bold 9000, into a smaller case, which ups the ante with an improved camera

The first BlackBerry Bold 9000 seduced us with its gorgeous screen and wealth of smart phone features, but it was a beast. RIM's flagship phone chunked out at 114mm tall and 136g.

But the Bold's been working out and today, RIM launched the Bold 9700 -- otherwise known as the Onyx or the Bold 2 -- and it's dropped 14g and a few millimetres off the edges.

Although the size has shrunk, the specs of the Bold 9700 have bulked up. The screen gains a higher 480x360-pixel resolution, and a 3.2-megapixel camera could improve the shots that disappointed us from the Bold's 2.0-megapixel snapper.

There's 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and HSDPA for faster downloads over 3G, as well as on-board GPS for maps and geotagging. It also swaps the traditional BlackBerry trackball for the flatter trackpad we saw on the BlackBerry Curve 8520.

It rounds out the goodness with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD memory card slot, which will ship stuffed with a 2GB card.

Battery life is the boil on the face of most smart phones, and RIM claims the Bold 9700 will lance that boil in time for the BlackBerry ball. It promises 6 hours of talk time over 3G -- that's one hour more than claimed by the iPhone 3GS -- and 17 days of standby time.

Look out for the Bold 9700 in shops in November, at a price that befits its awesomeness. We'll keep you updated.