John Galea's Blog

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Blackberry Bold 9900 mini review

RIM have been very slow at innovation of late. They are by no means pioneers and have been relegated to catch up and follower status. Sad because they were innovators for quite some time, but sat back on their laurels. RIM have been the slowest to upgrade to faster processors, brighter screens, touch screens, 3G radios, decent web browser, the list goes on and on. To call any Blackberry a smartphone is a real stretch. Compared to even low end Android smartphones RIM still even today lags. While dual core processors are common place in Android, RIM are still using a single core 1.2GHZ processor on this model and the 9760 is only 1GHZ. Now this has it’s benefits, battery life.

This is the first touch screen Blackberry I’ve had the pleasure of touching and I have to say it’s about time. I don’t know how many times I have reached up to select something on screen without even thinking about it. The addition of a touch screen to the Blackberry experience is dramatic step forward. It works very well and has nice touch sensitivity. The touchscreen even works well in apps. A path blazed by devices like the Torch and Storm. The device feels great in the hand, albeit a little heavy. The keyboard is a work of art. Samsung could take notes from this one. Feedback is good, and typing on it is a breeze. Blackberry have always had great keyboards and this is one of the best in the short time I had to play with this device.

The device is using Blackberry OS 7. Eventually OS10 will come out later in the year based on QNX the same OS as on the playbook but for now we will have to make due. It’s still unclear to me which devices will and will not be uprgradable. In spite of this being a single core 1.2GHZ process the device is smooth and responsive. The screen is bright vivid and crisp. As always blackberry allow you to control the fonts on the device. A simple thing you still have limited abilities to do on Android.

Blackberry continue to improve their OS. It can now be updated over the air like other devices. This is a huge step forward. In the past it was so bad many people didn’t bother. In the past to add an internet mail account meant you needed to call your supplier or logon to a portal which you often did not have the account for. Now RIM have added the ability to do this on the device. A VERY nice addition. This is called BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service). What this does is poll the internet mail account and then push updates to you. The only downside to this is that you need to have a Blackberry account with your provider. Something that is always more expensive. Even with a data plan or a WIFI connection there is not way to do internet email without being on a carrier BlackBerry plan (I think). If Blackberry are going to attract more and more consumers, these are the kind of things they need to address. Now I know this is a challenge due to the carriers, but still …

The screen on this device is bright, vivid and crisp. Quite well done. Probably one of the best I’ve seen on a Berry.

The uSD card unfortunately is placed in such a way you have no choice but to remove the battery to change it. A painful process on any Blackberry. Initial power up from a battery removal is slow. 2 minutes or so. The device did properly support a class 10 32uSD card. It took a little less than 10 minutes to scan the card and populate the movies and music catalog. During this time the device was reasonably responsive. Just don’t try and play a movie while doing this. Once scan is complete movie playback of MPEG 4 and DIVX/XVID was good. Nice and smooth. Of course no video output on this device. The camcorder can do 720p HD video so pretty good.

BlackBerry’s appworld has come a long way and has a nice interface, but still lacks, ebooks, movies, or music.

The web browser on the device is quite good and works well with the touch screen to allow you to zoom in and out as well as pan around. There is no flash support. This is finally a competitive experience! In fact it was faster than on my Android Samsung Glide in a few web sites I tested.

All in all I have to say I am quite impressed with this device. I would consider it one of the best BlackBerry’s I’ve played with. Ask anyone what was the best Fiero. They will all say the last. (A Pontiac car from the 80s). Let’s hope this isn’t Blackberry’s last phone! And, I can only hope OS10 is not a flop. I would hate to see the company die. As of now they are circling the drain. Although to be honest, I’m not convinced the savior for this company will be found in technology. Only time will tell.

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June 3, 2012 - Posted by | Electronic gadget reviews

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