Amidst the two important milestones known as the BlackBerry PlayBook and Torch for Research in Motion (RIM), it's easy to forget the device that gave the company the breakthrough into the mainstream market – the BlackBerry Bold 9000. Back in 2008, we had nothing but praises for the first Bold. For RIM, it was the definitive device that won the hearts of consumers, making it one of the few and well-chosen devices for the year. In 2009, its successor, the BlackBerry Bold 9700, enjoyed a much more compact design, removed the trackball in lieu of an optical trackpad, and a slightly updated BlackBerry 5 OS.
And thus, in 2010, we kept our eyes peeled for the third iteration of the Bold series. Near the end of the year, we kept our fingers crossed in the hopes of spotting the BlackBerry Bold 9780 in our labs. Fortunately, the unit came into retail availability within December 2010, barely making the mark for its scheduled appearance.
When we place the Bold 9780 side-by-side with its Bold 9700 predecessor, there's seemingly no differences to spot in its exterior. As such, you'll have a similar handling experience between these two BlackBerry devices. The optical trackpad is still present, and like what we've said previously, take due care with how sensitive the trackpad can be. With almost the same dimensions as its predecessor, we were thankful that its physical QWERTY keyboard is still easy to utilize even for its compact nature.
So what are the distinct improvements to this BlackBerry Bold update? It's all internal, from its hardware specifications, to the new BlackBerry 6 OS as seen on the earlier BlackBerry Torch 9800. In essence, the Bold 9780's interface shares the same basic premise as what we saw on the Torch 9800. Focusing on populating the home screen with various pull-up and drop-down menus, the experience is slightly different from the touch screen interface. Instead, you'll depend solely on the optical trackpad to scroll through the various menus, followed by clicking on the trackpad to select the highlighted menu.
With its small screen size, it can get frustrating to navigate through the interface with just the trackpad. Our earlier mentioning of the sensitive trackpad made it even harder to have a good control of the interface.
In fact, even for its hardware, the changes are minimal, with a boost to its onboard memory from 256MB to 512MB, and a new 5-megapixel camera. This is good news for the mobile shutterbug, since the camera comes with a significant imaging improvement. The question is - will you see a significant performance improvement? We'll answer that in the following Performance page.