Pros Fast, very good battery life, clean interface, great messaging capabilities, physical keyboard, a 3G BB for T-Mobile (finally!), trackpad a great upgrade over trackball, GPS works well, great as a phone (most important)
Cons Web browser (see below), smallish screen (but nice nonetheless), keyboard not as good as Curve, lack of apps compared to Android options
Summary I really needed a new phone and was seriously shopping for one of the new Android phones, but all of them had at least one fatal flaw:Yes, I downloaded Opera Mini 5 Beta. My only complaints are it occasionally gets hung up when trying to enter text into a text box, and when entering a URL I sometimes have to hit 'enter' twice before it goes to the page. i also haven't figured out how to change the three default "speed dial" sites, currently set to Opera, BBC and Wikipedia.
Droid: flat keyboard was hard to use, not a world phone
Hero: no keyboard, trackball (re: gunk)
Moment: bulky, poor battery life, keyboard awkward
Cliq: sluggish, Motoblur overload, concave space key on keyboard made it hard to type
Behold II: sluggish, just didn't impress, expensive (!)
I was pretty nit-picky, but then again I wanted a phone I could easily live with for the next two years. Enter the Bold 9700.
I upgraded from a Curve 8320, and even though the Curve was very good the 9700 blows it away (as it should). Hardware-wise, it has a sleek, sexy design and has a very solid feel. The keyboard is a little flat compared to the Curve and the keys aren't separated, but even though it's not as easy to type on I can manage with almost no mistakes (in contrast, when I tested out the Droid I was far more accurate on the touchscreen than its flat keyboard).
The only other downside, as mentioned here and other places, is the web browser. It's adequate, but if you want a noticeable upgrade before a webKit option becomes available try using Opera Mini. Opera isn't supporting 9700 installs yet but I had no problem installing and running it. It renders web pages far more accurately than the BB browser and I also think it's a tad quicker.
Bottom line: solid hardware, solid OS and messaging software. Only weaknesses are a not-so-great browser and not-so-great social networking apps for BB, but as with finding and using an option like Opera Mini I think it's only a matter of time before developers improve these apps and enhance the BB experience.
Updated on Dec 1, 2009
The only other other thing I wish to do with the 9700 is get the GPS to default to Google Maps instead of Blackberry Maps. The internal setting only gives the one option.
Two last items: the keyboard has worked much better than I initially thought. Sometimes I think I might be pressing a wrong key when in fact I am not. You really have to hit the keys squarely for it to type a character (thus minimizing typos). Plus I have gotten two solid days (plus part of a third) before needing to recharge, all while having the GPS on, moderate browsing and pulling in email.
"Awesome phone!"on by gary-tx
Pros Battery life, Wifi with UMA, the optical trackpad, great balance of screen resolution, size and weight
Cons Needs a better web browser. T-mo's 3G coverage in Austin is a bit spotty
Summary Overall, an awesome phone. Battery life is really incredible: during typical daily usage with both the 3G and WiFi radios on, I'm getting 2-3 days of use. This is one of the most important things to me and BB worked some magic here Friends of mine that have a G1 and a Palm Pre are only getting about 8 hours under similar usage.
I upgraded from a Pearl - the 9700 is so much better on every aspect: screen brightness, resolution, battery, functionality, readability, speed, overall fit and finish, ease of use, audio quality and apps. And... it is so great not to have that trackball anymore. The optical trackpad on the 9700 has a great feel and takes no time to get used to.
UMA - WiFi works seamlessly. I have it configured for home. Easy to set up and it just works.
Only thing needed to make it perfect would be a full webkit based browser. The 9700's browser is improved over the Pearl's but it still has a long way to go compared to the iPhone and Android.
Pros The form factor; the speed of the OS; the trackpad; the video recorder's quality; visual voicemail
Cons The web browser HAS to be updated - Opera Mini is a must to make up for the native browser's downfalls
Summary If you want a toy, get an iphone or a droid. If you want a work horse that looks great, fits perfect in your hand/pocket and has many, many fun things to do on it, then get the Bold 9700. I use this phone for my e-mails, calendar, radio/music player, taking great photos and video, games and much more. The trackpad is much better than the already great trackball. The ratio of chrome to black is perfect for the look. The fake leather back is perfect (no more slipping like on the 8900). Visual Voicemail is amazing. The phone is blazing fast...... wow - it's so fast. The 5.0 OS is great, with many improvements. So much works so well on this phone.
-Fastest Blackberry there is.
-Syncs great with Microsoft Outlook
-Long battery life
-Great screen - plays MobiTV without a hitch
-Picture quality - 3.2 Megapixels
-New Trackpad - very cool.
-Smaller screen than original Bold
-Smaller keyboard than original Bold
-Accesories - like screen protecters hard to find.
Summary I am one of those rare people that used an iPhone for 7 months and moved back to a Blackberry. I had the Bold before that move. When I saw that a new, quicker, better battery Bold had come out, I jumped on board.
After one week use of the Blackberry Bold 9700, I traded it back in for the original Bold (9000). My reasons are more "form" than function.
The new Bold 9700 is quicker, the battery lasts longer, and screen clarity is better. But I moved back to the Bold, because it's, it's, it's... Bold.
I fell in love with the Bold 9000 because it was bigger, easier to see and easier to type. The keys are wide spaced, yet I can still text/type with one hand. I liked the screen size and menu set up because I could find everything with one hand. I didn't have to worry about it slipping out of my hand or not fitting in my pocket.
The new Bold 9700 is just too small for my hand. I found that I had to watch my texting because my big hands would hit more than one key at a time.
Overall, the new Bold 9700 is the Blackberry to get if you don't have that issue. But I wish that Blackberry would've kept the size the same and just made all the improvements - screen resolution, trackpad instead of trackball, better camera and faster processor to the new Bold.
If you are one of those big fingered people like me (or just like a bigger Blackberryphone with with a nice sized keyboard and screen, you may wish to stay with the first Bold 9000 instead of the new Bold 9700. If you are just looking for the best Blackberry and size doesn't matter than I would steer you to the Bold 9700, it really is awesome.
I really hope Blackberry reads these reviews and pgoes back to the Bold's roots and puts out a real 'Bold' for the rest of us.
That is my reason for 4 out of 5. If it enhancements would've been done with the same orignal sized Bold 900, I would've eslity rated this 5 out of 5 because the enhancements were that good!
Pros 3.2MP camera more than adequate, light-sensitive response of the screen, keyboard is amazing, being able to use my router for calling/texting is AMAZING, kb's easy2 use even w big hands, brilliant/sharp screen- sync w PC, MAC! SOUND QUALITY BAR NONE!
Cons Software for Mac is available but sub par its PC counterpart- quite functional and a selling point for me nonetheless.
Summary Trying to purchase via T-Mobile.com each phone would be $129- called Customer Service, got 2 for 1 (my self, my wife). RIM's spec info details an extra 256MB SD card, came w 2GB SD card. Battery life is excellent, texting easy, keyboard stays backlit in dark areas, can detect being in holster & has extra Ring-Tone/Vibration settings for it. Being able to have excellent reception because it can be used via WiFi (even with different encryption settings) in our apt is an amazingly appreciated feature! This thing definitely sounds better (clearer/louder) than the iPhone, too! Don't take my word on that, try for yourself if you like! I can hear this thing in a train station and carry on a convo when my mother can't with her iPhone- def beat the pants off my last Samsung. The Security features are excellent, too, offering keyboard lock and data encryption using an alphanumeric password- iPhone/iPod Touch only utilizes numeric.
The Desktop Manager Mac software successfully synced my iTunes files, playlists, my Home movie directory and Address Book contacts with no hassle.
I've only had this a few days and I'm looking forward to possible another BlackBerry when I renew my contract in another 2 years.