My favorite phone of last week's CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show? The BlackBerry Bold. This was a close one, as HTC's Touch Pro and S740 also made big impressions on me, and I wish I'd gotten more time with Sprint's LG Lotus, as I'm now very curious to see what consumers will think of this fashion-forward feature-rich QWERTY device. But when it came down to choosing one big winner, I had to go with Bold. Here's why:
- Gorgeous display: Bold's HVGA (480 x 320) display is absolutely stunning. Maybe the best-looking screen on any cell phone available today.
- New UI is actually modern-looking: Yeah, I know, you've got a custom theme on your Curve that makes it look even better than the iPhone. Great. For everyone else, Bold's UI makes it the sexiest right-of-the-box BlackBerry experience to date.
- Everything good about Curve plus a healthy dose of style: Bold is slimmer and sleeker than Curve, and the black with chrome color scheme is hot. Even if it is a blatant iPhone knock-off. But BlackBerry kept all of the features that make Curve so great ...
- Keyboard and features: The keyboard has been tweaked but still seems solid. The trackball is still great. There's an improved HTML browser, onboard GPS, and a bunch of other goodies waiting for you on Bold, as well. And the media player, 3.5mm headphone jack, and camera with flash area all still there. That means that feature-wise Bold is a richer multimedia device than iPhone 3G. How can I say that? iPhone's camera lacks a flash and its Bluetooth implementation lacks the A2DP (stereo) profile.. Note that I did say "feature-wise," as iPhone's iPod user experience is still the best thing goin' on a multimedia phone.
- 3G: Call me when AT&T's 3G network actually works in the San Francisco area. But if you've got solid 3G service where you live, you're gonna like Web browsing on the HSDPA-enabled Bold. At least, I hope so. Call me after you've actually tried it; one never knows with AT&T these days.
I'm no BlackBerry guy, but I've been jonesing for a QWERTY board as of late. If Touch Pro had an integrated 3.5mm headphone jack, I might be lining it up as the next contestant in my own personal game of "Can It Replace My iPhone?" But it doesn't, and I love my Etymotic earphones. So Bold, you're on deck. Can't wait to take you out for a proper spin.