CTIA Fall '08: Best in Show - BlackBerry Bold 9000

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| September 15, 2008

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.


Products mentioned