Display and Camera

The one drawback of having a non-slider full QWERTY keypad on a mobile device is the screen real estate you have to give up. The Bold doesn’t try to change this in any way; it maintains the same 2.4” 480x360 resolution display as BlackBerry smartphones of the past. Obviously this makes surfing the internet on the Bold cumbersome, at best, which is sad as we’ll see later that RIM seems to be focusing quite heavily on improving its browser performance. But for almost everything else the display works just fine. Reading emails, chatting and even watching the occasional YouTube video all work well on the Bold’s crisp screen. Visibility outdoors is also not an issue as the light sensor is able to ramp up the brightness sufficiently under direct sunlight.

(Left) The Bold's display is bright and sharp (Right) and the outdoor visibility is pretty good too

The 5MP AF camera with LED Flash on the 9780 is the exact same module as the one found in the Torch 9800. Under naturally well-lit conditions, the 9780's camera can pull off decent shots, but in poorly lit (or even artificially lit) situations, noise becomes increasingly visible. As such, everything that Brian covered in his Torch 9800 review is applicable to the camera found in the 9780 Bold--from the inability to choose what to focus on, to the low-by-todays-standards 640x480 limit on video resolution, and the silly message about how turning the LED flash ON for video will drain the battery faster, everything is the exact same. The only exception is that the image preview frame rate on the Bold seems to be on par with other devices as I could not notice any obvious stuttering.

I apologize for the overcast image and video samples. The Bay area hasn't caught a break in the last couple of weeks when it comes to bad weather! As such, the quality will be worse than what you'd get in better lighting conditions.

Design and Ergonomics Performance and Other Notes
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  • bplewis24 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Off-topic observation:

    I read your post and when I read the word "serves", I made sure to go back and re-read it, because I often subconsciously type out "servers" or "server" whenever I plan to type out "serves" or "serve" respectively. Lo and behold, you typed out "servers."

    I don't know what it is about that word that forces me to add an "r" to it, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one :)

  • buhusky - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    10 years from now RIM will be nothing more than an article on Wikipedia
  • Stuka87 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If this is their idea of an update, I am not sure they will even last that long :/
  • mythun.chandra - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The original signal attenuation numbers in the article were infact based on the "alt nmll" method. But as Faruk88 mentioned above, and based on what I saw myself, those numbers aren't nearly as accurate as the ones shown in the engineering menu which needs to be unlocked. :)
  • vision33r - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If you look at the recent earning numbers from RIM, the company is raking money on services.

    Any Android handset maker can only dream of making the dough RIM is taking in. Not even Google makes this much money from their own Android phone division excluding their ads and search revenue.

    The only other company that makes this much money off their handset and services is Apple.
  • bplewis24 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    But they warn of a rough quarter ahead:

    "It predicts its smartphone sales to fall at a time when the smartphone market overall is growing. It says to expect fiscal Q1 sales to fall between 13.5 and 14.5 million units. It also warns that its gross margin (a measure of profitability) will drop 41 percent."

    Nevertheless, excluding Google's ad/search revenue from the mobile division is being completely blind to their business model. They license open-source and essentially free software so that they can make their money on search/ad revenue. Excluding that when making a profit comparison is like comparing a wage-based employee's income to a commission-based employee's income by only comparing wage-based income.

  • worldbfree4me - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I have got to give it up to RIM. They sure know how to milk something for all its worth. The Marvel 600 MHz cpu certainly have achieved economies of scale by now and then some. But my problem is this, it's like a V8 5.7 L (350 cu in) of yore vs. V8 6.2 L (376 cu in) of today, it’s a relic, plain and simple! Grand Ma doesn’t mind, but I do, so no sale period!
  • Wurmer - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    I agree and it's way pass time RIM equips their flag ship devices with much more powerful processor. Compare to other top of the line smartphone it's rather weak and with the coming of dual core CPU in smartphones they better stepup their game or they will be left in the dust. In these times of rapide changes I think it's not realistic to expect to use the same CPU for more than 6 to 12 months. My wife has both the Torch and the Iphone 4 and the speed doesn't compare, Apple product is a lot more snappier and faster.
  • NCM - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The Anandtech site takes pains to be precise in its technical data and analyses, so the lack of attention to similar precision in use of language continues to disappoint.

    Only the latest of many examples:
    • The trademarked spelling of the RIM smartphone is "BlackBerry," complete with mid-cap.
    • Words in the English language do not form their plurals using a "grocer's apostrophe." The plural of "Blackberry" (even if that singular were correct) would never be the "Blackberry's" seen in your product review. Unlike the fruit, the plural of this trademarked name would normally be "BlackBerrys." RIM, however, says that there is to be no plural form of their trademark, but that "BlackBerry smartphones" should be used instead.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I've corrected the spelling to BlackBerry, thanks. Your other two comments, while correct, do not appear to be present in this article. The only reference to "BlackBerry's" is on the summary page where we state, "the Torch and the Bold can both run the latest revision of BlackBerry's OS 6". While it may be more correct to say "RIM's OS 6" or simply "BlackBerry OS 6", you can look at it as the OS belong to BlackBerry and it would be correct. I've removed the apostrophe S anyway, as the full OS name should be BB OS 6.

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