BlackBerry Bold 9780 vs BlackBerry Bold 9700

The BlackBerry Bold 9700 was short-listed for the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2009 Best Mobile phone. It didn’t win, but nonetheless it was, and still is, a mighty fine handset heralded by many a RIMer as the truest most premium BlackBerry experience that money can buy. However, the plot has thickened like stew after cornflour with the arrival of the next gen version from the Canadian mobile company, designed to knock the 9700 off its perch. Yes, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is here with its swanky BlackBerry OS 6.0, but is all the big talk and a year’s more development really worth that extra outlay of cash? Pocket-lint investigates.

Form

Tie: Bold 9700
109 x 60 x 14.1mm, 122g

Tie: Bold 9780
109 x 60 x 14.1mm, 122g


Well no clues here. A Bold is a Bold is a Bold and we all know that Bolds have the same chassis. You know the routine here. It’s rather like a steam-rolled version of a Nokia Classic or, more accurately, a BlackBerry Pearl. It’s wide, flat, no offence to any pocket and not too heavy either. Both are BlackBerrys and you’ll have trouble with neither here on form factor.

Display

Tie: Bold 9700
2.44”, 480x360px, LCD

Tie: Bold 9780
2.44”, 480x360px, LCD


Again, same chassis means same screen, and that screen is a slightly disappointing 2.44-inch display in the modern age which, fortunately, is actually bigger than it sounds. Naturally, it’s no HTC Desire HD. If you’re looking to consume bags of video on your phone, you might want to think about something different - perhaps even the Torch - but the reason you’re reading this is because you want a piece of the best QWERTY keyboard in town. You are, right?

Engine Room

Tie: Bold 9700
624 MHz CPU, 256MB RAM

Tie: Bold 9780
624 MHz CPU, 256MB RAM


No change to the chassis and no change to the engine room either, it seems. Both phones have the same modest CPU and RAM stats for this day and age, but then they’re not required to run the same big screens and games that other modern smartphones are, so who cares? Three categories, three ties. Is there more to these two than just a change of digit?

Imaging

Winner: Bold 9780
5MP + flash & video

Loser: Bold 9700
3.2MP + flash & video


At last, something to talk about. Yes, we have a whole 1.8 megapixels to debate. Does this mean that RIM has introduced an entirely different and superior camera workings? Probably not. There’s been no mention of a better lens and we know it’s the same old LED flash and same screen-sized video capture, so that really is just it. 1.8 megapixels. Make your photos a bit bigger.

Storage

Winner: Bold 9780
512MB onboard + 2GB microSD

Loser: Bold 9700
256MB onboard + 2GB microSD


Ladies and gentlmen, we have another winner. Two in a row. First there’s 1.8 megapixels between the BlackBerry Bolds 9700 and 9780, now it’s 256MB of on board memory. Granted, you can expand either handset up to 32GB via microSD cards (a 2GB unit comes in the box) but a win’s a win. That said, there’s no storing apps on your removable unit with the Bold 9700, so actually a doubling up in the 9780 is no small thing - provided there’s enough good apps on the platform, of course.

Connectivity

Tie: Bold 9700
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g

Tie: Bold 9780
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g


Naturally, there’s a lot more to the connectivity stats of both phones, but the headline really is that RIM has not taken the time to update the radio set up at all - not even to introduce n-Wi-Fi which the world and his wife seems to be doing in 2010. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s something every phone needs but with more n-routers out there, one does wonder. Otherwise, it’s your standard Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, 3G, micro USB and all the trimmings.

Battery life

Tie: Bold 9700
6hrs talk, 17hrs stby

Tie: Bold 9700
6hrs talk, 17hrs stby


So, back to the ties again. Same battery. Same battery life. I think you get the picture.

Software

Winner: Bold 9780
BB OS 6.0

Loser: Bold 9700
BB OS 5.0


Okay, so this is the big category. The Bold 9780 features BlackBerry’s fresh off the line 6.0 OS, and it’s a considerably more friendly looking creature for it. While the 5.0 OS is an efficient but slightly dry affair, the latest version is much more consumer focused and has all sorts of exciting features like universal search, a better WebKit browser and generally an all round sexier look and feel

Conclusion

If you’ve come here wondering what’s the difference between the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and the BlackBerry Bold 9780, the answer is very little, but then why bother changing much when you've got it so right in the first place?

The Bold 9780 only actually costs £25 more than the 9700 at current SIM-free prices and that seems to be what RIM quite fairly values the small additions to the camera, storage and revamped OS at. The company has said that BlackBerry OS 6 will be coming to the 9700 at some stage, at which point that price difference will likely come down. If it doesn't, then you have to ask yourself if the upgrade to 5MP and more app storage is worth it.

It probably is. Just. Fortunately, whichever handset you go for, you can rest assured that you've just bought a cracker.

 



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