The music player is rather good, though there's none of that dedicated music button malarkey you get with music-centric phones like Sony Ericsson's Walkman W980.
With the Bold it's all controlled on-screen using the track ball, though there are automatic shuffle, repeat and replay options as well as the ability to create playlists. It goes surprisingly loud too, though an on-screen warning pops up to tell you that you might damage your hearing. But, unlike the iPod, at least it has the good grace to leave the decision to us.
The loudspeaker sounds surprisingly full - or are we just getting a bit too used to listening to music on tinny mobile phone speakers these days? Either way, it's certainly got more bass than most phone speakers. The supplied headphones aren't bad either, though they lack a bit in dynamic range at either end of the scale, which leaves the music sounding a bit closed in.
Complete connectivity: 3.6Mb/s HSDPA 3G and Wi-Fi
Thankfully, you can add your own headphones thanks to the 3.5mm socket, or using Bluetooth - the Bold supports playback over A2DP wireless stereo.
As hinted earlier with the photo geotagging feature, there's GPS on board backed up by BlackBerry Maps. It's not bad, but suffers from the inevitable comparison with Google Maps. However, you can always add the Google tool, or others such as TomTom.
BlackBerry Maps will get you out of a tight spot when you're on foot, but we found it could be frustratingly slow on occasion while driving. In the car you can keep the phone charged up - outside it, battery life wasn't great and we generally found ourselves needing a recharge on the second day of use, though keeping the Bluetooth turned off helped.
The BlackBerry Bold is a beautiful combination of understated elegance and top-notch practicality, though with a price to match its classy looks. It's still ahead in practical terms of business pretenders like the iPhone and the HTC Pro, and even though camera and GPS aren't of the very best, its excellent Qwerty keyboard even puts Nokia's powerful N71 in the shade.
RIM Blackberry Bold 9000
First impressions of the Bold
I got a pair of Bolds 3 days ago on Vodafone for my business with their branded version of the 22.214.171.124 firmware. It is my first BlackBerry handset and I love it. Every day I find something new and cool it can do. I've used the iPhone too and I wouldn't even be tempted to do a swap if someone offered me one.
I run Facebook and JiveTalk IM on my handset and use it as a phone quite heavily. Network coverage isn't excellent where I live (despite what Vodafone tell you). The reception is better than my Nokia but I leave 3G enabled as the 3G is marginally better than the 2G coverage. I have WiFi switched on and most of the email and IM is done over it when I'm in my home/office. I'm just about getting a day out of it (much less than the 216 hours promised in the brochure.)
I'm wondering if battery life is related to firmware. I would find it interesting if the posters above, both good and bad, would post again with which network they use. I wouldn't be surprised if a pattern emerges between the network and firmware version and who gets decent battery life.
The stills camera is pretty good for a 2mp but when using it for video I found the artifacts to be very unpleasant, totally chalk and cheese with the included sample videos that looked great.
The most disappointing thing about the Bold for me is the Blackberry Desktop Manager Windows software. I find it brain damaged in comparison with the software for my old Nokia 9300i. It can backup and restore, install/remove applications and sync with Outlook but not much else. The Nokia software could send and view my messages, edit my contacts and ringtones... Enough things that I never used them all.
I also find the Desktop Manager software very unreliable at the things it does do. I've had to reboot my Windows PC on a daily basis to get it working when it decides it won't recognise the handset. The main OS in my business is Linux and I run Windows XP SP3 virtualized with Virtualbox on my main machine. The Blackberry software sees the handset in this environment but won't play nice and hangs up whenever I attempt any transfer of data to/from the handset. I've found many reports on the net that it doesn't work with virtualized Windows on other virtualization platforms either. I'm going to take a look at Linux software projects for it.
On the subject of email privacy, I don't have any particular problem with RIM checking my mail for me. I don't think anything really bad is going to happen (if RIM got a reputation for that then it would be very bad for their business.) If it's the spooks you're worried about then if the US or Canada want to read my mail I'm sure the UK Security Services would go to my ISP who would just hand it over so I don't think I've really lost anything.
Size and BIS/BES mailbox separation
Copmared to curve it's a brick, period. The echo's in my team were "why would I want anything bigger"
Also still no separation of BIS and BES, so no reason to upgrade.
TOM TOM navigator on BB BOLD???
RIM Blackberry Bold 9000 doesn't support the TOMTOM as described in the the review article . Please update the review as the suggestion that you can install/run tomtom applications is misleading..