BlackBerry Bold 9900 – mobile phone with keyboard and touchscreen
by Peter Wolf, trend scout and journalist at Ringier AG
The first reason is the efficient trackpad, with which your thumb can place the cursor exactly where you want it on the screen. Secondly, BlackBerrys have always had an excellent, complete keyboard and users have become used to controlling the device with this.
However, if you force yourself to type on the large display more often, you will discover how much easier it makes things. For example when highlighting text or using predictive text, where you can enter the suggested word directly into the text by simply tapping it. In the photo album, it is also more convenient to swipe through photos (although you can also scroll back and forth by pressing the “N” and “V” keys). However, the touchscreen really reveals its strengths when it comes to the“pinch and zoom” feature, which allows you to zoom in on a section using two fingers. The liquid graphics display reacts quickly and animations run smoothly.
Visually, the rear side of the smartphone has plenty to offer with its carbon look but, unfortunately, the built-in optics are the Bold 9900's biggest weakness: the 5-megapixel camera just isn't that impressive. Firstly, manufacturer RIM has skimped on the two-stage trigger — with previous models, you could press this all the way to take a photo and half way to activate the focus. And as for the focus, for close-up shots you can forget it! This means that taking photos of documents or recording business cards and then transferring them directly to the address book is no longer an option with this model. This is a shame.
The front side is efficient, the rear side is elegant, and the sides are robust — the surrounding stainless steel frame looks solid, and it is. It protects the phone if you drop it and makes it comfortable to hold. At almost 11 millimetres, the smartphone is nice and thin, sits well in your hand thanks to its sloped sides and, at 66 mm wide, has plenty of room for a generous, complete keyboard.
The 9900 keyboard is excellent for typing – if only the process for entering umlauts wasn't so complicated and clumsy!
Some users overcome this difficulty using predictive text — they type everything without umlauts and trust the automatic technology to place the dots reliably. The only annoying thing here is the random and haphazard capitalisation of words, which means that a lot of corrections are needed. With this in mind, here's a little trick for entering umlauts:
Go to “Options”, “Typing and input”, “Word substitution” and enter the following:
(and the equivalents for aa and oo)
Now, if you want to write “süss”, for example, type the “s”, followed by a space, then “uu”, another space and finally “ss”. The two spaces are automatically deleted and the “uu” converted to a ü.
As before, the BlackBerry sets itself apart from all other smartphones primarily with its excellent keyboard. When used correctly, it allows users to be extremely efficient and to type, navigate and handle the device quickly. This also makes the Bold 9900 a first-class business phone. Thanks to the extensive integration of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services, it is just as suitable for use in your free time.
Summary: a reliable, light, fast business mobile phone with an excellent keyboard and a modern touchscreen, not made for drawing on or for taking close-up photos, but perfect for those who type a lot and anyone who needs a fully charged battery to last longer than just until midday.