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Review of Blackberry 9780 Smartphone

  • Smartphone
  • Case
  • Stereo headset
  • Charger
  • Two plugs
  • User Guide

Blackberry 9780 is a continuation of a popular 9700 model. Moreover, it is one of the most successful QWERTY smartphones on the market. It was logical to take the same body, upgrade the hardware and come up with a new model. You can read the review of its predecessor, so feel free to read it beforehand. In this article I would like to highlight the changes and offer an unusual look at the phone. Before leaving for Barcelona our editor Artem Lutfullin asked me for a Blackberry to try it in the field. It was his first RIM handset. I was curious about his feedback as before Android he used to own mainly Windows Mobile devices, while iPhone did not impress him much. Read on to know about his feelings towards Blackberry 9780 (it will be our article within an article).

Design

We will start with some links to previous reviews:

Review of Blackberry Bold 9700 (BOLD 2)

Blackberry 9700 In Use

Blackberry 9700 In Use. Part Two

Review of the Blackberry OS 5.x - basic program and basic functionality

As I have mentioned above the design of the phone remained almost unchanged. 9780 became more black at the expense of chrome. I am not a big follower of chrome, so the change is welcome. The battery cover is slightly different too, but the elements of the body are compatible. Courtesy of a wise mix of materials the device is nice to touch and keep in hands. The smartphone is compact and can be hardly felt in a pocket. In the box we find a high quality case. You don't feel like throwing it away. The headset is fine too with the answer button following the phone's design. The sound quality is good and the headset can be used on a permanent basis. You can control the music playback among other things. The power adapter is standard with two plugs. I regularly describe Blackberry accessories and encourage you to browse the following:

Review of Blackberry HS-500 Bluetooth headset

Review of Blackberry HS-655 Вluetooth Headset

Review of Blackberry HS-700 Вluetooth Headset

Review of Blackberry Remote Stereo Gateway

The updated device still generates only positive emotions. If you have no Blackberry experience, but would like to try start with BB 9780 or BB 9700. I favor variant number 1. I will not dwell too much on dimensions, because there is no difference from 9700. The same applies to the screen, controls and keypad. One more thing. I like the combination of materials in BB 9780: different types of plastic and leather look well together and will be perfectly complemented by leather accessories. The handset looks pretty bourgeois and I prefer BB 9780 to many "image" models of other manufacturers.


"Bold" has a special and appealing aura. Traditionally, you can choose a black or a white model, while I would rather go for a black one.

Camera

A 5 MP camera with the autofocus can be activated by a button on the right side. The autofocus can be set by default or chosen manually. I think the second variant is better. Sample photos reveal an opportunity to get good shots. Qualitywise this camera is definitely an improvement in comparison with BB 9700, but this RIM product is still well behind iPhone in this respect. Video recording is available with the maximum resolution of 640 х 480, but the quality is low to my mind. Moreover, Camera and Video are two separate applications, which is funny for 2011. A 2x digital zoom and a weak flash are good enough for Facebook pictures. Video recording is the weakest link of all Blackberry handsets, which need proper cameras.

Battery

This model has one of the best operation times on the market and comes equipped with a 1500 mAh battery identical to that of 9700. The company claims the following parameters:

9780:

  • 1500 mAHR removable/rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Talk time: Up to 6 hours (GSM or UMTS)
  • Standby time: Up to 22 days / 528 hours (GSM), up to 17 days / 408 hours (UMTS)
  • Music playback time: Up to 36 hours

9700:

  • 1500 mAHR removable/rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Talk time: Up to 6 hours (GSM or UMTS)
  • Standby time: Up to 21 days / 504 hours (GSM), up to 17 days / 408 hours (UMTS)
  • Music playback time: Up to 38 hours

I am not particularly interested in the exact operation time. I know that in a sparing mode the phone can go strong for three days. More demanding use with, let's say, 2 hours of talktime per day will allow for 36 hours of operation, which is a competitive advantage in 2011. By the end of the day my fully charged iPhone 4 is almost dead, while BB 9780 seems to be more enduring.

Speed of operation

BB 9780 is rumored to be equipped with another processor and boasts 512 MB of RAM instead of 256 MB. To verify the fact one needs to run "heavy" apps, but I do not use any. My standard applications allow for convenient switch between utilities and the OS looked as one of the fastest at first, but now this feeling is gone. The handset features Bluetooth 2.1 and Wi-Fi (b/g). If you install a proprietary app the phone will function as a modem.

Blackberry OS 6

I have already mentioned OS6 in my review of BB 9800, but I feel like coming up with a dedicated article on the topic. In BB 9780 the new OS is not initially welcomed by many users and I am not an exception. You have an impression that the handset lags behind and it is difficult to understand why bother with desktops and the interface. Several days after you realize that there is no way back and OS5 from 9700 feels outdated. I will try to enumerate advantages of the new OS. This is entirely my personal opinion, so take it with a pinch of salt:

  • Several desktops help to customize your own menu and access necessary applications faster. The optical track pad is a nuisance at first as you need another move to switch from desktop to desktop
  • Interface on standby looks nice when one touch of the upper side (left, right or center) allows selecting calls profiles, activating search or managing wireless interfaces; in other words all key elements are at hand
  • There is a notices area, which is more convenient and faster to work with in comparison with BB 9780; it highlights all current alerts: mail, updates in the apps store, Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk
  • I have to mention that I tested an ordinary unlocked model. All services including Facebook and apps store are fully operational and the same applies to WiFi. I have not purchased any app yet as I feel comfortable with standard utilities. Insert a SIM card to activate the network and transfer mail boxes from the previous device once you enter passwords. I am planning to install Evernote, but details will follow in the review of OS6.
  • Settings menu in OS6 is user-friendly and settings are grouped into sections, which is convenient
  • Player looks different, but it is not vital

To make a long story short the main difference of OS6 from its predecessor lies in customizable desktops (you cannot change them much though), alerts line and the redesigned screen on standby. Changes are not numerous, but the user experience is different. You get an impression of a simple phone, when you just make calls or send SMS, but you immediately realize you have a powerful tool on your hands if it is required to open an office document or upload a photo on Facebook. I listed only simple tasks. Do not forget that BB 9780 receives mail messages at all times, has a decent browser (with some reservations) and offers a handy integration of social networks. For example, if you receive an invitation on Facebook to attend a meeting it is immediately entered into the calendar (if you set this scenario up). By the way, Facebook address book is synchronized with the main Phonebook, which is nice.

Conclusions

The key question here is it worth moving from BB 9700 to BB 9780? My personal answer will be a resounding "yes". I like an improved camera and the black body. Despite certain reservations I became a fan of the new OS. At the same time it is still a tried and trusted 9700 with the familiar form factor, body and design. I will repeat it again. BB 9780 is an ideal solution to get your first Blackberry and I sincerely advise it as a smart purchase. Advantages are the following:

  • Compact size and neat design
  • Extremely convenient keypad
  • Blackberry services
  • Impressive operation time
  • Good speech reproduction
  • Availability of Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G
  • Accessories in the box
  • You can easily treat it as an image phone for calls, but if you like BB 9780 can be easily turned into a replacement of your player, organizer, navigation device and so on.

I was impressed by the model and I think it is one of the most balanced handsets on the market. Now the floor is given to Artem.

Blackberry Bold 9780. Some thoughts on the model (Artem Lutfullin)

"Do you really like it? It is just a phone for calls, which costs $700". I can easily explain why my dear and near ones do not understand why I like Blackberry phones, but how I can account for my own preferences?

Some readers find it weird that we use such words as "like" in connection with hardware, while others might be indignant that we review so many Blackberry phones on our website. Both events are inevitable though. In this article I would like to describe why I took Blackberry Bold 9780 from Sergey Kuzmin and adopted it as my single handset at MWC 2011. I did not use mail and Internet and this BB functioned only as a simple phone for calls and messages. There is no hidden agenda or promotion in the article, but some people can find both of them there if they wish. I would like to describe its features and why BB has such an addictive nature. All my ideas will be centered not only on the ideology of RIM, but on the product itself. I could only judge about the phone features of the handset.

Hardware

The price of BB 9780 is $560-$630, which is a bit expensive. When you hold it in your hands you have a special feeling. The last time I had a similar sensation it was Nokia E71, if you do not take into account Nokia 8800 or Vertu. In other words it is a high quality gadget made of quality materials with the proper build into the bargain. Strangely, other companies come up with expensive materials and impressive build, but nothing compares to 9780 in this respect. There is hardly anything special in materials. Glossy rim of the front side, plastic keys and rubberized plastic of the battery cover are accompanied by matte plastic around the cover and a glossy top. The effect is created by the combination of materials, design and proportions. This is solely my personal opinion.

Screen

These days a 480x360 screen of BB 9780 is outdated. Low resolution is followed by the landscape orientation and it is not a touchscreen! Despite this I had positive impressions from the screen, especially taking into account its readability in the sun. It offers balanced brightness and color reproduction. Finally, I have to say that it is such a relief to use a standard screen without risking touching it with your ear or ending the call by mistake.

Ringtones

I have not been amazed by basic ringtones in a phone for a long time. It is most of all associated with alarm alerts here. First you hear an airy melody, then you detect some repetition, which slowly comes to the foreground. The music fades away and after 10-15 seconds the tune gets under your skin to wake you up. I think the idea and its implementation are great. Compare it with offerings from standard Windows Mobile, Windows Phone and Android to understand that others ignored the issue altogether.

Keypad and controls

I have enjoyed smartphones with a hardware QWERTY keypad and a screen above since the days of HTC Excalibur. Every time when I meet a similar model I make myself believe it is convenient. I can surely enter the text faster with the help of an onscreen keypad, but I am carried away when I can deal with a high quality QWERTY keypad. BB 9780 is not an exception as it has convenient buttons with an elevated center, even backlight and correct borders between buttons. A sensor touchpad in Blackberry 9780 is largely awkward as in any other model we see it in. You can get accustomed within one day as ironically you have no other choice.

Interface

On the one hand BB9780 pleases straight ahead because of an analogue of Smart Dial. Press the green button to go to the dial window where you can find necessary contacts by entering the first letters or digits. On the other hand to change languages you have to use a combination of 2 buttons, which is the most controversial part of the game. Sounds strange and complicated. There is no general menu as such. Instead we have a classification by categories. Create your folders and place there shortcuts for apps and settings. Even without this BB 9780 has too many different icons and the search for apps can take some time.

Consistency

For a user of Android and Windows Mobile this Blackberry handset happened to be surprisingly stable and consistent. One charge gives you 2-3 days of operation and you can get better results if you abstain from music playback. The model is truly stable and you do not have to reload it or clean. With Android and WM these operations become routine, while here it was not necessary. Stability is inconspicuous, but is vital nonetheless.

Conclusion

I will end with a typical phrase of constant BB users that after one week of use you feel like getting the mail and other proprietary services as well. Despite the illogical menu the model makes you addicted even with all possible downsides. Do you know its secret?

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal

Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
Twitter

Published — 31 March 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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