US reviewers have been giving RIM a hard time for the cost of ownership of the just-launched BlackBerry Bold 9930 – onsale in the UK through Vodafone as the BlackBerry Bold 9900. While criticisms over the handset's design may well be valid, price comparisons against the Apple iPhone 4 and the current most popular Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S II, aren’t borne out in the UK.
Here's the lowdown on how much a BlackBerry Bold 9900 will cost you here in the UK. Pricing is from the Vodafone UK site, since that's where all three handsets are available.
An 8GB BlackBerry Bold 9900 handset on a £36-a-month Vodafone contract for 24 months gives you 500MB of mobile data, 900 minutes of calls and unlimited text messaging. The handset is then free, making for a total cost of £864.
A slightly cheaper option is to choose the £26-a-month contract over £24 months and stump up £199 up front. This deal costs £823 and gets you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. The £31-a-month deal boosts your minutes to 600, includes the same data and text deals as above and costs £99 upfront and totals £843 over two years.
Android fans are looking at broadly the same costs. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread-touting Samsung Galaxy S II bumps up the data allowance to 750MB per month, costs £864 over 24 months for a £36-a-month subscription with a ‘free’ handset.
You can shave off a few pounds by instead taking out the £31-a-month contract. This comes to £744 over two years but totals £843 as Vodafone charges £99 for the handset. For this, you get the same 500MB of data, 600 minutes and unlimited text messaging as with the BlackBerry Bold 9900.
The 16GB Apple iPhone 4, meanwhile, costs £36 a month for 24 months (£864) plus £99 down – a total of £963. For this, you get 600 minutes of call time and 500MB of mobile data, plus unlimited texts. On a £31-a-month deal you’ll pay £943 over 24 months but get only 300 minutes of call time each month and 500MB of data.
While the BlackBerry Bold 9900 has a smaller internal memory, this deficit is easily addressed with the addition of an 8GB microSD card such as this £9 Sandisk one.