The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 has a glamorous black interface highlighting its large application icons and smart frets dividing the rows of characters on the keypad. Updated, January 7, 2010
Smaller than the original Bold, it looks every bit as smart and classy, with a superb screen resolution and a host of customisation options.
It's a full 3G phone with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth plus email, picture messaging and web browsing.
The orb navigation ball has been replaced by a tiny trackball that's extremely efficient to use. But for existing BlackBerry fans the key concern will be whether it's as easy to type on as its predecessor.
It took us a while to get up to speed - some keys are hidden away and it took us a while to achieve consistently accurate typing. After a bit of practice, however, we found text entry a nimble process.
The Bold has Palm Pre-like multi-tasking capabilities, and you can scroll easily between applications and open multiple ones.
Threaded messaging displays updates and messages from IM, email, SMS and social networks as well as multiple email accounts in the same inbox.
An icon shows the application from which each originates. Contact and keyword search is also top of the class.
Unless in text/email mode or browsing the web, the keypad is numerical, so you can dial someone's number without having to select an app first.
You can make a straightforward call from a stored contact name or email, or enter a few characters or the two-digit speed dial number - another real plus.
Call clarity and volume are good, with a choice of tones and phone modes. You can switch off the wireless radio to conserve battery power, but we can't see this being a problem.
The BlackBerry web browser is good, allowing you to roam wherever you want and enjoy embedded Flash video. The iPhone still rules the web browsing roost, though.
BlackBerry AppWorld is second only to the iPhone App Store in number of offerings, but it's a long way behind Apple.
The BlackBerry's has more focus on business and productivity options, including a strong selection of satnav and general mapping apps.
NEXT: Original full review