BlackBerry Bold 9780: Minor Updates to the 9700

Honestly, there isn’t much to talk about the Bold 9780 except for the fact that it is the first non-touchscreen BlackBerry device to come with version 6.0 of the BlackBerry OS. With Brian having done in-depth coverage of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and OS 6.0 already, and with very few physical or software changes between the Bold 9780 and the previous Bold 9700 (since the 9700 can in fact be updated to version 6 of the BlackBerry OS), the 9780 is in essence an iterative design with more RAM (512MB) and a better camera (5MP Autofocus) from BlackBerry’s increasingly difficult to distinguish range of devices. However, there are a few interesting updates since our last look at BlackBerry OS in the Torch, so that's where we'll focus our efforts in this article.

As mentioned above, the Bold 9780 is nearly identical to the earlier Bold 9700. Even the most trained eye will find it next to impossible to identify one from the other. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing since the 9780 does look handsome in the typical BlackBerry-esque understated manner, but with there being almost a year’s gap between the release of the two and with Nokia showing that there is potential room for improvement with QWERTY-design templates in its transition from the E6x/E7x to the E5, it doesn’t really look like RIM even bothered trying. That's somewhat sad, as the Torch is a pretty handsome and well put-together device that manages to look different while still retaining the BlackBerry design DNA.

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 4 BlackBerry Bold 9780 BlackBerry Torch 9800 Nokia E5
Height 115.2mm (4.5") 109mm (4.3”) 111mm (4.4") closed, 148 (5.8") open 115mm (4.5”)
Width 58.6mm (2.31") 60mm (2.36”) 62mm (2.4") 58.9mm (2.3”)
Depth 9.3mm ( 0.37") 14.2mm (0.56”) 14.6mm (0.57") 12.8mm (0.50”)
Weight 137g (4.8 oz) 122g (4.3 oz) 162g (5.7 oz) 126g (4.4 oz)
CPU Apple A4 @ ~800MHz Marvell Tavor PXA930 @ 624MHz Marvell Tavor PXA930 @ 624MHz ARM 11 based SoC @ 600MHz
GPU PowerVR SGX 535 (?) (?) (?)
RAM 512MB LPDDR1 (?) 512MB LPDDR1 512MB LPDDR1 256MB
NAND 16GB or 32GB integrated 2GB microSD preinstalled 4GB integrated, 4GB microSD preinstalled 256MB integrated, 2GB microSD preinstalled
Camera 5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 5MP with LED Flash and autofocus 5MP with LED Flash and autofocus 5MP with LED Flash
Screen 3.5" 640x960 LED backlit LCD 2.4” 480x360 3.2" 360x480 2.36” 320x240
Battery Integrated 5.254Whr Removable 5.4Whr Removable 4.7Whr Removable 4.4Whr

At a hardware level, the Bold 9780 and Torch 9800 use the same CPU and GPU, with the same 512MB LPDDR1 memory. The Torch also comes with 4GB integrated NAND, a 4GB microSD card, and a larger 3.2" display, giving it a slight edge in a couple areas. The Bold counters with a slightly higher capacity battery and a smaller form factor. With a few updates to OS 6 since our last look, performance differences are largely going to come from the software side rather than the hardware.

Design and Ergonomics
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  • bplewis24 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    Off-topic observation:

    I read your post and when I read the word "serves", I made sure to go back and re-read it, because I often subconsciously type out "servers" or "server" whenever I plan to type out "serves" or "serve" respectively. Lo and behold, you typed out "servers."

    I don't know what it is about that word that forces me to add an "r" to it, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one :)

    Brandon
    Reply
  • buhusky - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    10 years from now RIM will be nothing more than an article on Wikipedia Reply
  • Stuka87 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If this is their idea of an update, I am not sure they will even last that long :/ Reply
  • mythun.chandra - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The original signal attenuation numbers in the article were infact based on the "alt nmll" method. But as Faruk88 mentioned above, and based on what I saw myself, those numbers aren't nearly as accurate as the ones shown in the engineering menu which needs to be unlocked. :) Reply
  • vision33r - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    If you look at the recent earning numbers from RIM, the company is raking money on services.

    Any Android handset maker can only dream of making the dough RIM is taking in. Not even Google makes this much money from their own Android phone division excluding their ads and search revenue.

    The only other company that makes this much money off their handset and services is Apple.
    Reply
  • bplewis24 - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    But they warn of a rough quarter ahead:

    "It predicts its smartphone sales to fall at a time when the smartphone market overall is growing. It says to expect fiscal Q1 sales to fall between 13.5 and 14.5 million units. It also warns that its gross margin (a measure of profitability) will drop 41 percent."

    Nevertheless, excluding Google's ad/search revenue from the mobile division is being completely blind to their business model. They license open-source and essentially free software so that they can make their money on search/ad revenue. Excluding that when making a profit comparison is like comparing a wage-based employee's income to a commission-based employee's income by only comparing wage-based income.

    Brandon
    Reply
  • worldbfree4me - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I have got to give it up to RIM. They sure know how to milk something for all its worth. The Marvel 600 MHz cpu certainly have achieved economies of scale by now and then some. But my problem is this, it's like a V8 5.7 L (350 cu in) of yore vs. V8 6.2 L (376 cu in) of today, it’s a relic, plain and simple! Grand Ma doesn’t mind, but I do, so no sale period! Reply
  • Wurmer - Sunday, March 27, 2011 - link

    I agree and it's way pass time RIM equips their flag ship devices with much more powerful processor. Compare to other top of the line smartphone it's rather weak and with the coming of dual core CPU in smartphones they better stepup their game or they will be left in the dust. In these times of rapide changes I think it's not realistic to expect to use the same CPU for more than 6 to 12 months. My wife has both the Torch and the Iphone 4 and the speed doesn't compare, Apple product is a lot more snappier and faster. Reply
  • NCM - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    The Anandtech site takes pains to be precise in its technical data and analyses, so the lack of attention to similar precision in use of language continues to disappoint.

    Only the latest of many examples:
    • The trademarked spelling of the RIM smartphone is "BlackBerry," complete with mid-cap.
    • Words in the English language do not form their plurals using a "grocer's apostrophe." The plural of "Blackberry" (even if that singular were correct) would never be the "Blackberry's" seen in your product review. Unlike the fruit, the plural of this trademarked name would normally be "BlackBerrys." RIM, however, says that there is to be no plural form of their trademark, but that "BlackBerry smartphones" should be used instead.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 25, 2011 - link

    I've corrected the spelling to BlackBerry, thanks. Your other two comments, while correct, do not appear to be present in this article. The only reference to "BlackBerry's" is on the summary page where we state, "the Torch and the Bold can both run the latest revision of BlackBerry's OS 6". While it may be more correct to say "RIM's OS 6" or simply "BlackBerry OS 6", you can look at it as the OS belong to BlackBerry and it would be correct. I've removed the apostrophe S anyway, as the full OS name should be BB OS 6. Reply

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