BlackBerry Bold 9780: Not So Boldby Mithun Chandrasekhar on March 25, 2011 2:20 AM EST
Design and Ergonomics
It’s not just the design that is of question here. I fortunately happened to have a Torch with me during the course of the Bold 9780 review and believe me when I say this, the difference in the build quality between the two is quite startling. With the Bold weighing in a very noticeable 40g less than the Torch at about 122g (4.3 oz), it feels uneasily light compared to the reassuring heft of the Torch. Adding to the notion that the build quality of the Bold isn't very confidence inspiring is the entirely glossy plastic build of the Bold that squeaks at certain points.
This is reminiscent of a lot of recent Samsung devices in that the device itself appears well-built and put together, but the weight and materials used in the construction belie the actual build quality. Oh, and the glossy plastic finish on the front and rear-top edge of the Bold is an absolute fingerprint magnet that also seems as though it will eventually be covered in micro-scratches as it shares your pocket with keys, coins and other devices (yes, my jeans have large pockets!). However, the back of the device feels better put-together, dominated by the typical BlackBerry leather finish surrounded by soft-touch rubber.
Because the 9780 is identical to the previous 9700, it comes with the excellent contoured QWERTY keyboard that all BlackBerry smartphones are known for. Although the device doesn’t weigh a lot, the weight distribution itself is very good and typing longer than usual emails on the phone is not a problem. That being said, on our particular review device the plastic tab at the bottom of the keyboard with the operator branding on it would make a creaking sound when pressed on the right (the left side of the tab seemed secure in place). This may very well be a one off, but it was irritating to hear the creaking every time you used the bottom-right of the keyboard as your right thumb would rest over this tab. This whole piece of plastic actually peels up so different plastic inserts (with different carrier branding) can be snapped in place. It feels commoditized because frankly, it is.
In addition to the keyboard, the Bold is ergonomically spot on for single-handed use, particularly for left handed users. The left-side convenience key falls right under your thumb, the volume buttons under your index finger, and the right-side convenience key under your middle finger. Navigation using the optical track pad is also a smooth experience, although it takes a little getting used to the sensitivity (which can be adjusted of course).