The BlackBerry platform is known for its great messaging capabilities. The Bold 9700 continues this tradition with the ability to manage up to 10 personal or business POP3 or IMAP4 email accounts. The phone has an attachment viewer for opening a number of files including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Corel WordPerfect, PDF, JPEG, and GIF files. Since the Bold 9700 also ships with DataViz Documents To Go Standard Edition, you can edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files as well as view them. To create new documents, however, you'll need to upgrade to the Premium Edition.
Like other BlackBerry models, the Bold 9700 can sync with your company's BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and offers support for real-time email delivery with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise. If your business runs BES 5.0, you'll get the added benefits of being able to manage email folders, access remote file shares, forward and view calendar appointments, and more.
In addition to excellent email capabilities, the Bold 9700 comes with preloaded instant messaging clients for AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, Yahoo, Windows Live, and BlackBerry Messenger. The phone also provides easy access to Facebook via the web2go client.
To further customize the Bold 9700, you can download additional applications from the BlackBerry App World store. Interestingly enough, our test unit didn't come preinstalled with the BlackBerry App World store so we had to navigate to blackberry.com/appworld/download to install it. Once installed, the App World store provides easy access to both free and paid applications.
The Bold 9700's 624MHz processor made the phone feel snappy and responsive, and delays in opening applications were minimal. We did notice some minor delays when trying to open and use the camera, but they were just that—minor. The Bold 9700 features an upgraded camera, going from 2 megapixels on the previous model to 3.2 megapixels with the Bold 9700, along with variable zoom, auto focus, a flash, and video recording capabilities. You can also adjust white balance settings, picture quality, color effect, and enable geotagging of images. Overall, we were impressed with the image quality of pictures captured using the Bold 9700's camera. Once photos are taken and stored, you can thumb through the gallery using the optical trackpad.
For users who are hoping to save a bit of money on their monthly calling plan, the Bold 9700's Wi-Fi support will be a benefit. With Wi-Fi, you'll be able to make and receive calls using a wireless network instead of using your calling-plan minutes.
RIM claims you'll get about 6 hours of talk time from the Bold 9700's battery. While battery life is sure to vary depending on how you use the phone, we were very pleased with the overall battery life of the Bold and had no problems making it through the day on a single charge. During our tests, call quality was good and the volume was nice and loud.