Under the covers, the Bold 9700 features the same
624MHz processor as its predecessor, but doubles the included flash memory to
256MB, making for fast application start and switch times. (During my tests,
the only noticeable lag happened when using the camera, for some reason.)
Unfortunately, there is not a similar bump in on-board
storage-the Bold 9700 has none, whereas the Bold 9000 came with 1GB (and the
Storm2 comes with 2GB). While the MicroSDHC slot supports cards up to 32GB
in size, the Bold 9700 comes only with a 2GB card inside.
Due to its smaller form factor, the Bold 9700 has a
smaller screen than its predecessor (2.44 inches, compared with the Bold 9000's
2.75-inch screen). However, RIM has upped the screen resolution on the
Bold 9700 to 480 by 360 pixels, delivering clean text and excellent quality for
still pictures and video. Due to the small screen size, however, the screen's
quality can be somewhat compromised when viewing letterboxed content, as the
picture can be very small.
The Bold 9700 comes with a 1,500mAhr battery, a bump
up from the 1,400mAhr battery in the Storm2, Tour and Curve 8900 devices (and
matching that in the Bold 9000). The Bold 9700 is rated for 6 hours talk
time or 17 days standby in 3G mode, compared with 4.5 hours talk time and 13.5
days standby for the Bold 9000.
The Bold 9700 comes with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, delivering
the same excellent wireless security features, performance and troubleshooting
tools I've come to expect from Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerrys during the last two
years. The Bold 9700 lacks the 802.11a support that differentiated the
Bold 9000, although most users probably won't miss the support for 5GHz.
Included with the Bold 9700 is the Standard Edition of
DocumentsToGo, allowing users to read or edit existing Word, Excel and
PowerPoint documents. However, users must upgrade to the Premium edition
to create new documents on the device. Users can also select a different
document editing application from BlackBerry AppWorld, which is not included by
default on the T-Mobile iteration and must be downloaded and installed
The Bold 9700 is the second device I've tested running
the new BlackBerry 5.0 OS (following my October review of the Storm2
the Storm2, the Bold 9700 integrates with BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 to
provide enterprise users with features on top of the already rock-solid e-mail
and calendaring capabilities for which BlackBerry is known.
As with the Storm2, with the BlackBerry 9700 and BES 5.0
I was able to view a list of attachments to calendar entries and to preview the
files. I also verified that I could manipulate my Exchange Inbox folders.
I could create, delete, move or rename folders in my e-mail, with those changes
reflected quickly in Outlook or Outlook Web Access.
I could also remotely access Windows file shares using
the Bold 9700 with BES 5.0. BlackBerry 5.0 comes with a Files application
preloaded on the device, which consumers can use to search for locally stored
files. When activated to a BES 5.0 installation, I was also able to input
the server and share name on a protected Windows Domain, and log in with my
domain credentials to access those Windows shares to which I had
The available files and folders within a share appear
as a navigable list. From this list, items can be selected and
perused. There is also a search tool at the top of the screen; during
tests, search would occur in the open folder but not in any down-level folders.
With a document selected on-screen, I could choose to view the contents or copy
the file locally.
By default, BES 5.0 is set to limit downloads from
Windows shares to 1MB per connection, but mobile administrators can increase
that limit if need be by editing the MDS Connection settings using the BlackBerry Administration Service.
I was a little disappointed that RIM doesn't offer a
policy-based way to publish available shares to users, however. As a
user, I was required to enter the UNC (Universal Naming Convention) into Files
the first time, but on subsequent attempts, accessed shares would appear in the
Senior Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at