Breaking New Ground with Wi-Fi Radio

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2008-12-08 Print this article Print


In addition, the Bold breaks some new ground with its Wi-Fi radio, adding support for the commonly neglected 5GHz band and 802.11a to the 802.11b/g and enterprise-grade Wi-Fi security RIM first introduced last year with the BlackBerry 8820. RIM typically does an excellent job on its WLAN radio implementations-making sure the radio is designed to maximize the security, battery life and roaming performance demands of enterprise-grade customers-and the Bold lives up to heritage. 

But it's this excellence with Wi-Fi that makes RIM's ongoing lack of commitment to the technology all the more bedeviling. The lion's share of the company's device portfolio still does not include Wi-Fi, including its brand-new flagship device, the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm.

The Bold is also RIM's first 3G device for GSM networks, as the smartphone supports the 850/1,900/2,100MHz bands for UMTS/HSDPA in the United States and abroad. 

The Bold comes with a 1,500-MAhr battery that is rated for 4.5 hours of talk time or 13.5 days on standby. My battery tests showed the Bold slightly bettered these claims, delivering 5 hours and 8 minutes of talk time.

The Bold is not excessively large, nor is it particularly petite. Measuring in at 4.48 by 2.6 by 0.59 inches and 4.8 ounces, the Bold is slightly wider and thicker than the iPhone (which is 2.4 inches wide and 0.48 inches thick) and significantly thicker than the Nokia E71 (0.39 inches thick). 

With a base price of $550, the Bold can be purchased for $300 after rebates and with a two-year service agreement; it is available for the AT&T network. 

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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