The Best: Blackberry 9700 (Bold 2)

12/21/2009 Update:

About six months ago, I was seriously considering getting an iPhone (see that original post after the break), but decided to stay with the Blackberry line of phones (despite the massive outage last week!)

Blackberry 9700 Bold Onyx

The Holy Grail of Blackberries?

I just wanted to say, that I’m very pleased that I didn’t jump into the iPhone world, because this new Blackberry 9700 is certainly the best one I’ve used to date. Coming from the 8900, which was quite good – the non-3G speed and most annoying trackball that got clogged constantly needed improvement.

The new Blackberry 9700 is just about perfect in all respects. From the new faster processor, 3G reliability (5 bars almost everywhere!), and the great optical trackpad – I couldn’t be happier!

For those users who aren’t so “app-happy” (i.e., download tons of crap “just because”) – and want a phone which is fantastic for text and email-heavy uses – this phone should strongly be considered. It also gets incredible battery life (often going 3+ days without needing a charge). It’s available from both AT&T and T-Mobile for under $100 (free with AT&T).

While I might occasionally get envious about the thousands of “cool” apps that the iPhone has available, 99.9% of them I could live without, and would more likely be a “waste of time and mental energy” to me. Maybe one day as a “second” line to play around with – but the productivity I’d lose just on the keyboard alone isn’t worth it!

See previous updates after the jump!


I’m normally pretty good at making purchasing decisions (but have my occasional faults – like that senseless Juicer)…

This is one of those decisions that I could use all the help I can get!


From Blackberry to iPhone – worth it?

Currently, I’m a fairly happy user of the Blackberry 8900 – which is the best Blackberry I’ve ever used (on the T-Mobile network). Works without a hitch – is thin, light and a breeze to type on and use. It effortlessly handles the 6,000+ emails I get weekly. I don’t write love stories on the thing, but occasionally will compose a decent length email.

However, now that the iPhone has gone through a relatively decent maturation process – I’m seriously considering the new iPhone 3GS because I think I might be able to actually get more use out of it.

Has anyone made that switch?

The first thing I’m curious about is, has anyone made a similar switch from a latest generation Blackberry (8900, Bold, or Touch) – to the iPhone?

What were the pro’s and con’s? Are you happy? Any drawbacks? Do you regret your decision? Has your new iPhone 3GS overheated yet?

Other than the “apps”…

You’d assume that one of the major draws of the iPhone, is the bevy of applications out there that supposedly make life easier and more fun. And I’m sure I’d enjoy or get use out of many of them – that is the least of my concerns at this point.

I’m more interested in how it handles EMAIL – and more specifically – GMAIL accounts.

  • Currently – the Blackberry is a “push” device. As soon as I receive an email on my Gmail account, it shows up on my phone. The guy at the Hoboken AT&T store said push email was possible on the iPhone, but on the Apple website, it only mentioned Yahoo! email as an available push service – everything else was “pull” scheduled email retrieval (i.e., every 15 minutes, etc.)
  • I’m not always a big fan of the way Gmail threads the conversations when you read in a browser (OK for my personal email, but for 411 it’s a bit of a pain). Both my Outlook and Blackberry clients receive each portion of the email “conversation” as an individual email. This is preferred for me. Does the iPhone do the same thing? The guy at the store was unable to answer that question for me.

Background applications?

This is another aspect that I might be concerned with. The AT&T guy said that you can essentially run only one application at a time? Does that mean I cannot type emails while listening to iTunes? If anyone knows, please share. He said background applications “not yet…” implying that it’s an upcoming feature? A new model? Future OS releases?

Cost: Significantly more

iphone-costs-moreMy last concern was with the cost. I’m currently paying only $65 for my TMO service.

I don’t need more than 600 minutes (I’ve never gone over – and typically use between 500-590 “daytime” min per month). AT&T doesn’t have a plan that “fits” me exactly. It’s either too few (450) or too many (900). I might pick the 450 plan, because mobile-to-mobile are free (even though I’m unsure which people I call have AT&T or not). So 450 minutes plus the required $30 data plan is $90/month already.

The text messages are another quandary. They offer 200, 1500 or unlimited. My past 24 months, I’ve used between 300-350 per month. Another excess I’ll have to pay for with AT&T. 1500 text messages adds $15 per month. ($105 total now).

One service I’d probably consider is the $2.99 “roadside assistance” – so that plus taxes, makes my monthly AT&T bill closer to $115-120/month. Worth the $600 extra per year?

Nervous about the two-year commitment

I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for nearly a decade – and have zero commitment. However, making the switch to AT&T would make me their servant for 24 months, or I’d have to pay a pro-rated penalty.

Another issue I have is my old phone number. I cannot blindly make the switch without trying the iPhone extensively first, then I can “port” my old number over.

The one saving grace is that you do have a “30 day money back guarantee” with AT&T and if I decide it’s just not my bag of minutes, I can cancel.

Wait a little longer?

Well, T-Mobile is slowly rolling out their 3G network, and even has a new “Touch” Phone that is getting semi-warm pre-reviews (due out in July)…

I guess my main concern overall is usability, especially coming from a hard-core Blackberry user.

Any suggestions?

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66 Comments on "The Best: Blackberry 9700 (Bold 2)"

6 years 10 months ago

I had a Blackberry Pearl since it was first released on T-Mobile and loved it. I switched to iPhone this summer after the second time I spent 2 hours on the phone with RIM support – they couldn’t understand why the device was trying to delete appointments from my desktop calendar. My contract was up and I decided that I was tired of carrying around a blackberry and iPod. I’ve been very happy with the switch. I understand that Verizon users don’t want to give up their service, but I don’t see much of a difference between T-Mobile and AT&T. I use Google sync for my email, contacts and calendar. Google’s push email is still in beta – some people have issues and others don’t. I unfortunately have issues so I just push 3 days worth of email. I love not having to plug in the phone to sync contacts and calendar. I use the web browser a lot and it puts the blackberry to shame. The best apps are the maps and there are a lot of apps to help you find the closest bar. ExitStrategy has MTA subway, bus and street maps and it’s been helpful when taking the subway to Brooklyn. I was thinking about getting the My Touch since I was already on T-Mobile, but I didn’t want to give up my music on iTunes.

6 years 10 months ago
I use BOTH the iPhone 3GS and the new Bold 9700. I have used an iPhone since it was released back in 2007 and travel all over the world with it without any problems. When I am on the road, I am also attached to my Blackberry. I have made the decision to carry both because I have always felt that the iPhone (even Gen 1) was superior to any Blackberry I had, but the Blackberry is far superior as an email machine. I live and die by email, but iPhone doesn’t handle email quite as good as any Blackberry – it is slow to type on, slow to send and receive and if you get hundreds of emails a day, it is a real drain on your battery. Also, for an international user like me, you will suck up your international data allotted to you very quickly, where you get flat-rate international data on my BBerry 9700 with T-Mobile. I do agree that the Bold 9700 is a nice device – beautiful screen, sleek, smaller than the original bold, feels good in the hand, etc. I was really wondering if I would love it so much that I would give up my iPhone and just carry the Blackberry. Not the case, however… The Blackberry operating system is still clunky, hard to navigate and getting basic things like well-formatted HTML email is slow and still a challenge (even with third party apps). I am not an app whore, but iPhone… Read more »
6 years 10 months ago

Starting to think all of Hoboken works for Blackberry…….

6 years 10 months ago

411, you are killing me. Sure wish you’d published this two days earlier, before I got my wife a different BB for christmas!

oh well, i bet the Curve will work out okay, too.

6 years 10 months ago

i had the iphone for a while, and went app-sh*t (haha!) like everyone else. there are some very innovative applications out there, but after a while I realized that its almost so useful, that one might STOP using their own brain. You cannot rely on these neat programs as a crutch in real life.

so after playing with the programs, or toys as i ended up calling them, i decided to give up and go back to the basics. I also got the 9700 from tmobbile recently and couldnt be happier. The lower monthly cost is nice too.

im sure eventually the products will even out. can only imagine what all these gadgets can do in the year 2015