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printed October 22, 2014
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Review: BlackBerry Bold 9930

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The 9930's display measures 2.8 inches across the diagonal and packs in 640 x 480 pixels. Add in what RIM refers to as "Liquid Graphics" and what you have is the best display I've seen on a BlackBerry. On-screen elements such as icons and graphics look fantastic. Web sites are pleasing to the eye, and photos/video look very good. Perhaps the most impressive feat is the 9930's performance outdoors. I was easily able to use the 9930 when under direct sunlight. Emails popped off the screen, and even the camera worked well. Such good performance outside has become a rare quality in phones.

Signal

The 9930 runs on Verizon's CDMA-EVDO 3G network. (There’s no 4G LTE in this bad boy.) I was somewhat disappointed with the 9930's performance on Verizon's network. Held side-by-side with a BlackBerry Bold 9650 on Verizon's network, the 9650 outclassed the 9930 by a mile. Even so, the 9930 remained connected to Verizon's network no matter where I took it. It never missed any calls, nor did it drop any. Data performance was consistent (not fast, not slow) no matter what the signal indicator read, so perhaps the signal indicator is calibrated differently from the 9650's.

Sound

The 9930 is a good voice phone, but not the best I've reviewed from RIM. Earpiece volume was very good, which means calls in ares with lots of background noise are easy to hear. Quality was inconsistent, though, with some calls sounding great, and others sounding pretty rough. I noticed garbled voices from time to time, and there was more hiss and static than I care for. The speakerphone performed OK, but not great. Even set to maximum volume, it wasn't quite loud enough for me, and it suffered through the same quality issues that the earpiece did. Ringers and alert tones can be set to piss-off-the-neighbors volumes, so you'll always know when you've got a call or message headed you way. The vibrate alert was plenty strong.

Battery

The Bold 9930's battery performed exceptionally well. With a smaller display (i.e., not 3.5 - 4.3 inches) to power, and RIM's obsession with power management, the 9930 lasted through two full days with battery life to spare. The 9930 wasn't fazed by email, Facebook, and Twitter updating constantly, nor time spent browsing the web, listening to music, or taking pictures. I am sure power users could chew through the battery faster than I could, but you'll probably be safe if you forget to charge it at night.

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