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printed December 18, 2014
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Review: BlackBerry Bold 9900

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The 9900'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 9900's performance outdoors. I was easily able to use the 9900 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 9900 runs on T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network. Signal performance was excellent. The signal indicator consistently showed a strong signal, and the 9900 maintained a tight connection to T-Mobile's network. While it did slip down to EDGE a few times (mostly when indoors), the 9900 never lost T-Mobile's network entirely. The 9900 didn't miss any calls, didn't drop any calls, and was always able to surf the web swiftly.

Sound

The 9900 performed better in the voice quality department than its Verizon-branded cousin. As with the 9930, earpiece volume of the 9900 was very good, which means calls in areas with lots of background noise are easy to hear. Quality was good overall, though every so often I noticed a slight hiss in the background. The speakerphone performed very well. Set to maximum volume, it wasn't quite loud enough for me, but the clarity and quality of the calls made up for the volume deficiency a bit. 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 9900's battery didn't perform quite as well as that of the 9930. Where the 9930 lived through nearly two days of use, the 9900 lasted more like a day and a half. Intense web browsing and social networking really had an impact on battery life. You'll be fine if you forget to charge the 9900 at night, but only for a few hours.

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