What do you say about a smartphone that's not radically different from a great predecessor, but comes with cosmetic changes, 256 MB of extra memory and a camera that can shoot larger pictures? As one smart aleck pointed out on Twitter and in far less than the 140 characters Twitter allows: “BlackBerry 9780=9700+OS 6+256 MB RAM+5 MP camera.”

That would be one way of looking at it and if you want the really short version, there you go–the BlackBerry Bold 9780 reviewed. But my take is that while on the surface things seem the same, you need to dig a bit deeper–I believe the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is the best BlackBerry out there and here's why, though I must warn you, it takes a bit more than 140 characters to tell the story.

Form Factor

Classic BlackBerry–I'm nuts about QWERTY smartphones and this is the best that RIM has produced in this form factor. A classy smartphone that seems guaranteed to generate envy both in the boardroom as well as at the nightclub.

While I had no issues with the looks of the Bold 9700, the BlackBerry Bold 9780 is classier. And that's because the chrome rim has been blacked out. You may not like it if you're into shiny toys, but for someone like me who can't even wear a wedding band because I'm allergic to the yellow metal, this makes the BlackBerry Bold 9780 look divine.

Looks generic on the outside but it's all about what's under the hood

Weighing in at 122 grams, this BlackBerry smartphone also has a much improved, finer leather finish on the back cover that blends in well with the rest of the device, as compared to the back cover on the Bold 9700, which to put it mildly was a bit of an eyesore.

The rest again is classic BlackBerry–'Lock' and 'Mute' keys are available on top with a 3.5 mm earphone socket, and a convenience key on the left; volume/zoom buttons and another convenience key on the right. The display is a high-res 480×360 screen that the Bold 9700 sports too. Plus, there's the same old, same amazing optical trackpad. Keypad's the same as the 9700 too and although I must mention I still miss the Bold 9000 only for its keypad, this one is great too.

Features & Performance
Ah! Now we're talking. I've written earlier of leaked BlackBerry OS 6 versions for the Bold 9700, but this is the real deal. OS 6 without any problems, nothing turned off and no serious memory leakages that require a daily maintenance hard reboot.

But before that, the 624MHz processor is the same as the one on the Bold 9700 but RAM has been bumped up from 256 MB to 512 MB and that makes BlackBerry OS 6 far smoother than it can ever be on the Bold 9700. Fact is, it also makes it smoother than on the Torch 9800, in my opinion.

Reboots are much, much faster than on BlackBerry smartphones running older versions of the OS–alas, the days of having the time to brew and enjoy my favourite cup of Rooibos Vanilla tea and finish a book chapter while my BlackBerry rebooted are history.

On to OS 6 and I won't write reams on this because it's been much written about already. There's Universal Search, where you can search for anything right from the home screen and your BlackBerry will throw up answers by searching across apps, folders, the Web, e-mail and more. Then there's Social Feeds, a new social networking app that aggregates your social networks since we live in social times, and of course the nice new WebKit-based Web browser with tabs, albeit with Flash support still missing.

Sleek and comfy to use

The home screen has application icon views that can be scrolled vertically, with horizontal scrolling for categories like Favourites, Media, Downloads and Frequent. There's also a drop down notification view and a wireless networking view. I wish there was an option to disable horizontal scrolling though–often, the screen scrolled beyond what I wanted; it seems like the horizontal views are designed keeping touchscreens in mind.

While the leaked OS on the Bold 9700 forced me to use Social Feeds because my favourite social app, SocialScope Lite was crippled, there were no such issues on the Bold 9780. So, I gladly skipped Social Feeds, though I'm sure some out there may prefer it to other social apps. For more on BlackBerry OS 6 please click here.

And interestingly, though the same OS, processor and RAM combo on the Torch 9800 threw up the tiny, square BlackBerry hourglass clock much too often, I was very happy to see much less of my not-so-welcome friend on the Blackberry Bold 9780. Perhaps it's because of the bigger touchscreen on the Torch 9800. Overall, I found performance top-notch and OS 6 worked well very indeed.

To read the rest of the review, head on over to BizTech2.

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