Experts agree that the BlackBerry Bold 9900 is RIM's best effort to date. They also say that while it may be a hit within the BlackBerry community, it won't convert iPhone and Android fans, especially considering its high price tag. Design-wise, the Bold 9900 (identical to the BlackBerry Bold 9930 for Verizon) is celebrated for being solid. The 2.8-inch touch screen display is also lauded for its brightness and responsiveness. The Bold 9900 runs BlackBerry OS 7 which, while boasting new features not found on previous iterations, doesn't look very different. That, coupled with the low number of apps available in the App World, lead IntoMobile.com's Marin Perez to the conclusion that it's the software that "really drags [the Bold 9900] down."
One good feature OS 7 is the new WebKit-based browser that experts find snappy. It is limited, however, by the relatively small 2.8-inch display and lack of Flash support. For the most part, experts find the web connection to be quite fast, although CNET's Nicole Lee finds it more akin to 3G speeds instead of the 4G that the phone promises. Call and voice quality are good overall, but not flawless. Reviewers note the presence of voice distortion and crackling. In the multimedia department, PCMag.com's Jamie Lendino complains of the microSD card's position behind the battery. And while GSMArena.com editors praise its video playback capacity, its audio quality is criticized.
Chris Gayomali, writing for Time magazine's Techland blog, praises the phone's physical keyboard, calling it "one of the best" he's ever used on a smartphone. The other reviewers agree, praising its great tactility. Another strong point is its 1.2 GHz processor. CNET's Nicole Lee praises the Bold 9900's smooth and quick navigation. The phone's 5-megapixel camera receives mixed reviews. Some experts find it decent, others criticize its lack of autofocus, while Gayomali thinks it "leaves a lot to be desired." Its 720p high-definition video recording capacity, however, garners considerable praise. Battery time gets mixed reviews -- CrackBerry.com's Kevin Michaluk believes average users have nothing to worry about, but heavy users "may find themselves wandering into the low battery zone more often than they'd ideally like to see."
CNET's review of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 references its earlier review of the 9930, though it thoroughly discusses the handset's salient points. Reviews by PCMag.com and Time's Techland blog are short, tackling the most important aspects of the phone. IntoMobile.com's review is in-depth and compartmentalizes features for easier reading. CrackBerry.com's review is as detailed, although it takes a more positive view of the device. Finally, GSMArena.com presents a more visual review of the device, with numerous images and videos.
Nicole Lee thinks BlackBerry enthusiasts will love the Bold 9900, but its high price will deter people from buying it. She says the design of the phone is fantastic, but criticizes it for data speeds that don't reach 4G as promised.
Review: BlackBerry Bold 9900 (T-Mobile), Nicole Lee, Aug. 25, 2011
Jamie Lendino says the Bold 9900 is sleeker and faster than its predecessors, but it's not "the revolution Research in Motion desperately needs." He finds the phone's processor snappy, but in all, doesn't believe it's much of a match for "T-Mobile's awesome range of high-end Android devices."
Review: RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900 (T-Mobile), Jamie Lendino, Sept. 8, 2011
The phone's strengths lie in its hardware, Marin Perez says, and the problem is its "outdated software." He says even if the phone gets fitted with a quad core processor, it wouldn't matter much because of the BlackBerry 7 OS. Perez says it's a good phone for work, but not a modern smartphone for everyday use.
Review: T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review: Best BlackBerry Ever But Is It Enough?, Marin Perez, Aug. 30, 2011
As the GSMArena.com editors put it, "nothing actually beats a BlackBerry except another BlackBerry" for some users. And among all BlackBerry devices, the Bold 9900 is the best yet. The Bold 9900 is one of the last phones with BlackBerry's operating system before RIM transitions to the OS used by its PlayBook tablet.
Review: BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review: Business Reimagined, Editors of GSMArena.com, Sept. 20, 2011
5. Time magazine
As a communication-only device for all things work-related, the Bold 9900 is tough to beat, Chris Gayomali says. However, while it's the best BlackBerry device, it's "nothing terribly new," and you can get something better elsewhere for its price point.
Review: BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review: RIM's Best Smartphone Ever?, Chris Gayomali, Sept. 6, 2011
Kevin Michaluk praises most of the device's features, and believes that the "superb keyboard is reason enough to buy the BlackBerry Bold 9900." He highly recommends it for anyone looking to a buy a phone with a physical keyboard in 2011.
Review: BlackBerry Bold 9900 Review, Kevin Michaluk, Aug. 15, 2011