Posted: 30 Nov 2011 08:52 AM PST
TechPinas Gadget Review Series presents...
BlackBerry Bold 9900
BlackBerry Bold 9900, being Research in Motion's current flagship handset, is the most powerful, most lavishly designed and (putting its Porsche edition in another category) the most expensive smartphone from the company as of writing.
With price tag of Php 31,690 without contract, touch-and-type BlackBerry Bold 9900 flaunts a case made of glass, metal and carbon fiber, runs the latest BlackBerry 7 operating system and comes with RIM's top-of-the-line technical specifications including a 1.2 GHz processor, 5 MegaPixel camera with LED flash, 720p HD video recorder, 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, 8 GB of internal memory, and Wifi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity support.
BlackBerry Bold 9900 is the thinnest smartphone from RIM at only 10.5 millimeters, and it's actually the first to offer a combination of a familiar BB keyboard, an optical trackpad and a touch-sensitive capacitive touch display integrated within a gorgeously designed enclosure.
The new BB Bold 9900 is likewise the first BB to feature built-in Near Field Communication (NFC) support. NFC is a new technology enabling many new capabilities, including the ability to pair with NFC-enabled accessories such earphones or read SmartPoster tags with one tap.
Design, Hardware and Ports:
In true TP fashion, let's do the panels --
The face of the phone flaunts its 2.8-inch 640 x 480 pixels resolution capacitive touchscreen display. Above that, we have the earpiece and the proximity sensor. Below the display, we can find the hardware buttons, optical trackpad and a fretted BlackBerry keyboard unique to BB Bold 9900; FYI, this keyboard is the biggest thumb-type QWERTY keyboard on any BB handset ever released.
At the back, we have the 5 MegaPixel fixed focus camera with LED flash. This camera also takes high-definition 720p videos. We'll also find the glossy carbon fiber battery cover lined by black matte plastic with a slightly rubbery finish for a tighter grip on the phone.
The top panel has the screen lock button, which also turns on and turns off the display. As you can see, the sides of the phone are lined with brushed stainless steel, which not only makes the phone look expensive and elegant but also adds to its overall durable feel.
We have the antenna at the rear, which is marked by a metallic-looking flap of plastic pinned to the phone by screws (Actually, it blends so well with the metal frame, you won't even notice it's plastic.). If you're wondering, it's made of plastic to provide stronger signal.
The right side has the volume up and volume down buttons, and the mute button between them. Below, we have the convenience key, which acts as the camera button by default.
On the left side, we can find the microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio jack.
TP Commentary on BB Bold 9900 Design: For me, BB Bold 9900 is easily the best-looking phone RIM has released. Heck, it's more gorgeous than even BlackBerry Bold 9000 -- and that's already saying a lot. Like what I mentioned in an earlier post, when I look at BB Bold 9900, I feel relieved knowing that the Canadian company has decided to bring grandeur back to the design of handsets under its flagship Bold line. Honestly, I find BB Bold 9700 and 9780 to be quite lacking in this department.
Also, holding the phone and feeling its brushed metal edging and glass display, I'm inclined to believe that RIM wanted this phone to be BB counterpart of iPhone 4. (But that's just my speculation.) I mean, frankly, these are also the design elements - the glass and metal combo - that distinguish the best-selling phone from the Cupertino company from other handsets out there.
Being a flagship release, BB Bold 9900 is expected not just to look good but to also come with the best features RIM currently has to offer.
These are the 3 departments where I think BB Bold 9900 totally excels in:
1. Web Browsing
BB Bold 9900 runs BlackBerry 7 operating system, which comes with a next generation BlackBerry browser that's significantly faster and more fluid. I've tested other BBs in the past, including BlackBerry Torch 9800, and I have to say that - based on my experience with all these phones - BB Bold 9900 really has the fastest browser of them all. Also, being a touch and type device, BB Bold 9900's capacitive touchscreen provides a more intuitive browsing experience as you can scroll faster by just swiping on the screen and zoom in and out of the page using familiar multi-touch gestures.
2. Social Networking and Messaging
Powerful social networking features have truly become a main selling point of BlackBerry handsets. Truth be told, RIM recognized people's need to stay connected on FB and Twitter anywhere they go a bit earlier than other companies and RIM is now reaping the rewards of perhaps being a pioneer in this department. Facebook for BlackBerry, Twitter for BlackBerry, BBM and Social Feeds, which is a new social hub that comes with BB 7 OS, all combine to provide top-notch social networking experience to BB Bold 9900 users.
One of the things I like about the new Facebook for BlackBerry and Twitter for BlackBerry on BlackBerry 7 OS is that they can be accessed over Wifi or 3G even without BIS or BES turned on (something you can't do with earlier versions of these apps). This is a welcome improvement for those who want to enjoy these useful apps but don't necessarily want to spend an extra on BIS because they are always in the office or at home with free wifi access anyway. However, if you're a mobile warrior or if you simply want to have unlimited access to these apps and BBM even in places where there's no Wifi, it still makes sense to activate BIS to make the most out of your BlackBerry since it's still cheaper than unlimited mobile internet access on your phone.
Oh, and another thing: Since BB Bold 9900 has a capacitive touchscreen, using social networking and messaging apps on the phone can't be easier. Instead of using just the optical trackpad to navigate the apps, which can be a bit slow, you can use touch gestures on the display to scroll and select items.
3. Photo and Video Capture
BB Bold 9900 has a fixed focus still and video camera, which means that subjects from a distance of 30 centimeters or around a foot to infinity will always be in focus.
While those who are fond of taking macro or really close-up shots would see this a limitation, I think it's actually a good thing for users who like taking landscape or portrait photos and videos with their phones as fixed focus lenses are - well - always in focus. So unless you're shaking uncontrollably while taking photos and videos, the shots and clips will always come out clear and crisp.
Here are some photos and a video I took using BlackBerry Bold 9900 using automatic settings. And in the spirit of fairness, I'm just letting them speak for themselves. (Again, pardon the lack of - uhm - "artistry" in the photos and the video.)
To wrap this up, I wanna share my quick review of BlackBerry Bold 9900 via my recent guesting at Mornings@ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel)
Needless to say, I love this phone.
And all things considered, I'm giving it 9 out of 10 stars. I'd say if you're a BB fan and you want to level-up and show that you're quite simply a cut above other BB users, then - by all means - get BlackBerry Bold 9900.
Posted: 29 Nov 2011 11:54 PM PST
By now, all of you should know how much I love the LG Optimus Black. And why not? This phone is just incredible.
Sure, the Optimus 3D and the Optimus 2X are currently the flagship handsets of the Korean company, but LG Optimus Black is by no means a slouch. The ultra-slim form factor, the super bright and stunningly crisp NOVA display (Remember: LG makes Apple's Retina Display for the iPhone so it makes sense to expect nothing but the best from the display on LG's own phones), its 5 MegaPixel camera and HD video capture capability; All these features, among many others, combine to make LG Optimus Black probably the best midrange Android phone out there. And it's true. For those who can't afford the more expensive dual core slim phones, the Optimus Black gives us an option to get that slim body, bright screen, and responsive experience in our pockets for a fair price.
One of the cool features of LG Optimus Black that I recently discovered is Wifi Direct.
Simply put, Wifi Direct enables users to have wireless transactions between two Wifi-capable devices - with one or more having Wifi Direct feature - allowing transfer of content like photos, music and videos at the speed of up to a whopping 20MB per second! It's just super fast! And you don't have to worry about going through a router, you can just connect the devices directly. Think of it as being similar to Bluetooth pairing and sharing but with wider range and greater speeds.
It's so simple to use -- especially when pairing LG Optimus Black with another Android phone. Just follow these steps:
1. On your LG Optimus Black, turn on Wifi Direct by going to Settings, then Wireless and Networks, then tick on the Wifi Direct box.
2. On your other Wifi-capable Android phone, turn on Wifi and look for LG Optimus Black Wifi Direct connection
3. Pair the devices
4. Open an app that will allow you to send content via Wifi Direct like Wifi Cast
5. Start sharing content!
I find this feature particularly useful in weekend gimmicks with friends where everyone has their own phones and are taking their own photos of the whole barkada having fun. Before parting ways, we usually share photos via Wifi-Direct on my LG Optimus Black. I don't have to worry about slow sharing because 20MB per second of transaction between our devices should be more enough to make sure everything happens in a zilch. After that, I can start sharing our photos on my social networking sites with a few clicks using Facebook for LG Phones and Twitter for LG Phones, which are well integrated into the whole Android experience on my LG Optimus Black.
So, are you interested in getting LG Optimus Black for yourself or your loved one this Yuletide? Well, you better act now! LG has an on-going Optimus Black Online Promo from October 24 - December 18, 2011, which lets you get the LG Optimus Black for only Php 15,990 instead of the Php 17,990 regular SRP; Yes, you can get a whopping Php 2,000 discount only via this exclusive online promo and you're also sure to get LG-certified warranty and after-sales support that you can't avail of elsewhere. To get the discount, just log on to lgoptimus.ph on November 21-30, December 2-8, and December 9-18, 2011.
Php 2,000 is already a big discount considering all the features you're getting with LG Optimus Black; add a bit more to it and you can a new pair of jeans for Christmas, or if you want, use the money to buy several new shirts for the new year. It's all up to you.
Check out LG Optimus Black NOW!
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