RIM has not released a high-end smartphone for the best part of a year, and the firm's devices have struggled to compete with the likes of the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S II.
The Canadian manufacturer is aiming to regain some ground this month by launching three handsets, including the flagship BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900. Unlike the previous incarnations, the 9900 has been given a significant facelift and had major functionality added.
The Bold Touch comes in the familiar candybar form factor, and is slightly bigger than the 9700 and 9780 models at 115x66x10.5mm. Weighing 130g, the 9900 is also a touch heavier than the previous two models, but it is the thinnest Bold to date.
Build quality is superb and the handset feels much more solid than its predecessors. Premium materials have been used, and everything from the keypad to the steel frame gives that high-end look.
The back feels considerably sturdier than before as it clips into place, and is not going to start slipping off like the cover on the 9700.
Touching to navigate
The Bold now comes with a slightly larger 2.8in display with an improved resolution of 640x480. Colours are much sharper than before, and text is clearer on the Liquid Graphics display which has no hint of pixelation.
As the name suggests, the Bold Touch now incorporates a touch screen and provides a whole new method of interaction. Buyers no longer have to rely on the optical trackpad as the primary source of navigation. We found on previous Bold devices that the trackpad became sluggish after heavy use and could be a little frustrating to use.
Touch screen sensitivity is generally very good, and we found ourselves regularly prodding away at the display to navigate menus, open applications, scroll down pages and pinch-to-zoom. Multi-touch functionality also makes it possible to copy large chunks of text by simply tapping two fingers either side of the text and then adjusting the selected text with the on screen arrows.