RIM has been rather quiet on the handset front of late, with its last high-profile release being the BlackBerry Bold 9900 back in September. The Canadian firm has at last followed this up with the Bold 9790, which is smaller and cheaper than the 9900 but boasts most of its bigger sibling's features.
The Bold 9790 retains the classic BlackBerry look, with the keyboard, blinking LED and optical trackpad all present and correct. There are a couple of distinguishing features, however, such as the raised physical navigation keys and a grey back cover. The micro-USB connection has also been moved to the bottom.
Small and light
The 9790 is one of the lightest smartphones on the market at just 107g. It's tiny too, with dimensions of 110x60x11.4mm. Although it might not be as thin as other high-end handsets such as the Galaxy S II (8.5mm) or the forthcoming Huawei Ascend PS 1 (6.68mm), it certainly fits into the palm of the hand very snugly.
Although the 2.45in screen is not going to suit everyone, especially those who have been used to larger displays, it is more than adequate for viewing text messages and emails. The 480x360 resolution is a step up from previous mid-range handsets and although not quite as sharp as the 640x480 pixel count found on the 9900 it is more than adequate. As a bonus, RIM has also included a touch screen, which comes in very handy for general navigation, opening applications and notifications, as well as scrolling down pages and copying text.
Build quality is better than previous mid-range BlackBerry devices, although not quite up there with the Bold 9900. Stylistically, the 9790 looks like it has an identical keyboard to its bigger brother. However, typing isn't quite as comfortable and the keys on either end of the handset do slope off, which makes them hard to hit. We do like the fact that the keys are backlit though, which means that typing in low light conditions is easy.