After careful consideration, our takeaway here is that the Bold feels like the odd man out in terms of design direction for the company. It's clear that the Curve and Storm represent the new look for RIM's phones, while the Bold -- however handsome you may find it -- comes off as a bit out of shape and chintzy in comparison. The plastic metal bezel seems cheap by comparison to the Curve's similarly styled (yet refined) implementation, which bares more than just a passing resemblance to the Storm.
Still, all things being the same we thought that the UI response time was faster and more precise on the Bold (when compared directly with the Curve). We actually found the trackball movement with the same settings to be less accurate on-screen, though what the cause could be is anyone's guess. The pixel density on the Curve is considerably tighter in comparison to the Bold, and it borrows some of the Storm's UI tweaks, though doesn't improve on the Bold's abysmal browser (as we noted in our review).
Between the three phones, there's a noticeable difference in display color temperature, much like we saw with the iPhone and iPhone 3G -- the Storm and Curve have a noticeably "yellower" hue than the Bold. It's difficult to say if one is better than the other, but the blacks seemed more defined on the latter two phones.
The keyboard differences on the Curve and Bold are also noticeable, and puzzling. The Bold very much subscribes to RIM's 8800 design, with some spacing and font changes, while the Curve relies on the split key design used on previous models (hello 8300!) which we find is actually easier to type on. Regardless, our resident BlackBerry fanatic, Jacob, claims that Curve keyboards hurt to type on after prolonged use -- we have yet to experience this damaging side effect.
Ultimately, you're buying into incredibly similar products here, especially between the Curve and Bold -- that's more of a carrier decision than anything else. Even with the Storm, the general experience is roughly the same (if a little more frustrating), but it's surprising to see how far RIM has moved beyond the Bold's styling in such a short period of time. One thing is clear, however: whichever phone you choose, your email is going to be totally awesome.
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I juggled the iPhone 3G, T-Mobile G1, and BlackBerry Bold for the last few months, desperately wishing I could merge them into one perfect device.
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