Now that RIM are finally making the use of touchscreens viable with their devices, we are starting to see a number of interesting handsets. The problem for RIM has always been how to combine the core functionality of a great keyboard with the heavy demand for touch devices. For me the stand-out device is currently the all touch Torch 9860, which does a better job of presenting a usable touch keyboard than Apple or Google, in my honest opinion. Sadly for RIM one of only a few wins.
This Bold 9790 handset combines the small form factor of the Bold 9700 with a very usable touchscreen. The device is very well designed and looks great, it sits very comfortably in hand. It is incredibly easy to use. The combination of keyboard application shortcuts and touch navigation worked very intuitively. A dream to use. The battery life was also very good in context to modern smartphones. I easily got a day and a half out of it. Although I ended up just charging it at night, it was reassuring knowing if I was late home I wasn't going to be worrying whether I'd have enough juice to phone home.
As with all Blackberry devices I found the call quality to be excellent and the Bold devices have always had great cameras. The 9790 is no exception in this regard. One of my big complaints of the Bold line has been the sloped keys. While these are sloped too, the keys seem to have a wider base which makes them more stable. I didn't struggle with my fingers slipping off the keys anywhere near as much as I have in the past.
The 9790 has one major flaw. The screen resolution is a nice 640x480, but the screen is only 2.5 inches in diameter. This means any web based activities are almost impossible because the text just appears so small. You can of course zoom into the text, but typically I struggled to get a good, readable size. It was a lot of fiddling when I just wanted to read the content.
In summary - I'm a heavy email user with five accounts hooked into my BB. The combination of the keyboard and touchscreen made using the 9790 a joy and increased my ability to get through email and respond in full using the excellent keyboard. I'm also a big Twitter user though and found myself cursing each time I clicked on a link to then find myself struggling to size the content just so I could read it. The high resolution screen combined with it's small size is a big drawback. If you want a keyboard for email and a good screen for web browsing then I would recommend you take a look at the Bold 9900. If you want an all touch device then I recommend the Torch 9860, which is my favourite BB at this time.