BlackBerry Bold 9930 First Impressions: Achilles Heel is Battery Life

There’s no denying that the BlackBerry Bold 9930 is Research in Motion’s best BlackBerry smartphone to date, combining the favorite and capacious keyboard of the historic Bold 9000 series with a modern and elegant design, glass touchscreen, optical trackpad, stainless steel band, and beautiful angles that make the design both modern and classic in the same breath. However, as close to perfect as the Bold 9900 series is, I’ve been using the BlackBerry Bold 9930 on Verizon Wireless’s 3G CDMA network in the U.S., and my main complaint–which so far I haven’t seen addressed in most reviews and blogs–is the device’s battery life, which is anemic to say the least, and certainly, if you’re a BlackBerry loyalist, disappointing to put mildly as RIM’s smartphones have historically known to push on, like the Energizer bunny.

Hopefully, this is just a temporary issue, and one that may be corrected with a firmware update. In the week or so that I’ve been using the Bold 9930, I haven’t been able to squeeze more than 6 hours out of device with two push email accounts (one Gmail and one Google account that I use for work), Facebook and Twitter using RIM’s default settings, and a Google Voice app. On average, I made a few phone calls, totaling no more than 30 minutes each, and IM was handled via RIM’s standard BBM client with a few BBM contacts, each sending and receiving on average about 10 messages.

Given that older BlackBerry devices can last a day and a half or even two days with my usage, it feels like the battery concessions that RIM made in order to achieve a svelte design is completely unacceptable given the device’s enterprise-centric nature. Desk executives should be fine if they charge the device while it’s resting on their desks, but for business users who travel or are in the field, the device needs a lot more stamina, and that’s something that a software upgrade may help.

Part of the reason is that RIM had utilized a thinner battery in the Bold 9900/9930 than in previous generation Bold/Torch devices. The Bold 9930 has a rather anemic 1230 mAh battery compared to the Bold 9650’s 1400 mAh battery. The reason being is that RIM says that the latest BlackBerry 7 operating system is a lot more efficient than earlier BlackBerry OSes. However, there is also a lot more going on with the new Bold 9900 series, including a faster processor and higher resolution display that help to draw down the battery.

One reason that I am hopeful that a software upgrade may help with battery life is that GSM BlackBerry users as well as Sprint’s CDMA BlackBerry 9930 users have noted to me that BlackBerry life has not been an issue for them, which is odd. Considering that Sprint’s and Verizon’s model sport the same world-phone radios, it’s odd that Sprint’s version, at least according to users, is getting strong battery performance compared to my Verizon 9930. Until the battery life clears up, the Bold 9930 almost seems like it’s two steps forward and one major leap backward from the Bold 9000 where form triumphs function.

All-in-all, a zippy performance, thanks to the better processor and more RAM, combined with an overhauled OS makes the Bold 9930 a joy to use, with and without the touchscreen. Thanks to the thoughtful inclusion of an optical trackpad, I found the touchscreen to be useful, but not necessary, and that I could operate BlackBerry OS 7 completely without touch if I wanted to keep my fingers on the keyboard and navigate the OS with my thumbs on the trackpad.

Comments

  1. Guest says

    think you’re right…first day of full use today, it’s only 3 hrs into the workday & my battery meter looks to be about 50%

  2. Imran Khan says

    I think it takes a few charge cycles for it to reach its normal battery life. My life has been increasing with time. Also, its been noted on some blogs that having wifi on all the time actually does wonders for the battery life. 

  3. DtotheP says

    Can you increase and decrease images on the screen with your fingertips like on the droid or iphone?

  4. Tony Menrod says

    just got mine 3 days ago and with not any heavy usage,i still have like 40% after 3 days.and i think you’re wrong about the wifi thing.having wifi on DECREASES your batt. life

    • Gery Wilde says

      Gery
      I have been using the 9930  for over a week and get about 7-hours with my enterprise account very active and about 50-phone calls,  wifi on.  It blows away the Motorola Atrix that i tried for a few weeks on battery life,  but i hope a software fix will help it get a few more hours without charge.  Otherwise i find this to be an very functional,  easy to use communicator..

  5. Rx7arai says

    I agree with Tony. After the first day of usage, I realize my battery drains rather quick. But after I turn off the wifi, I can easily get through the entire day with ease.

  6. West Cobb Photographer says

    The lack of a web cam is the deal breaker for me.  We have clients who are Skyping now who want you to show them things going on at the job site (or problems on the site) with live video; because of this, many of the contractors have switched to iPhones, but they all HATE typing on the things.  This would be a perfect phone for them if only they had put a simple web cam on it.  DUH.  Oh well.

  7. Davereggi says

    There is an app on App World called Wifi manager. It will only turn wifi on when it senses a reconized wifi environment that you have previously specified.
    Once installed, start wifi, it will ask you if you want to start wifi
    once connected, go to 3rd party apps and add current location (highlight wifi manager and press BB button)

  8. Jack says

    Had my BB 9930 since the day it came out and battery life is getting progressively worse. About 6 hours at best without WiFi. Not good…

    • Pete says

      I’ve had my 9930 for 4 months now, my battery life is less than 5 hours and it gets extreamly warm.. I totally agree with you it’s really bad.. I’ve been to several Sprint stores, called the general office and no one can solve my problem.. I”m so sorry I even bought my Blackberry !!!

  9. Bob says

    completely agree. i shut off everything besides the actual phone itself and it ran out in 5 and a half hours today. from fully charged to dead. Somethings gotta give

  10. Purotalento21 says

    Easy solution for me I have a car charger and I bought another battery off ebay since the 9930 is so quick on start up its like nothing to swap out batteries once one is low

  11. dylanb says

    I get a day and a half out of my battery and that’s with a good amount of texting, checking my facebook periodically, talking on it, surfing the web a little every once in a while, and using pandora as well. So I don’t know if some of you guys got a faulty phone or battery or what because this phone is awesome and I love it :)

  12. Marialuedy says

    Hey Everyone PLEASE READ THIS COMENT: if you are having trouble with your battery life I was too. I was so angry because I live in brazil and I paid 900$ for this phone, the BOLD 9930. mine is SPRINT HYBRID. SO I WAS REALLY UPSET WANT TO RETURN AND I COULDN’T SO I DID 2 THINGS THAT SEEMS LIKE TO REALLY IMPROVED MY BATTERY LIFE 1 I TURNED OF THE GEOLOCATION, TWO I DOWNLOADED A LED COLOR APPLICATION. 

    * BUT WHAT REALLY HELPED IMPROVE WAS TO LET IT CHARGE FOR OVER 6H AFTER RECHARGE IS COMPLETE AND LIVE THE PHONE IN SILENT MODE.

    it was lasting 6 hours using or not bbms emails and phone calls, using it it was lasting 6 hours also. but after these 2 to 3 steps its been almost 12 hours with WIFI on  and the battery is 70% still!!! I finally can rest in peace now!!! it feels great. can’t wait to change the housing to white. 

    overall review in my opinion is that I would recommend buying a iPhone 4s now that is 7 mega pixel camera, iMessage, camera button on the side. it has auto focus, battery life in airplane mode lasts over a week, youtube app doesn’t buffer and it has much more colors on the screen. you can really see the difference if you look at this simple incase sleeve for macbook air in both screens. 

    http://goincase.com/products/detail/neoprene-sleeve-cl57801

    full querty keyboard is GREAT but is pretty much the same as the iPhone in terms of typing. the iPhone also has all the letters with signs option, with swipe options everything that bb used to crash iPhone down, is now a feature on the new iOS 

    also the universal search is the ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT THE BOLD in comparison also speed dials.

    THE QUESTION IS the ANSWER, care a bold as your phone and a iPhone as a spare phone ( mini iPad, improved ipod= that can makes calls).

      

  13. Sharonjk says

    Very disappointed about the battery life. Honestly, I’d take a slightly thicker phone if it gave me the battery life of my old Blackberry, which was one of its BEST features. 

  14. Famil Iphone says

    I got my 9930 and it is the best phone (PHONE, not TOY) ever.   It does
    email, notifications, messaging perfectly.   It has modern, fully
    compatible with everything and fast browser and all the connectivity
    there is.   Addition of the touch screen greatly improves on an already
    fast interface that makes all the important tasks uber quick.  
    Scrolling, selection of some choices are faster.     Keyboard is so much
    better than anything out there, it is not even a contest.

    http://www.iphonefamily.net

  15. Marcus says

    Me and the other engineers at my firm are lucky to last 12 hours on the new 9930s… the battery life is embarrassingly bad!

  16. Mabell says

    I’m on my second BB 9930, Verizon, in a month.  The first one had horrible battery life and I had to pull the battery several times due to glitches with the display.  The new one works awesome.  I can fly with the new touch screen, and no more having to go to the menu and click zoom 8 times to zoom in on a photo.  I have to say the battery life if terrible.  It’s charging all night, it’s lucky to may 8-10 hours with only minor use.  WifFi is off.  Geo is off, and vibrate is short.  The phone is awesome, but battery life is horrible.  I have this through my company otherwise I’d go with the iPhone- my wife has that and can go 2 days including using Pandora blasting out music.

  17. Britt says

    I am having the same problem. Just got mine and I have to charge it at least twice a day, sometimes more, and I am not running that many apps. Disappointing, because it is otherwise a great phone.

  18. Matthew Fabilenia says

    10 hours and it shut down because the battery was drained. my 8830 could last 2 days straight. this is not okay. i hope they have a recall or something because this is completely unacceptable

  19. Info says

    I’ve used all blackberry models and I think the touch screen blackberry bold sucks and so do my friends, your check mutes the phone in the middle of a conversation or if you pick up the ringing phone with your right hand – mute again. During an important business call my check conferenced called my mother who was hello as my customer was saying who is this. Good luck trying to get back to the home screen without wanting to smash the phone angst the wall. You must lock the phone screen all the time or phone book will auto dial and hear you in the bathroom. Before you gossip make sure your phone doesn’t auto dial that person as the blackberry takes revenge for wanting to smash it

  20. Sereen Thaddeus says

    This BOLD model is an awful phone,  particularly because of the battery life, which drains rather quickly even after charging all night with NO activity.  I HATE it.  There is also an annoying feature , a tiny square with rapidly moving dials like a clock, that freezes the device .  Unclear what is happening , I haven’t seen anything in the manual that explains why this happens, but it just plain freezes the device, until it is done doing whatever it is doing and disappears from the screen ,   I am returning this to my office and staying with my old original BB, a much better product.  

  21. olumide says

    I got a sprint blackberry bold 9930 back in June dis year and abt 2wks ago it blanked off, when I tried to restart it, it just froze many times and later gave dis error message “JVM 517 error” I gave it to a repairer,he tried to re-install d OS and all sort of flashing was done on d ROM but as I speak all it does is boot to a point and freezes. Does anyone have a clue please.I ordered d fone online from Amazon.

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