Hardware and Construction
Both the iPhone and Bold 9700 are two sturdy and well-constructed phones. The phones are both very similar hardware-wise, as well. The most notable difference in construction between the two phones is the fact that the BlackBerry has the usual and excellent BlackBerry QWERTY keypad built in, while the iPhone has no physical keypad, instead relying solely on a touchscreen keyboard. Writing out SMS messages and emails on the Bold 9700 is very quick and comfortable - even for someone with large hands like myself - while the iPhone keypad does take some getting used to, mostly due to the lack of physical feedback when you press a key on the screen.
Call quality on both phones - using an iPhone 3GS as the test model - is good, but people on the other end of the line reported better voice quality when using the Bold 9700. The speaker on both phones is plenty loud and clear on voice calls, and using AT&T’s network, voice coverage is good, nationwide.
With a claimed talk time of 16 hours and 408 hours of standby, the Bold 9700 maintains the BlackBerry reputation of excellent battery life. The iPhone does not lag far behind, with a rated 12 hours of talk time and 300 hours on standby.
Still, as far as hardware goes, the keyboard was the biggest difference I noticed. Both phones have nice colorful screens and are quick and responsive, are full 3G phones, support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, are GPS enabled, have passable cameras, and, again, are well-constructed.