The emailing executive's weapon of choice, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the smartest BlackBerry to date. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the best RIM has to offer, with the most tech crammed into any in the BlackBerry range, a quality feel and nicely tactile QWERTY keyboard.

The 9700 is a top-drawer messaging device. From the simple email set up to integrated multiple IM clients – Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk et al – and the single, streamlined inbox, it's a compulsive chatterer's dream come true.

The QWERTY keyboard is excellent, perfect for emailing on the hoof, while battery life is better than average, giving you about a day and a half of frequent emailing.

In addition to the headline features, you get a rather average 3.2-meg camera with flash, fast HSDPA browsing – this also helps with email attachments and of course you also get A-GPS with BlackBerry Maps and Wi-Fi.

Onboard memory is only 256MB, but there's a microSD slot and the 9700 ships with a 2GB card.

The 9700 runs the well-rounded BlackBerry 5.0 OS, which integrates messaging, phone and app functions so well that you won't even know you're multi-tasking.

The BlackBerry App World is under-stocked when compared to Apple's huge, ever-growing App Store, but the apps here do at least favour usefulness over time wasting.

‘Gwabbit', for instance, pulls out new contacts from your inbox.

With basic but functional music controls and a 2.4-inch screen, albeit a fairly high-res one, the 9700 isn't any kind of multimedia giant, but it does the job. There's a proper headphone socket, too.

The Bold 9700 is not the best all-round smartphone and anyone looking for multimedia features should go elsewhere.

However, for those who absolutely have to be in touch at all times, this can't be beaten.

That there's a respectable set of secondary functions is just a bonus, adding to the overall feel of quality and reliability that this phone effectively exudes.

LOVE - The Bold is a fantastic device for messaging, with a great keyboard and rock-solid email reception and delivery

HATE - The OS isn't as stable as some other smartphones, and the App World could do with a few more wares to sell

WE SAY - The best BlackBerry out there at the moment. When the BlackBerry OS 6.0 arrives, it'll be even better

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