I owned and used two Blackberry Bolds 9700 over the course of about 13 months. There is no doubt that Blackberry got some parts of the "smartphone" idea just right. With that being said, they sorely underachieved in many important areas. I currently own the iPhone 4S and it blows blackberry out of the water.
Recommend this product?
Internet: The Blackberry Bold's ability to use the 3G network provided by AT&T was dissapointing and even frustrating at times. I clearly showed 2-3 bars of service and it picked up the 3G network but the browser failed to load pages. For anyone who uses the internet regularly, this could be a huge problem because of the reliability, or lack thereof.
On that same topic, using the browser with a trackpad instead of touchscreen was slow and tedious. Although the trackpad got the job done, it would have been much nicer with a touch screen. When you spend a lot of time on the internet of your phone like I do, this starts to get old.
QWERTY Keyboard: The only thing I actually miss about my Blackberry Bold is the keyboard. Once I got used to the keys, I was lightning fast at sending texts and emails. The keys are quality and they last. Getting accustomed to clicking ALT for periods took a while but it was certainly managable.
Applications: This is probably the area that fell shortest with Blackberry when compared to other phones. The amount of apps is simply lacking. Without a huge volume of apps like the Apple appstore, it becomes frustrating because it simply doesn't have what you need a lot of times. Things as simple as an application that gives scores of daily sporting events are few and far between and of very low quality. The lack of apps can also be very frustrating for people who look at their phone as an entertainment device- there are not many games (or ones worth buying, at least).
email: Once you've gotten your email set up on your phone (which was a MONUMENTAL pain for me), the email is very nice. Sending, reading, receiving is all simple and very accessible. They certainly got this part right.
Camera: When using the camera I found that it lacked the quality that phones like the iPhone give. On top of that, I was unable to send large files (videos) because the file size was too big. Of course this was not a huge deal for me, but it is something that would have been nice and something that should be taken into account.
BBM: Blackberry Messaging was and is a GREAT feature. The ability to send messages using WiFi is nice because it doesn't use up your texts. There are also times when you won't have service but you will be able to pick up WiFi which makes this a lifesaver in obscure situations. I personally wasn't able to use BBM much because most of my associates use the iPhone or Droid, but when I did I found that it was extremely useful. iPhone and Droid have come out with similar features so Blackberry doesn't exactly hold a monopoly on the idea but it was something that was basically exclusive to Blackberry users for a while.
Lag: The most frustrating thing that I encountered with the Blackberry (and eventually the reason I switched to iPhone) was the system lag. At times, my Blackberry didn't respond for 30+ seconds. This was extremely frustrating as you can imagine. Upon asking my friends if they encountered the same thing, they said they did so it was definitely not exclusive to my phone.
Other: One minor problem I had with my phone was that I would randomly place emergency calls while my phone was in my pocket. Also, the vibration is very "miss-able". There were many times when I would get phone calls while my phone was right beside me and not even feel it vibrate.
Quality of Product: The Blackberry Bold's exterior proved very durable. Neither of my phones ever had a problem after being dropped. This is one area that the Blackberry actually surpasses the market. With that being said, I did have a problem that occured during some of my phone calls. My phone would randomly make a very high-pitched, annoying sound that made it nearly impossible for me to hear the person. I had to hang up and call back for it to go away. Other than that, I had very few problems.