RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 Review

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 Review

The oft-praised BlackBerry Bold has landed on CDMA networks, kind of. The Bold 9000 was the first “premium” BlackBerry device and instantly made CDMA users jealous, as it was exclusively launched for GSM. The jealousy did not last for long, however, as the Tour 9630 was released half a year later and offered most of the Bold’s goodies in a sleeker package with a few upgrades of its own.  The Bold 9700 was then released last November, bringing the design more in line with the Tour, and now we have the CDMA RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650. In ditching the Tour name RIM has brought both GSM and CDMA variants into the same brand name, just like with the Curve and Pearl. Don’t let the new name fool you into thinking this is a totally different product, however.  This new Bold is simply a Tour with some new clothes on.

Included in the box you’ll find:

•    Li-Ion battery
•    AC adapter
•    microUSB data cable
•    Stereo headphones
•    Leather swivel pouch
•    2GB microSD card


The RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 follows the design cues of the Tour instead of the Bold 9700, with the only noticeable difference being the optical trackpad in lieu of a trackball.  In fact, if you put the two CDMA devices side-by-side and covered the trackball/pad area most users would have a hard time telling a difference between the two.  Sprint’s Tour had a glossy back door, whereas the Verizon variant had a much more desirable soft-touch coating around the insert.  Thankfully the BlackBerry Bold 9650 has taken its nod from the Verizon version and includes soft-touch which creates a much better feel.  Instead of the carbon fiber insert found on the Tour, the Bold 9650 features a ribbed pattern.

You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Though not apparent just by looking at it, the screen on the Bold 9650 is actually slightly recessed.  This can be a bit frustrating when swiping from the top down on the trackpad as your finger catches the lip at times, but it also allows for the device to be set on its face with less chance of scratching which is always a good thing.  The button placement around the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 is the exact same as on the Tour, as is the camera and flash placement above the battery door.

We heavily praised the Tour’s hardware in our review last summer and the same applies to the Bold 9650.  We’ll just hit the highlights this time around: the keypad remains the best we’ve ever used, the 480x360 pixels display is very good and the overall feel is just super-solid.  The Bold 9650 remains a very high quality device that ranks among the best available when it comes to feel and build quality.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 360 Degrees View:



1. testman22

Posts: 339; Member since: Nov 03, 2009


2. Jyakotu

Posts: 868; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

While I have no problems with phones that have the Blackberry look, I'm just not a fan of Blackberry in general. Even though RIM is making a new slider Blackberry, many other manufacturers have made phones with that form factor already. Idk how RIM has so many followers, but it is what it is.

6. ace1122

Posts: 237; Member since: Mar 23, 2009

Yeah they seem like a dying company. While a few years ago they were at the top of their game but now they're producing nothing new or ingenious or simply, cool. I know Blackberry's are mainly meant to be business phones but why not get and Android phone that can do work and play? Well that's exactly what people are thinking and poor RIM is on their way out.

8. jgraves58 unregistered

A lot of people just want to handle their business and that's it. Blackberry has many followers because everyone isn't interested in playing on a cellphone.

3. Deathcommand

Posts: 1; Member since: May 23, 2010

Just a quick question to the editor. did you take into account the 512 memory and the trackpad as something new? Also. The phone is now goingto go through with a new 6.0 update soon. Why are you leaving that information out of this?

4. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

We did take this into account, but in the end the device is mostly the same as any other BlackBerry that has come out over the past few years and is nearly identical to the Tour it replaces. In a lot of ways its like a model refresh of a car, sure they made it better and addressed some issues, but at the end of the day its still the same car. In regards to OS 6.0 we haven't seen anything official that says this will be getting an upgrade (though it most likely will,) could you point us in the right direction if RIM has indeed stated it will be receiving it?

7. KRAM unregistered

Rim indeed stated that it will be recieving it!!! Heres the link:http://www.phonedog.com/2010/08/03/blackberry-6-os-unveiled-coming-to-some-older-devices/

5. cellgeek82

Posts: 518; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

Why do people still buy Blackberries if the call quality sucks? I know it has email and international capabilities but if the call quality isn't good then it really won't cater to those who want a 'phone' that has features. If the features is all you use then more power to you.

9. Hamman unregistered

I just returned my Bold after two weeks of use. The call quality was a major reason as it is my primary phone. People reported it simply did not sound nearly as good as my 8830 World Edition that I have now gone back to. Also, the review touts the keyboard. I couldn't use it without mistyping frequently. Maybe my figures are too small but BB made the Bold keyboard just small enough to make it unworkable for me. The visual voice mail that Verizon is now offering is TERRIFIC and a reason I almost kept the phone and put up with the downsides... but not quite. The browser is slow and frustrating in its interface. The trackpad is wonderful and very easy to work. The Password Keeper is a very handy tool BUT the inability to download the file to back it up on a computer is a major limitation. The ergonomic design does handle well but the slanted top of the phone makes muting and unmuting during a call difficult to do with one hand, a major drawback for me as I like to mute during conference calls when in the city. The battery performance was a little disappointing, but I am a demanding user. The robustness of the operating system was great... I had no problems even while using multiple programs and aps. The screen resolution was excellent but sometimes it was hard to get the information large enough. The ability to open a wide range of file attachments was tremendous and they even give you a way to edit them. The text messages arrangement organized by sender and threads is a BIG improvement. Overall, an impressive phone provided the keyboard and audio quality work for you.

10. salla unregistered

Blackberries are for serious business, entrepenuer leader types!!.
Bold 9650
  • Display 2.4" 480 x 360 pixels
  • Camera 3.2 MP
  • Storage 0.512GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1400 mAh(5.00h talk time)

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