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RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 Review

BlackBerry Bold 9650

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team



RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 Review
BlackBerry devices have been very hit and miss when it comes to call quality of late.  Two Verizon Tours gave us issues, but the Sprint version was very good, the 9700 and 8350i were not without their issues but the 8520 and 8530 both fared well.  The Bold 9650 unfortunately reminds us a lot of the 8350i in that callers sounded very hollow, as if the speaker was recessed inside the device.  They rated us a 7.5, saying that the volume was good but that we sounded nasally.  Overall RIM could have done better with the call performance on the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650, but it wasn’t bad enough that we wouldn’t use the device.

Battery life is rated for the same 5 hours of talk time as with the Tour, though standby time has dropped from 14 days to 13.  Most BlackBerry users will be charging their device nightly, and it has plenty of juice to get through the day on a single charge for all but the most demanding of users.


The Tour has been our favorite BlackBerry to date and the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 is a Tour with Wi-Fi, a trackpad and more memory… in other words, a better Tour.  Still, we’re underwhelmed.  The Tour offered significant advantages over its predecessors, namely the 8830, Curve 8330 and Bold 9000, but this new Bold is simply a refresh which adds otherwise standard BlackBerry features.  Furthermore Sprint is currently asking $200 for the Bold 9650 on contract, a 100% premium over the outgoing Tour and a whopping four times the price of the very well endowed Curve 8530.  Sure, the Curve’s display and keyboard aren’t as nice and the camera is lower spec’d, but when it comes down to it, the guts are pretty much the same.  Let’s face it, a BlackBerry is a BlackBerry (unless it’s a Storm, in which case sorry about your luck.)  We just can’t see people choosing the Bold over the Tour as long as the latter is available, and unless you need international roaming we don’t see people paying the $150 premium for a nicer keyboard and display over the Curve. Moreover, we shouldn't forget that the monstrous HTC EVO 4G is right around the corner. Of course, some would prefer the physical QWERTY of the BlackBerry, or would need its BES support, but as both handsets come at the same price we believe the Android-powered EVO 4G is a much more tempting offer overall. We’ve been saying this for what seems like years now, but BlackBerry is in a rut and now more than ever they need a device that is different to break them out of it.  The BlackBerry Bold 9650 is just the latest in a string of good but boring offerings from RIM.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 Video Review:


  • Continues the Tour’s tradition of top-notch hardware and build quality
  • International roaming capabilities
  • Wi-Fi and optical trackpad are welcome upgrades


  • Call quality could be better
  • This is just more of the same from RIM
PhoneArena rating:
User rating:
7.911 Reviews

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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. testman22 (Posts: 339; Member since: 03 Nov 2009)


posted on 21 May 2010, 10:47

2. Jyakotu (Posts: 854; Member since: 12 Dec 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.

posted on 08 Jul 2010, 21:23

6. ace1122 (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Mar 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.

posted on 13 Sep 2010, 10:12

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.

posted on 23 May 2010, 18:09

3. Deathcommand (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 May 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?

posted on 23 May 2010, 19:42

4. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; Member since: 27 Jun 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?

posted on 04 Aug 2010, 11:27

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/

posted on 16 Jun 2010, 03:28

5. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 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.

posted on 15 Dec 2010, 15:47

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.

posted on 28 Sep 2011, 01:34

10. salla (unregistered)

Blackberries are for serious business, entrepenuer leader types!!.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display2.4 inches, 480 x 360 pixels (250 ppi) TFT
Camera3.2 megapixels
Size4.41 x 2.44 x 0.55 inches
(112 x 62 x 14 mm)
4.80 oz  (136 g)
Battery1400 mAh, 5 hours talk time

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