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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

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