RIM has hit the mark with the new BlackBerry Bold 9650. With an optical trackpad, Wi-Fi, international roaming capabilities,BlackBerry OS 5.0, 512 MB of on-board memory and plenty of processing horsepower this smartphone is the new standard bearer for CDMA-based BlackBerrys.
Although badged as a Bold, the styling dimensions and feel of the device point more to a revamped BlackBerry Tour than a CDMA-based version of Bold 9700, which is offered by the GSM-based carriers AT&T and T-Mobile.
The Bold 9650 currently retails through Sprint for $200 and Verizon Wireless for $150.
BUILD & DESIGN
This modelis heavier and bulkier than the Bold 9700 though still manageable in a pocket or purse.
RIM has been doing a great job in the display department as of late. The 2.4-inch 480x360 screen is crisp, bright, and manages browsing sessions well.
Like all BlackBerrys, the display will adjust to ambient light.
The Bold 9650 sports the better of the two keyboards RIM currently produces.It is accurate, responsive and quick.
Its rubbery keys are row-separated by a depressed chrome bezel.
This isn't true with the Bold 9650 trackpad. I found it to be jumpy and hard to manage. Despite tweaking settings and adjusting pressure the experience simply wasn't as flawless as I've seen in the past. It's not a deal breaker but will take some getting used to your trackpad's unique attitude.
Sadly, the Bold 9650 sports the worst design feature of the Tour: a micro-USB charging port located on the right side of the keyboard. This makes it nearly impossible to type on the phone while you're charging it, a flaw which is not present on the Bold 9700.
The 9650 sports a rocker key in its top edgeto lock and mute the phone. Strangely, the rocker lock initiates a different lock than the keyboard lock -- users can't unlock the device with the keyboard after locking it with the rocker key. It would have been nice to see rocker key customization options, like the convenience keys on the side of the phone.
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