Review: BlackBerry 9650 Bold
The 9650's screen boasts 480 x 360 pixels, which makes it gorgeous to look at. The problem is that it's tiny. RIM's competition is clearly favoring displays bigger than 3 inches, but RIM hasn't followed suit. Given all that we do with modern smartphones, I want more screen real estate. But, it is bright, and pictures, video and web content look fantastic on it. As for outdoor view-ability, it rates OK.
Phone Scoop was given the Sprint version of the 9650, not the Verizon version. It performed on par with other Sprint phones I've tested in the metropolitan New York area. Most of the time I used it, it held onto two bars of Sprint's EVDO 3G network. I never saw it drop to 1X. I missed two phone calls, but never had any data problems. The 9650 didn't drop any calls.
The 9650 has quad-band 850/900/1800/1900 GSM in addition to 2100MHz WCDMA. This means it can roam onto GSM-based networks in Europe, Latin America, and Japan if necessary. I wasn't able to test this out, but users who need to travel to Europe have the option of keeping their number with them overseas.
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Phone calls sounded superb. I had zero quality issues when it came to the phone. Those I spoke to also reported good quality. Earpiece volume was excellent, as was the speakerphone. Both provide ample volume to conduct calls. The ringers can be set to ear-shattering volumes, and the vibrate alert is strong. This is one area where RIM excels.
BlackBerries are known for their excellent battery life and the 9650 does not disappoint. With extensive testing, I was able to get a full day's use with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios on, and there was still plenty of charge left to get me through the next day. My guess is the average business user will be able to get through 2 days with no problem. Consumers who make fewer voice calls and leave Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off may easily reach three days of battery life.
Phone Scoop is on site in Orlando at RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium event. RIM introduced two new BlackBerries — Pearl 9100 3G and Bold 9650 — and BlackBerry 6.
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