CNET First Look
RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 (Verizon Wireless)Verizon customers looking for a messaging smartphone with world-roaming capabilities have a solid choice in the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650.
[ Music ] >> Hi I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com and I've got your first look at the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 for Verizon. This is the update to the BlackBerry Tour and it's pretty much the same as the Sprint version of the Bold which we took a look at earlier. But we'll give you another quick run-down of the phone and also point out some of the Verizon specific features on here. First off, the design of the phone is a lot like the BlackBerry Tour. It has that slate QWERTY design that we've come to love from RIM. It's small enough to use as a phone but also has a decent sized QWERTY keyboard to make it a comfortable messaging device. The biggest difference between the Bold and the Tour is the Bold now has an optical track pad instead of a trackball. RIM's been doing this with all of it's latest Smartphones and the transition from one to the other is really easy in my opinion. The trackpad is very responsive and it should also eliminate the problem where the trackball stops working after a while, or after it gets dirty. Beyond that the physical aspects of the phone aren't much different. There's a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack on the right side along with a volume rocker and a customizable shortcut key. There's also one on the left side too. On back you'll find a 3.2 megapixel camera and flash, and behind the battery door is a microSD expansion slot and a SIM card slot. Now the reason that the Bold has a SIM card slot is because it's a Worldphone. Here in the states you'll be able to make calls and receive data on Verizon's network just like usual, but when you travel overseas the phone automatically detects and connects to a compatible GSM network. Now Verizon ships the Bold with the SIM card but they'll unlock it if, so you can use it with other international SIMS as long as you've been a Verizon customer for 60 days and are in good financial standing. Couple of other notes about the world-roaming capabilities. The Bold does for the 2100 megahertz 3G band, and is also the first device to support Verizon's GlobalAccess Connect service which lets you use the Bold as a tethered modem while abroad. Of course this comes with a fee though, so check with Verizon's customer service to get all the details. Two other notable things about the Bold is the addition of Wi-Fi and doubled on-board memory. You now get 512 MB flash memory instead of 256 MB, so there's more room for apps. The device already comes pre-loaded with some of the basics like Documents to Go, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. You can also download more from BlackBerry App World and subscribe to Verizon's various services like V CAST video and music and VZ Navigator. I have to say V CAST video came in quite handy for catching some of the World Cup action. Like I said about this Sprint BlackBerry Bold, this isn't the biggest update to the Tour but it's a solid one. The only downfall, and this is true of all BlackBerry devices is the web browser, but I think the addition of Wi-Fi and more memory makes it a better device overall and it has great quality so I have no hesitation recommending this to any Verizon customer looking for a messaging Smartphone or a Worldphone. The Bold 9650 is available now from Verizon for 149.99 with a two year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look of the RIM BlackBerry Bold 9650 for Verizon.