Device Comparison: BlackBerry Bold 9650 vs Bold 9700


As the BlackBerry Bold 9650 rolled out about a month ago, we took the time to put it side by side with the Bold 9700.  Surely the 9650 is based off of the Tour, but since it has been branded as a “Bold,” we had to do a side by side comparison.  The 9650, at first glance, seems almost identical to the Tour 9630 yet some from the Bold 9650. It is slightly taller, bulkier, and wider than the 9700 but it weighs the same. With the slight increases in size comes an increase in performance: the 9650 has twice the RAM the 9700 did, 512 vs. 256 MB. In most respects, however, the phones were clearly built to the same standard, with Sprint and Verizon receiving the 9650 as an answer to T-Mobile and AT&T’s 9700. So has the phone 8 months late come out better? The differing elements are compared after the jump.


As mentioned previously, the 9650 has twice the processing power of the 9700. Realistically, though, at present the additional memory is almost unnecessary; 256 MB is more than enough to run many apps at once without lag or difficulty. As applications become more intensive and plentiful, though, the bump in RAM may prove invaluable for the smartphone user of tomorrow. I’m sure many of you are following along with OS 6.0 aka BlackBerry 6, which is pretty much memory demanding.  By having the 9650 equipped with 512 MB, we can assume that it is very much OS 6.0 ready. We will most likely see an upgrade to OS 6 for the 9700 but there’s all sorts of rumored of a 512 MB bumped of version of it on the way so it’s still a bit unclear now. At this time, though, the 9700 and 9650 seem equally well-endowed in terms of RAM, applications, and system functions.  Again, once OS 6.0 releases, we’ll probably see performance differences as the 9650 will have the higher hand.


Again, the 9650 and the 9700 are, functionally, identical. While the 9650 may sport a slightly brighter and crisper screen, the real-world differences are nonexistent. Both screens provide exceptional quality and serve equally well as a platform for calling, texting, browsing, or watching videos. Both of them sport a 3.2 megapixel camera and take fantastic pictures. In this category, again, the 9650 matches but does not surpass RIM’s previous magnum opus.


The 9650 stumbles a bit behind the 9700 in terms of look and feel. The leather back of both the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and the 9000, the 9700’s predecessor, has been omitted in the 9650. The oversight will likely be rectified with custom 9650 cases, but little changes between the 9650 and 9700 abound. One notable change is the moving of the charge port to the bottom right-hand side of the device, a location that many users hold the phone by. We are all well aware that the 9650 is based on the original Tour 9630 design but we’re doing a head to head comparison here between it and the 9700. The headphone jack has gone from the top left to the top right hand side, and the non-recessed jack has received a chrome lining similar to the one present on the 9000. The chrome rim represents an attention to detail that was in certain other ways less present on the device. The battery life on both the 9650 and 9700 is extensive, though slightly more so on the 9700 in my opinion with usage.


The BlackBerry Bold 9650 would seem, after reading this comparison, to be a less capable and desirable phone than the 9700. In time, though, the reverse may prove true. In actuality, however, both phones embody the highest standard to which smartphones today can reach. Whether one buys one or the other depends on more on one’s provider than the merits of the phones. Research In Motion has, through the BlackBerry Bold 9650, made the world’s greatest smartphone models available- albeit with some modifications- to almost every cell phone user in the United States. The Bold 9650 doesn’t significantly raise the bar in a technological or philosophical sense for Research In Motion; it only allows for legions of new consumers to appreciate the magnificent heights RIM has reached with the Bold 9650 and 9700.

-by Zain Haq


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