BlackBerry Bold 9650 hands-on: yeah, it's a Tour with an optical pad

If you had any illusions about what exactly the Bold 9650 is, make no mistake: owning a Tour takes you 95 percent of the way to understanding the experience. The only thing you'll really notice on an ongoing basis is the optical pad, which is definitely a big improvement over the trackball of old -- not only does it eliminate the issue of gunk buildup, but it's totally responsive and arguably even easier to use than the ball for most tasks. The version we used was Sprint-branded, but RIM has unbranded units on hand, too; we can only assume Verizon will end up picking it up, though Big Red has been uncharacteristically silent about the matter so far. Hit up the quick gallery below (or, you know, take your Tour and just tape a picture of an optical pad over the trackball to get the experience firsthand).