The BlackBerry Tour is a solid business smartphone with loads of messaging options. Thanks to diligent work by RIM building some very useful apps to connect to the major social networking and instant messaging services, the BlackBerry Tour isn't too buttoned up for business, and it makes a solid all-around choice. In fact, the phone has solid multimedia features with good music hardware and one of the best video players we've used on a smartphone. The screen is also fantastic, perhaps the best we've seen on a business device like this. Still, more and more the BlackBerry platform is showing its age. You can find part one of our BlackBerry Tour review below.
the excellent device Blackberry Tour in the third quarter in the U.S. and. BlackBerry 9900 smartphone is expected to be able to compete in that area. T-Mobile USA | Reviews, Price, Specs Released BlackBerry Bold 9780 OS. Lenovo E156 Mobile Phone Specifications · AMD Bulldozer Test.
The Web browser is nearly useless compared to the desktop quality browsers you'll find on other advanced smartphones, even on new Windows Mobile devices. The calendar and messaging apps, while powerful enough, were downright ugly to use, and the phone still relies heavily on long, confusing, textual menus for settings and advanced features. Further, while Verizon Wireless fans have been clamoring for a new BlackBerry with a keyboard as an alternative to the touchscreen BlackBerry Storm, we'd have trouble recommending the BlackBerry Tour over AT&T's BlackBerry Bold, which can run all the same apps, but which also uses Wi-Fi. RIM has definitely polished the BlackBerry design to a glossy sheen, but there are better smartphones out there.
Pros: Sleek BlackBerry design with the best BlackBerry screen yet. Great selection of apps for social networking, instant messaging. Visual voicemail.
Cons: Call quality wasn't as good as other BlackBerry devices, like the BlackBerry Bold. Web browser falling farther behind the competition. We didn’t love the keyboard.
The new BlackBerry Tour on Verizon is an attractive, modern looking BlackBerry device, and for better or worse it hews to recent BlackBerry design trends. Of all the best full-QWERTY, non-touchscreen phones we've seen recently (to check them out, click here) the BlackBerry Tour finishes near the bottom in looks, and it wasn't nearly as thin, stylish and downright enviable as the Nokia E71x on AT&T. RIM has gotten into a strange habit recently of mixing up textures on their phones, with spots that are glossy, soft touch, textured or even banded with chrome. It's a nicer looking phone that the BlackBerry Bold, but it seems like RIM has stopped innovating in their designs.
The BlackBerry Tour has a crisp and colorful screen. Otherwise, the interface is almost completely unchanged, which is both good and bad for users. If you're looking to upgrade from a previous BlackBerry and you've been waiting for a new full-QWERTY device on Verizon Wireless, we've got good news. The new BlackBerry interface is a dramatic improvement over the last generation. It's more colorful and modern looking, but it keeps the same basic organization and button layout.
If you've been hesitant about the BlackBerry platform because it seems a bit too complicated for you, well, we've got some bad news as well. The BlackBerry OS, on its surface, is very pretty, its main menu flush with useful icons and folders. But at heart, this BlackBerry still seems like a pager, created more for corporate IT types than average users. Many applications come set up lacking key functions, requiring you to dig through long, confusing menus and settings options, and these were not only counterintuitive, but they were also constantly changing depending on where we were. None of it made much sense. For instance, you can adjust the phone's equalizer settings for music playback from a pop-up menu in the main music screen, but the same option disappears when you're on the Now Playing screen. This wasn't just a problem in the multimedia apps, similar issues cropped up everwhere. We appreciate the power and adaptability of the BlackBerry platform, but RIM should consider creating a no-fear option that would hide the extensive and disorganized options for those of us who just want a phone that works well, without so much hassle.
Though call quality on the BlackBerry Tour left us wanting, the phone had an excellent selection of calling features, including some that you can't find on other carriers. Sound quality suffered from a general muddiness, with a deep humming sound attached to voices. The phone lacked the bright clarity of the BlackBerry Bold. Rception was usually excellent, a solid 5 bars of service on Verizon Wireless' network in the Dallas metro area. Battery life was also superb, as we'd expect from a BlackBerry device. Though RIM estimates only 5 hours of talk time, we managed a single call that lasted more than 6.5 hours. Older BlackBerry devices could go even longer, but in this age of hi-res screens and faster, 3G networks, we're happy with those numbers.
The BlackBerry Tour has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve for handling an address book. First, if your company uses a BlackBerry server, you can synchronize with your corporate accounts. If you don't have access to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), you can synchronize your contacts and calendar manucally with Outlook using the BlackBerry desktop application. Beyond these standard options, the BlackBerry Tour is the first BlackBerry device we've seen that can work with Facebook to grab friends' contact information from your FB account. Once you've set up the RIM Facebook App, you can import a contact's picture and available data. If a person doesn't have a phone number listed on Facebook, the BlackBerry will send them a message asking for their number. Kind of clever and creepy, all at once. The BlackBerry Tour doesn't go as far as the Palm Pre's Synergy feature, which automatically imports all Facebook contacts, and seems more in line with a similar feature on the Windows Mobile HTC Touch Pro 2.
Otherwise, the BlackBerry Tour gets a nice selection of calling features, including Visual Voicemail. Even though Apple started the Visual Voicemail revolution with their iPhone on AT&T, Verizon Wireless has done a great job equipping their devices with this excellent feature. Visual Voicemail lets you listen to messages out of order and delete the ones you don't need. Messages are saved on the phone, so you can listen without dialing into the central service. The BlackBerry Tour also gets a good voice dialing app, and you can activate voice dialing with the dedicated button on the side of the phone. The speakerphone was a bit disappointing; we wish it were much louder, as we had a hard time hearing callers when we tested it while driving around.
For messaging, no device is more powerful and versatile than a BlackBerry phone, and the BlackBerry Tour even takes a smaller step beyond what we've seen before on RIM's devices. The messaging apps still look horrible, another throwback from the old pager days. Text messaging comes in a threaded style, so you can track a full SMS conversation just as you would an IM chat. For instant messaging fans, Verizon Wireless offers a number of different clients available for download, including AOL, MSN, Yahoo and even Gmail. For social networking fans, RIM has gone farther than any other smartphone maker in creating portable apps for Facebook and MySpace users, and these apps work great on the BlackBerry Tour. In fact, Facebook has become so tightly integrated on the Tour that new messages sent to your Facebook account will actually show up in the BlackBerry's unified Messaging Inbox, along with regular e-mail, text messages and all the other incoming texts that BlackBerry collects into one convenient space.
The keyboards on recent BlackBerry phones have plenty of fans, but we're not in that lot. While plenty of folks we know swear by the angled keys and swooping, arched layout, we found the QWERTY keyboard to be too bunched together, with too little space between each letter. This is definitely a try-before-you-buy situation, but we prefer a wider, more generous keyboard, like the one we found on the HTC Touch Pro 2. The BlackBerry Tour keyboard also made strange choices for key placements. Most Internet users type the period key and @ key extensively, so we like when they get their own, unmodified key. But on the Tour, both of these require an Alt- key, while the $ gets its own key. There are two shift keys for Capital letters, but the period shares space with the "M' key. We'd like to see a more convenient layout for e-mails and Web browsing.
Scheduling and Productivity
The calendar and scheduling app on the BlackBerry Tour is powerful and clever, but it's also about as ugly as apps come on a mobile device. We like being able to invite attendees to an event, and the Tour even includes some unique fields for event listings, like a Conference Call field that keeps track of dial-in numbers and access codes. It's too bad the calendar looks so ugly, a basic wireframe box with little visual input. Our microwave oven has a prettier interface.
For productivity tools, the BlackBerry Tour comes equipped with DataViz' Documents to Go Standard edition. You can open and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, but if you want to create a new document from scratch, you'll have to pony up for the full professional license. The Standard version also lacks some advanced features, but unless you're doing serious document work on the road, it will probably suit your needs for simple viewing and edits on the go.
The BlackBerry Tour can be used as a tethered modem for Internet access from a laptop on the road. Unfortunately, the Tour relies on Verizon Wireless' buggy and fallible VZ Access Manager software. We have hardly tested a phone with VZ Access Manager that didn't require a re-installation of the software and numerous restarts to keep the app working properly, and the BlackBerry Tour was no exception. Once you get the software to work properly, you'll be set for Web browsing at reasonably fast speeds over Verizon Wireless' faster EV-DO Rev. A network. But the software is so unreliable that we'd go with an option that doesn't require a software gateway, like the excellent MiFi 2200 we reviewed recently.
For such a competent business device, the BlackBerry Tour also turned out to be a powerful multimedia player. The phone can synchronize music with your iTunes library using the BlackBerry Media Sync application on your desktop. In our tests, the Tour handled all the music we threw at it with no trouble, and our album artwork came through looking good. The speaker on the phone was a piddly little thing, but the Tour comes with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, a smart option for music on the go. In fact, Verizon Wireless has been uncharacteristically generous with their included accessories, so the BlackBerry Tour comes with a pre-loaded, 2GB microSD card and a pair of stereo headphones with a microphone for taking calls.
The video player on the BlackBerry Tour was even better than the music player, thanks to the phones dazzling, high resolution screen. The Tour could play any video we sideloaded onto the memory card, even videos that were sized way too large for the phone's 480 by 360 pixel screen. The video player resized our clips and played them full screen and they looked fantastic, especially sharp and colorful on the Tour's display. We wish the screen was large enough for long term viewing, but if you don't mind the smallish 2.5-inch display, you'll certainly enjoy watching movies on the BlackBerry Tour.
Web browsing is the biggest disappointment on the BlackBerry Tour, or on any current BlackBerry device, for that matter. Now that even Windows Mobile phones, like the HTC Ozone, have a modern, updated Web browser, RIM's BlackBerry platform has fallen to the back of the pack among smartphones when it comes to Web browsing. The simple BlackBerry Browser can load full HTML Web pages, but layout was very messy, as images would overlap text and columns were a jumble of confused frames. The BlackBerry platform relies more on apps for popular Web services these days, and there are great, discrete options for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter clients so that you won't need the Web interface. But we think the BlackBerry Web browser is long overdue for a serious update.
Verizon Wireless is notoriously stingy about Wi-Fi capabilities on their BlackBerry devices, and though the BlackBerry Tour surfs the Internet on Verizon's fastest, EV-DO Rev. A network, it isn't able to connect to your WLAN. Even with the disappointing browser, we still missed the Wi-Fi connectivity. The BlackBerry Curve 8900 on T-Mobile is not only capable of Wi-Fi browsing, but it also uses Wi-Fi for phone calls, so that phone, which is stylistically quite similar to the Tour, might be a better option for serious Web surfers.
The 3.2-megapixel camera on the BlackBerry Tour takes some nice shots for a cameraphone, but the camera features seem like they were tacked on at the last minute. It's telling that the BlackBerry Tour is available without a camera for the same price. The Tour does have auto focus, but the AF area was so large that it wouldn't focus on objects in the foreground and usually aimed for the larger background. There were also few camera options and no real shooting features. We appreciate having the two-stage camera button on the side, which let us press halfway to focus then further to snap the shot. But the camera was also sluggish and less responsive than any other app on the phone. Check out our image samples below.
The Tour is an awesome Blackberry Smartphone and is a 3G phone which is one. The BlackBerry Tour has been unboxed, and now that we've had a few days to. We didn't conduct a series of scientific tests to get rock solid. VZW requires a data plan on all smartphones and blackberries anyway. Personalize your smartphone, write reviews or share tips and tricks with other BlackBerry users. Compare BlackBerry® Curve™ 8500 Series smartphones.
For GPS navigation, the BlackBerry Tour uses Verizon Wireless' VZ Navigator software. VZ Navigator worked fairly well on the BlackBerry Tour. It didn't take long to find us for its first GPS fix, and the software kept accurate track of us as we traveled in and out of the downtown Dallas area. The BlackBerry Tour didn't come loaded with the most advanced version of VZ Navigator we've seen, and we missed the speech recognition input that we've seen on some of Verizon's advanced feature phones, like the LG enV Touch. We were also happy to find that the phone can geo-tag photos in the camera.
Software-wise, there isn't all that much new here that hasn't already been around on more recent GSM BlackBerry devices; that said, for CDMA users, it's still a big leap forward in terms of functionality and polish. We were told that the software build on our device isn't the final build, and we're glad to hear it because we had a bunch of complete freezes that required a battery pull to remedy.
We're assuming that most existing Verizon users will be upgrading from the Curve 8330 or the 8830 World Edition, so the jump to OS 4.7 will be noticeable. Generally, however, the aesthetics and theme on the Tour mirror the UI on devices like the Bold and Curve 8900 -- transparency, simple outlined icons and the like. Of course, Verizon has splashed a nice bit of red all over its customized theme, but it's nothing that can't be remedied with some third-party additions.
Die-hard BlackBerry users will be interested to hear that the Tour is packing a new build of the completely addicting BlackBerry Messenger. Sadly, it isn't the same feature-packed build that has been seen floating around with the more recent OS 5.0, but it's a step up from anything available on 4.5. It has a cleaner UI, a more extensive smiley collection, and functionality to send your location using the built-in GPS. When you send location, if the recipient is using OS 4.6 or 4.7, a preview of the map shows up; for users on older devices, a fairly useless BlackBerry Maps URL is sent instead.
Verizon is also offering its VZ Navigator software with the Tour, which integrates with the built-in GPS chip to allow turn-by-turn navigation -- and it will support global navigation at the time of launch. As always, the service carries an extra charge which can be billed monthly or daily depending on how much you plan to use it. It works pretty much as expected -- and it's virtually the same as VZ Navigator on other devices, so we'll spare you the nitty gritty details.
We're also glad to report that the built-in GPS chip seems to be unlocked, meaning that it will work with third party apps. Verizon has gotten a lot of flack in the past about the decision to lock it down only for VZ Navigator, so we're glad to see the company following through with its promise to start opening up.
Also bundled is the new visual voicemail app, which -- you guessed it -- is being offered for an additional fee each month. A link to the app is included as a service book, but it has to be downloaded separately for use. We don't know if this means Verizon doesn't anticipate that many users being interested or if there's some other justification, but either way it seems to get the job done -- though it probably won't shut your iPhone-toting friends up.
We didn't conduct a series of scientific tests to get rock solid numbers on battery life, but from what we can tell it seems to be pretty decent. RIM is quoting 5 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby which seems to be about right. We don't envision people having trouble getting through the day, as we were able to browse, BBM, and run our favorite Twitter apps in the background for a solid day and a half without even getting a low battery warning. However, to be safe, you'll probably want to charge nightly -- and your own mileage may vary depending on things like Bluetooth, GPS use, and the actual amount of calling you're doing.
The Tour hardware looks like a blend of the Curve 8900's styling with the keyboard of the 8830. For comparison purposes, I took 4 different Blackberries together so you can see the differences. From left to right, the AT&T Pearl, Verizon Curve, T-Mobile 8900 and Tour. This is also the order from top to bottom in photos with this configuration.
Left side. The Tour has an external speaker and left convenience key.
Top side. Tour has a lock button and mute button.
Right side. Tour has the 3.5mm headphone jack, volume rocker buttons, right convenience key and microUSB charging and syncing port
Bottom side. Just the microphone port
Back side. Tour has a 3.2MP camera with LED flash. There is also a release switch to remove the plastic cover for access to the battery, SIM card and microSD card.
Sprint vs. Verizon Tour (courtesy of PhoneScoop.com) On the front is the beautiful 480 by 360 display, plus keyboard, Trackball and standard send, end, Blackberry, and back keys. The keyboard of the Tour is one of the best I have used on a Blackberry. I find the keys very comfortable, although close together. The tactile feedback is great, and I really find myself liking it the more I type on it.
Put simply, the BlackBerry Tour is far and away the best CDMA BlackBerry available, and it could very well might be the best BlackBerry period if not for a few shortcomings. At this point in the game, we're still in denial that there isn't WiFi in this device -- it's inexcusable. We're well aware of Verizon's stance on the matter, and we still think it's ridiculous that they're allowing RIM to offer a device in this category that doesn't offer such a basic, universal feature, seemingly in an effort to increase reliance on WWAN data services and juice customers for a few extra bucks in data revenue. We're also disappointed that the screen doesn't make the most of the available real estate and that it seems excessively sensitive. Bottom line, if you're a CDMA user and plan to keep things that way, the Tour is definitely the best BlackBerry available -- and it will probably be that way for a long time to come.
RIM had a misstep taking on the iPhone with the BlackBerry Storm. The Tour and other traditional devices show that RIM is and should be comfortable in its own skin.
The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is a solid device with no major complaints, outside of the screen ripple which cannot be remedied, but will probably not result in long-term damage.
It's a great size, has a great keyboard and camera, and has messaging capabilities that make up for the general browser deficiency that all BlackBerrys seem to have. Though the browser is good for casual use, this device is best utilized through applications downloaded through the App World and for messaging. Find the BlackBerry smartphone with the features you need to fit your business, budget, Personalize your smartphone, write reviews or share tips and tricks with. Curve; BlackBerry. Tour. 9330; 9300; 8530; 8520; 8900; 8350i; 9630. Quick Specs. Service provider: Not specified. RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Starting at $175.00. That said, the Storm is a well-constructed smartphone. We tested the RIM BlackBerry Storm in San Francisco using. Specifications. Service Provider: Verizon Wireless. If you're iffy on the touch screen, the BlackBerry Tour 9630 is. Verizon really needs at least one more smartphone OS, be it iPhone, Android, or webOS. Until then, the Storm2, Tour, and Imagio are all solid choices. BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS. The test shots showed the Epic returning overly dark outdoor shots in comparison to. 4G vs HTC Desire HD Android Smartphone Benchmark | Price, Specs, Reviews ... Star Wars Revenge of the Sith Theme for BlackBerry 9000 Bold, 9650 Tour.
Good form factor, size, and price
Verizon and Sprint availability
Great keyboard compared to previous models
LCD screen ripples when top set of keys are pushed
Sprint coverage not great in all areas
Only an average browsing experience, not on par with some competitors (Palm Pre, iPhone)
BlackBerry Tour Price
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