BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review (Verdict: Get a Bold)

blackberry-9630-titlesmBlackBerry lovers using CDMA networks have been jumping for joy since the BlackBerry Tour first peeped its head into the blogosphere as a concept sketch bearing the codename Niagara. Its development alongside the Bold lead to high hopes for a simultaneous release, but as is usually the case for CDMA BlackBerrys, many had to wait upwards of eight months after the belated AT&T Bold launch before the BlackBerry 9630 Tour came to market in the U.S. The Tour clearly borrows a lot from the Bold and Curve 8900, but introduces a few changes here and there to mix it up, like a one-sided external speaker and new battery door style, but overall it will be a familiar experience for those who have used a traditional BlackBerry.

BlackBerry Tour 9630

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By Research in Motion (Sprint$149.99, Verizon$49.99, Telus – $229.99, Bell – $249.95)

Available Features

  • World Phone Capabilities
  • 3G Network
  • Camera (3.2 MP)
  • 256 MB Built-in Memory
  • Enhanced Media Player
  • Supports BlackBerry App World
  • Built-in GPS
  • BlackBerry Maps
  • Wireless Email
  • Organizer
  • Browser
  • Phone
  • Corporate Data Access
  • SMS/MMS

Size and Weight

  • Height: 4.4 inches (112 mm)
  • Width: 2.4 inches (62 mm)
  • Depth: 0.6 inches (14.2 mm)
  • Weight: 4.58 ounces (130 grams)

Battery & Battery Life

  • Battery: 1400 mAHr removable/rechargeable cryptographic lithium cell
  • Talk Time: 5 hours
  • Standby Time: 14 days

Display

  • Clear, high-resolution display
  • Half VGA+
  • 480×360 pixel screen
  • Displays over 65,000 colors

Camera & Video Recording

  • Camera: 3.2 MP camera
  • Auto focus, image stabilization, and video capture
  • 2X digital zoom
  • Geo-tagging functionality
  • Video recording capabilities

GPS & BlackBerry Maps

  • Assisted, Autonomous and Simultaneous GPS enabled with preloaded BlackBerry Maps application and for e911 capabilities. Both User Plane & Control Plane GPS is supported.
  • Includes BlackBerry Maps
  • Picture geo-tagging functionality

Data Input & Navigation

  • 35 key backlit QWERTY keyboard
  • Trackball located on front face of device, ESC key to the right, Menu to the left
  • Dedicated Keys: Send, End, Menu, Escape, Left/Right Convenience keys (default VAD and Camera) ,2 x Volume/Zoom, Sleep, Mute (Play/Pause)
  • Intuitive icons and menus

Voice Input & Output

  • Integrated speaker and microphone
  • Hands-free headset capable
  • Bluetooth headset capable
  • Integrated Hands-Free Speakerphone
  • M3 Rating for hearing aids (PDF)

Media Player

  • 256 MB Built-in memory
  • Expandable memory capability
  • Synchronize iTunes® music and playlists to and from the device
  • Enhanced multimedia support
  • Music and video playback and video recording
  • Video streaming and full track downloading
    Video format support: MPEG4 H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.264 (encoding and decoding 30fps), WMV
  • Audio format support: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMA ProPlus

Ringtones & Notifications

  • Tone, vibrate, on-screen or LED indicator
  • User configurable notification options
  • 32 Polyphonic Ringtones – MIDI, MP3

Bluetooth

  • Bluetooth® v2.0; Mono/Stereo Headset, Handsfree, Phone Book Access
  • Profile (PBAP) and Serial Port Profile Supported. Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP), DUN
  • 3.5mm stereo headset capable

Security

  • Password protection
  • Screen lock
  • Sleep mode

Wireless Networks

  • Fully-functional World Phone that supports global roaming on 3G networks
  • Quad-Band: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks
  • Single-Band: 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA networks
  • Dual-Band: 800/1900 MHz CDMA/EVDO Rev A networks

Pros
First traditional CDMA BlackBerry in ages
Considerable media improvements
World capable

Cons
No Wi-Fi
Troublesome mute/lock keys
Small change from older hardware

  • GadgetBurn

    Definitely agree on the “get a Bold” thing! I went to check out the Tour at the Sprint store the other day with my Bold in hand, ready for a comparison. In the end, there really wasn’t anything to compare. The form factor isn’t THAT much smaller, and I found the trackball on the Tour to have a little bit too much action. The Bold is still much superior IMHO!

    • touruser

      tour’s trackball is fully sensitivity adjustable, FYI. Comes standard @ 50 vertical and horizontal, reset mine to 40 vertival and 30 horizontal, that made it much better. It’s still a little jumpy, but much improved.

  • Inundated

    “Get a Bold” is not a useful comment or review, unless BB plans to bring the Bold onto Verizon.

    And since I’ll pretty much go for a root canal vs. leaving for AT&T, and since T-Mobile is not a decent second in the GSM world…well, sorry.

  • Snake

    Well said Inundated. Anyone who truly wants to use their phone will use Verizon. I don’t care what the better/coolest/newest phone is or what it can do. It can do anything if the network sucks. In the future when LTE rolls out, the playing field will be dominated by a superior network, as all devices will be available for any network. I have a feeling Verizon will still be the best network. Since CDMA is only used in a fraction of the cell networks worldwide, it only makes sense that cell makers are slower to bring those phones to the market. I’ll take my “inferior” tour over the Bold on an inferior network.

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