RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
This phone is offered with Verizon Wireless,
but there is also a variant for Sprint - check it out here.

Introduction:


The Bold took BlackBerry devices to a new design level, and CDMA users have been wanton for their own version since it was first announced.  RIM did one better and gave them the BlackBerry Tour 9630.  A beautiful blend of the Bold and Storm, the Tour packs some goodies under the hood too such as worldwide connectivity thanks to the quad-band GSM radio.  Other amenities include a gorgeous HVGA (480x360) display, 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, microSDHC expansion and EVDO Rev. A connectivity.  The Tour is the first non-touchscreen BlackBerry with OS 4.7, a version previously reserved for the Storm.  Included in the box you’ll find:

•    AC charger with international adapter
•    microUSB cable
•    Leather holster with swivel clip
•    Stereo headphones
•    2GB microSD card


Design:

The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great, there are no two ways about it.  It borrows heavily from the Curve 8900, which itself borrows from the Bold and Storm.  The materials are better than the Curve though, as we would expect from a higher end device.  From the front they look very similar, but there are definite differences.  For starters, the keypad is styled like the Bold, with the keys butting up against each other and the arching flare to the left or right.  The trim around the Tour is less pronounced at the bottom as well.

The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review

The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 looks and feels great



RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review

You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The Tour is 1-3mm bigger in every dimension too, but remains significantly smaller than the Bold.  While a few millimeters may not sound like much, the added size is noticeable and we prefer the feel of the 8900 still.  That said, the keyboard may not be as good if you shave those 2mm off the Tour.  As always, RIM has to play with form versus function, and we can’t blame them for anything on this design.

The keyboard is the best we’ve ever used.  It is soft without being mushy, the spacing is near perfect and the key size should please even those with fat fingers.  RIM keeps setting the bar higher and higher with every new device they release (as long as they keep “Sure-” out of the name.)  The black trackball is a nice design touch; it fits with the black housing and dark chrome trim much better than a white one would have.  The navigation keys are just as pleasant to use as the QWERTY.

The QWERTY keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 is near perfect - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The QWERTY keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 is near perfect - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The QWERTY keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 is near perfect - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review

The QWERTY keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 is near perfect



The soft touch coated and hard plastic battery door variants - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The soft touch coated and hard plastic battery door variants - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
The HVGA display, as it was on the Curve 8900, is gorgeous.  Bright, crisp and easy to read even in direct sunlight, we love it.  We’re sure many will load their own themes on their device, but the stock theme just pops on this display.  Videos and colors were amazing, and if they could ever get their software in line RIM might have a true multimedia powerhouse device up their sleeves.

Along the sides you’ll find the traditional RIM ports and keys.  The left simply houses the convenience key and speaker, whereas the right has its own key to go along with the volume rocker, microUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack.   The sides are coated in soft touch paint, which wraps around and partially covers the back as well…we think.  As you’ll read later we got a second unit, and on this one the entire battery door was hard, shiny plastic.  We much prefer the soft touch version.  Like the Storm and Curve 8900 before it, the display housing extends to the top of the Tour 9630, housing a flush mute and lock key.


Left side - Right side - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review

Left side

Top - Right side - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review

Top

Right side - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
Right side - RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review

Right side



The battery door was a bit tricky to remove the first time since- unlike other RIM devices- it extends all the way down to the bottom of the phone.  It is simply a familiarity issue, and once you figure it out its easy as pie.  Behind it you’ll find the battery, SIM and microSD card, which takes an act of God to get out.  The door design is much nicer than the faux-brushed aluminum found on the 8900.  The middle has a deep black carbon fiber-esque pattern to it, which meets the unpatterned black camera housing at the top.  The 3.2 megapixel camera is accompanied by an LED flash above it.

RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review


By feel alone if it weren’t for the Curve 8900 this might be our favorite BlackBerry design.  We prefer the back of the 9630 and it’s toned down trim, but the 8900 just fits better in our hands.  If it comes down to form or function though, we’ll choose function every time.  The phenomenal keyboard makes up for the added size, and right now this is the standard.  We have to admit, we wish the rumors of a touchscreen would have been true though, as it would have put the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 on a new plateau.

RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 360 Degrees View:


FEATURED VIDEO

34 Comments

1. jsb

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 04, 2009

One question? I was told the Tour has a "to" box on the same page as the text for sms messages? So it won't be like the 8330 where it brings you to the contact list first. Is this true?

17. Scout

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 13, 2009

Yeah its true.. its pretty nice actually just start typing that persons name and it bring it right up.

2. PL007

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 09, 2009

Its still Amazing how devices advance in certain areas like screen resolution, size, thickness, OS but call quality is still an issue. Early Smartphones I can see because the technology may not have been there to improve the quality. Today in 2009 GOING ON 2010 how is piss poor, Wax paper sounding call quality still an issue. It's just RIM, there are others too who still do not offer good quality. I know quality is different from user to user but how would someone buy this smartphone after reading this review? Any minor thought I MIGHT of had of buying the TOUR is done! Next time RIM, next time.

24. chester162

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

You tell me a smartphone that is perfect...I know that Iphone has many a issue and also Palm Pre as well and they are some of the top if not the top cell phones going right now. I still have to give it to RIM cause they are great if they weren't so great then you wouldn't have companies like Motorola, Samsung, LG, and HTC mimic the like of RIM. I personally think that it all depends on the carrier time of day etc...I mean there are a lot of factors that go into it. You should go and try it out for your self it might not be as bad as stated actually it really not that bad cause when a phone gets a 8 out of 10 I think your doing pretty darn good. O and to answer your question who would buy this phone after reading this review my wife and I would (right now I have a HTC Mogul and my wife has a Palm Centro both on Sprint).

25. PL007

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 09, 2009

There is no perfect smartphone, never said or implied we should have one. My comment was on call quality, not on the overall aspect of this phone. You must be RIM fan because I see I struck a nerve. You believe smartphones are the best cell phones going today, great. In my experience, if I needed to use it as a phone, I can find some regular dumbphones that have better call quality than a smartphone. The score is very good for a smartphone overall but I look at areas it was reviewed that are important to me. Will I try to this phone, probably because I should give it a try in a store. And yes I am aware of the factors that go into call quality. You can make excuses for RIM, Motorola, LG, Samsung, Apple, etc.... I don't. I am very harsh as they make advancements in OS, display, connectivity, style but nothhing on call quality. I have not seen or heard any smartphone to stand out in that area as the years go on. We are going on 2010 and smartphone designs and OS UI in them are becoming very appealing. So far, as a phone, not very consistant in this category.

28. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

like any phone give it a month or 3 for the initial bugs to be worked out. im sure its just a simple manufacturing defect. it happens. give it a few months then get one, or pay the price for being an early adopter (like me, but i cant help it :) )

3. bigfanboyred

Posts: 141; Member since: Jan 17, 2009

i also read the review on another site, they had said that the quality of the call was "great". and being on vzw which has the best coverage, they didnt drop a call and quality of the call was "clear"... dont know what to think. also, i know that bb will be coming out with bb os 5.0... and then IT WILL BE A 10! j/k.

4. legionsreturn unregistered

PA hates VZW, nuff said.

7. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

except that they said it was just fine with their 8230, but way to read the article legion I believe the review fanboy is talking about is bgr, which doesn't seem to even try and hide their bias anymore. that site has fallen so far, it's almost bad as phonenews

10. VDubb

Posts: 49; Member since: Dec 04, 2008

If you're talking about the BoyGenius review, he's a walking advertisement for VZW. The actual review was nothing more than an ad for Verizon featuring the Tour. :P - VDubb

11. legionsreturn unregistered

Right, and you are far more credible. - LEGION

18. Scout

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 13, 2009

I got the tour yesterday and I have dropped 2 calls in areas that I have never dropped before.. A few other issues that I have is I can not set blackberry shortcuts on my home screen, everytime I download the ESPN blackberry shortcut (which worked excellent on my 8330) and go to use it it tells me "The protocol specified is not supported by the handheld please try a diff. URL" WTF is that about?

5. cakruser

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 08, 2009

I concur with PL007. Have manufacturers lost sight of the fact that, first and foremost, a phone must be a good, well, PHONE? Some of these reviews got so lost in a millimeter-by-millimeter analysis of the camera that call quality never even gets mentioned. How can PA give the Tour and 8 out of 10 yet tell us the call quality stinks?

6. glazey

Posts: 5; Member since: Jul 08, 2009

Just debating if i should jump from my storm to the tour......PA seems to think that its not worth anyone upgrading unless you have a pearl.

8. WHoSuRDaDDy

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 08, 2009

Just to make it clear to everybody, the retail version of the Tour that will be coming with the 2gb memory card in the box is the no camera version. The version with camera wont come with the 2gb memory card.

14. BigRed83

Posts: 144; Member since: May 19, 2008

I think you have that backward. The camera version has the SD card, the non-camera does without

31. chupum

Posts: 115; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

Just letting Daddy know, I bought the BB Tour w/camera, and it came with a 2Gb card. It doesn't have WiFi... Why the heck not???? I wonder if connecting to websites would be better if I had WiFi in those places that actually had a WiFi signal, rather than relying on 3G 100% of the time. But that's really my only complaint... Oh, does anyone else have issues with screen resolution when you go to a youtube video???

9. markemark

Posts: 21; Member since: Jun 19, 2009

Why don't you people walk into a store on Sunday and test one out. Every other review Ive read said it's well built, great camera, outstanding battery and awesome sound quality both ways. Why let this one site (obvious ATT/iPhone bias site at that) change your mind. All the hype this phone has gotten, all the good previews/reviews have to say something.

12. markemark

Posts: 21; Member since: Jun 19, 2009

So I went to my store today to check one out. After spending some time with it I agree with the review. The sound is a bit off. The trackball is weird. It seems to almost stick a bit, very hard to explain. After I changed the sensitivity to 90, it was better. It is extremely fast, very responsive. The spell check feature rules. I doubt you guys care what I have to say, but I had to back up phone arena on this, they were right. I bought mine though lol. http://img30.imageshack.us/i/0710091239.jpg/

13. johnfraiser

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 11, 2009

markemark, I highly doubt that you are telling the truth. First of all, the phone isn't hitting stores in the US until July 12th and your writing on the 10th like you went down to your local phone store and there it was! No way. There are test versions out there, but only dealers and reps have them, they are not for sale. Second of all, I don't generally believe someone when they already start with a phrase like "I doubt you guys care what I have to say..." or "You're not going to believe this..." In my experience, what follows these statements is generally bulls**t.

15. markemark

Posts: 21; Member since: Jun 19, 2009

I work for Verizon you dope. Look at the link I posted. We get our shipments on Fridays, how would we have our shipments SHIPPED ON SUNDAY? You think our stock magically appears in the store on Sundays?

29. Mayday3420

Posts: 61; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

you're an idiot, so you just walked into "your store" to check out the device and that was it? And how did you even use it test the call quality? I guess it was magically activated. And if you really did work at a store for vzw then why would say how bad the device is. I would think you would do everything to increase sales for yourself. So if you're telling the truth you're an idiot who doesn't like to make money or if you're lying you're an idiot who lies. Either way, idiots are not to listened to.

16. Shelb3

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 18, 2008

I just purchased the phone. I had a curve. I really am enjoying this one much better than the curve. It is definitely worth the upgrade. My daughter had the storm, and HATED it...she could not wait to get it out of her hands! We both moved over to the TOUR and doubt we will look back. The resolution is phenomenal, the size and layout of the keys is an improvement The trackball is greatly improved. My Curve always stuck or was very slow.

19. Kilgore Trout

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

Just so everybody knows: Verizon has NOT locked the GPS on this unit (contrary to the above review). I bought one a few hours back. I did have to go into the options and enable the GPS to "my location." But, once I did that, googlemaps, blackberry maps, and a few other goodies I downloaded from the Blackberrry store worked instantly. Oh, and the Verizon store had plenty Tours in stock, and the price they gave with the loyalty discount was great (I paid $170 but got a $70 rebated coupon).

20. PhoneArena Team

Posts: 258; Member since: Jun 27, 2006

Dear readers, It seems that the GPS is not locked, and we've updated our review. Thank you for all comments.

21. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

So three of my friends just got this phone and I got to play with it yesterday and compare it to my E71. It's a nice looking phone, and it feels nice in hand, but the build quality is terrible. The battery cover wobbles, the chrome lines seperating the key rows moves when you push on it. I couldn't believe how stiff the QWERTY keys were either, and the way the keys are designed with that ridge in the top right corner is really annoying. And whats with the trackball lag when you move around slowly in a menu? All you guys talk about how great this phone is, and I really don't understand it. It's average at best. They've got a good look going for them, and Blackberry Messenger, and that's about it. I guess it might be the best you can get on VZW, but boy am I glad I have AT&T and can use my unlocked E71. VZW really needs to give their customers more options on the QWERTY smartphone front.

22. Kilgore Trout

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

I totally disagree with you. I've had the phone for three or four days. I find the build quality to be excellent - on par with any smartphone or PDA I've owned. The battery cover certainly doesn't wobble, nor to the chrome lines seperating the keyboard move, nor are the keys stiff. The keyboard is, in fact, excellent in feel. Its not perfect though. Coming from an 8700-series, I feel the keyboard is a bit cramped, with no room between keys. I also dislike the glossy surface on the unit, which seems to soak up fingerprints. But, these are minor concerns. If you are Blackberry fan, the Tour is an excellent choice.

27. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

You must have gotten a much better unit then. You still can't compare the full metal casing of the E71 to this though. It sucks that you don't get WiFi either. I feel as if VZW almost screws you guys over with stuff like that.

30. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

Not having WiFi isn't screwing people over, so the extremity of that statement is not warranted. You've already got an unlimited data plan, so WiFi isn't NECESSARY, but of course, it's more than useful. I would say it's an inconvenience at the least, or an irritation at the most, but screwing over isn't justified here.

23. Kilgore Trout

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

P.S. The GPS is working excellent, and I wanted to thank the Phonearena team for being so responsive to my comment about that issue.
Tour 9630
  • Display 2.4" 480 x 360 pixels
  • Camera 3.2 MP
  • Battery 1400 mAh

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