RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review
but there is also a variant for Sprint - check it out here.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.