Review: VZW Blackberry Tour

Blackberry TourIt’s been almost 2 weeks with the latest Blackberry offered by Verizon Wireless, so I thought it would be a good time to give you my thoughts about this device. Of course, if you want to read how it came to be me owning one, go back and check out The Sunday Post 75 for the full skinny.

The Blackberry Tour is the latest device to come from Reasearch in Motion for Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Unlike the Storm, the Tour has the more familiar Blackberry form factor; keyboard on the bottom, screen on top, scroll wheel in between. As far as internals, it’s like a mix of the Bold, Storm and Curve.

It has a 3.2MP camera that takes great photos if the light is good. Low-light shots are helped by an LCD flash that yellows the photos a bit. Video is on par with the Storm, which is to say that I won’t be giving up my the The Flip camera anytime soon, however it is passable for the quick shooting of something you would have missed otherwise. I’ve included samples of each at the end of the review.

Like most of you already know, I didn’t get this device because it does that stuff. If I’m honest, I haven’t even tried to play music or video back yet. I have used it for just about everything else and so far, it’s been great.

Unlike the Storm, the Tour doesn’t have a touch screen or an accelerometer (or the bits that go with to make those work, as shabbily as they did). Even though it has the same processor as the Storm, this phone _feels_ faster, my guess is because of the lack of touch screen. Button presses are immediate. Phone locking and unlocking happen very quick as well.

The keyboard is this phones best feature. While the keys are small and close together, each on is separated by, what everyone else is calling, guitar frets. Actual raised portions of the keys that help your fingers find their way. Key action is smooth, not too mushy, not too clicky. I haven’t checked my speed, but I’m pretty sure I can type out messages twice as fast as I could on the Storm.

Battery life has been the same as the Storm so far. I go about a day with light-to-moderate usage. If you use the web more, or apps that hit the network, it will affect battery life.

The screen is amazing, especially for it’s size. Images are bright and clear. Text is crisp and easy to read at all sizes at almost any time of the day. Like I mentioned, I haven’t watched a video on it, but I would imagine that it would look pretty sharp, especially when you consider the overall size of the screen.

One thing that I do miss from the Storm is it’s auto-correct dictionary. While my typing accuracy is better on the Tour, it’s still not 100% error-free. On the Storm (and I would imagine on the Pearls too, but I’m not certain), it’s expected that you will make mistakes and the auto-correct dictionary was always ready. While I could go in and add my own items to the database, I think it would have been nicer to have a large base to begin with.

One thing that many users are complaining about is this phones lack of WiFi. Seeing how the browser pretty much sucks and Verizon makes all Blackberry owners get an unlimited data plan, it’s not really problem unless you are someplace where you don’t have service but do have WiFi. Even still, you wouldn’t be able to make calls, just do data functions. This hasn’t been a problem for me at all and, at least until the Blackberry browsing experience continues to be subpar, I don’t imagine that changing anytime soon.

Overall dimensions are about the same as the Storm, with the Tour coming in a little shorter. Width and thickness are about the same and this phone feels great in your hand. It’s also small and light enough to easily fit into your pockets. I said light, but it doesn’t take away from the overall build. This is a very solid and well built device.

If you are in the market for a new smart phone, don’t mind being on Verizon or Sprint, then you should really give a hard look at the Blackberry Tour.


**Photo taken with the Tour**

**Video taken with the Tour**

By Don

Lead bottle washer at donburnside.com, host at whiteroofradio.com and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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