Verizon BlackBerry Tour Evaluation
It is right here, people. The BlackBerry Tour has been unboxed, and now that we have had a number of days to mess around with it, we're able to tell you how we truly and deeply really feel. There have been countless leaks and unofficial critiques circulating for the past few months, but now that it is lastly legit we can give this sexy piece of tech a proper shakedown. It has been roughly described as a CDMA Daring, but does it surpass its GSM counterpart? Learn on to search out out! It doesn't matter what you name it -- Niagara, Tour, 9630 -- there isn't any denying that that is the BlackBerry that CDMA users have been ready for and lusting over. Ever since the very first whispers and early photographs emerged, the principle query on everyone's thoughts has been a frantic "When?!" Now that it's finally set to hit the market subsequent week -- on a wide range of carriers no less -- we will actually dig deeper and provides it a radical look. We've acquired to admit that in our opinion, that is one of the most engaging BlackBerry gadgets ever made. Whereas the Daring can seem a tad gaudy and overdone -- what with the leather again cowl and visually heavy chrome bezel -- the Tour has a more refined dull chrome bezel and a battery cowl than seems sleek and engaging. That stated, this is still primarily targeted as a professional machine, and it comes alongside not a moment too quickly as a substitute to the aging 8830, which has historically been the worldwide-prepared BlackBerry of selection for CDMA clients. We had been a bit nervous when we first noticed the carbon fiber-esque end on the battery cover, but it surely really seems great in particular person. We're huge followers of the ultimate finish that Verizon went with: the mixture of easy rubber and textured plastic appears to work and makes it really feel nearly perfect in your hand. It adds to the skilled really feel of the gadget, and while we personally aren't rushing to swap it, we're positive that there will probably be an entire crop of third-party covers before you know it if the manufacturing unit one isn't your cup of tea. In terms of the keyboard, we weren't stunned to search out that RIM has actually hit one out of the park once more. The keyboard feels spacious and snug, even supposing it has nearly the identical precise width because the one on the Curve 8300 collection. We choose the mushiness of the keys right here over the hardness of the keyboard on the Curve; it isn't as mushy because the one found on the Bold, however it is a contented medium between tactility and consolation. Typing out long e-mails or participating in riveting BlackBerry Messenger conversations on this keyboard can be painless, and to us it's a step up from every part else at present available aside from perhaps the Bold, which still holds the unofficial prize for finest BlackBerry keyboard ever (in our books, not less than). The Tour uses a excessive decision 480 x 360 display screen that actually just appears to be like stunning on the face of the device. Fonts and graphics are crisp, colors are vibrant. One minor complaint: there's a noticeable black border around the screen, and we wish that the precise display screen simply stretched additional throughout the front as an alternative. It's in no way a deal breaker -- and it's solely potential that there was a technical purpose behind the design resolution -- however it is definitely noticeable. To make the Tour even more interesting to enterprise and business prospects, Verizon is providing two variations of the Tour -- with camera and with out. The evaluation unit we secured has a 3.2 megapixel digicam on the back of the device which is able to video and picture capture. There's not else to elaborate on right here; photographs are perfectly first rate, but you probably won't be taking pictures your wedding ceremony video or taking prom photos with this phone. We're not making an attempt to nitpick, however there are a couple of hardware issues that we're kind of shocked weren't hammered out before this phone went into mass production. Like on the pre-manufacturing model we'd played with before, the trackball appears excessively recessed, which makes it much tougher to use than it must be. Whereas we aren't really fond of it, another individuals who played with the device seemed to like it extra -- completely different strokes for different folks, we guess. Additionally, the display screen itself seems to be extremely delicate to stress -- overly delicate. Even mild touches on the display or a few of the navigation keys underneath it brought on weirdness with the LCD. This may be a result of the display being flush or simply not being sufficiently secured, but it is somewhat noticeable and a bit annoying. It just feels "softer" than the one on the Daring, and there is a bit extra give than we consider there ought to be. It's too minute to correctly display in a photograph -- but if you go play with a unit in a store and change from the principle display screen to the total splash display screen with 18 icons, we're positive that you're going to discover it too. We have by no means seen this difficulty with the Bold, and it raises questions on construct quality on a device that enterprise users will probably be counting on to be rock-strong day in and day out. Software-wise, there is not all that a lot new right here that hasn't already been around on more moderen GSM BlackBerry units; that stated, for CDMA customers, it's nonetheless an enormous leap forward in terms of functionality and polish. We have been informed that the software program build on our device is not the ultimate build, and we're glad to listen to it as a result of we had a bunch of full freezes that required a battery pull to treatment. We're assuming that almost all current Verizon customers will probably be upgrading from the Curve 8330 or the 8830 World Version, so the jump to OS 4.7 can be noticeable. Typically, nonetheless, the aesthetics and theme on the Tour mirror the UI on units like the Daring and Curve 8900 -- transparency, simple outlined icons and the like. Of course, Verizon has splashed a pleasant little bit of red throughout its personalized theme, however it is nothing that can't be remedied with some third-occasion additions. Die-arduous BlackBerry users will have an interest to listen to that the Tour is packing a brand new build of the fully addicting BlackBerry Messenger. Sadly, it is not the identical function-packed construct that has been seen floating round with the more recent OS 5.0, but it is a step up from something accessible on 4.5. It has a cleaner UI, a extra in depth smiley assortment, and performance to ship your location using the constructed-in GPS. When you ship location, if the recipient is using OS 4.6 or 4.7, a preview of the map exhibits up; for customers on older units, a reasonably ineffective BlackBerry Maps URL is shipped as a substitute. Verizon can also be offering its VZ Navigator software with the Tour, which integrates with the constructed-in GPS chip to permit turn-by-flip navigation -- and it'll support global navigation on the time of launch. As always, the service carries an extra cost which may be billed month-to-month or day by day depending on how a lot you plan to make use of it. It really works just about as anticipated -- and it is nearly the same as VZ Navigator on different units, so we'll spare you the nitty gritty particulars. We're additionally glad to report that the built-in GPS chip seems to be unlocked, which means that it'll work with third party apps. Verizon has gotten loads of flack previously about the decision to lock it down only for VZ Navigator, so we're glad to see the corporate following by means of with its promise to begin opening up. Additionally bundled is the brand new visible voicemail app, which -- you guessed it -- is being provided for a further payment every month. A hyperlink to the app is included as a service ebook, but it surely must be downloaded separately to be used. We don't know if this means Verizon doesn't anticipate that many customers being involved or if there's some other justification, but either approach it appears to get the job accomplished -- though it most likely won't shut your iPhone-toting associates up. We did not conduct a sequence of scientific checks to get rock stable numbers on battery life, however from what we are able to tell it appears to be fairly decent. RIM is quoting 5 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby which appears to be about proper. We do not envision folks having hassle getting via the day, as we had been in a position to browse, BBM, and run our favorite Twitter apps within the background for a solid day and a half with out even getting a low battery warning. Nevertheless, to be protected, you may probably wish to cost nightly -- and your personal mileage may fluctuate relying on issues like Bluetooth, GPS use, and the precise amount of calling you're doing. Put simply, the BlackBerry Tour is much and away one of the best CDMA BlackBerry out there, and it could very nicely is perhaps the best BlackBerry interval if not for just a few shortcomings. At this level in the sport, we're nonetheless in denial that there isn't WiFi in this gadget -- it is inexcusable. We're effectively aware of Verizon's stance on the matter, and we nonetheless assume it is ridiculous that they're permitting RIM to offer a system in this category that does not supply such a primary, common characteristic, seemingly in an effort to extend reliance on WWAN information providers and juice clients for just a few further bucks in information revenue. We're also upset that the display screen doesn't make the most of the obtainable real estate and that it seems excessively delicate. Backside line, if you're a CDMA user and plan to keep issues that method, the Tour is unquestionably the most effective BlackBerry accessible -- and it will in all probability be that method for a long time to return. Verizon owns Engadget's mother or father firm, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent. All products really helpful by Engadget are selected by our editorial group, unbiased of our mum or dad firm. A few of our stories embrace affiliate hyperlinks. If you buy something via one of those links, we might earn an affiliate commission.