And whereas the Bold looks chintzy and the a bit dull, the Tour has a subtle elegance: The phone's body combines a muted chrome bezel with smooth black rubber and textured plastic. The texture contributes to the phone's comfortable in-hand feel. As with most other BlackBerry handsets of the newer generation, the right spine of the Tour houses a 3. The left spine accommodates the voice-dialing key also customizable and a speaker. The Tour's display measures 2.
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My only criticism of it is that I found the thin black bezel that borders the display a bit distracting. I wish that RIM had simply extended the display to the very edge as on the or the Bold. Nevertheless, the Tour's display looks gorgeous: Colors looked bright, details were crisp, and text popped off the screen. Beneath the display reside the familiar BlackBerry navigation buttons on either side of the trackball: Holding down the menu key lets you switch easily between open applications--a feature I also liked on the BlackBerry Storm.
You can program either the dedicated camera key or the voice-dialing key on the right and left spindles, respectively as application switchers, if you wish. Unlike the trackballs on other BlackBerry devices I've used, the one on this model is a bit recessed into the hardware. Though it wasn't difficult to use, it was less touch-friendly than other BlackBerry trackballs I've used. The keyboard exemplifies BlackBerry at its best, combining the strongest aspects of the and the Bold. The keyboard is more compact than the Bold's, but it's still spacious enough to type long messages on.
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The individual keys were easy to press and had just enough clickiness, avoiding the rigidness of the 's keyboard. Like those on the Bold, the Tour's sculpted keys minimize finger slippage, which makes for a comfy and ergonomic typing experience. One drawback is that the keys on the edges of the keyboard are positioned flush against the phone's edges. On a few occasions, I caught myself tapping the case rather than the Alt or Del key. Call quality over Verizon's 3G network was very good, with no background static or hiss. Voices were loud enough to hear easily, and they sounded natural.
Parties on the other end of the line could hear my voice clearly while I was standing on a busy street corner, and they said that they noticed little to no background noise. The Tour's speakerphone was equally impressive. I could hear parties on the other end of the line clearly while walking down a busy city street. The home screen features background wallpaper and a customizable application-shortcut view known as the "ribbon.
Pushing the dedicated menu key takes you to the main application screen, which is populated with app icons identical to those you'd find on a BlackBerry Storm. Sometimes it's a bit hard to tell what a particular icon symbolizes, since many of them look pretty similar.
But when you roll over an icon with the Tour's speedy trackball, a label appears in a text line beneath it, clearly identifying the icon's function. The biggest update in the unit's software is the latest version of the BlackBerry Messenger, which comes preloaded on the Tour. This app has a spruced-up interface that's easier to use, more emoticons to choose from, and the ability to display your location via GPS.
Web pages usually loaded quickly over Verizon's 3G network, but I ran into a few instances where pages didn't load all the way--or at all. Overall, I've been very pleased with my experience using RIM's trackpads, and the Bold is no exception--though I do have one significant concern I'll address in the following section. The trackpads "loosen up" a bit with wear and tear, but for the most part, they're infinitely more functional and less prone to breakage than track balls. Like the Tour , the Bold uses a mAh, standard "D-X1" BlackBerry battery, and I got right around 24 hours of moderate-to-heavy use on a single charge.
That's about the same battery-life I saw on the Tour , and though it's not quite as strong as the Bold 's battery life, it's certainly not bad for a 3G device. The employs a slightly different type of battery with a larger storage capacity.
RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 (Verizon) Smartphone
The Bold is a very handsome smartphone, just like its Tour brother. The Bold feels more substantial than the , which is significantly smaller, even though both devices have the same size keyboard. The Bold and have smaller keyboards than the original Bold The is also slightly heavier and thicker than the , but it doesn't feel too clunky like some of RIM's past BlackBerrys.
I still prefer the Bold form-factor to the , since it's smaller and more svelte, and I'm a device-in-the-pocket as opposed to a holster-guy. But the Bold feels more "solid. RIM's new Bold is a "world edition," i. Since the Bold is practically identical to the BlackBerry Tour, there are already a wide variety of accessories available for the new device.
Finally, the BlackBerry Bold is expected to be available in both camera-equipped 3. My biggest complaint about the BlackBerry Bold is that it's boring. Boring because it's just an upgraded version of a device that was released a year ago. Boring because it doesn't have any features that really set it apart from the current crop of BlackBerrys.
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In a market with so many new and innovative devices being announced every month, boring just won't cut it. Sorry RIM, but you're going to have to do better than an upgraded version of a device that's already associated with hardware issues. Though the Bold is notable because it has more app memory than any other BlackBerry, that fact probably doesnt really mean much to your average smartphone buyer. It will surely please BlackBerry power-users, who could benefit from that extra memory, but I honestly don't see many of these folks rushing out to pick up the new Bold with so many more exciting options, from RIM and its competitors, in the pipeline.
The Bold doesn't support As soon as I unboxed my Sprint BlackBerry Bold watch the video here , I noticed that the keyboard felt different than the Tour keypad.
BlackBerry Bold 9650
It's exactly the same size; same "Bold" style, with frets; same, or very similar plastic-material. But the Bold 's keyboard is more uplifted than the Tour's, as if there's something beneath it keeping it from sitting smoothly in place. In fact, the trackpad itself is tilted when looked at from above, and it's also upraised more on one side than the other.
Needless to say, that's not good.
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RIM's scrapping the Tour name for a reason: It's associated with a device that's been nothing but trouble for many BlackBerry users. The Bold name is both a more recognizable and reputable brand within the BlackBerry world. But all it will take to throw mud all over that brand image is one Bold device with a consistently bad keyboard or a bum trackpad, etc.
But something about the feel of the Bold keyboard and trackpad area seems worrisome to me. In other words, make sure you opt for the extended hardware-warranty should you choose to purchase a BlackBerry But after some careful thought, I realized the name change could actually be a very good idea First of all, the Bold experience is meant to be the best RIM offers: The first two Bold devices, the BlackBerry and , feel like natural entries into the Bold family.
The Bold does not. Specifically, the Bold and both have similar faux-leather battery covers. The does not. The Bold and both show a 3G icon when connected to a 3G network, stressing the fact that both are new, fast, high-end devices.
So to sum all that up: In fact, it feels to me like what the original Tour should have been. And it should've been released in June of , in place of the Tour, not June of , as an upgrade. Good-marketing intentions aside, RIM may have actually added to its ongoing BlackBerry branding confusion with the Bold because of this confusion. Finally, the placement of the microUSB port toward the bottom of the handset's side, same as the original Tour, is awkward, because it makes using the device or placing calls difficult while charging, particularly for right-handed users.
I also could not get my BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac software to recognize the Bold , though the software probably just needs a update for the new device.