The RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 will be available from Verizon Wireless starting on July 12 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates. Sprint will also offer its own version of the Tour to be released on the same day for the same price. Nothing like a little friendly competition.
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3G world phone
As the replacement to the RIM BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, the Tour offers 3G world roaming capabilities and brings a number of improvements in design, features, and performance.
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BlackBerry Curve 8900 vs. BlackBerry Tour 9630
The design of the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 is a mix of the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 (pictured here) and the RIM BlackBerry Bold, inheriting some of the best traits of the two smartphones.
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On the right side on the smartphone, you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, a volume rocker, a user-programmable shortcut key, and a microUSB port.
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The Tour measures 4.4 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick and 4.5 ounces, so it's a bit bigger and heavier than the Curve, but much more pocketable than the BlackBerry Bold and the BlackBerry 8830.
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Quality build and sharp display
While heavier than the Curve, the BlackBerry Tour's extra weight gives the smartphone a satisfyingly solid feel. It also retains the high-resolution display of the Curve, so images and text looked smooth and vibrant.
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The BlackBerry Tour offers a 35-key QWERTY keyboard that is reminiscent of the one found on the Bold, which is a good thing. It features good-size buttons and a slight bump to the keys that prevent them from feeling too flat.
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Great messaging device
As usual, the BlackBerry Tour excels at messaging. The smartphone includes Microsoft Exchange and POP3/IMAP e-mail support and even has expanded its IM client list to include Yahoo, Google Talk, AIM, and Windows Live.
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Roam where you want to
The RIM BlackBerry Tour offers dual-mode functionality (supporting dual-band CDMA and quad-band GSM networks) for world roaming capabilities and ships with a SIM card. In all, you'll get voice coverage in 220 countries and data coverage (e-mail and Internet) in 175 countries.
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The Tour's camera
On back, you'll find the BlackBerry Tour's 3.2-megapixel camera. It features a 2x zoom, auto focus, flash, and image stabilization. It can also record video and geotag photos using the phone's GPS.
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Picture quality was mediocre mostly because images looked fuzzy or hazy in some places. Plus, the camera has a bit of shutter lag. That said, we were impressed with the video quality.