>> Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor for CNET.com. And today we're taking a first look at the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 from Verizon Wireless. The Tour will replace the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition and brings a number of nice upgrades, especially in design. The Tour combines some of the best aspects of the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and the BlackBerry Bold. The Tour is just a little bit heavier and bigger than the Curve, but it has a really nice solid and durable build. And it's definitely much more pocket-friendly than the Bold. It offers a beautify display. It's the same as the Curve's. And it has an extra-sharp resolution, so images and texts look smoother on screen, and colors are nice and vibrant. The Tour's [inaudible] keyboard is also excellent. It's similar to the one found on the Bold. But since the Tour is a little smaller in size, the layout obviously isn't as roomy. But still, the buttons are a nice size, and don't feel quite as plasticy as the Curve's. I found the keyboard really comfortable to use and great for messaging, which the BlackBerry always excels at. The Tour includes Microsoft Exchange and POP3 and IMAP e-mail support, and maybe even expanded its IM client list to include Yahoo, Google Talk, AIM and Windows Live. Like the 8830, the Tour is a world phone, so it shoots with a SIM card, and you can use it overseas and get voice coverage in 220 countries and data services in 175 countries. When you are in the U.S., it will run on Verizon's 3G network. And during our test here in San Francisco, the smartphone offered great call quality and data speed. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to fly to a different country to try out the international roaming, but one piece of good news is that it supports the 2,100 megahertz UMTSHSTPA band, so you'll get 3G speeds overseas as well. Other features of the BlackBerry Tour include Bluetooth 3.2 megapixel camera and integrated GPS, so you can even [inaudible] your photos. The smartphone also gives you access to social networking sites like Facebook and Flicker and comes preloaded with productivity tools like documents to go. You can always download more programs through the BlackBerry App Catalog. But unfortunately, you can't save applications to a media card. Just the phone's main memory, which isn't that much at 256 megabytes. Another disappointment is the lack of Wi-Fi, which we always like having, even if a phone has 3G. But otherwise, we had very little complaints about the BlackBerry Tour. The design is excellent and performance is really fast. It's probably one of the best smartphones from Verizon right now and a good choice for the carrier's business users. The RIM BlackBerry Tour will be available from Verizon starting July 12th for $199.99 with a two-year contract. I'm Bonnie Cha. This has been your first look at the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 for Verizon Wireless.
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