Features Compared to the Curve
Opening the box reveals the handset with all of its related peripherals neatly packed underneath. At first glance the new design features of RIM's latest devices shines through and you have to admit that the phone is quite attractive. The faux chrome finish wrapped around the screen, keyboard, and black body pieces ensures a look of elegance for the phone, while the build factor is on the stronger side compared to past devices.
The new screen is also a high-res 480x360 pixel and is brilliant compared to the Curve. Flush mount buttons under the screen replace the curved buttons previously used. But the greatest improvement is the redesigned trackball. It sits flush with the screen and offers much smoother rolling and more precise button pushing control. You can really feel the difference when using it to navigate the updated web browser built in.
When you start the device, it is noticeable that it is much quicker than its predecessor. Commands are executed much more swiftly, partly due to the upgraded 256MB of built in memory. The new OS design is also both attractive and fuctional, however, one of the only complaints I have is that they did not include themes with the phone that were included on many other RIM Blackberrys. It does include a new feature that allows the user to create customer folders for better app management that previous versions of the OS.
Battery life is unfortunately a little shorter, especially when using the Bluetooth radio. Audio quality is also fairly good, but some people on the other end of the line seemed to think that I sound far away and have complained of difficulty hearing me, an issue not noticed on the Curve. I'm not sure if this is a legitimate issue with the phone or if it is just a quirk with my device, more testing is definitely needed.
Lastly, the phone does not include Wi-Fi support. While this is not a total loss, since it does have full 3G EV-DO Rev A support, which I tend to use mush more often that Wi-Fi, it is definitely missed since many of RIM's competitors are integrating it in.
With all that said, I have to say I truly think RIM and Verizon have a true winner on their hands. The Tour is fast, fun, looks great, and has all the functions that one should and could want in a smartphone. It's definitely an improvement over the Curve. 4.5 out of 5 stars!