BlackBerry Tour Review: Design, Features, User Interface and Performance

BlackBerry Tour Review: Design, Features, User Interface and Performance
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The BlackBerry Tour was developed by Research in Motion and is the successor to the BlackBerry 8830. The Tour has several amazing capabilities like 3G world roaming, while bringing in significant improvements to the 8830 in terms of performance, features and design. Although the Tour lacks Wi-Fi, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

Design (5 out of 5)

The BlackBerry Tour combines the design of the BlackBerry Curve and the BlackBerry Bold, with the developer seemingly combining the traits of the two models and incorporating them on the BlackBerry Tour. The Tour looks more like the Curve, however, but slightly heavier and bigger. The Tour is easier to slip in a pants pocket than the Blackberry Bold and 8830, however. The extra weight likewise enables the phone to feel more solid, while the phone’s back comes with a soft-touch finish.

The BlackBerry Tour has the same screen as that of the Curve 8900. The screen measures 2.4 inches with a resolution of 480x360 pixels, and it is capable of displaying more than 65,000 colors. The images and the text all look vibrant and crisp.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

The BlackBerry Tour also has an advanced user interface which is more straightforward and user friendly. Although some of the icons look the same, the user interface is still a lot more easy to navigate when compared to other BlackBerry models.

Below the screen are buttons like the clear button, menu short cut, talk and end buttons and the typical trackball navigator. Pressing both the menu and Alt key at the same time brings up the application switcher which allows users to toggle in between applications.

The BlackBerry Tour has a QWERY keyboard that is similar to that of the Bold, although not as roomy. However, the buttons are still a good size, meaning users should have no trouble pressing them. There are slight ridges on the rectangular keys preventing them from becoming flat while the white backlight enables the buttons to be seen even in darker environments.

The Tour also comes with mute and lock buttons located on the upper part of the headset. There are other keys like volume control, headphone jack and a port for micro-USB on the right side. At the back are camera and flash while the SIM and micro card slots are behind the cover.

The BlackBerry Tour also has tons of accessories like USB cable, travel charger, micro SD card, and stereo headset.

Features (4 out of 5)

The BlackBerry Tour provides dual mode functionality and so it is capable of supporting both GSM and CDMA networks. This makes the phone ideal for frequent flyers since there is no need to change SIM cards when going abroad. The Tour also provides support to 3G internationally.

The Tour has other impressive features like voice dialing, speaker phone, conference calling, smart dialing, speed dial and multimedia and text messaging. The phone address book also allows multiple number entries as well as email, home address, and job title descriptions. Although the Tour lacks Wi-Fi capability, there are other features that make up for it such as GPS and Bluetooth. The Tour can also be used as a wireless modem for the laptop.

The BlackBerry Tour, like all Blackberry phones, has e-mail functions. It can be synced with BlackBerry Enterprise, Microsoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise and IBM Lotus Notes to deliver corporate e-mails quickly. There is also the ability to open files such as PDF, GIF, JPEG, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. There are also instant messaging clients like Yahoo Messenger, AIM, Google Talk and Windows Live. The phone even offers access to popular social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Flickr. The manufacturer has clearly recognized the growing popularity of these websites.

Aside from these preloaded applications, users can also add more BlackBerry apps from the BlackBerry App World. Apps can be browsed according to category, featured items, and most popular download. Some programs that can be downloaded include Weather Channel, radio stations and AP News.

The Tour also comes with an integrated media player capable of playing different video and music files.

Performance (4 out of 5)

The BlackBerry Tour can be counted upon for good quality audio during calls. With its 528Mhz processor, the Tour is able to meet the daily demands of its users. Switching from one task to another should be easy with this device. Downloading and browsing of the Internet is also easy. A typical website can be downloaded in less than a minute, something that most 3G phones will take a minute or two to accomplish. The web browser of the Tour however leaves a lot to be desired as the onscreen cursor can be very difficult to navigate.

The Tour also has pretty good GPS navigation, and is able to track down a location within a couple of minutes.

The BlackBerry Tour’s battery can go for up to 14 days on standby, and can last for more than 5 hours during talk time.

Verdict (4 out of 5)

The Tour may not have the most complete features among smartphones today, but overall this model is a good buy for any type of user and should be of special interest to business users.