BlackBerry Tour Video: Good Trackball vs. Bad Trackball

By Kevin Michaluk on 17 Sep 2009 12:55 pm EDT

Following up on last night's BlackBerry Tour Trackball issues post/poll, there's been a ton of interest and feedback on the topic. For BlackBerry owners who frequent the CrackBerry BlackBerry Tour forums, none of this is really news, as those who have been dealing with the issue first hand know the issues and fixes. If you're not familiar with the situation, the biggest takeway currently is that devices with a "green dot" placed under the battery signify units that have been manufactured more recently that should be free of the trackball glitch. Likewise, units with more recent manufacturing build dates (mid/late August and newer) should be rock solid.

CrackBerry member kingzee did up the video above back on August 23rd which sums up the whole situation. If you're a Tour owner with a glitchy trackball, you'll want to sit back and watch. Good vid kingzee! 

Topics: Video Devices

Reader comments

BlackBerry Tour Video: Good Trackball vs. Bad Trackball


i have to say after seeing this back then i called big red and told em i would be needing a new tour so thx for the help and video on this...

Somehow, I doubt the 9700 will have this issue.. the trackpad has no moving parts like the trackball. The trackpad is a button like any other on the keyboard - it just has a touch sensor for navigation like a touchpad in any garden-variety laptop. :)

I thought i had a somewhat defective trackball but didnt want to jump to conclustion and was excited to have my new Tour(picked up on release day. Now my GF has one and her track ball is 100 times better than mine, scrolling left-right is sloppy and the ball compresses about 80% on a lite touch and barely has any *click*. Hers depresses about 20% and has a significant *click* you can feel. Now i have a Phantom Skinz on my tour that i will have to remove. Should i just replace the assembly myself?

Hopefully, it was a bad batch, that just needs to be worked out of the system, would be better if they could identify the issue

To be honest, this issue is actually dying out in the Tour forum (thank god!). Anyone who was having issues with it have already dealt with Verizon and gotten a quality replacement. Many of us, including myself, do encounter some issues but have learned to deal with it.

PS. Will the Tour be the last BlackBerry to be released with a trackball?

My friend has a your she got it the day it came out and so far she hasn't said anything to me ni complaints so so far hers is fine

As a Big Red employee at a retail store, I definitely have experienced this issue...our district data supervisor had the issue with hers, my store manager has the issue with hers, one of the demo units in our store is experiencing the issue, and I have replaced a few with new units for customers who were within their initial 30 day purchase period.

That being said, I recently purchased two Tours, one for my son and the 2nd for my wife (gotta luv that BOGO offer!), and they have not had any issues whatsoever, including the fact that their battery housings seem to have a better fit than the units that were of the initial launch.

Other than the info I have read here concerning the issue having been resolved with the units that have hit the store of late (those with the green dots on the box), I have not read or been told that by our corporate infrastructure or our BB rep, but it does seem to be true that the units that have hit the stores of late have addressed the issue.

The units still react a bit slowly in regards to the convenience keys and some other shifts between applications, but me thinks that is the type of thing that will be addressed in the 1st software update.

So I can't see the video. Anyone want to let me in on whether or not it would be covered by the warranty? Let's face it... manufacturer's defect.

king Z i agree the same way with my storm...i will not settle till i get one that works 100%. i am on my 9th storm under my 1 year warranty and still not satisfied yet.

I turned my settings back to default, and tried the horizontal scrolling. It was IDENTICAL to the video. I didn't realize it until I turned my sensitivity down....

Kingzee, thanks a MILLION for completing this video. I will be exchanging mine TODAY. :)

i have a 8900 and i've never had any problems with my trackball... But when the 9700(bold2) comes out i definitely will be buying one because the trackpad is outstanding ! Have a feeling the trackpad is the future of all bb's to come .

another big thank you. My TB has been ok since day 1. Now that I have seen a defective TB in action, I totally understand everyone's complaint.It's not that I doubted anyone but now having seen it, whoah!! I work retail and cannot imagine having to deal with this QC issue at a Big Red store. What a disaster.

Keep making your videos!! They are the best source of real info here!! Good work. And smoooooth!!!

Thanks for the video. My in-laws have tours as their first blackberry phones. I'll have to make sure their tours are working correctly.

sadly, i have mine on 90 and have to feather it to move horizontally :(
i actually called VZW yesterday and a replacement is on route!
i am on my 2nd, this new one will be my 3rd.

I thought mine was ok. Then I watched the video. Clear as day in the video.

I went back to mine, and it seems ok, but perhaps a little laggy (little) on the horizontal.

I did up mine to 90% and I really like how that works.

So here's the dilemma, with me not wanting to be OCD/Monk about it:

Is mine really a problem? Am I making it out to be more than it is? Etc.......

I may stop at my local VZW authorized seller where I purchased (and they are great with support there) and talk to them about it.

What do you do with respect to downloaded/purchased apps if you exchange? If I backup the Tour with DM, does it essentially take an image? Will I have to redo all of my setting selections and all? Please reply or PM/email me with thoughts. I think I can fine with the way things are, but if folks think I should consider a swap, then I want to figure these things out.

FYI I did do the test thing in the options menu and I passed all tests there.......

a 9 minute video to tell the difference between a bad trackball and good? thanks for the info but really? 9 minutes?

I am on my third tour. First two trackball jumped all over the place. Until yesterday, the new one was perfect. Then I installed google mobile app, google voice and quicklaunch. Now I am having the laggy horizontal problems. This sucks, when is the OS update coming out already!

I had the same issue with the trackball as well as the loose battery door. But I will say this though. When i got mine replaced totally free from Verizon. It came to me not just a phone with no batter but a whole new phone.

That means only one thing Verizon knows the first generation blackberry tour's are slightly defective. The box had a Green sticker on it this time and upon putting everything together.

The battery door no longer jiggles its solid as can be also there is a keypad sensor where as the first generation's don't have that. (key pad lights up in dark rooms where as the first gens are lit regaurdless)

also the trackball was solid as can be. Oh yeah and i only got one new phone which means the old stock must be running out

I got my Tour replaced after not really wanting to go though the hassle of getting a replacement. But after my 30 days, I got mine replaced and I am sure glad that I did. My first Tour was great and the horizontal trackball issue was my only issue. But now that I have the replacement, it's a difference and it works like a charm horizontally.

I had been having issues with my Trackball for the past week and didn't know what the heck the problem was (as this was my first BB)so after reading this I called and they are shipping me out a brand new phone! :)
Should be here tomorrow and I just order one of thost Seidio 360 cases which should arrive tomorrow as I'll get a brand new phone and a brand new case...sweet!

Thanks for the info though!

I was a day-one Tour owner, and returned my first one owing to the trackball issue about 3 weeks in. The brand-new replacement I received worked great for about two days, then the same left-right scrolling problems returned. After reading about the green dot ones, I called VZW and they very kindly offered immediately to send me a replacement, which I received the next day. It was a green dot, and the trackball issue was WORSE, it was really pretty much unusable. So I called them and told them I was returning the replacement unit (the green dot one), which I did. My current one is usable, provided I feather the trackball incredibly lightly when going left-right. (No issues on the up-down.) So there you have it, it seems to me that the green dot doesn't represent a trackball-fixed batch. My unit was a refurb, so I bet that's all the green dot signifies.

No the green dot does not mean it is a refurb. I've seen other refurbs and they don't have green dots. They DO however come in plain brown boxes with a simple white sticker (and green dot in the case of the tour).

Interesting that the one I got (got a new one after the upgrade to .53 totally nuked the phone beyond repair as far as the rep and I could tell) has a white sticker and you can see through it where there is another label below it also with a green sticker LOL!

My old one has a usable track ball as far as I can tell (a little glitchy at times but no where near as bad as in the video and no worse than my Curve 8900) but this one is much much better!

I've had a Tour since day 1 and thought I had a good unit. That was until today. Wow, I've been a state of denial. I upgraded from an old nextel Blackberry with a wheel so I never realized how easy it was to use the trackball. The best part of this is Sprint is sending me a new phone by 10am Monday. I got on the phone prepared to fight and didn't even have to !!!!

I like how he says in the video that you can't give people crappy phones and expect them to be happy with them. He must have never owned a Storm. My 8330 Curve was still the best Blackberry I ever owned. I got a Tour on a 30 day on one of my lines and took it back 3 days later. Blackberry phones have really gone downhill IMO. At least the models Verizon is getting. I haven't even played with a Bold.

LOL! I actually did own a Storm for exactly one week and took it back immediately. This was after they had already been out a few months too. The phone still had major issues. Went back to my WinMo phone and waited about a year for the Tour to come out.


My first Tour had trackball and some other issues as well. In classic Verizon fashion, they replaced the Tour with a new one which has been perfect.

Just received two 9630's from Verizon. They work great. I still like my 8330 trackball better. It protrudes further, and is easier to use. They need to figure out how to make 5.0 work well on the 8330.

I thought I had a bad trackball. I figured out that I had downloaded a FREE Theme from CB. The theme caused the BB to act sluggish and the trackball not to work up. Once the theme was removed, the trackball worked perfectly.
Word of advice. If the trackball works out of the box, and then you load a program, do a batter pull, and the trackball doesn't work properly, it's probably the program. (believe it or not).

Thanks for the video.. After playing with my wife's second Tour (The 1st had sound issues).. Im sure she has a trackball issue

...and sending my third Storm back to big red. So much promise on the Storm, and rim failed to match expectations. Touch screen sticking and OS issues have me beyond frustrated after nine months. Verizon was kind enough to trade out the Storm for a Tour - hopefully will be a newer make without the trackball issues. Great, informative video!!

BlackBerrys with this type of trapped (must take phone completely apart to clean/replace/service) trackball are not and will never be "rock solid". The Curve has a good rep because people have been servicing/replacing their trackballs from the front by merely popping off the chrome trim ring - a 1 minute job. The Tour's trapped trackball design will go down as one of RIM's biggest embarrassments. I know why RIM did it - they know people were replacing their Curve's trackball themselves with colored ones, etc. and just did not like that one bit. They showed us!

Um or else they got tired of replacing them when people dropped them and the trackball assembly broke off. Take a look at the Bold 9000, Curve 8900. All have "trapped" trackballs. The Curve was the exception not the rule.

kingzee- thank you so much for this video! I am also on my first Blackberry and thought that was just the way they were! I had NO idea, even with all the forum posts and crackberry articles, that my tour had an issue. Watching your video was like electro-shock therapy, because that is exactly what my tour has done from day 1. I am calling Verizon, even though I am past the 30days, and getting a replacement shipped right away. Thanks so much for the totally informative, useful, spot-on reporting!


Thank you for the excellent video. That is useful to all owners of BBs with trackballs, not just Tour owners.

I hope your latest Tour is still working well.

Im really convinced that the problem is the trackball itself and not the phone. I bought 2 8900s (one for me and one for my gf) and both trackballs had the same problem. I even tried putting the trackball in my old 8320 and 8100 and it did the exact same thing.. But when I put the trackball from my 8320 in it works perfectly fine. I think the texture of the new trackball may be messing with the phones sensor or something. For everyone who has an older BB laying around I suggest switching out the atomic trackball for the older one and see how that works.

I've experienced the exact same problem on my 8900, only it appears after I screwed up my Trackball unit myself.

The fix is a good workaround, but will it work to just replace the trackball, or is the complete unit broken?

its a lot like the tours accept its inverted and changing the sensitivity doesnt help. i replaced the trackball 3 times with no success.

This is my first Balckberry and I knew something was wrong when I wasn't able to move the trackball left to right and vice versa! Even when playing games its very fustrating to navigate. I did have to change my trackball to 90, but it shouldn't be that way. It's going back this weekend and I hope I don't have the same problem as the guy from the video who went thru 6 to get it right. Thanks so much Crackberry for keeping us all informed with the new, the lastest and the old!! xoxo

Mine happens in the vertical direction. Occurs maybe once a month. I press down hard on the trackball for a couple of seconds and then rotate in the direction of the problem while maintaining the pressure. I then revert to normal scrolling and it works fine.

After watching the video I figured I've had enough of the TB issue. Luckily there is a VZ store directly across the street from my office. I waited in the queue for about 15 minutes to talk to a tech support rep and showed them my phone. She said, "Wow! At least you can scroll a little, yours works pretty well."

Regardless, if I pay 100%, I want a phone that works 100%.
The TS rep made a note in my account stating that the TB had an issue and most importantly is said, "Was able to recreate issue in store". That last part was important because it saved all of the troubleshooting when I called VZ WDTS. The rep at WDTS said "I'm going to have you do a hard reset..." I said, Really? Really? The store made a note on my account. Ok, since they were able to recreate the problem in the store, I'll just send out another phone.

I am thoroughly impressed with Verizon's customer service: in the store and on the phone. I just hope the phoen that's shipped out has a working TB.

Hey everyone, this is my first BB and until this video I did not realize mine trackball was not working up to its capabilities. BUT I, like many others, got mine the day it came out (via ordering it online on Sunday and received it on Tuesday back in July) and have not exchanged it or call to complain about it. Clearly I am out of my 30 days. Will they exchange mine too?? Also, it took me FOREVER to get all the apps and things just like I like them. I back up my BB every week. If I am able to get my new one, will I be able to do a restore and everything looks exactly like it was?? (Please say Thanks Kevin, great job!

In the same boat with you. Ordered mine on the Sunday it was available. Knew that the TB wasn't quite right and seemed to get worse after my 30 days. Used my wife's Tour a couple of days ago and her's is perfect. After seeing the video, decided to give a call. Not sure who your mobile company is, mine is Sprint. As soon as I told them what problem I was having with the phone, immediately the rep said they are sending me a new phone. No hassles, no charges, nothing! Really impressed with the customer service. Hope your story ends without hassle also.

I too have Sprint so this is good news. But the real and most important news for me is....will my phone look the same and have everything the same when I hook it up to the computer?? I back it up once a week and I can back it up before I swap them, but it took me a very long time to get it looking like I like and I am just wondering if when I get the new one, although contacts, etc may be easy, will the look and app placements, etc be the same. I know it sounds small but if you only knew how long it took :)

Yes they will exchange you (the phone has a 1 year MFR warranty) but you probably wont get the retail box and there is a good chance you will get a fefurb, but maybe not.

If you get another one from the store this wont work but if you have them send you a new unit via FexEx and you can use the Device Migration Wizard (part of the desktop manager) to migrate all of your data and apps to the new phone. This normally preserves settings as well such as icon locations, BBM contacts, etc. You have up to 10 days to send the old phone back.

Stopped by VZW today. Showed them that the trackball wasn't moving like it should. 5 minutes later, replacement is ordered. They didn't have any in stock. Let's see what Wednesday brings (new or refurb).

My fiancee just bought me the Curve 8900 (as an upgrade from my sidekick slide) Saturday Sept. 19th and about 12 hours later, right now, my trackball is having problems (horizontal set to 80; vertical set to 90) scrolling down. it doesn't do it all the time, but like you said the higher the sensitivity rating the crazier it gets. when i put it on 100 i can't do anything because i cant control it. but at 90 i still have problems strolling down on it and it sticks more often now than when i first got it earlier. I got it through a costco wholesale dealer and now will have to take it back for either an exchange or wait for t-mobile to send me a new one. :(

My trackball issues returned. my first tour was a complete fail. my replacement WAS 100% a few weeks ago, now the issue has return with a vengeance. if sprint was not so pimp in terms of calling/data plans, i'd ditch my tour for a bold. i'm sick of it and the random freezing. why the hell didn't rim test a larger sample of phones? King Z is 1/2 right about someone needing to be sued. there should be a class action suit. RES IPSA LOQUITUR!

Does anyone know if going forward that the replacement Tours correct the issue and will not provide any new device issues? I purchased mine brand new a week or so after they were released and every now and then have the trackball issue but nothing else. I'm just leary of turning in a brand new one to receive a refurb that may correct the trackball issue but have other underlying issues that my current one does not.

My 89000 did the same!!!! not only horizontal, but some time it would just keep going up! I just got 3 replacement trackballs from eBay and replaced it, for now it is OK...
Why did I not return it for service? Yeah being in Greece this would probably sucked hard and take ~2 weeks...

Me too! I wasn't sure until I saw this video but now I am. My 8900 has the same issue. Unfortunately I didn't get it through the carrier (unlocked TMobile model on AT&T) but it is at least usable and will be retired as soon as the 9700 hits.

my first tour the track ball did the same as this video. but i dealt with it until the problem was fixed bc i didnt want to go through that many phones. so my second device is now perfect.. no more problems for me :)

I have gotten two in the last week. First came with scratches on the top black where it says BlackBerry. I am not taking a scratched phone. I use phantom skinz so scratches are unacceptable.

Second comes and it has the side rubber flared out. Leaving a rather ugly and annoying catch spot.

100 point inspections they say, done by what? Monkeys?

I WANT A NEW WORKING TOUR! I paid for it and yet to get it.

Next up my attorney for a letter!

Thank you so much for this video and posting this topic. I also am with Verizon and ordered the Tour on the day it was released. I just received this week my third Tour. I now know that it is not me!

I was thinking .... maybe it is the oils from my hands or that I was handling it wrong. I tried to fix the problem by adjusting the sensitivity, but even then the left/right motion was so frustrating. The idea of keeping this for two years frightened me!

Now, if Tour #3 fails, I will feel better and not hesitate about returning it. I agree with you, Verizon customer service is awesome!

Thank you so much for this video and posting this topic. I also am with Verizon and ordered the Tour on the day it was released. I just received this week my third Tour. I now know that it is not me!

I was thinking .... maybe it is the oils from my hands or that I was handling it wrong. I tried to fix the problem by adjusting the sensitivity, but even then the left/right motion was so frustrating. The idea of keeping this for two years frightened me!

Now, if Tour #3 fails, I will feel better and not hesitate about returning it. I agree with you, Verizon customer service is awesome!