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BlackBerry Tour Review

Hands-On First Look Review of the RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630 Smartphone including Video, Images and Photo Gallery...

A First Hands-On Look at the BlackBerry 9630 WE
By Kevin Michaluk on 16 Jun 2009 09:27 am EDT
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Update - June 16, 2009: Today, Research in Motion announced the BlackBerry Tour 9630, their latest next-generation non-touchscreen, full physical qwerty smartphone for CDMA carriers. A replacement to the popular BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, the BlackBerry Tour will with time roll out to CDMA carriers including Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, Bell, Telus and likely everywhere the 8830 was sold. We first reviewed the BlackBerry Tour three months ago in March, and while our device was pre-release our in-depth BlackBerry Tour review will give you a great hands-on look of what you can expect when it becomes available. You can find part one of our BlackBerry Tour review below, and Tour Review Part II here


Original Review - Published March 17, 2009 @ 14:55:21 -0500


The Full Qwerty BlackBerry CDMA Carriers & Users Have Been Waiting For!

Didn't we say when it rains it pours? As you likely surmised from the previously leaked images and video and forum posts, the BlackBerry "Niagara" 9630 has made its way into the wild. And once an unannounced, pre-release BlackBerry Smartphone gets loose you know it's just a matter of time before it winds up getting photographed and videoed on the CrackBerry review table. So following up on our pre-release reviews of the BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Pearl Flip, BlackBerry Curve 8900 and BlackBerry Storm, it's time for a hands-on first look (lots of photos and video!) at next full-qwerty BlackBerry that'll be coming to a CDMA carrier near you in the months ahead.

* Disclaimer: Like all of our pre-release reviews, please note that this is non-commercially available device which means things could change by the time it comes to market. *

 


A Note About the Pre-Release Device Review

In the case of the BlackBerry Tour 9630 unit reviewed here, the hardware is actually really solid. Compared to the other pre-release devices I have handled, this hardware feels final form (which gives me hope that it could be announced and available sooner than Q3). However, while the hardware seems pretty much good to go, the device software is another. The 4.7.1.10 software on this unit is very early days, which means it's practically unusable. So for the purpose of this review, we're just going to focus on the hardware. We'll be back to talk software and device usage and performance once we get some updated code on it. Don't worry, there's still lots to get excited for and drool over in here!

An Intro and Overview of the BlackBerry Tour 9630

It's been a long time now since word of the BlackBerry with the codename "Niagara" first popped up in the forums and blogs. So what's it all about? It's probably easiest to think of the "Niagara" as the next-generation BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. It's hard to say which carrier will land this new device first (safe bets would be Verizon or Sprint), but the odds are good you will see the "Niagara" roll out with time to every carrier who currently sells the 8830.

BlackBerry 8830 WE vs. 9630 WE
Out with the old (8830) and in with the new (9630)!!

The BlackBerry 9630 itself is really a mash-up of RIM's BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve 8900 and BlackBerry Storm. Size-wise it fits somewhere in the middle between the 8900 and Bold, and it shares design influences from both. Though smaller, the 9630's keyboard is of same style as the Bold, with no spaces between the keys and "guitar frets" between the rows. The 9630's display is the same as the Curve 8900's, as is the layout and type of ports/buttons around the perimeter of the device. And with the 9630 being a world phone, under the battery cover the ‘guts' are basically the same as the BlackBerry Storm in terms of processor (528) and radios (though layout is of course different). And like the Storm and Curve 8900 both, the 9630 gets the new and improved 3.2 megapixel camera. Looking at the 9630, the most unique visual queue is its battery door which I'm happy to say I personally think looks much better in person than in the previous photos that popped up on the net of it.


 

One last thing to think about before moving on to some hand-on impressions is the name. While "Niagara" is kind of a cool name that won't be the go-to-market name labeled to the 9630. After holding the device, I'm really baffled as to what name it will be sold under. Is the keyboard what makes a Bold a Bold? Maybe it'll be the BlackBerry Bold 9630. Or BlackBerry Bold 9630 World Edition (or WE). Or maybe RIM will skip the brand name and just go with BlackBerry 9630 WE. It seems unlikely that they'd develop a new brand name to market it under, but they do have to name it something... and I don't think BlackBerry Curvy Bold 9630 would work!

BlackBerry Tour 9630 Video Hardware Overview

For those of you on CDMA carriers that don't offer the BlackBerry Storm of if you're simply not a fan of RIM's touchscreen smartphone, this is going to be the next BlackBerry you buy. Seriously, once you pick it up you're going to say to yourself "You Ought To Be With Me." So to that end, I'll save my voice for once I get some hands-on time with this 9630 running a more stable OS and for now we'll let Al Green do the talking...

BlackBerry Tour 9630 Hardware First Impressions

Every time I look at the BlackBerry 9630 I can't help but do a double take. And I'll bet the same thing will happen to those of you reading this when you first see it. The Curve 8900 and Bold dominant my brain when it comes to new BlackBerry smartphones with keyboards it seems, so to see this third same but different form factor keeps tripping me out.

Form Factor - In hand, the BlackBerry 9630 feels awesome. For all those who say the Curve 8900 is too small or that the Bold is too big, you're going to find this device to feel just right. As you can tell from the photos, the Curve 8900 is definitely the smaller device, which means the 9630 isn't quite as pocket-able (but it's still small). It also seems to be a hair thicker than the 8900. There's definitely a different and distinct feeling when holding the 9630 as opposed to the 8900. I think I like the feel of the 8900 a little bit better personally, but am sure many will prefer the feeling of the 9630.

Compared to the BlackBerry Bold the 9630 shaves off about a quarter inch of width, which is really noticeable when you back and forth between devices. All said and done, I think the 9630 is the first device from RIM to sort of "bridge the gap". A lot of BlackBerry users go with the Bold because they have big hands, and a lot people choose the Curve because they have small hands. I think regardless of hand size, most will be able to get a long with the BlackBerry 9630 just fine. As for comparing the 9630 to the 8830 World Edition... well.. honestly, there is no comparison. If you're on an 8830 right now, start saving your pennies. 


 

Keyboard - When it comes to the physical BlackBerry keyboard, I think RIM has a REAL winner here. I love both the Bold's keyboard and the Curve 8900's keyboard. I feel at home on both of them. But it was only after I installed Fabian Heuwieser's TyperSpeed app onto both devices that I could quantify that the Bold was the better keyboard for me. Though I can type fast on the 8900, the tightness makes it easy to make mistakes as you pick up the speed. On the Bold's keyboard, the design allows me to type faster on average. The slight downfall to the Bold's keyboard is the physical size - because it is bigger you have to move your fingers further for each stroke, which when typing out long emails (which I tend to do a lot) means more fatigue. Tooling around on the Niagara's keyboard appears that it should offer the perfect compromise and be the optimal solution. The feel and accuracy of the Bold's keyboard in a slightly more efficient (tighter) package. I'll be curious to hear what everyone thinks of it once they get in their hands.


Comparing the BlackBerry 9630 to its Siblings...

Other Stuff - Once I get some solid code up and running on the BlackBerry Tour I'll follow up with some more impressions. But drawing on the fact most of the hardware components have already been seen on other devices we know how they'll perform. RIM's 480 by 360 LCD as seen on the Curve 8900 and now used in the 9630 is awesome, and the 3.2 megapixel camera is much improved over the old 2.0 megapixel camera (which of course the 8830 doesn't have a camera). As for WiFi, or lack there of, you know... that is the sad story here. :(

Be sure to click all the images above to Zoom in... and I've left some notes in the captions for ya to read (gotta love the lanyard hook! lol).

BlackBerry Tour - Some Closing Thoughts for Now...

With the BlackBerry Bold and Curve 8900 available to GSM carriers, it's once again sad to see CDMA BlackBerry users trail behind in terms of getting new stuff (the exception in North America of course being the BlackBerry Storm). When the BlackBerry 9630 gets released, CDMA carriers will finally have a compelling device to call their own. This isn't them getting the 8830 or Curve 8330 a year down the road, but this is a device they can call their own... at least for a while I'm guessing! Bold owners will show a bit of envy towards the BlackBerry Tour's tight form factor and camera, while 8900 owners will be wishing for the keyboard and data speeds. There's just sooo many BlackBerry smartphones on the market right now, the variety is not making the purchase decisions any easier!

BlackBerry 9630 vs. BlackBerry Storm
The future Verizon, Bell, Telus decision - 9630 or Storm?!

Time to finish off this hands-on first look at the BlackBerry 9630 review and go play with it some more. And we'll be back soon with more. 4.7.1.10 is early, and we know there's .17 (and even newer by now I'm thinking) out there. Hope you enjoyed this CrackBerry first look. Talk to ya soon.

Related Links

Read Part II of the BlackBerry Tour 9630 Review w/ Video

CrackBerry's BlackBerry Store

Visit the BlackBerry Tour 9630 Forum

BlackBerry 9630 to be Branded the BlackBerry Tour?

Research in Motion's BlackBerry Tour Press Release

Verizon Officially Announces the BlackBerry Tour

Sprint Officially Announces the BlackBerry Tour

Reader comments

BlackBerry Tour Review

194 Comments

What are you guys all guessing for?

This is an upgrade to the Bold - pure and simple.

It will be marketed as the Blackberry Bold 9630

The current 9000 model will soon be discontinued

except for the fact that the Bold 9000 is only available to GSM carriers... this is an xx30 phone which means CDMA... so it actually cannot be an update to the Bold at all... it is a completely different beast altogether...

Um, lol, this is the stupidest comment I've read on a site. The 9020 Onyx is the Bolds replacement. Get your $hit straight

It is actually an upgrade to the 8830 (World Addition) even though it looks a lot like the Bold, it is still considered to be an upgrade of the 8830 because it has international calling. It is the size of the Curve, the design of the Bold and some features from the 8830. It has the same software as the Bold because that is the new format for the next Blackberrys to come. The Tour is similar to the Curve 8900. The Curve 8900 is for T-mobile and AT&T, while the Tour is for Sprint and Verizon. The Tour is an awesome Blackberry Smartphone and is a 3G phone which is one of the advantages it has over the Curve 8900. Although the Curve has WI-FI they are both solid devices with minor differences!

ummm is it more or does the "crome" on the sides just look alittle to rounded and raised like equal with the keyboard and almost too big.. IDK maybe i'm being nit picky but i think it could be alittle toned down just makes the whole phone look alittle weird/almost fake/cheap?????

Anyone else catch my drift??

I am gong to reserve my decision on which device I end up with. I have the Storm now and have had it since the 2nd day of release. I am running the .114 hybrid (works pretty good). If the next official VZW release is a long way off, or just sucks, I will be headed to the 9630. If VZW can release a decent upgraded OS for the Storm I may stick with it for awhile longer.

I held off on switching to AT&T for the bold because of these pictures that just started to come out. Very excited. Being a person that hasn't had a PDA before, is having only 3g fast enough to browse without feeling like I should slit my wrists? I've seen the glory of WIFI on the bold and was very impressed, hope the lack of WIFI on the Niagra won't be a deal breaker...thoughts?

Also...the BOLD looks very polished, sturdy and high-end with its chrome trim and leather back. Does the Niagra feel cheeper or worse being that it seems to be made of plastic?

I thought not having wifi would be a big deal when I first got my cdma curve, but honestly, I'm so impressed with 3G speeds that I couldn't care less about it now. You'll be absolutely fine without it, and you won't have to worry about having to be in a wifi spot to get your best internet, you'll just have it everywhere!

be clear, 3G is NOT everywhere just yet so hold off on the false info...with that being said, wi-fi is great for areas that arent 3G...

Let me be clear... I personally find it CRAZY that you must wait SO LONG for Verizon to get a decent Blackberry. I was a Verizon customer for 7 years and I just left for AT&T and the Bold. I tried to stay with Verizon and the Storm but it honestly SUCKED for those serious users and the lack of wi-fi on Verizon device blows. I must say I am EXTREMELY happy with my Bold. Wi-fi is BEAUTIFUL!!!

I love the IPhone but that is a total washout, first having to rely on Apple and second it gives business users nothing. The Tour looks like a nice little phone but I could never call anything with that small a screen a PDA.

I have a Dell X51v PDA and there are times when I wish that 4 inch screen was larger. The Bold and the Tour would do nothing for me. The idea that you can create and edit Excel spreadsheets on that small a screen is a joke. Once again, it's even tough on the Dell.

I am waiting for a new Storm that has a faster processor and WiFi.

I also have a question. I have a Stowaway bluetooth keyboard for my Dell. I wonder if anyone has been able to use that with any Blackberry? Alan

OH MAN !!!

too bad its cdma
too bad it has no wifi
too bad it doesnt have NAM 3G

9620 WHERE R YOU?

Wow nice review.......If one has a storm and obvious the storm and the 9630 have sim card slots....would i be able to just purchase the phone by itself and stick my storm sim card into the 9630 per say??????

You can stick the sim card in but that will not activate it on verizon. You will still have to do an esn change due to VZW and CDMA.

this has to be the best looking BB out period.. omg i cant wait for this to be released on Sprint.. i was pretty sad over the Curve 8900 being GSM so far cuz i liked it too but this 9630 beats it outright.. it looks solid too..
CANT WAIT...

Want, want, want, want!!!!!

Thanks for the fix Kevin. We appreciate it. I do think I like the 9630 in terms of appearance better than the 8900 or the 9000 and I can't wait to replace my 8830 (which'll be going to my flatmate).

--Maven

I have a blackberry curve 8330 on verizon and i have no wifi and my internet is QUICK! On top of that, i am running on a pathetic 4.3 OS so i think you guys will be able to survive without the wifi. i think wifi is pointless anyway, because most places u go, you won't even be able to get a wifi source. I am SOOOO excited for this phone to come out. I have been jealous of ATT costumers for too long, it's about time I can have an awesome phone of my own to upgrade my curve to, soooooo ready!!!

Since you have to get a data plan with blackberrys on verizon, wifi isn't as big of a deal as some people make it out to be (verizon's 3G is fast and widespread). That being said, and this being a world edition, it would definitely be nice to have wifi when abroad because if you put in a prepaid sim card when abroad, data will be extremely expensive. And it's unlikely that as a US resident you will have a contract plan for whatever country you are visiting. You could activate Verizon's global unlimited data plan when you are abroad (and temporarily deactivate your regular plan). But if you do that then voice minutes cost an arm and a leg (unless you swap a prepaid card in when you want to do voice)... My friend has a nokia E61 and he can do VOIP via his wifi connection when he is abroad. This is the scenario that Verizon has nightmares about.

In summation, verizon excludes wifi so that they can make more money. However, if you stay in the US (non-rural areas) it doesn't affect you much if at all.

I've gotten word from a reliable source in Verizon, that it will be called the Bold and will be available this summer.

I agree with cbanks 80. I also got the same information form a source in Verizon. Well to add to this he said that there is a good chance that will be out with the Niagara.

Will not be called the BOLD/ All you people that listen to retail reps who are the very last to know anything, just makes me laugh.. Look for it on VZW may/june

Theres no way that this phone will be called the Niagara. If it were, that domain name would not be on sale on eBay.

I said to myself before I purchased the bold coming from the curve that WIFI was not that big of a deal to me. All I have to say is I can stand here today and back up WIFI on a phone for hours because it is 100% required and worth it. I will not purchase another phone without WIFI even if it does have 3G. 90% of households, coffee shops, malls, airports all have WIFI and I find myself connecting to almost all.

As for the no 3G comment, is that also true? If so, I’m wondering why a CDMA version of the Bold/Curve 8900 would be released without one of these features. Seems like a waist to me, but hey everyone has there own opinion.

I have never been more satisfied with the Bold on AT&T, by far the best phone I have ever owned.

yah chris feel the same way.. This new berry is cool but just seems like rims mixing and matching things from different berry now.. But when it come down to it the bold is still on top as a far as all around BEST device with the most features. In the keyboard category. Storm is sort of in its own "storm of problems" world.. lol .. so i dont really include it when i'm talking about these things. Wifi does matter if you think it doesn't you just haven't fully expierenced the power of it yet. When i'm at home i'm on wifi, at school... wifi.. downtown i'm bound to pick up some sort of signal. if not then i got my network. I still think the Bold is the cadillac model and deffinatly set the bar high. It will be hard to reach for any device. Camera is the only thing really to pit against and maybe the fact of a slightly lower resolution then 8900 but still has wider screen.
Only way i see it being over taken is with a bold touch screen and maybe thinner but i still don't see the bold being out dated in the next year.

The reason you need WIFI on the Bold is because ... you have AT&T. The 3G AT&T network is terrible. My friend has a Bold and his phone constantly kicks back to EDGE. Then he flips on WIFI and the phone works great. So basically the WIFI makes up for AT&T's poor network deployment.

Plus, this phone has 3G in CDMA and UMTS, of course UMTS only working outside the US.

And while 90% of those locations you listed have WIFI, how many are free? The last few airports, coffes shops, and malls I went to required me to purchase some sort of data plan for the time I was going to be there. However, I had full bars of Verizon 3G, so what's the big deal?

I guess people don't understand, 3G basically gives you DSL speeds anywhere. I didn't realize that was holding you back SOOOOO much.

The only place you cannot use your phone's connection is on an airplane, and that's where a lack of WIFI is truly felt.

But let's stop bashing the lack of WIFI. DSL speeds anywhere makes up for that lack.

RIM, please make a version without a camera. I'd like to upgrade my 8830, but my company won't buy a cell phone with a camera.

I'm with you Tortolita... The first post I read on the 9630 talked about a no-camera option. I'm holding out for that option, but I hope I don't have to wait long - my 8830 is starting to show its age.

I want to throw my Storm at the wall and after today's iPhone OS 3.0 announcements I am even more impatient for at least a BlackBerry that doesn't suck total ass.

Beautiful. Keep us posted. Thanks!

yes while wifi may be worthless to some, to others it can be pretty awesome, especially people who work at big corp office or on university campus' where wifi is free and everywhere, including the basement of buildings where no cell signal can ever reach... or in the hippie town of santa monica where vzw has crappy coverage because the city doesnt let them put more towers because then everyone would die of cancer.

My ultimate phone would be the 9630 with WIFI and UMA on VZW... too bad that day will never come.. i mean seriously they would destroy EVERYONE including the iphone 3g with that new 3.0 OS

I'll be sticking with my Telus Curve until a real Bold arrives or the next gen of blackberry devices arrive next year.

I was totally surprised that you were rockin' Al Green on this video. Whatchu know 'bout that?

Two thumps UP!!! :)

Thanks RIM for getting bitch slapped again by a carrier to disable WIFI on this device.

Let's hope you didn't cower on the GPS front and you left that open like the Storm has. If not, well... here's a preemptive FU just in case. :p Love and kisses. :rolleyes:

I heard early June or July. It will be completely global like the Storm but will have Japanese input language unlike the Storm for all you Japanese users.

This will definitely be my next BB to upgrade from the 8830. There are only a few features I wish my 8830 had, and it looks like the 9630 answers most of them. :-)

I WANT IT NOW!!!! lol the pics i kept seeing were helping my fix but after seeing that i don't think i can wait!!!!

Have we found out if the Niagara or Javelin will support North American GSM Bands? I really like consolidating 2 phones in one with my Storm, but I hate the phone.

Also, any word on the Sure Talk technology that the Storm has?

It looks like a sweet phone if you want cdma and no wifi. Personally I will take the Bold over that phone anytime.

Good solid review though. I'm stoked to see how the OS runs on it.

So will it be unlockable for use with American GSM carriers like the Storm?

I have an iPhone and OS 3.0 wasn't that big of a deal to me.

I JUST got my storm and am madly in love with it, i think with either of these two phones that would be the case and i'd honestly be just as happy with either.

Good job rim!

and of course, crackberry always has the best reviews!

Are there any CDMA BlackBerries that have WIFI? I can't think of any. Perhaps there is no way to get WIFI on the Qualcomm Chip.

Wait. You said in this article that the processor is a 528. Does that mean 528 mHz? Cause the Bold has a 624mHz processor.

no WiFI...no simultaneous data and voice...a slower processor than the bold...
i should be excited about this phone why?
signed Bold 9000 user

Bye Bye Storm, Hello 9630. I can't wait for this to come out so i can get rid of this Storm nightmare.

Kevin, One thing I am not seeing in the pics or video, where are the speaker holes? I use my Berry for an mp3 player quite a bit, and I need it to sound good without a headset. Does it have any speaker holes? Anywhere?

i'm in love with this blackberry ..i feel like rim listen to me (hahahaha) just like i wanted a blackberry that like the bold and yet like the 8900 so its the best of both worlds
and a 3.2 cam and q3 aint bad at all
so with that I say i hope it's verizon with the release

I think the Bold 9630 is that best name.. none of this WE stuff.. thats just old fashioned

Javelin became the Curve 8900
Niagara will become the Bold 9630

I've been off of my contract on VZW since January 3rd. This can't some soon enough. My Curve (even w/ its new black housing) is looking uglier by the minute.

I don't know. This phone may steal the Storms spot light. I love my Storm, but this phone has a certain appeal to it. Maybe its the newness of it. We shall see.

Thanks for the update as always!!

palladino72

I like the original Bold because it has a great CPU compared with all other BlackBerrys. However if it's still a poky piece of CPU I cant see moving from my 8830 just to get a camera and a 1/4 inch. Or is that "What She said?"....

All these updates and first looks make me drool... I have to stop visiting crackberry daily. It's like waving cake in front of a diabetic, and telling them no not yet!

We all have to remember that this is a "first look", and things can always change - for better or worse!

Hopefully better!

I'm sure its has been stated before, but this is just easier to ask...WHEN DOES IT COME OUT...I CANT TAKE MY STORM ANYMORE!!!

Kevin: Next time you are in front of the big boys: (RIM, Verizon, Sprint etc)

Can you ask them straight out why WiFi is omitted from CDMA BlackBerry's? If you are going to CTIA in Las Vegas, put them on the spot! ;-) For all of us!!!!!

Please? Thank you!!!

Quoting a good point. Kev, do this when you get to CTIA for us because somethings got to give. Other than that, I'm still getting this phone.

hey guys, this phone is fuckin awesome, will it be possible to use it in europe with gsm sim? Or is CDMA for NA only?!

Kevin, this is your best review yet!! And using Al Green's "You Ought To Be With Me" as background music was brilliant. You're getting very good at this.

RIM will be ecstatic when they read this. Also, after looking at your great pics, I can see why Crucial Extreme calls it a "sex machine."

Please BELL Mobility, release this bad boy in MAY, or sooner!!

- CB

looks good, pretty much a mix between the bold and 8900, definitely a different battery cover

If you have the 8900, then you don't need this. Better keyboard but no wifi. New RIM strategy: don't make the perfect device. This way they can continue to sell a variety of handsets.ve

Look´s really great. The perfekt symbios of Jav and Bold. I hope we will get it in Europe. If not i need someone to ship it ;-)

Agree with CarBob, Kevin is getting good at this! Starting to spend my free time wondering what Kevin's hooking up for us or buying from eBay.

It is the sexiest phone EVA!!
Must have it.....now!!!!
Soooo glad that I didn't get the Storm...plus my contract is up Mid June...so the timing should be PERFECT!!!

Come to Mama!

I cant wait for it to come to telus? any ideas about when? but for i dont mind it coming later, i just got a pearl its not soo awesome i want to be cool like the big boys!

most of us have unliimited data? what does it matter? you can use that ANYWHERE! come on, wifi is coool i must say, my gf has it on her bold but i use my data everywhere anytime!

I have had the Storm for about 3 months and it is a love/hate relationship. It is becoming more a hate relationship lately. The most recent problem is it dropping calls, I can still hear the caller and the call is still connected but they can't hear me and the phone crashes way too much. The response time stinks also. I don't Verizon will take it back, but I want out. Should I wait for the new 9630 or get the Curve? Please help I am so frustrated with this device.

I think that you should just go ahead and buy a curve off of ebay or something like that for cheaper so you will still be eligible for an upgrade when the 9630 comes out :)

let me tell you here, niagara 9630 will not be launched on May or June. Most likey in the middle of summer because there is 4 quarter of 2009 , first quarter is Jan-March, second quarter is April- June, 3rd quarter is July - Sept and 4 th quarter is October - Decemeber.

That is Sprint's plan. VZW store reps indicated to me that it would be part of the summer sales event. But no one really knows...

It's a cdma worldphone, you are very unlikely to see it ever sold by any of the uk carriers because it won't be worth the effort of testing and approving a new phone that offers them basically nothing over their existing models.

there is one thing i see that is wrong with this phone. look around the edges of the screen, it has the same gaps in it that the storm has and will have a lot of problems with dust/lint/dirt in the screen. other than that i love the looks of this new BB.

I am sold on the new 9630 but I love the leather back of the BOLD. If they can combine the two- this would hands down beautiful inside and out.

When is RIM going to come out with some kind of a replacement for the Pearl??. I believe there are many users out there that have been used to the suretype keyboard and now are waiting on Rim for an updated hardware-software machine. Worst I don't see any ninjas coming up with anything on the works! Any hope or we just have to wait for the nokia e55!!??

just installed pandora on my curve. i also have slacker and iheartradio. what i dislike the most is when a txt message or email is received, it cuts out the music. sure, i could turn off my alerts, but i don't want to do that.

surprisingly, i have not experienced that with pandora. it is too early to tell if i like it/them yet. i do like the fact that with slacker, you can cache music on the sd card.

has anyone else experienced this and have a solution. any other comments to all 3 radio players?

well for that reason, you just need to set the profile to vibrite and there you gooo. you dont have to worry about that problems.

Thats funny, cause i talked to a friend of mine who is a major account exec. and he told me that sprint will get the javelin in july-september. i really want this 9630 tho, so if he's correct im gonna be pissed. i hope your right and im wrong.

the 9630 needs to go sprint they need a new bb. and for what u pay a month for everything no other carrier can beat it. i have had alot of different carriers it's all the same service

Thanks bro... Not that I needed any convincing, but that is a thing of beauty. Maybe Sprint will come through this time.... Hopefully.

Anyway, Thanks Kevin.

Well for starters i just want to thank Kevin for the hands-on that ive been waiting for months for, thank you. IMO this device just emulates "quality", i mean look at it, its beautiful. But i def like that its slightly longer in size than the 8900. I am up in the air on which QWERTY i will end up liking better. I have a 8330 and 8830 and i like being able to switch back and forth between devices with different keyboards. But once i grab the 9630 thats going to be my primary device for a long time lol. I cant wait to see the final build and another hands on running a finished 4.7 OS. Hopefully sprint will come through and it will drop Q3 like the road map says.

End of May/Early June for VZW. It has been mentioned time and time and time again by the actual beta testers over in howardforums.

And to the guy on the first page who said no 3G. Yes, there is Verizon 3G on this phone.

That is a great looking phone....I would love to see some comparison photos of it next to a 8330..get a better feel for the size of it..

I'm definitely not digging the fact that the Niagra doesn't look like it uses the standard mini USB that RIM has used on other phones. I really liked not have to buy OEM chargers and just use the ones I had already around the house.

i am still for gsm, easy to switch bberry handset, and not totally depended on one handset. A++++ for Al Green. I love my bold, 8820, 8800, and 8700g

i would imagine this would b a new version for the we and would b a verizon exlusive, only reason i say this is because there is no wifi...no verizon bb have wifi :(

I work for VZW and this is the phone we are getting in may Q2. I recently switched from the BB Storm to the LG Versa and I don't regret it one bit. If this BB has a solid OS I might sell it, If not I will continue to sell Aircards and upsell on my other data for my commission. BB overall has not made a very good impression on me. Overpriced electronics for people who make way too much money just to check email.

P.S.
I know I will be crucified for saying any negative things about BB on a BB website, But hey...It's an opinion right? LOL
Take care!

I'm really trying to get excited about this new release, but I'm not seeing anything new or innovative about it. It appears from the onset to be more of the same. Given its "me too" likeness to models that have been available for some time now, why bother at all?

This one is utterly forgettable, I'm afraid to say. And that's regrettable.

I want this phone so bad but I cannot get it because I am with Cellular South.. Though it is a CDMA network I still cannot have it because cell south doesn't get phones in untill 1 or 2 years after they are released..

I want this phone so bad but I cannot get it because I am with Cellular South.. Though it is a CDMA network I still cannot have it because cell south doesn't get phones in untill 1 or 2 years after they are released..

..like wi-fi for example. People have to realize that RIM is going to continue leaving things off of their phones because as of now the face of the blackberry world is the Bold.Obviously Rim is making sure that the flagship of these phones will always have more than the lesser models. I like the 9630 because the 8900 is too small (I've had enough small phones, being a prior Pearl user), and is still living in the 2G era.

.. and on that note, why all these comaparisons and tough decision making between the 9630-9000?

Last time I heard, the bigger the better. The Bold is hands down the best Blackberry we're gonna see for some time.

We Sprint users catch allot of crap but we are devoted and love our plans and despite what the haters say, the service is decent. I have had the Curve 8330 for over a year and compared to my friends' Curves with the other three carriers, this Sprint one is the best in several areas. I have been waiting for this phone for months and I have to admit, the one complaint I find with Sprint is they are the last to get the newest phones and I also admit the lack of WIFI on these units is a very big disappointment, but none the less, I will be at the Sprint store the day these phones go on sale.
Anyone got any "concrete" Sprint release dates??? Be Nice.

I cant hold back any longer... Some of you think what is availible to you is great - because you have never had anything better. I have worked for AT&T for several years, I have worked with Sprint and now work for Verizon (not at a seller level with any).
If you think not having WiFi isnt a big deal, you havent experienced the power! Why RIM would make, or better yet, why Verizon would carry the newest BB without WiFi is beyond my imagination. From a network standpoint, it frees it up for uses that need it and alows those that use it better speeds.
I have also noticed comments about the processor being slower than was is in the BOLD. What?!? Why?

Goes back to what I have said and see on a daily basis. Verizon carries the cheapest and crapiest devices of all the major carriers!! iPhone has officially swept the market place (now at half price and the 3rd gen device), BB is trying to compete. In my opinion, they are there with the BOLD. If this new device does not have the fastest processor or WiFi, it completely confirms that Verizon refuses to spend any money on their devices. CHEAP JUNK comes to mind when I look at their line up of devices (on a daily basis now).

Please, for crying out loud, someone speak up about who the heck choses Verizon's devices!!!!!

All I can say, is the BB BOLD was the best device I have ever used! The STORM makes me so mad at RIM for even creating such a peice of crap!

As for CDMA vs. GSM - there isnt a comparison! The latency of CDMA is terrible. (you have no idea if you have not directly compared the two). 3G is about the same on both and HSDPA blows away EVDO-Rev.A

All that jargan aside... Now that I work for Verizon, all I have to say is that if the new BB "Niagra" (doubtful name) or "Tour" or whatever they call it, doesnt have the latest processor or WiFi, Im hanging up on both Verizon and RIM.

As a user of a Curve or that thing they call Pearl, you have no idea what you have missed! I just call it like I see it.

LTE can't come soon enough!

When, When, When? Somebody must know...
AT&T is a new activation monster! Verizon got back ahead by purchasing Alltel but yet AT&T continues to grow at a more rappid pace. Now with the new iPhone 3Gs and the iPhone 3G at half price is it a matter of months before T passes them again?

Hey Verizon... might consider releasing this new BB very close to the 19th! And you need to be on your game with advancements if you want to even have a chance! That includes WiFi and processor.

Why am I writing all this? I am sick to my stomach waiting on a great device from V - let's get it on already!!

When I ask, when??

Nothing spectacular here. I guess Sprint and VZW users have something to feel excited about, but to me, nothing new.

For us VZW/CDMA users, can we get a picture comparing the size of this new 9630 to the current 8330 out there??

Please/Thank you :)

how much will this cost on verizon with no contract, i currently have a storm, and all though i enjoy it i think id rather get back to the routes with a hard keyboard and a little less lag.

I'm gonna pee on myself - I can't WAITTTTT-t-ttt

ok better camera than pre, higher resolution screen than pre, and it's a .... :::BLACKBERRY:::

I'm so stoked-- I can't wait to FACE the palm ppl at work - ov course there are more Blackberry people (cuz we're smart) but it's good to drive the nail in the coffin-

and I won't be until RIM produces and more slick OS with a better UI. Tired of the same OS with minor updates. They need a fully new designed OS that still does everything that we love our blackberries for, but also provide a more slick and better UI. Sorry to say, blackberries are gettng boring. Right now, changing devices is mostly for the form factor or slightly different specs. Same user experience.

I have been a patient girl, watching CB for all the news and updates on the release! I am thrilled that it is soon!!! I have the Curve 8330. I love it, but I am ready for the latest! I held off from getting a Storm because I really couldn't deal with the touch screen. Now I have an upgrade and I am ready for the Tour! Come on July!

More of the same...same form factor, same OS, same approach. Come on RIM...how about some REAL innovation.

simply amazing phones... Crackberry do you have any contests where we can get those phones as prizes? I'd like to have another phone but don't want to spend again. I want it for free.

- Jason of wedding planners guild GA

Do yall think they will make another BB without a camera? I work a Navy base and cameras are not allowed.

Am I going to be able to pop in a Orange sim card?
Can it be unlocked?

12 cents to calls to the US compared to $1.29, which is extortion btw, is no contest with an unlocked BB.

Im moving into the bb world and am a VZW customer...should I get the curve or wait for this new one...thoughts, opinions welco,me!

I've been using Blackberries for over a year now (and have several of them to date). I'm not necessarily an "expert" on BB's but I know more than the average user.

I'm a gadget addict with full blown Blackberry addiction :-) If you have never had one and don't know what I mean when I say that don't worry, you will soon enough ;-) They say once you go BlackBerry you can never go back and for the most part that is true. I have had several Blackberries on Verizon (8830 World Edition, Curve 8930, Storm 9530, and soon to be the Niagara 9630) which is my preferred carrier. But I do have a line on AT&T because I could not resist the Bold any longer. Soon I will have an unlocked TMobile BB 8900 Curve and swap that back and forth with my Curve (the wonders of a SIM card).

I came across a site for the blackberry tour owners http://www.Blackberry-tour.com I hope you will also find it useful. talk care.

I've been using Blackberries for over a year now (and have several of them to date). I'm not necessarily an "expert" on BB's but I know more than the average user.

I'm a gadget addict with full blown Blackberry addiction :-) If you have never had one and don't know what I mean when I say that don't worry, you will soon enough ;-) They say once you go BlackBerry you can never go back and for the most part that is true. I have had several Blackberries on Verizon (8830 World Edition, Curve 8930, Storm 9530, and soon to be the Tour 9630) which is my preferred carrier. But I do have a line on AT&T because I could not resist the Bold any longer. Soon I will have an unlocked TMobile BB 8900 Curve and swap that back and forth with my Curve (the wonders of a SIM card).

I came across a site for the blackberry tour owners http://www.Blackberry-tour.com I hope you will also find it useful. talk care.

Does anyone know if the 9630 will have threaded text messages? Thanks in advance.

fmgirlygirl, I think i read $199 somewhere, but that may have been inaccurate.

Finally something I'll be proud to own. Something that will fit perfectly in my hand (and not in the depths of my over sized hand bag)Something I can brag about. I'm so excited.

I'm getting mine on the 12th and cant wait to try it out has anyone heard of any problems it might be having. Is the video quality as good as the bolds?

Hello. I'm a Sprint Employee. If you are looking to buy the Pre, Tour or anyother Sprint device or join Sprint service, please let me know and you can shop for it Everything Plus Referral Program located at:

http://delivery.sprint.com/m/p/sprint/epc/epclanding.asp?id9=vanity:ever...

This exclusive program provides you with discounts and other benefits that aren't available to the general public. If you are interested please reply to this message and I will assist you further.

Are you still employed by Sprint ? Let me know as I like to take advantage of the Everything Pluss Program

Got mine on Monday and I am loving it. Battery life not as good as my curve but still a great device.

I've waited all my years of owning cell phones for the devices to get to this level. The integration of PDA, Phone, Multimedia, and Data is as seamless as anything you will find. Coming from a windows based machine that took 25 steps to get on the internet and check the weather, or check a facebook update... the Tour is a breath of fresh air! Any other pone seems like a child's toy. Design, usability, battery life, and all around quality are way above anything from the multitude of phones from all the manufacturers you have heard of that I have owned over the years.

Just upgraded from Curve and kind of happy and but mostly not.

Pros:
1. Screen is Beautiful.
2. Speed is great.
3. Apps are nicely upgraded.

Cons:
1. Battery life - it eats it's battery.
2. Back door is loose - it actually wiggles.
3. Painful location of power port on right side - cable is in the way if keying while charging vs top left on curve.
4. The case they sent can't holster unit and charge - blocks charging port
5. Heavier - 131g vs the Curve 114g
6. Taller by just a hair
7. I am pretty convinced call quaility is worse - people have comment all day I sound muffled
8. And just the stupidest thing - there is no little window for me to center my face on the back cover for a picture.

I have already seen posts for fixes for the back that include stuffing paper, electricians tape or warping the back with hair dryer. I expect to see 3rd party back doors that fit and maybe they can put back the focus window.

I hope somebody very soon comes up with a 90 degree charging cable.

I've used the Curve for over a year now with no issue - maybe I am just a little spoiled but I'm not too sure about the feel of the keypad especially on the edges (seems I keep missing the p) and it really seems the track ball has a poor tactile feel. In addition, the first impression is that the flatness of the keys on each side of the track ball are too flat. You really have a hard time feeling where one stops and the next start.

Okay - so it's new and needs some break in time. I will have to learn to love it - with all it's ergonomic faults.

I have used many phones over the years.
My last phone was the Palm Treo. That had malfunctioned
and I needed a new phone. I didn't like the storm that
much. I am partial to keypads like my palm. My son
Told me about the tour. It has a keypad that you like.
It will be out in a month. So I waited the month
With my broken phone. The tour I waited for is
Just what I needed. It was well worth the wait.

I have been a CrackBerry addict for a couple years... And as such, I was eager to get my wife into the smart phone world - constantly telling her how wonderful it was. The BlackBerry Storm was my shot.

We went to Verizon together, got the 2 for 1 deal. Within a MONTH, we both replaced them twice (total of four NEW Storms) due to screen issues. In the span of 6 months, together we've been through about 15 of them! Every single one due to the screen issues. I use mine for about 80% business, and my wife about 90% personal. Neither of us could put up with difficult to press and unresponsive screens and constant hour-glass and constant battery pulls.

I bailed on the BlackBerry Storm for the Tour about 2 weeks ago. I don't recall a battery pull yet, the device works flawlessly. I can get through all my work (email, calendar, phone calls, etc.) without any hassles. I must admit, however, the big screen will be missed, but a functioning device is way better than a non-functioning, big screen.

My wife's new BlackBerry Tour showed up just now from FedEx. I will get her swapped over tonight and see what she thinks over the next few days. I'm convinced she'll love the Tour and let the Storm go to the infamous "drawer".

BlackBerry (RIM), if you're reading any of these comments, please - for the love of your customers - FIX the Storm and make some sort of concession for those of us spending HUNDREDS of dollars to get out of the BlackBerry Storm - PLEASE!

BTW: Verizon couldn't care less. Don't bother asking them to get you out of the Storm unless it's in the 30 day window. It is futile! They prefer sending more refurbished / new / whatever Storms to replace the broken device and will eventually call you a liar and that the screen "click" is a customer preference - "if you can select what you press, it works. The click is just your preference." Uh, OK! Then stop making the commercials that speak to the "click" and say "it sometimes works! hooray for half-functional devices! Get one today... and another tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after.... eventually you'll give up and give us even more of your hard earned money! hooray for us - we're making money in a poor economy off the backs of our 'valued' customers!"

the only thing i have to say negative about the Tour is that when a message is received, it only "beeps" once.I was used to having mine set to 3 beeps on my Curve and not being able to do this is causing me to get messages wayyy after they've been sent. is there an application i can download to change this or an update available?please let me know if yall know of anything i can do!thanks!

LMAO it's funny how people are saying its going to be called the BOLD. I have it and it's called the TOUR. People need to learn their blackberry's.

Rah, rah, another variation on a theme with little substantive improvement. And to boot, they go to a smaller USB cable with no discernible improvement in speed but it means I now have to buy new car charger and connector cable to my computer. Of course, the two sizes of cables are virtually indistinguishable so its easy to grab the wrong one. So I wind up carrying two of everything to cover my traveling needs. Thanks, Bumberry, for wasting resources and complicating my life.

Other details--you can use this as GPS (e.g., sprint navigation) but golly, you can't keep the backlight on while you're navigating unless you find 3d party software to do so. Great glitz, no guts. Thanks, Boobleberry. And speaking of backlight, when oh when oh when will they offer an option to keep backlight on when on car charger?

Add to this, the perpetuation of a home screen that allows only a few icons to be visible. Want more, you have to click through to the next screen. How about an option that allows you to have all of the icons you normally use available at the home page?

And more to the point, how about a text-based home screen option? Rather than goofy, often barely distinguishable icons (e.g., clock and maps, applications and instant messaging), how about a home screen that used these things called WORDS in a two column format?

Speaking of words--for those of us who are not hooked on the Cult of Crackberry but are stuck with them by company choice-why does Barfberry persist in putting the model number UNDERNEATH THE BATTERY? Too complicated to print on the outside so that we can remember what the crapping model number is when we need to?

So once more, the pundits parrot the industry hype, while the industry simply fails to actually make the thing a better communication device. Pretty sad when a 50-something has to point out the obvious.

Lastly, we just went to Sprint and its coverage flat out sucks compared to Verizon--like NO signal in the Nashville airport--and spotty calls in my office in the main business area of Scottsdale, AZ! We have a one year trial run of Sprint with my business, and it is already a "trial."

Thanks for the thorough review. The Tour just became available on our regional carrier. I'm comparing the newest version of the curve and the tour. This review has been most helpful. Keep up the excellent work and Happpy New Year!

I was one of the Storm owners who held onto it and loved it. Then I broke my first one and had it replaced via the insurance plan. The replacement I got was less than stellar; it was a refurb and had more out-of-the-box problems than my original one did (and I got the original one on the Storm's Verizon release day way back when). Prior to this I had already been shopping around for a new BlackBerry, not so much out of problems with the Storm but that I have a compulsion to replace my phone every so often. Anyway, the long and the short is that I finally settled on the Tour, which my wife got me for Valentine's Day, and while it's only been a few days I love it. It is lighter than the Storm, the screen is great, the typing was easier to get used to than I thought coming from a touchscreen, and the transitions on it are smooth and quick. I definitely recommend it, for whatever that may be worth.

I have this phone (using Sprint) and I love it. Already has a lot of built-in Apps and the GPS is great. I also love how the Convenience Keys/buttons can be remapped. I give this phone an 8/10 :D

So I upgraded this morning only to find out that now I can't use the one touch features like R for reply and F for forward for texting. BB and Verizon said nothing can be done, I'd even be happy to go back to previous software but do not know how to do that.

Argggggg - it ruined everything - this is the second time my BB Storm has broken.
I recieved a notification on my over the weekend about a "mandatory" OS upgrade from 4. something to 5.0. So I went through the whole thing - it re-arranged everything - fine - I can live with that. But now - the whole thing just quit. There is a teeny tiny little message on the screen that says Technical Issue - Return to the place bought it. Of course I removed the battery - I waited - so on and so forth. : (

The first time this happened - on my first tour - the screen went blank with a teeny little square clocking in the middle. There was no solution. What was worse is that the people at the Verizon Store had never seen such a thing - and gave me a new BB. That was all well and good - until the told me that I just lost 6 years worth of phone numbers! I know, I know, I should have backed it up - but I don't use it for work - so I have no need to sync it with outlook.

So sad.......

: (

I been looking for a phone that fits my taste and personality and it just happens to be the !!BLACKBERRY TOUR 9630!! it stood out to me a 100 percent more to me then the Curve 8530 plus it was sexy and sleeker.. I'm plaining on updating to the tour it will be my first blackberry. I have play'd with the BB Curves that was refresh the curve 8530 wit track pad but I just wasn't sold on it at all it was very light weight and felt very cheap to be honest with you, and now that the curve 8530 has came along there is no flash at all they are newly place media controls on the top of the phone + wifi which is useless in southern georgia. and they have this funky little rubber on both sides of the phone and it made it look even cheaper!! and a 2.0 mp camera come on get out of here with that it doesn't take good pictures at all even in Good light and the track pad it was ok but I really didn't like it much at all and the last thing I hate about the curve is the super small keyboard I don't have larger finger's I have typer's fingers. But I love everything about the (BLACKBERRY TOUR 9630!!) plus it's a world phone and it replaces the 8830 world phone. The Tour is a mid size device and it's not only flashy it's just right and it fits in nicely to the storm and the bold I can't wait to get it I just love it!!!!

Blackberry Tour is one of the most ingenious concepts to have arisen in the last decade. Not only is it severely overpriced compared to most domestic and imported models of smartphone, the frustration caused by RIM's incompetence in creating updates and operating systems is astounding. Score one for Canadian domestic technological firms. With this device, not only are we able to compete on the international market with the likes of India and RUSSIA, we're able to sell an inferior product that even China doesn't want to import.

Most Annoying Issue to Date:
When UPDATING, the system will lock up for an unspecified period of time after you've touched your system. So it may have spent the past 4 hours idling and missing every call or message received until you touch it at which point it seemingly locks up while updating your system (without letting you know this of course). Only after prying the battery out and restarting the system a half dozen times are you able to learn that it is indeed updating and NOT subjecting itself to another electronic temper tantrum. If only there were some mythical method of informing the user of an impending update.