Last summer I had an LG Voyager, but desperately wanted to upgrade to a Blackberry. Lucky for me, one of my best friend’s mom’s worked at Verizon, and was able to get me an early upgrade. I was faced with a choice: get the Curve (8330) right then and be able to have all the luxeries of a blackberry, or wait until an unspecified date for the Storm (9530). I had read a few articles about the Storm, and I decided I wanted it, so I would wait. Finally, a week before Thanksgiving, I was at a Verizon store up in Binghamton at 7 AM, waiting on line for my new phone. After getting it, and the initial excitement of having a blackberry wore off, I realized that RIM and Verizon might have jumped the gun on releasing this phone, as it was very glitchy, and not up to “typical” blackberry standards. Still, I figured I’d keep it, as getting a Curve had no appeal to me. After applying the initial software update to the Storm, it ran a little better, but was still buggy. When the next update came out (earlier this summer), I immediately installed it, hoping again that it would be the magic cure for all of the phones woes. Again, no dice. With the release of the Tour, I again spoke to my friend’s mom to see if she could do anything about it. She had recently left Verizon, but was still good friends with the manager, so she said to talk to him. I went into Verizon the day the phone was released, and very much to my surprise, the manager allowed me again to upgrade my phone. I immediately fell in love with my Tour; the style, the feel, just everything about it.
So now it’s been a week of having this new phone, and, although the initial infatuation has worn off, I’m still very impressed with it, and learning new tricks with it everyday. Overall, the build of the phone is amazing; its sturdy, but at the same time, not stiff. My only complaint is the battery door has a slight “wiggle” to it. Not a huge deal right now, but something to possibly be concerned about in the future. The OS on the Tour is the same as the Storm, just for a trackball. That being said, I thought the overall design on the Storm was great, just the use of a touchscreen made it difficult at times. With a trackball, OS 4.7 is fast, efficient, and clean looking. Also, the memory issues that plagued the Storm seems non-existent on the Tour. I’ve currently had mine on for 3-4 days, and the available memory is hovering around ~65 MB. As a point of comparison, my Storm used to have < 10 MB after only a days use, which made it very difficult to actually use the phone when it was necessary. The day after getting the Tour, I called Verizon customer service, and asked for the unlock code. After making sure that my account was in good standing, the representative was kind enough to walk me through the process, and give me an unlock code, free of charge. They only questioned why I wanted to unlock the phone, and simply saying that I planned to travel out of the country was enough to get it. The reprensentative did inform me that the Tour is a world phone, and would work out of the country though, but I would have to pay Verizon’s international roaming charges, which is exactly why I wanted it unlocked. After unlocking it, I popped in my AT&T Go Phone SIM, and just like my Storm, was able to make voice calls and receive/send text messages. Again, like the Storm, the browser and email/BBM did not work, as there is no data plan on my Go Phone SIM card.
Besides the fact that the phone looks amazing, it also came preloaded with some nice games, and, now that I have a keyboard again, I have been downloading just about every app I can think of. Although the Storm was a Blackberry, something was left to be desired without the keyboard, something that iPhone’s aren’t plagued with. I think it has to do with Apple’s extensive App Store. The Storm was lacking in its compatibility with previous versions of many widely used applications because of the touchscreen. I’ve already installed several applications that I would never have thought of using on the Storm, on my Tour. Most notable among them are WordPress and Twitter. Although these would have probably worked on the Storm, the thought of typing out an entry, or even a tweet, would have been halted by the fact that numerous typos would have appeared due to the input on the Storm. On the Tour, there’s no problems typing out quick updates or tweets, and I almost never have trouble entering what I want.
On a side note, I recently received an invite to Google Voice from my friend Alex. I had already installed the Google Voice app for Blackberry the day before, just to see what it looked like, but was unable to use it without an account. After setting up my account at 2 AM Friday morning (or Thursday night, I guess), I was immediately able to make calls from my Blackberry using the Google Voice number. It’s a nice feature to have, considering if I start to give people that number more, rather than my cell phone number, I’ll pretty much be able to have service everywhere. For instance, if I’m driving up to Binghamton, and all I can pick up is AT&T’s service, my phone will automatically switch over. The problem used to be that I wouldn’t get any of my Verizon calls until I forced it back onto Verizon’s network. With the Google Voice account, I can set up both numbers to receive the call forwarding. For my uses, only one phone would ring (whichever has service at the time), but if I had set it up, for instance, with a mobile and house phone, whichever one is answered first takes the call, and the other stops ringing. In theory, this means that I can always be reached, which may not always be helpful.
Overall, the Blackberry Tour is definitely a nice welcome back to the world of QWERTY keyboards on cell phones. Verizon and RIM definitely put together a winning combination on this phone. With Verizon’s network, and the ability to use Google Voice, this is definitely the best phone I’ve ever used.