Blackberry Tour First Impressions

I got a Blackberry Tour last Tuesday from Best Buy. After playing with it for a week, here’s a random assortment of impressions, some good, some bad:


  • Google Apps are amazing! Super easy to set up E-mail for Google Apps as well as importing my Google calendar.
  • My calendar was sync’d in about 10 minutes.
  • Love running multiple apps at once, like Pandora in the background while e-mailing someone, or having music fade when making a phone call.
  • Amazingly enthusiastic, even fanatical blackberry community. Many answers are only a google search away.
  • Browser is pretty fast.
  • Blackberry App World has some pretty nifty programs, especially Pandora.
  • Applications are easy to download, install, and uninstall.
  • Not necessary to get all applications through one central store (a la Apple App Store), you’re free to get them from the vendor if available.
  • Video playback capabilities are amazing.
  • Nice to be able to record video. Not sure about the quality.


  • Has a flash for the camera, but takes forever to shoot.
  • Keyboard is a bit small.  Takes some getting used to. Nice to have tactile feedback, though.
  • Wish I could nest folders for apps, settings, etc.


  • Confusing how certain programs show up in the manual, but don’t show up on the device.
  • Noticed that about 2 hours after purchasing, more icons automatically showed up: browser, My Verizon, etc.
  • Annoying that every program has a Terms of Service
  • Confusing how sometimes you press the menu button for something, but others you press the trackball.
  • Wish I could put more icons on the homescreen.
  • No wifi, would be especially nice at home.
  • Annoying how I have to pay for turn by turn directions to Verizon for $10/month.
  • Weird to receive a text message each time I get a voicemail.
  • Recent calls is a bit confusing. No easy way to get there.  Why do I get a message each time?
  • Unable to show more than 12 icons when inside of a folder.  Seems like a lot of wasted “white” space (it’s really black).
  • Annoying that the phone can’t be in standby and locked mode with one key.  Requires two key presses.
  • Typing passwords is complicated because it’s hard to know what entries are being pressed, e.g., 1 vs W or 2 vs E.
  • Browser leaves something to be desired.
  • How do you dial letters? It’s not immediately obvious, and the intuitive thing to do (actually pressing on the letters themselves since it’s a QWERTY keyboard) isn’t the right thing to do.  It’s close, but not quite. The answer is to press the ALT key while typing the letter, so to dial GOOG-411, you would type press and hold the ALT button while typing “GOOG” and then release the ALT key before pressing 411.  Not the most intuitive way to do it.
  • Silencing the phone doesn’t really silence it–the alarm will still go off in silent mode (huh?). Can’t seem to find any documentation on this. Looks like I actually have to disable the alarm in order for it to be silent.

Unfortunately, that’s a rather long list of Cons and Ambivalents. I’ve got 30 days to figure out whether or not I really want to keep this thing. After being without my Handspring Visor for a few years, it’s really nice to have my calendar on me at all times.  It’s quite convenient.

I keep going back and forth in my head about whether or not to keep this. Part of me really hopes that the iPhone comes to Verizon in 2010. If that’s the case, then I’ll likely return this thing and wait another few months. If it gets pushed back to 2011, it might be worth my while to keep this Blackberry and use it until the new iPhone arrives.

Hmm…I guess I’d better take really good advantage of my 30 days.

4 thoughts on “Blackberry Tour First Impressions

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