BlackBerry Tour 9630 or Palm Pre? Smart Phone Q&A

Sprint has been on their job lately, namely in the smart phone department. Everyone already knows about the IPhone and that it has been the reigning king of the category since its debut a few years back. Well Sprint has put their foot down saying enough is enough. The proclaimed best 3G service has plotted an attack to over throw the Apple king, by releasing the BlackBerry Tour 9630 (not the Verizon version RIM BlackBerry Tour 9630) and Palm hopeful, the Pre earlier this year.

If you are considering becoming a new Sprint customer, or if you are an existing client looking to upgrade, you’re probably wondering how the two smart phones match up against each other. To help you decide which is best for you, I have compiled a list of answers to questions that you may ask.

Which is more enjoyable? More specifically how are the apps?

  • The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is loaded with them. Included are: Sprint music and software store, Handmark pocket express, Pandora, Sprint TV, NFL mobile live, MLB.com, Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, a Nascar app, Sprint navigation, 5 IM apps, as well a bunch of 3rd party apps you can download. BlackBerry has its own media player that works much better than Sprint music, not to mention it’s cheaper to download a song through it. Sprint TV gives you about 12 or so channels that stream very smoothly. Just to name a few details.
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  • The Palm Pre lacks in this category only providing its users with a handful of app selections. You get Pandora, Fickster, Fandango, Connect 4, Accuweather, you can check your stocks but that’s pretty much it. The folks at Palm are putting strict limitations on the 3rd party app catalogue, which takes away from the all around phone experience.

Which one looks cooler?

The Palm Pre is sexy. It has a huge 3.1 inch screen that slides up revealing the keyboard and it feels great in your hand. Beware of its sharp edges though, it can cut if not handled with care.

Which is cheaper?

With a new 2 year plan with Sprint both smart phones are $199.99 after mail-in rebate, so price is not much of a factor when choosing between the two. However, if you are not looking for a new service or upgrade and you are looking to just pay regular price for the phone, there is a slight difference. The Palm Pre is $549.99 as opposed the $499.99 BlackBerry Tour 9630, but Amazon and EBay have these devices even cheaper if you bother to look. To help you I have included a few to the right and bottom of this article to narrow your search.

Is it a TOUCH smart phone?

  • The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is not a touch smart phone. If your loyal to BlackBerry you won’t mind this because they are consistent with putting out high quality phones. You got to admit the scroll ball is pretty cool though.
  • At the moment, the Pre outshines all touch smart phones on the market, in the touch category of course. It’s actually blowing the iPhone away with its unmatchable multi-touch 3.1 inch screen. Always know what apps you are running, each one is stored as a “card” you can scroll through horizontally and go back into them very easily or flick off the top of the screen to close. Messages and other alerts come across the bottom of the screen that you can review or dismiss without interrupting any of the apps that you are currently using. When the screen is touched it shows a ripple effect to prevent buttons from sticking like on many other touch smart phones. Give thanks to Palm’s webOS operating system, a groundbreaking revelation in the smart phone world.

Is it easy to text with?

Looking at both keyboards they are almost identical, but there is a key difference. The size of the buttons on the Pre are smaller and have a rubbery feel, so if you have big hands texting can be difficult. The Pre also does not have any word correction which is good and bad, its good if you use text slang but bad if you don’t. Regardless everyone gets the hang of texting on any phone after a day or two so don’t worry about this.

They both have camera’s, but which is better?
Both devices have a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash that takes an impressive picture besting the camera on the iPhone. The camera on the 9630 has auto focus and can record video which the Palm Pre can not do.

Which smart phone gets better coverage?

Without a doubt the Tour 9630 has the better phone coverage. BlackBerry has already proven themselves as the better international device and they remain true to it with awesome call clarity from anywhere. It has amazing roaming call coverage, and if you travel, you can swap SIM cards with foreign ones for a cheaper service fee. The Pre has weak call coverage, and its clarity is nothing more than sub par.

How well does the internet work?

  • The Tour 9630 and Pre are on the CDMA network, and Sprint praises themselves for having “the best 3G network” without many complaints from customers, so you can deduct that the internet works just fine on both. But, and this is a big but, what is keeping the BlackBerry from being on top is that the phone has no WiFi capabilities which for lack of a better word, sucks. If it did have WiFi, BlackBerry could steal a lot of Apple customers because they produce all around better devices than the iPhone.
  • The Palm Pre stands tall in this category as well, because webOS provides possible the best mobile web browser to date. It is powerful, fast, and unlike the BlackBerry it does have WiFi capabilities. The browser is based on the Webkit rendering engine just like the iPhone and the G1, however it has awesome javascript which renders pages as it would on your desktop. It does not support flash yet so it will lag here and there when trying to load a page with a YouTube video, but recall what the prefix “pre” means therefore expect that in the coming months this phone shall be fault free.

How about memory?

BlackBerry is better for storing lots of data. What it has over the leading smart phones is that you can insert up to a 16MB memory card into it. However, you can not store apps on the memory card so be mindful of the data saved to the hard drive.

With that being said it is up to you what phone to choose, these questions are just to help you with your decision making. I did not provide a review for each phone because you should never go out and purchase something based on what someone told you. You never know that if a review you read stated something that was bad, that you think is good. For example some people like the rubbery keyboard thing because its easier to type with as opposed to non-sticky or touch keyboard.

Also as I mentioned before check out Amazon and EBay for better pricing on these devices. The Pre showed up on Amazon for $99 once, that’s enough to get excited about if you want a cool phone but your trying to save money.

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