The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a sleek entry-level smartphone that delivers some nice design enhancements and great performance. BlackBerry Curve 8520 - Mobile Phone Review - The entry-level. users rather than those who would traditionally buy a smartphone. BlackBerry 8520 review, guides and best buys. Find the best deal for the. I have to have a smartphone because I can't live without Internet and all the.
The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature. RIM's BlackBerry Curve 8520 is the cheapest QWERTY handset in the company's range, with a price tag £199 with an Orange pay-and-go SIM card, and is ideal for business users on a budget. It looks similar to existing BlackBerry Models – including the BlackBerry Curve 8900 – but, unlike most of its siblings, it doesn't feature a rollerball for navigation. You'll find a small optical pad below the display instead.
It works like a mini touchpad and is simple and accurate to use. With no moving parts, it's also likely to prove more robust for long-term use. Unfortunately, build quality on the rest of the handset leaves much to be desired – the main difference from more expensive models being the omission of a metal backplate.
In its place, you'll find a glossy plastic cover, which is flimsy and feels quite cheap. On the plus side, its compact form factor means this handset slips easily into even the smallest pockets. Matt, soft-touch plastics around the side are also pleasing – as are the media buttons on the top of the handset.
A set of unmarked buttons offer control for volume settings and the camera, along with a button to activate voice control. They're integrated into the side of the device and made out of the same material, which is a sensible choice, as it leaves no chance of dirt getting under the buttons.
The main navigation, call and end keys sit flush with the screen, with a glossy finish that's a magnet for fingerprints and scratches. The QWERTY keypad that sits below it offers excellent usability. It's not the largest keyboard we've seen, but it's easy to adjust to and the keys are responsive and firmly attached.
The 2.6-inch screen is every bit as good as most other BlackBerrys, with vivid and bright colours. The 320 x 240-pixel resolution isn't the sharpest, but images remain crisp and easy on the eye. The BlackBerry OS is still as intuitive as ever, with large, clearly labelled icons on the menu.
A set of shortcut icons sit on the home screen, with full accessibility to other functions offered by pressing the button to the left of the optical pad. This handset excels when it comes to email use, with push email support delivering your mail instantly. Setting up your account is a simple matter of typing in your email address and password.
The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature an optical, touch-sensitive trackpad instead of a trackball for navigation -- and I like it. Too often, I found the trackballs to be too loose to help you scroll through lists and menus easily. The trackpad, however, was perfectly responsive to my touch. It also clicked satisfyingly when pressed, unlike the trackballs, which I found often rolled when I was actually trying to press them.
Size-wise, the Curve 8520 is smaller and rounder than the BlackBerry Tour; it's similar in size (though just a tiny bit thicker) to the ultra-slim BlackBerry Curve 8900. The keyboard is also a bit more cramped than the roomy one found on the Bold, but it's excellent, nonetheless.
The Curve 8520 is available in black or frost, and unlike the Curve 8900, it lacks the chrome accents around the edge of the phone. Instead, you get a rubberized grip that I found quite comfortable. The phone's buttons, including the volume controls and a camera key, are integrated into the rubber edge, and are easy to find and use.
The Curve's screen measures 2.4 inches diagonally, which feels a bit small compared to some of the displays on today's best phones, which often measure 3 inches or larger. And its resolution is only 320 by 240, which is not as sharp as the high-resolution displays found on other BlackBerry phones, like the Tour and Bold.
We found the handset responded quickly to our inputs, with a 512MHz processor moving things along nicely and with little lag. The 256MB of RAM offers minimal storage space, although a microSD slot is in place for adding further memory, with cards of up to 16GB supported.
Connectivity is reasonable for an entrylevel phone – there's no 3G/HSDPA, but you will find Wi-Fi built in. Unfortunately, GPS has been left out to keep costs down, so you won't be able to use the BlackBerry as a satellite navigation device.
Overall, the Curve 8520 is a nice little handset. It's a shame that some of the materials used aren't of a higher standard, but it offers good usability and a cheap entry point into RIM's impressive BlackBerry range.
Dedicated Media Keys
Control music and multimedia with dedicated media keys found atop the new BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone. Skip over songs, pause music to talk, or repeat your favorites over and over.. You can even mute phone calls with the easy-access mute button.
Access whats important with trackpad navigation. Like a laptop, the trackpad lets you scroll through menus, icons and info by gliding your finger over it. Press and click to select an item and navigate to where you want to go.
Slim, Simplified Design
The BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone neatly fits in your hand. A full QWERTY keyboard makes typing and sending messages easy,and comfortable. The bright screen displays over 65,000 colors, providing a great viewing experience.
Easy Media Sharing
Discover a world of possibilities and apps for the BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone at BlackBerry App World. Get breaking news,and the latest scores. Track the markets, stay on top of Hollywood gossip, enjoy live radio or just play games.
Apple Computer Suport
With the upcoming release of BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac you will be able to sync contacts, calendars, and notes with applications you use most. Use BlackBerry Desktop Software to enjoy a Mac experience on your BlackBerry smartphone.
2.0MP Digital Camera
Video Camera Capabilities
256MB Flash Memory
Size and Weight
Height: 4.29 inches (109 mm)
Width: 2.36 inches (60 mm)
Depth: 0.54 inches (13.9 mm)
Weight: 3.73 ounces (106 grams)
Battery & Battery Life
Battery: 1150 mAHr removable/rechargeable cryptographic Lithium cell
Talk Time: 4.5 hours
Standby Time: 17 days
Video format support: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV3
Audio format support: AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, WMA9 (.wma/.asf), WMA9 PRO/WMA 10, AAC-LC
Picture Format Support: bmp, jpg, png, tif, wbmp
Clear, high-resolution display
Transmisive TFT MCD
320x240 pixel screen
Displays over 65,000 colors
2.46inch (diagonally measured)
Ringtones & Notifications
Tone, vibrate, on-screen or LED indicator
User configurable notification options
32 Polyphonic Ringtones - MIDI, MP3
Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR
Headset (HSP), 3.5mm Headset Capable
Serial Port Profile
SIM Access Profile
Dial Up Networking (DUN)
Stereo Profile (A2DP)
A/V Remote Control Target (AVRCP)
WPA / WPA2 Personal and Enterprise
Cisco CCX certified
Wi-Fi access to BlackBerry Enterprise Server
Wi-Fi access to BlackBerry Internet Bundle
Support for UMA (carrier-dependent)
Camera & Video Recording
2.0 MP camera
5X digital zoom
Video Camera Recording:
Normal Mode (320x240 pixel),MMS Mode (176x144 pixel)
Data Input & Navigation
35 key backlit QWERTY keyboard
Dedicated Keys: Send, End, VAD/PTT (User customizable), Camera (User customizable), 2 x volume
Media Keys: Play/Pause/Mute, Back, Forward
Trackpad - Located on the front face of device, ESC key to the right, Menu to the left.
Intuitive icons and menus
Quad-Band: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz GSM/GPRS networks
Quad-Band: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz EDGE networks
The Curve 8250 sports the BlackBerry OS 188.8.131.529 by default. The device is consistent throughout its hardware and software design, supporting its intentions to appeal to a younger market segment. This is most apparent by the red and white asterisks that litter the notifications section to inform the user about new messages or notifications. This is, of course, a nod to the iPhone which uses the same color scheme to indicate new notifications. These indications clutter up the home screen, especially the top status bar.
The OS also has by Facebook and MySpace built into it by default, and offers a slew of IM clients (AIM, GoogleTalk, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and of course BlackBerry Messenger). Finally BlackBerry Maps is also loaded by default into the device.
Other than the cosmetic updates of the notifications, little else about the OS seems to depart from other BlackBerrys. In certain applications the phone seemed to hang a bit longer than I was comfortable with, which was surprising given the 512 MHz processor, which seems like it would be plenty.
Naturally, it comes with the basic suite of BlackBerry software, with such apps as a web browser, address book, calendar, and Push e-mail. Like recent RIM models, it also has audio and video software and an Office suite -- DataViz Documents To Go.
One feature T-Mobile offers that I've always been a big fan of is UMA, which T-Mobile calls HotSpot@Home. This provides native VoIP service where Wi-Fi is available.
The biggest benefit of UMA is, of course, that if you are in an area that does not have good T-Mobile coverage (you can definitely find some of those around), you can jump on Wi-Fi and instantly have crystal clear conversations.
When I first tried this feature with the BlackBerry Pearl Flip, I had some problems switching between UMA and EDGE (when for example I walked out of Wi-Fi range). The switch has been more seamless with this device. A few times I noticed that call would start in UMA and end in EDGE without dropping.
The BlackBerry Curve 8520 has several elements that position it to a younger market segment -- the rubber outlay around the phone, the updated call and end keys, and the music keys are all evidence of this. Though notable, these are not the stand-out features of the phone.
The optical trackpad is a big step forward for BlackBerrys. It is easier to use, and more importantly makes the device seem more sturdy and sleek than other models with the trackball. Even with its shortcomings in areas like the screen and lack of camera flash, the trackpad makes up for a lot of otherwise lost ground. If you're looking to upgrade to a T-Mobile BlackBerry, normally I'd say the BlackBerry Curve 8900, but with the advent of the trackpad on the 8520 I'd have to think twice.
New optical trackpad
Redesigned side keys, top music keys
Light, small form factor, uses same battery as previous generation Curves
No 3G support
Screen not as advanced as it could be
Keyboard hasn't been improved from original Curve, is actually a step back from Curve 8900
Plastic back cover is susceptible to marks
BlackBerry Curve 8520
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