BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

Research In Motion (RIM) has been targeting the entry-level market for some time now but it wasn’t very evident until they released another qwerty smartphone, the Blackberry Curve 8520.

Like most other Blackberry phones, the Curve 8520 gets a stylish glossy finish and a sleeker look. It’s a bit smaller than the previous full qwerty Blackberry handsets but is still comfortable to use.

RIM ditched the usual trackball and replaced it with a touch sensitive optical track pad instead. The trackpad is really nice and comfortable to use but sometimes I find it cumbersome especially when scrolling over really long web pages or list of messages.

The individual keys on the qwerty keypad are a bit small but since they’re raised higher, typing becomes easier over time.

The phone sports a 2.64 inch display with a resolution of 320×240 pixels. The screen has a nice bright and crisp display despite the relatively small size. There is a 2-megapixel camera (1600×1200 pixel resolution) that’s optimized for taking videos.

As for connectivity, the Curve 8520 has WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP. It only has EDGE instead of 3G so it’s a little slower connecting to wireless data networks. However, RIM’s proprietary data compression technology enables faster data transfer over GPRS or EDGE. Despite that compression technology they always brag about (and I’ve noticed it really works), there are lots of instances you’d wish you had 3G (audio/video streaming, tethering to a laptop, etc.) with it.

Internal storage is only 256MB but that can be extended up to 32GB using an external microSD card (card sold separately). The handset runs on Blackberry OS powered by 512MHz processor and that’s already a capable device for its category. The Li-Ion battery is rate at 1150mAh and battery life is pretty decent at over 2 days of regular use.

RIM is also shaping the Curve 8520 as an entry-level multimedia phone by adding dedicated music keys and a 3.5mm audio jack so you can use just about any headphones with it. Playback is great with nice sound quality when playing music or videos.

The Blackberry Curve 8520 only comes in glossy black while pricing is dependent on partner telcos offering Blackberry plans. We have yet to see which BB plans they’ll offer it with.

Side note: if you’re interested on getting a Blackberry for a phone, having a postpaid Blackberry Plan to go with it maximizes its potential esp. with push messaging. Otherwise, the difference between other similar qwerty phones (like the Samsung Blackjack, Nokia E63) isn’t that much.

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