For years, across boardrooms and classrooms, power users and homemakers, the BlackBerry Curve has been the quintessential BlackBerry. Verizon Wireless and others have recently debuted the Curve 3G (9330), which refreshes the look and feel of this series while maintaining its familiarity.
This smartphone is available from Verizon for $30 after a $100 mail-in rebate. It's also available from Sprint and T-Mobile.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Curve 3G retains approximately the same dimensions as the previous Curves (8530, 8900, 8300). Compared to other current generation BlackBerrys, the Curve 3G feels remarkably light. This is due in part to the C-S2 battery that has been regularly featured in several BlackBerry models. This means that users upgrading from the 8xxx may be able to continue to use their battery as a spare.
Staying true to form in terms of being an update of the previous Curve, the screen on the new model is a step up over previous generations, but only just on par with its current generation competitors.
Its contrast and crispness will draw no complaints. However, I do have an odd complaint with the screen brightness - though having a bright screen is usually great, it doesn't dim as much as I'd prefer. If you're a heavy screen-as-flashlight user (but really, who isn't?), you'll be happy here.
Another complaint is the size and brightness of the LED message indicator, which is approximately the size of a ball point pen tip. Not a new complaint for current generation BlackBerrys.
The Curve 8900 was the wild child of the Curve family and boasted the rubbery keys found on other BlackBerry lines (read: 8800, Bold, Torch, Tour). The Curve 3G, on the other hand, remains steeped in family tradition and retains the chicklet style keyboard.
There is nearly no difference between the Curve 3G and previous generation keyboards.
Buttons & Other Controls
Current generation styling rules are in play for the Curve 3G. The Talk, BlackBerry, Return, and End call keys are integrated to appear to be part of the screen rather than the keyboard, there are hints of chrome, and a softer plastic bezel wrapping the phone, from beneath which the convenience keys seem to protrude.
RIM has included media keys (forward, back, play/pause/mute) on top of the phone in place of the mute/lock rocker found on some other models. A welcome addition in my opinion.
The company has integrated its now-standard optical trackpad into the Curve 3G. It works as expected, and horizontal and vertical scroll sensitivity controls work well.
RIM has continued its foray into interesting battery compartment covers with a textured plastic cover that somehow reminds me of carbon fiber. Compared to metal covers found on other models, this cover won't scratch or become excessively hot or cold. It looks good too, well done RIM! Unfortunately it's not the easiest to securely snap back on after removing it.
The Curve 3G uses a micro-USB charger, and also includes a 3.5 mm headset jack.
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