The BlackBerry Curve 3G is debuting with BlackBerry OS 5, rather than the newly introduced OS 6.0. OS 5.0 is definitely an improvement on previous generations, but it feels outdated compared to the newer version.
Like its forefathers, the Curve 3G offers generally reliable performance, but it is guaranteed not to wow anyone. Though infrequent, I did notice some bouts of sluggishness when doing routine tasks, which is alarming — especially when I think about the OS 6.0 upgrade.
Wireless and Call Quality
The Curve 3G offers WiFi (a/b/g), Bluetooth, and Verizon’s flavor of 3G. Connectivity is predictably BlackBerry — reliable and without any drama.
Still, this phone excels in call quality. CDMA based calls seem to be clearer and offer less static than their GSM counterparts. The Curve 3G offered clear calling from the network side, and sound performance from the built-in speakers. Both handset and speakerphone volume and sound quality are more than adequate.
Standard BlackBerry Applications
The standard BlackBerry productivity and entertainment apps are preloaded onto the Curve 9330. Highlights among these include the Documents To Go suite for working with Microsoft Office files, and games such as BrickBreaker, Word Mole and others.
Additionally Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking apps are now standard issue.
If you want more, you can turn to BlackBerry App World, an on-device service for finding and buying third-party software.
Email has always been one of BlackBerry’s strengths, and the Curve continues this well. It supports both consumer email services as well as enterprise messaging systems.
It also comes with BlackBerry Messenger 5.0, GoogleTalk, Yahoo Messenger, AIM, and MSN preloaded, giving you plenty of options for instant messaging.
Any speed advantages Verizon’s 3G network offer are negated by the browser. The browser renders mobile versions of pages fine, but doesn’t do so with any appreciable speed advantages because these pages are so small.
Verizon Specific Applications
Verizon has never been shy about loading up its phones with useful applications, and also bloatware. This trend hasn’t changed.
The only worthwhile apps are Visual Voicemail, and Bing Mobile. Other bundled apps include City ID, VCAST Music, V Case Song ID, Vzw Tones, and V Cast Video.
Being a Verizon BlackBerry, this Curve gets BlackBerry Maps (not usually offered on AT&T BlackBerrys). An interesting tweak for the Curve 3G is that Bing is the sole in-browser search provider.
The camera on this device underwhelms in every way. The disappointment of the mere 2.0 megapixel camera is surpassed only by the lack of flash and focus.
You’d be better off carrying a disposable camera in your pocket than using this one.
As welcome as the new features are, the Curve 3G’s battery life suffers due to the addition of Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities. You won’t fear about leaving the charger behind for the day, but the allure of previous generations’ potential for days-without-charging under moderate use is gone.
The decrease in battery life seems less pronounced than the difference between GSM based phones when moving from “2G” to 3G.