- Solid and well built
- BlackBerry push email
- Good GPS integration
- Weak web browser
- No Wi-Fi
RIM has been pretty successful in many respects with both its BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Pearl offerings. Both models have the business sense and email ability that marks the BlackBerry brand, and offer a bit more style and substance to the table than past devices.
The Curve leans toward staying mainly a business device, but with a bit of a consumer flair. Its smaller profile than the BlackBerry 8800 series makes it pocketable, but its not so much so that the famous RIM QWERTY keyboard style needs to be changed, as it is on the Pearl. It also offers an increasing amount of third party applications, and a slightly different style than feature phones tend to have.
I spent some time with the BlackBerry Curve 8330 for Sprint to see for myself some of this ability to merge consumer functionality with BlackBerry sensibility. And while not everything is as point-and-go as the push email, there’s good reason to believe that future RIM models will be able to do just fine keeping work productive and play enjoyable.
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The bright QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) screen does a solid job of displaying text and some pictures. However, the Curve, like other current BlackBerry products, uses some archaic fonts which take up more space than they probably should. That being said, most items are quite readable in most lighting conditions.
The front side of the device also contains a the BlackBerry Trackball and QWERTY keyboard. RIM’s keyboards are highly touted for their ease of use and numerous shortcuts. I found the keyboard to be OK to use, but it did feel a bit inferior to the one on my Treo 680. While the keys were of a good size, I had to aim for them moreso than with the Treo.
The trackball was a breeze to use and made navigating the device fairly simple. In some places it was faster than I needed it to be, but was overall just fine.
The trackball is flanked by four application buttons: green and red call buttons, a menu button, and a back button. While small, these gave great feedback and didn’t get in the way when using the trackball or QWERTY keyboard.
The top of the Curve simply has a mute button. The mute button also functions as a standby button when pressed and held for a few seconds. It reminded me of the Treo/Centro’s button at the top, but less intuitive.
The rear of the Curve has only the 2 megapixel digital camera’s lens. There is no opening to remove the battery. The rear is otherwise flush and uneventful.
The left side of the Curve has a 3.5mm headset jack, mini-USB connector, and a customizable application button. The right side has the volume up/down buttons and a button to launch the camera.