I’ve already mentioned that the Curve has a big leg-up over its brethren by having a touchpad instead of the trackball. The aspect where the 8530 really hits it out of the park is with its operating system. The Curve 8530 features BlackBerry OS 5.0, currently the only device on the Sprint lineup to do so.
The 5.0 operating system isn’t revolutionary, but offers nice many little improvements, such as wirelessly syncing of contacts with certain email providers, the ability to flag messages for follow up, better application permission management, and vastly improved ability to manage ringing profile settings.
The processor on the Curve 8530 is less powerful than some of its contemporaries, including the Tour, and sometimes it would hang. For most of what you do most of the time, however, you won’t notice this lack of power. Power users, on the other hand, should consider a more powerful device.
Generally the 8530 is a solid performer, but its call quality is only just average.
There was a little background static at times and the sound itself was somewhat hollow. Not a deal breaker, but you get the distinct sense that you’re using a cell phone when making calls on this device.
This BlackBerry boasts a 3G Sprint antenna, GPS, Bluetooth, and best of all Wi-Fi. The latter of these is not available on the Tour — another point in favor for the Curve.
Though Sprint’s 3G coverage isn’t as extensive as AT&T or Verizon in my area, wherever I did have coverage there were no hiccups to be found.
Of course, this smartphone includes the now-standard BlackBerry apps: the DataViz DocumentsToGo office suite, Pandora, BlackBerry Maps, and a slew of social networking apps.
Sprint’s version of this BlackBerry also comes preloaded with a host of Sprint-specific apps, including Sprint Navigation, Sprint NASCAR, NFL, TV and music apps. Although these apps sound promising, I had a hard time getting them to perform reliably and sometimes couldn’t get them to launch at all. This may be a downside of offering the same apps across all of its phones.
The built-in camera on new generation Curve doesn’t have a flash, which is a step backward for BlackBerry. Its 2 megapixel camera also lacks auto-focus and has a lower resolution that the cameras found on other models (Bold 9700, Tour, Storm). Given these considerations however the camera still performs quite well.