A while back I posted an article expressing how ecstatically excited I was about getting my new BlackBerry 8330 from Sprint and told you guys to expect a review in the near future. Remember? If not, the article is here. Anyway, here is my review for what is easily the greatest phone I’ve ever owned.
The BlackBerry Curve 8330 is an update to AT&T’s Curve 8330 and runs on Sprint service. The device starts at $99.00 (with one hundred dollar rebate) and offers a myriad of extra features not available with other providers. Sprint TV, Radio and the ability to use instant messengers other than BlackBerry’s are just a few of the additions RIM offers to Sprint users. Other features include integrated GPS, Bluetooth, 2.0 Megapixel camera with video recording, 3G network support, a full QWERTY keyboard, and the ability to use Pocket Express News source. Oh, and you get Brick Breaker for free.
We’ll start with what is probably the most important aspect of any cell Phone: quality of calls. Let’s just say it’s less than satiable. I’ve have a couple of complaints from people I’m talking to regarding echoes or that they can’t hear me clearly enough. Worse still is I’ve had at least 3 instances where whoever I’m talking to’s voice has a robotic overlay rendering communication virtually impossible due to the fact that I have no idea in hell what they are saying. These are minor complaints, though, as they only happen on occasion and I am usually able to understand most parts of the conversation clearly, if not clear enough.
Obviously the second most important part of any phone is it’s physical design. You don’t want something ugly, huge, obnoxiously disfigured, and all around retarded looking (cough, 7100 series). No, you want something sleek, sexy, shiny and pristine. That describes the Curve in a nutshell, and a sexy one at that. It has a glossy titanium color with black keys and trim, and an absolutely gorgeous screen which uses BlackBerry’s new favorite technology: light sensing. This enables the phone to adjust it’s screen brightness according to how dark or light your surroundings are. Even with this, though, the colors can appear somewhat flushed in really bright surroundings, but it isn’t nearly as bad as it is with most phones.
There is a headphone jack and USB mini port on the left-hand side of the phone as well as a really annoying voice-dialing shortcut button that you’ll often push on accident. On the top there is a silver mute button that is of really little use, and volume buttons and a progammable button on the right. The user-set button is automatically assigned to the camera, but can be changed to any application on the phone at will. Under the screen are your standard call and end buttons, the menu and back buttons, the trackball (which is leagues above the scrollbar on my 7100), and a full QWERTY keyboard.
One thing that some might find really annoying is the fact that the micro-SD card slot is located behind the battery instead of in a more convenient place, like the side or something.
I’ve already talked about features a little bit in the overview, but I didn’t go very in depth with it. For starters there’s a built-in media player which allows users to import MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, eAAC+, AMR-NB and Midi files for playback on the handset. You can also set any song you import as your ring tone. My general ringer is “Girls” by the Beastie Boys. Man I love that song. And since I brought that up it’s also worthy to note that you can give any one of your contacts their own personal ringtone as well as take a picture of them for caller ID.
Speaking of pictures, the Curve 8330 has a 2.0 megapixel camera with video-capture. The camera’s quality is pretty good. It takes clear pictures that are sharp enough for you to tell exactly what you’re looking at most of the time. The only thing the camera gets flak for is the drab colors it produce in pictures. Everything just loses a little bit of life, it seems, when you take a picture of it with the BlackBerry. Video quality has the same color problem, but works brilliantly. Note this is coming from someone who uses a 10.1 megapixel Sony Cybershot so the color issue could just be that I’m spoiled by my camera, therefore the average consumer might never notice it.
The phone’s major drawback is it’s lack of integrated WiFi. This won’t be a problem to people in areas where Sprint towers are bountiful, but we don’t have the 3G network here in Terre Haute yet, so I don’t get those ultra fast browsing times or super smooth video streaming, therefore I’m going to leave further mention of the network capabilities out of this review.
The on-board browser is 100 steps above my 7100. It uses it’s new-to-me trackball interface that makes viewing webpages a cinch. It also has the ability to view pages in standard HTML views like you would see on a computer. Even without the 3G network the browser moves at least 1.5X times the speed of my outdated fat phone.
The phone comes packaged with a wired headset, charger, USB mini cable, some nonsense books and, most importantly, the BlackBerry Desktop Assistant software. The headset’s quality is rather disappointing and picks up sounds of TVs, radios, etc louder than they do you voice even though the mic is right next to your mouth. The software that come packaged with the phone, though, is an amazing tool that I use rather frequently. This desktop assistant enables your phone to charge while plugged into your computer, and is crucial to file management. It makes transferring songs, pictures and videos a breeze and doing this would be a pain in the ass without such assistance.
The BlackBerry Curve from Sprint is by far the single greatest phone I have ever owned. It’s an amazing piece of hardware that satisfies on every front, albeit some minor disappointments.
- Sexy design
- Full QWERTY keypad
- Feature rich with tons of apps
- Multimedia options
- Sometimes disappointing call quality
- Included headset blows
- Greyish drab color quality on camera
Overall: 8.5/10 (Amazing)
Call Quality: 7.5/10 (the occasional bad connection, echoes on other side)
Design: 9.0/10 (sleek and sexy but with a few minor design quirks)
Features: 8.9/10 (very versatile and feature rich)
Extras: 8.5/10 (amazing software saves the day, headset blows)