Review: Blackberry Curve 8320 (First Thoughts)


Last Friday was my birthday, and I asked for money from everyone in order to get a Blackberry Curve. For over a year now, I’ve wanted this phone. However, during my last phone purchase, they were more than triple the cost of my second choice, the BlackJack.

A recent problem with my BlackJack screen gave me an excuse to get the Curve, and the birthday gave me the means.  Here are my initial thoughts.

The Purchase

I decided to go with the 8320 series over the 8310 for one reason – wireless internet.  That’s right, the Curve can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots for quicker internet access, and my favorite, UMA calling.  Essentially, UMA makes calls through a wireless network to save minutes and eliminate the problem of poor phone reception at home and work locations.

I picked up my Curve for about $200 online.  It wasn’t brand new, but at a retail price of $499.99 at Best Buy (through T-Mobile, without a 2-year contract), I considered this a deal.  I went with the dark grey over the brighter silver color, since I figured it would hide scratches for blemishes.  However, both looked really good, and if I’m not mistaken, you can buy new faceplates if you don’t like your color.

Out of the Box

Due to the weekend, it was about 4 business days before I got my phone by mail.  Upon opening the box, I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t all that impressed.  Sure, the design is sexy, but it looked like the pictures I had seen, and there wasn’t any crazy special features that I could see.

I was very pleased to see that the Curve accepted standard 3.5mm headphones and was charged by a mini-usb cable.  So many phone’s, even now, require specialized plugs and equipment, and it’s nice to see one that allows for a wider range and ease of use.

First Use

All my initial hesitation was gone when I turned the phone on.  The BlackBerry is designed to be always on, so there is really no “Power Button”.  However, after inserting the battery (alone with my SIM and Micro-SD card), it powered up, and in a minute I was a Crackberry addict.

The screen is gorgeous, effectively using icons and rollout, semi-transparent text for menus.  The background image is clearly visible, even when the full menu is out.  The keyboard, though I at first thought it felt clunky and cheap, is easy to type on, and seems much bigger than it actually is.  The keys have flat pads, though they are raised significantly from the shell.

Text-messaging is set up rather well, too, since the phone centers on messaging (email or SMS).  Not only are texts organized by days, but they are also in conversation form. The only problem I have with messaging is actually with the keyboard.  Simply put, it’s hard to type a period.  There is no dedicated button, and it’s shared with the “m”, so you have to hold “Alt + m” to type a simple “.”.

I could go on and on, and I will in later posts, but the last thing I’ll mention is the camera.  While it’s easy to use, it’s about what you’d expect from a phone these days.  At 2 mega-pixels, it’s nice – but really nothing special.  Below are some sample pics I’ve taken so far.

All in all, I like it a lot.  I’ve got more thoughts, opinions, and criticisms coming, but this will do for now.  If you’re looking for a good smartphone, I’d highly suggest the Curve.  However, don’t overpay – in my opinion, it’s just not worth $500.

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