Here are some highlights of the phone:
- Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
- Bluetooth 2.1
- 256mb internal memory
- 528MHz processor
- 2.0mp camera
- Dedicated media keys
- microSD expandable up to 32gb
- BlackBerry OS 5.0
The new Curve is slightly smaller than other BlackBerry models. It doesn't have any flashy onyx or chrome highlighting. The all black design does sport a subtle (plastic) carbon fiber looking backplate. The rubberized surrounding feels good in your hands and contributes to the overall simplicity.
When compared to the old Curve 8330 it is slightly thinner, a little taller, and a little less wide.
The Curve is also the lightest BlackBerry I've ever held, weighing in at only 3.74oz. In comparison, the new Storm 2 is 5.64oz. This may come off as a cheap feeling to some, but I find it a bit refreshing. The low weight makes it feel more comfortable in your hands.
The side buttons are covered with rubber, and really contribute to the design. BlackBerry was also thinking about durability here.
BlackBerry also added some media buttons to the top of the Curve. I think this is a nice addition, especially for those that play a lot of media on their phone. I guess they figured someone wanting a simpler BlackBerry may be more interested in playing music and video and less interested in doing business with their device.
They QWERTY keyboard somehow feels bigger to your thumbs than it appears. This is due to the way BlackBerry angled the top of the keys. However, after using the keyboard on the BlackBerry Tour for a bit, I prefer the Tour. BlackBerry made the keys on the two devices slightly different.
I really liked the addition of the trackpad. It seems that BlackBerry is moving away from the noisy trackball. It feels like a little mouse for your thumb, to put it simply. I had no problem getting used to it. I think that previous trackball users will really appreciate the trackpad. The standard BlackBerry send, menu, back, and end Surround the trackpad extending off of the same piece of plastic used for the screen.
Software & Browser
BlackBerry added OS 5.0 to the new Curve. I really like the new additions OS 5.0 makes, including the threaded text messaging, improved browser, and BlackBerry Massenger 5.0,
Pre-loaded with the Curve comes IM applications, Facebook, Myspace Flickr, and document viewers. For some reason they didn't pre-load BlackBerry App World, but again chose to include application center, where you can get App World. I'm still confused why App World doesn't come pre-loaded and they ditch application center. Having both is redundant.
After hooking up my Gmail account to the new Curve I was surprised to find an option to import and sync all my contacts. Awesome! This must be a feature of 5.0 that I overlooked. I continued to hook up my Facebook account, and now most of my contacts (ones that share information with 3rd party apps) now have pictures. That was easy! Did I mention I really like the Facebook application for BlackBerry? Well, I do - it's great.
I really like the new OS 5.0 Browser. It's quick to render pages and smooth to operate. However, keep in mind that the lower resolution on the screen may make it harder to view certain pages.
Luckily, like with the new Storm2, BlackBerry added Wi-Fi! As some of you know, Wi-Fi on Verizon devices is a fairly new thing. Only certain phones previously had Wi-Fi, but now it seems every new smart phone that rolls out is getting it. Finally.
The Curve, unlike the Storm2 and Tour, is CDMA only. This means that it can not be used on GSM networks. Unfortunately they only gave it a 1xEV-DO rev.0 data connection and not the rev.A, which is a little bit faster
Camera & Media
The camera on the Curve could be better. It's only 2 megapixels and doesn't include a flash. Pictures are okay if you're in a well lit room, but they come out a bit grainy You can pretty much forget about getting good pictures in low light situations. Here is a picture taken in best case scenario with good lighting.
Support for 32gb microSD is included, but missing is an included microSD card. If you want one you'll have to buy it on your own. This isn't a huge deal since this is a entry level BlackBerry, but you'll surely want some extra storage if you plan to use the media player and/or store pictures on the phone.
The battery is a 1150mAh li-Ion with a a talk time of 4.5 hours and a standby time of 252 hours. Honestly it's not that great for a phone that could potentially be used for a lot for web browsing, e-mailing, and Facebooking. It is rated slightly better than the old Curve though.
Here are a couple comparison shots with the BlackBerry Tour:
With the BlackBerry Storm2:
The BlackBerry Curve 8530 is a great starter BlackBerry. If you want a BlackBerry with good features, but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a phone, this may be the phone for you. It's simple, feels great in your hands, and works well.
If you like don't mind not having a physical QWERTY keyboard, want more screen space, and can afford another $100, take a look at the Storm2. In the coming months BlackBerry and Verizon will be releasing the Tour 2, which will have a trackpad, wi-fi, and a higher resolution screen than the Curve. So if you want the best of both worlds just wait for the Tour 2.