Iâ€™ve been using smartphones for more than half a decade now having tried almost all types of smartphones except for one, the BlackBerry. Five years ago, BlackBerry would be synonymous to enterprise phones. An ordinary consumer wouldnâ€™t even dare to get one. But now, it’s totally different. Youâ€™d see normal people carrying a BlackBerry even if they donâ€™t have an Outlook email. â€œCrackBerriesâ€ are so addicted with their phones. Check out our full review of the BlackBerry Curve 3G after the jump, my first for a BlackBerry smartphone.
BB 9300 Curve 3G is equipped with BlackBerry OS 5. It’s not the newest OS from the Canadian company but is very capable, stylish and very clean. The OS is as snappy as my iPhone. Swiping on the optical trackpad is a smooth as butter.
Display is at 320×240 pixels — not the clearest screen around but it’s more than decent. The Curve 3G is just an upgraded version of the BB 8520. The main difference is, you guessed it right, its 3G-capable.
Theyâ€™re like twin brothers; they look, feel, and weigh exactly the same. One is more of a runner with its 3G speed. The build is on the â€œplastickyâ€ side though. Youâ€™d feel it is an entry level smartphone, which it actually is. It’s so light you wouldnâ€™t feel it inside your pocket which I really liked.
Curve 9300 and Bold 9700
Just like the Curve 8520, Curve 3G has the multimedia buttons at the top, to pause, forward, back and play music. The phone can play a slew of audio and video codecs. I was amazed that the phone can even play .avi files. The speaker is really loud. I was able to play an entire episode of Glee inside the car using it’s built in speaker. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and the sound quality is above average. The phone could easily replace your regular mp3 player.
BlackBerry did not upgrade the camera of the phone. It is still using the same 2MP camera found in the 8520. The camera is decent but not something youâ€™d be printing off of. It’s not awful but definitely not great. There’s no Flash by the way but you can record videos.
One thing I like about the BlackBerry line is the consistency with its qwerty keyboards. I heard a lot of good things with it. Iâ€™m happy to admit that everything they say about the keyboard is true. Youâ€™ll get a good feedback whenever you type something. It’s a bit on the harder side of â€œclickingâ€ compared to the Nokia C3 and the higher end modes like Bold 9700. What I love about the BlackBerry keyboards are the shortcuts you can do with it and some customizations. This is what I missed the most from using touchscreen phones. You will still get the 4 standard buttons like the call, end, back and BB menu buttons plus the optical trackpad that also acts as an Enter button too.
The unit I got didnâ€™t come with the â€œApp Worldâ€ app so I had to download first to get some apps on the phone. The phone came with BBM, several IM clients like YM, GTalk and Windows Live messenger, Twitter app and Facebook. You can set up your personal email with just a few clicks. One unique feature of BlackBerry OS is the unified inbox which I totally love. The few apps they have is so integrated with the system like the Facebook and Twitter app. Everything is connected to the unified inbox so you would be reading all your messages from Twitter, email and Facebook in one inbox.
WiFi is not so straightforward when setting up. I had several problems connecting to my home network. Bluetooth connection was simple. Connecting it to the computer via the USB port would give you access to its folders. You can easily drag and drop multimedia files on it.
Bold 9700, Curve 9300 and Curve 8520
Personally, the 3G speed is not maximized on this phone. The reason for this is the browser. The browser is still a bit clunky especially when compared to iPhones and Androids. It’s like youâ€™re still using a browser from a Windows Mobile in 2006. I donâ€™t need 3G speed to send IM messages nor BBM messages. I donâ€™t need it for tweeting as well. It’s probably more useful when browsing Facebook.
I never had an issue making calls. No signal attenuation issues here. The line was clear on both ends. The battery is not so great when 3G is activated. With heavy use of YM and BBM, this phone could only last you under 12 hours. This is mainly caused by the 3G. This is at par with any smartphones these days. It’s not really the phone’s nor its battery size’s fault but rather how you use 3G in a day.
Curve 9300 on top and Curve 8520 at the bottom
By far, this is one of the best messaging phone available. That is if youâ€™re only sending text messages, BBM-ing, tweeting, posting Facebook entries and sending a thousand emails everyday.
If youâ€™re lifestyle is limited to those tasks, then I suggest you join the bandwagon. If you have more than 5 close friends using BBM, I suggest you get this phone. BBM-ing is really addicting, it’s like you have your own chatroom with friends. You can broadcast a post, upload picture to everyone and send files. This is the one aspect of the BlackBerry that I never got to know until now. After 2 weeks of using it and around 10 friends on BBM, I easily got hooked with it. You could also say this is a good social network phone.
The unit is estimated to sell for Php15k to Php18k depending on where you buy it. Expect telcos to offer postpaid plans for this. You also need to shell out about Php1,500 a month to get unlimited BIS (internet and BBM services) on this device.
Is this phone for me? Iâ€™d say no. I could easily get a Nokia C3 phone with almost the same features except for the BBM for half the price. If your friends are using BBM already and youâ€™re thinking of jumping to the smartphone ship, this is one of the best phones you can get. If youâ€™re a BB 8520 user, I could not recommend getting this phone. Youâ€™re better off getting a Bold 9700 if you really want an upgrade. You wonâ€™t need the 3G most of the time anyways. But if youâ€™re thinking of joining the BlackBerry cult, this is a solid entry level BlackBerry phone.
BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 specifications:
2.4″ screen with 320×240 pixel color display
Full QWERTY keyboard
3.5mm stereo headset capable
2GB microSD card included
BlackBerry OS 5
BlackBerry OS 6 is set to be finalized and released in the first quarter of next year. The Curve 3G will be able to upgrade to BB OS 6 while the Curve 8520 is stuck with OS 5 so that’s something to consider.
Editor’s Note: Dale is a reviews & special assignments contributor for YugaTech. This review had some minor revisions from me. You can follow him on Twitter @dalekins. – Yuga