Review: Blackberry Curve 8900

19 Feb 2009

It feels as though RIM has brought a flurry of new BlackBerry devices onto the market in the past few months, and while the Storm, Pearl Flip and original Pearl have obvious features that mark them out as a must buy/must avoid – depending on your requirements – the Curve 8900 will bring conflicting feelings because it is not too unlike the brilliant and beautiful Bold.

At first glance, the Bold seems to be the bigger, sexier and more impressive of the two, but when you get to know them, there is not a huge amount of difference.

The Bold has the bigger screen and tighter design ,and has been pushed heavily as a multimedia handset, but, truth be told, the 2.4-inch HVGA high-resolution screen on the 8900 is just as sharp and colourful as the Bold.

Where the Curve 8900 remains strong is the fact that it is the latest version of the 8300. While it doesn’t stray too far from the original’s shape and feel, it is noticeably thinner and streamlined with a slightly larger screen, and of course, its innards are completely different.

The Curve 8900 has the latest BlackBerry operating system with Wi-Fi and a 3.2-megapixel camera, whereas the 8300 was without Wi-Fi and had a mere 2-megapixel camera onboard.

Navigation and interface
Having tested both the Pearl Flip and the Storm, I realised that, as a mobile web addict, I would pick the 8900 in a heartbeat.

Webpages display well enough on the Pearl Flip, but the screen is limited in size and the Storm, well, let’s not go there. The screen might be huge, but navigation or lack thereof left me tearing my hair out and cursing haptic interface – it makes for a thoroughly unsatisfying surfing experience.

The 8900 and the web: what a beautiful combination. I loved navigating through websites – I almost cried tears of joy as I used the faithful trackball to navigate from page to page on a big, bright screen.

Thank you RIM, and why didn’t you put a trackball on the Storm (ya know, just in case the touch technology was a little less than impressive?).

Connectivity-wise, though, we’re not talking 3G here. Yes, the Bold has 3G, so if you’re looking for a BlackBerry handset with zippy connectivity and don’t mind that the camera is less than 3.2-megapixels, you should go down this road, otherwise, the 8900 is a beaut.

As per all smart phones, there is Bluetooth connectivity and the increasingly common built-in Wi-Fi is here too, which is great because you can dump EGDE and plump for Wi-Fi when you want to download video, music etc.

With built-in GPS, BlackBerry Maps is also pretty cool and has both autonomous and assisted GPS. Strangely, I used to find the trackball on my older Pearl a bit dodgy when it came to navigating maps, but this time around it was a painless experience.

The 3.2-megapixel camera is fairly bog standard with flash, white balance and digital zoom, but it does have geo-tagging, which is nice for sorting all your images. Video-capturing is also available.

The Pearl has the bundle of applications that come with all BlackBerrys for opening and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, but, as usual, I care more about the third-party apps and had Facebook, Twitterberry, Flickr and the like installed in minutes.

RIM has always been good for third-party applications, but I would love to see some sort of extended app store added on to what it offers at the moment.

Pros: High-resolution screen, lightweight, Wi-Fi on board

Cons: EDGE instead of 3G

Price: Available from O2 Ireland from €199, depending on subscriber plans.

By Marie Boran

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