RIM might be struggling against the big Android and iOS competition with higher-end handhelds, but there still remains a strong BlackBerry contingent who wants that familiar keyboard feel that the Curve 3G 9300 offers. The recent RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 for AT&T has all of the usual BlackBerry features like robust support for messaging and e-mail, as well as a few media niceties like external media keys, a 2-megapixel camera, a music player, and more. It's more on the entry-level side of the smartphone equation, but if you want an old-school BlackBerry with a modern edge, the Curve 3G 9300 fits the bill.
The Curve 3G 9300 looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 for T-Mobile--the hardware is identical in fact--so we'll point you to that review for the full design lowdown. For this review, we'll concentrate on features and performance. The AT&T version of the Curve 3G 9300 is $99.99 after a two-year service agreement, which is a bit more expensive than the same model on other carriers.
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 ships with BlackBerry OS 5 but it is upgradeable to the latest BlackBerry OS 6. The new OS has a revamped home screen, a new Webkit browser, universal search, a new notifications bar, and more.
The Curve 3G 9300 has the usual BlackBerry features you've come to know and love. It has voice dialing, conference calling, speed dialing, a speakerphone, and a vibrate mode. As with most BlackBerry phones, it also has a healthy set of messaging features that include text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging with BlackBerry Messenger, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, and Windows Live, and of course, e-mail. You can use your own personal POP3 or IMAP accounts, and it's also compatible with most corporate e-mail systems like BlackBerry Enterprise, Microsoft Exchange, and IBM Lotus Domino.
Other features include GPS with AT&T Navigator support, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), and stereo Bluetooth. The GPS in the phone is useful with other location-based apps like Where and AllSport GPS, and when adding geotag information to photos. Productivity tools include a calendar, a memo pad, a task list, a calculator, and document viewers for Microsoft Office, Corel WordPerfect, and PDF documents. There's also a file viewer and the built-in BlackBerry Web browser.
The AT&T version of the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 comes with a few built-in apps as well. They include AT&T's own Mobile Web browser, YPMobile, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, AT&T Music (AT&T's music download service), AT&T Radio, MobiTV, Mobile Banking, MyCast Weather, Bloomberg, and City ID. There are also a few games like Tetris, Scrabble, Sudoku, Bejeweled, Texas Hold 'Em, Pac-Man, Brickbreaker, Word Mole, and Klondike. For more apps, you can either purchase them from AT&T's App Center, or the BlackBerry App World. If you're also an AT&T U-Verse subscriber, you can download the AT&T U-Verse app for the Curve 3G. The app will let you view your U-Verse schedule and you can set up your DVR recordings from the app as well.
While we don't normally think of a BlackBerry as a multimedia phone, the Curve 3G 9300 does have a music player with support for MP3, WMA, AAC, and MIDI file formats. The video player is compatible with MPEG4, WMV, H.263 and H.264 support. Like the other Curve 3G phones, it also has a 2-megapixel camera, with rather average photo quality.