Pros Too many to list. See my review. We talked. RIM listened.
Cons No lanyard hole, Although pricing high if not eligible for $249 upgrade price, $400 still worth it.
Summary Way back I had the BlackBerry 7100t. I thought that was a great phone. Then last year the Pearl came out, bought that and could not imagine ever selling the Pearl, at least not for a couple years. Alas, the Curve came out with WiFi and here I am with a new T-Mobile Curve 12 months later.
I guess a testament to not regretting selling our two Pearls [on eBay for $190 each] is that I have NOT missed the Pearl one bit since it left via UPS to the new owner. The main reason for not lamenting the switch: the T-Mo Curve is what I would call a much improved Pearl. In other words, I got much of what I liked in the Pearl in my new Curve, plus many improvements.
Without going into tech talk, permit me to explain improvements I noted out of the box.
Keyboard - The Curve is the Pearl with a full keyboard. That's a matter of preference for most users. Some need a full size QWERTY keyboard ["QWERTY" means that the keyboard is laid out like that on your PC.] Others like the Pearl's smaller size made possible by assigning two letters per key, hence making the Pearl a slimmer phone, aka not as wide as the Curve.
Those of you who do not like the Pearl's SureType "mini" keyboard will appreciate the Curve's full QWERTY keyboard. Having typed on the 7100t and Pearl SureType keypads for a few years and now going back to a QWERTY keyboard, IMHO the Curve's full keyboard is an improvement.
I can type a lot faster on the Curve's QWERTY keyboard, mostly because just like many people I am used to typing on a PC full QWERTY keyboard so typing on the Curve's keypad is an easy transition.
Weight - The Curve, while a "beefed up" Pearl, is almost as light as the Pearl. The weight difference is the Curve weighing in at about an ounce more than the Pearl.
That is amazing when you think that for an ounce in weight gain you get more features, a better built phone, larger display and a QWERTY keyboard.
Form Factor and Engineering - IMHO, the Curve is well-built, way better than the Pearl. RIM listened to the criticisms about the Pearl and made improvements to the Curve.
For example, the Pearl had cheap silver painted plastic side rails [that easily scratched]. The Curve has hearty rubber grips on the sides. Not only do they provide a good gripping surface, but they will hold up better in the appearance department.
Another example is the battery cover, aka the back of the phone. On the Pearl users criticized that the cover had a flimsy latching mechanism that unlatched and easily fell off the phone.
The Curve's cover is beefy and latches firmly.
Audio Port: The Curve has a 3.5MM audio port [aka earphone jack to laypeople]. In contrast, most cell phones typically have a 2.5MM mini-plug.]
What is GREAT about this "standard port" is it allows you to use on the Curve your 3.5MM stereo headsets, earphones, or headphones. [All your headphones around the house have a 3.5MM plug.
Why the switch to a 3.5MM plug? All the hottest cell phones [er, excuse me, smartphones] now have multi-media capabilities. What this means is that people [aka what I call "ROCS" - regular old consumers] are using Curve type phones to play music and movies.
Most people want the ability to use their existing 3.5MM stereo earphones, ear buds, or headphones on their multi-media phones. Fact is, most people have 3.5MM earphones or headphones around the house.
In contrast, most "ROCS" do not have 2.5MM stereo headsets sitting around. They may have cell phone headsets, but those are not stereo and even if they are, the sound quality is not all that great.
Display - Without getting into technical specs, just be aware that the Curve's LCD color display is LARGER, brighter and sharper than the Pearl's display. In ROC terms, the Curve has a bigger "TV screen."
I play movies on the Curve and the screen is now big enough that you can see all the action and even read movie credits. It's not an iMax experience, but put on some stereo earphones and the Curve on "full screen" mode. You will find that movies are very pleasant to watch.
Stuff - Original Pearl purchasers used to complain, some did anyway, that the Pearl did not come with earphones nor a case. [Mine did not.]
The T-Mo Curve comes with a decent stereo headset and microphone combo. It also comes with a slim case that allows you some protection for the phone, out of the box. It's a cheapo case, but at least there is something to put on the phone until you buy the case you want.
The headset is decent, inasmuch as with the Pearl I paid RIM almost $40 for the same device back in December 2006. It has a button to press so to answer the phone when a call comes in.
While they are not boom box, sub woofer earphones, you can at least start using the Curve's 3.5MM port to listen to stereo music, movies and to make calls. As a cell phone headset I'd rate it a 10, but as a stereo audio device, maybe a 6. But since it is included in the box, it gets a 10.
4GB MicroSDHC Chip - While the Curve does NOT come with a MicroSD chip, out of the box it can handle 512MB on up MicroSD chips to 4GB-6GB MicroSDHC chips.
On using a 4GB chip, this is SIGNIFICANT when you consider 1) the memory is removable, unlike the iPhone's fixed, non-removable 4GB or 8GB memory; 2) 4GB memory/storage puts the Curve at the same level as the iPhone; 3) you can take two or three MicroSDHC chips on the road and have 12GB of space for movies, music and what have you; and 4) you can access the chip via USB reader. Unlike the iPhone, you are not restricted to plugging in the Curve every time you want to put files on the chip. In contrast, the iPhone requires your having to hook up the phone to a computer to access the iPhone's internal 4GB or 8GB storage.
On the Pearl in March 2007 I had installed the latest operating system. I was then able to use 4GB chips on the Pearl. When my Curve arrived I took the chip from the Pearl and put it into the Curve. It fired right up and I was able to use the 4GB in the Curve. Woot.
Note that the 4GB chips I am talking about are 4GB MicroSDHC, NOT 4GB MicroSD. The "HC" stands for "high capacity." I am not aware that there are 4GB MicroSD chips. 4GB and above are designated "HC" or "high capacity."
Also note that a 4GB MicroSDHC chip will NOT work on most other devices you have, such as cameras and MP3 players. The device's SD or MicroSD slot needs to be "high capacity" compatible or rated.
Since the HC rating is fairly new, most devices you have at home or the office can use 2GB chips at the most.
Bonus Tip: To read the 4GB MicroSDHC chip on your PC, with a USB reader, you need a USB reader that can read HC chips. [Those readers are not expensive, but you need one. Your old USB 2.0 readers won't access a MicroSDHC chip.]
Keep in mind that the Curve can use all your 1GB or 2GB MicroSD chips, it's just that if you want to use 4GB chips, those are designated "HC" or "high capacity" require special readers and they cannot be used on most devices [those not rated for use of high capacity chips.] Of course, you can always access the chip when it is inside the Curve by connecting the Curve to the PC with a USB cable.
Bonus SideNote: By December 2007 SanDisk is coming out with 6GB [and possibly 8GB] MicroSDHC chips. Rumor has it that the Curve can handle these chips. How cool will that be, to use an 8GB chip on the Curve. Woot.
WiFi - This was the main reason I got the T-Mo Curve. I needed a WiFi phone so to use T-Mobile's new "hotspot @home service." Without getting into details, hotspot @home allows you to use the Internet to make phone calls or to browse the Net. Calls made with a hotspot connection do NOT count against cell phone minutes. One can talk 24/7 on the phone without paying more than T-Mo's monthly service charge, about $10, but it is rumored to be going up to $20 after the promo price ends.
Camera - The camera is now 2 megapixel. That's not bad. The pictures are decent for a cell phone. If you want to criticize the Curve's camera, remember that this is a cell phone with a camera.
You should not expect the same quality pictures as you might get with a dedicated digital camera. Also remember that they are packing a lot of stuff into this 4 ounce device. You can only put so decent a camera in the space reserved for it. Plus remember that this phone, in addition to the camera, has to play movies, music, store pictures, files and also make phone calls. That's a lot to do in such a little phone.
Also, RIM had to keep the price down. Sure, maybe they could have installed a better camera, but at how much an increase in sales price for the phone? So the camera does GREAT when you are in a pinch and need to take a pic.
ROM - The Curve has more internal or "fixed" memory. This is NOT the same memory as that on a MicroSD chip. They are two different things, the ROM is "built into" the Curve, the MicroSD chip is more a storage place for all your files.
I won't go over the specs, just understand that the more internal memory you have the better the phone will operate, the more programs you can install, and the less the phone will crash due to memory being "all used up,"
Software - There are various software improvements over the Pearl, I won't go into them much.
But one that I like is the ability to play videos in full screen mode. One of the complaints about the Pearl was that when playing a movie, for example, there was an annoying on screen user interface [controls for volume, play, stop, pause, etc.] that ate up part of the screen.
Well RIM listened, so now the Curve has the ability to fill the screen with the video. I love it. In fact, I consider this one of the main improvements of the RIM operating system. I love playing two hour movies [converted from my DVDs to Curve format] on the Curve, with stereo headphones and in full screen mode.
OS - RIM also improved other aspects of the operating system, but it's beyond this review to go over them. Suffice it to say, RIM listened to our tips, suggestions and criticisms and made many improvements on how we interact with the Curve.
For example, there was an issue of not being able to turn off the phone's auto-dim feature. Well, the current OS has the ability to turn that feature off if you do not want to use it.
Another is that RIM disabled the ability to press the trackball to answer incoming calls. There was a problem when this feature was enabled. Basically, the trackball would answer the phone as one was pulling out a ringing phone from one's pocket. But the rolling trackball would select "ignore" on the user interface and basically hang up on the caller. So RIM fixed that issue by disabling answering calls by pressing the trackball.
Net - If one is using a WiFi connection on the Curve, the connection is way faster than on the old EDGE speed. Some people have complained about not having increased speed, but I hear RIM and T-MO are working on it and that by October 22 T-Mo should have the kinks worked out of the hotspot @home service.
Price - Being a T-Mo customer for the past four years and having bought the Pearl at the upgrade price, I did not qualify for the Curve's $250 upgrade price [given with a two year contract.] I did get a discount to $400 [instead of $500.]
Super Bonus Tip: We did get a second Curve for our other T-Mo account. I called T-Mo and asked for a deal. The CSR transferred me to the Customer Loyalty department [some carriers call it Customer Retention].
I explained that I was a good customer, this was a second phone, paid bills on times, etc. So they sold us a second Curve at the $250 upgrade price.
So keep all this in mind when buying the phone. IMHO $400 is still a fair price for the phone, but if one can get it for $250, go for it.
Complaints - I really can't think of many criticisms. Heck, I remember when I used to pay $500 for a Motorola StarTac whose only feature was that at the time it was the world's smallest cell phone.
Now, for $250 to $400 I can get a phone that plays movies, music, checks e-mails, takes pictures, and oh, I forgot, also makes phone calls. Woot.
Lanyard - I use lanyards on all my devices. A lanyard has saved my BlackBerry phones from many a fatal fall.
For some reason RIM eliminated a lanyard hole from the Curve. Not sure why they got rid of the ability to attach a lanyard. But I found a way to do it [I attach a lanyard with a very thin cord via the camera flash hole. Another workaround would be to enclose the Curve in a case and attach a lanyard to the case.]
That's about it. I could go into more detail, about how quality of calls is good, the speaker phone is great, etc. But the above are the main points I wanted to make. Plus I am tired of writing this.
Pros Screen, keyboard, call quality, email, Wi-Fi, @Home
Cons Cost for existing customers
Summary I have used a Pearl since January and really like it a lot, but the Curve is at another level. The main reason I switched was to have a full keyboard for email and text messaging and I am not disappointed. This keyboard is great! In addition, the screen is much larger and brighter than the Pearl.
The call quality is excellent - probably better than the Pearl. I use a Samsung WEP200 that paired up and sounds great with the Curve.
I installed T-Mobile @Home router last month and tried it with the Nokia phone. That phone was a disaster. However, @Home works perfectly with the Curve. It switches seamlessly while entering or leaving the @Home network.
I have tried a number of smart phones over the years (TREO, etc.) but this one is by far the best. It is very expensive unless you are starting a new service. And speaking of service, I was with Sprint for about 8 years. Even though T-Mobile may not have as good a network as Sprint, Cingular or Verizon their customer service is exemplary.
BlackBerry and T-Mobile hit a grand slam with this product!
Pros stylish, powerful applications, full qwerty
Cons no video recording, no touch screen, icons may disappear
Summary A friend of mine got this phone and, since I was long overdue for a phone upgrade I decided to follow suit after playing around with hers for 2 weeks.
I had mine for 2 days when the "Profiles" icon disappeared from the available applications, leaving my phone stuck on silent (thank goodness it wasn't set to loud!).
I went to my local T-Mobile store and all the staff was stumped. At their direction I called customer service, and tech support , after walking me through all the basic troubleshooting procedures, eventually told me I had to reinstall all the software... which I did... but the profile icon was still MIA.
I called tech support again the following day, and the guy told me to just return the phone. He also said he'd taken a service call earlier with someone whose camera icon had gone missing...
Either this is a bug I'm the lucky person who got the only lemon in the bunch (well, me and the person with the disappearing camera icon).
So, as much as I like the Curve, I'm off to find another phone.
Oh, and you can't turn off that sound it makes when you takes picture -- that's unfortunate.
Despite that, the Curve is a very nice, stylish phone. I'm new to smartphones and this had everything I needed -- full qwerty,email, 2.0 mpx camera, wifi, music player, etc.
Pros call quality, wi-fi, speakerphone
Cons AIM, keyboard, text messaging
Summary Recently, I decided to upgrade my Sidekick 3 and purchased the 8320 based on all the positive reviews. I ended up going back to my SK3 and returned the bb 8320 a couple of days later.
The BB 8320 is a great device if you need all your emails fwded to one device. The call quality and speakerphone was one of the best i've used on a phone. The ability to use Wi-fi@home saved me a ton of celluar minutes.
video playback and pictures are also crisp.
its almost impossible to synch this device with a MAC. so good luck transferring over your address book. research it on google, everyone has problems.
Also, after using a Sidekick for X amount of years i've become spoiled with a easy to use keyboard. The 8320 does not have a easy to use keyboard compared to the SK3. Typing numbers, symbols etc becomes a chore. and my fingers/thumbs felt to big for the tiny buttons (and i'm not a big guy).
if you do a lot of driving & talking or texting at the same time (yes, i know you should'nt do that) then this is definitely NOT the device for you.
If your just going to make calls, use the web and you want all of your email addresses to go to your phone and you ocassionally want to view video, then this is the device for you.
if you do a lot of typing, text messaging, use any type of instant messaging, or use your smartphone as a mp3 player then I wouldnt suggest this device.
there's just too many buttons you need to push to use any of the applications, even with keyboard shortcuts. and like i said before, pushing any of the 8320 buttons are way too small.
Pros Call quality, ease of use, technology.
Cons Battery life, web browser.
Summary This is my first Blackberry and I now know why they call them "Crackberries." What a great device. The call quality is excellent and the usability is outstanding. I especially love the features that adjust to your environment: screen/keyboard lighting and volume.
My only complaints are the battery life and web browser capabilities. This is my first "true" smartphone so while current drain may be "normal" I'd like to see it improved. I seem to be draining the battery about 20% a day with low to moderate usage. The web browser could use a major revamp - especially in light of the iPhone. Display of pages is painful...and a simple zoom in/out feature would do wonders.
All in all though, after two weeks of usage, I do love this phone and plan to keep it for quite a while. It's very easy to set up in comparison to other phones I have worked with and is a pleasure to operate.