For the off hours, you can relax to some of your favorite tunes and video clips with the built-in media player. Though the player is pretty basic, it does support MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, and MIDI music files, and MPEG4, WMV, and H.263 video clips. There's a search function, playlist creation, shuffle and repeat, and you get a full-screen mode for video playback. The included software CD also contains a copy of Roxio Easy Media Creator, so you can create MP3s from CDs and add audio tags. There's 96MB of flash memory onboard, and the microSD expansion slot accepts, up to 8GB cards.
The BlackBerry Curve 8330 is also equipped with a 2-megapixel lens with video-recording capabilities. For still images, there's a 5x zoom and flash, as well as three picture sizes and three quality options. You also get white-balance settings and several color effects you can add to the photo. Video options are limited with just two video formats (normal or multimedia message), three color effects, and a video light. Also, be aware that in order to record video, you must use a microSD card.
Picture quality was decent. Images were clearly defined and colors, for the most part, were pretty accurate. However, there was a slight grayish tone to the photo. Video quality was pretty abysmal. Clips looked very grainy, and colors looked dull.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) RIM BlackBerry Curve in San Francisco using U.S.Cellular roaming services. On our end, we enjoyed clear audio with plenty of volume. There was little to no distortion or background noise, and we didn't have any problems using an airline's voice-automated response system. Friends also reported similar results. The speakerphone was decent. Again, volume was loud, but there were a few instances of spotty call quality. We were able to pair the BlackBerry Curve with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
General performance was good. Overall, the device was responsive, and we didn't experience any system crashes during our review period. Web browsing was fairly swift as we checked a number of sites, including CNET, SFGate.com, and ESPN, though speeds could vary. Multimedia performance was also decent. Music playback through the phone's speakers could sound a bit blown out at the highest volume. However, we suspect many of you won't actually be listening songs on the speaker, and with a 3.5mm jack, you should enjoy good sound with a nice pair of headphones. Videos looked a bit blurry, but sound audio and picture were synchronized.
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330's 1,150mAh lithium ion battery has a rated talk time of 4.3 hours and up to 11 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 5.25 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge.
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