Pros Blackberry manufacturing
Updated Blackberry OS
Removes some complications to enhance first time smartphone buyer experience
Wi-Fi included even on a beginner smartphone!
Cons Took out a little too much???
Not for the corporate user
Trackpad can be a little hard to use
Plastic casing reminiscent of older Curve phones
Feels like you're using a Curve 8320 (physical)
Camera (worst on a Blackberry Phone)
Summary My I.T. Tech friend who (as stated in other reviews) works for a local firm here in Los Angeles got his hands on the Blackberry Curve 8520 from TMobile and since I have and am faithful to my Blackberry Bold thought I would like to have some hands on time with the phone.An update which I forgot to add to the review:
I have to say that I was impressed at how much Blackberry added to what some call a "Beginner's" smartphone. I thought it was excellent that they included Wi-Fi since TMobile's 3G Network doesn't function in all areas. The phone itself was incredible to use and was incredibly fast (probably because it isn't running everything a Blackberry Bold or Tour does).
The trackpad is interesting to use. Some newer phones are incorporating these in them and some work better than others. I don't have any complaints to make against them since I think they work well on phones like the Samsung Epix from AT&T. DON'T EXPECT IT TO FEEL LIKE THE TRACKBALL ON A BLACKBERRY CURVE however. It's a different touch (literally) and takes some acclimation but if you're going to be using this phone as your main device you'll get used to it and will learn its tips and tricks.
Moving to another physical aspect of the device. The construction of the phone is satisfactory though I felt a little disappointed. If you've used a Blackberry Curve 8300 series phone then you'll know what I mean when I say that it brings back the rubberized and plastic feel that I think held the 8300 series back. The edges have that soft touch casing on them which I am not a fan of. Another part of the phone I didn't understand was the camera. If you watch Bonnie Cha's review, note when she turns the device around to show the viewers the back. I have never seen such a bad camera on any current Blackberry phone. Blackberry usually has beautiful styling when it comes to the camera in terms of placement, design, and features. This one however looks like someone just stuck it there on the back. There is no flash and the surroundings don't look too nice.
Something I found interesting however is that this device seems to be marketed as a smartphone/multi media device and even includes the built in media player controls so I would expect that they should add a better camera to keep the theme constant. I don't know if everyone would agree with that but that's just my thought on that.
The media controls were a nice surprise. I don't use my phone as a multi media device since I have an iPod but I have to say with the added functionality of the media controls atop the unit if you needed a media player while say you were looking for an iPod or a new media player this phone would do well. I didn't use high quality earphones with the phone so I can't say for sure that the sound quality meets or surpasses the iPods but Blackberry usually includes high quality hardware so I'm sure it'll do well. One complaint I did have with the media controls is that they feel a little cheap and can be a little stiff to press. I don't know if there's a way to lock these to prevent accidental pressing since i only had the phone for about 48 hours (at the most).
The keyboard was a BIG disappointment. I have smaller fingers and I had a hard time using it. The buttons again were reminiscent of the Curve 8300 series and so they didn't feel all that great when pressed. I prefer the Bold's more substantial keyboard.
Moving on inside the phone is impressive in its functionality. The screen isn't as good as say the Bold's or the Curve 8900s screen but since it's an entry level phone it's to be expected. (It's still better than some found on Samsung smartphones though!). Inside the battery doesn't seem as strong as the Bold's but will do the job since most will not use this device rigorously. I was able to use the phone from the time my friend passed it to me to the time I returned it to him without charging it and the battery showed to be about 20% when I returned it.
Continuing inside the phone's performance as I said before is EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE!!! I found that as far as loading applications and using the general navigation the phone performed faster than my Bold. Impressive. Call quality was descent as well, TMobile's coverage in my area isn't all that great and I found that UMA made it worse. Oh before I forget that's another thing that this baby has packed in it! Wi-Fi with UMA support in case signal in the area is poor. It works but it's better if you don't rely on it.
The Bold's stereo speakers cannot be beat though the speaker on the Curve 8520 did quite well when used as a speakerphone but music sounded a little blurred and metalic (sorry I don't really know how to explain it). But anyway it works for what it needs to.
This phone is great for those who want to try adding a smartphone to their life or students who are in high school or college or even adults who want to add a little more functionality to their phones. Blackberry once again produced a winning device but just not for the business user!
Updated on Aug 7, 2009
(As stated in Bonnie Cha's review) TMobile will be opening this device up with a price tag of $149 while Walmart and Best Buy may drop the price for you. Check with authorized retailers because honestly (even though this is a Blackberry) the price tag is too high for that you could get a Curve 8900 with added functionality and better construction.
Pros Excellent sound incoming and outgoing on handheld and speakerphone. Music sounds great too. Bluetooth capabilities. Love the color. Track ball and key pad easy to use. Great pictures and videos. No issues with Text, email, IM, 3 way calling, or WIFI.
Cons No DETAILED instruction book, only a booklet that did not explain most of it's features, came with the phone. Online "help" is not much help.
Summary I bought the Blackberry Curve 8520 phone in burgundy thru T-mobile 6 months ago as an upgrade from my my old Samsung slider phone. As a first time Blackberry owner, I was pleasantly surprised at all of the phone's capabilites. The track ball is eay to use and so is the key pad, though it took a few days to get adjusted to them. The camera takes great pictures and videos. I use email, text, WIFI, and the speakerphone on a daily basis and they all work fine without any issues. The colors on the screen are vibrant, the brightness is adjustable. My only complaint is that it did not come with an instruction book explaining all it's bells and whistles so I know I am missing out on many of it features. Also the online "help" section is lacking greatly. Overall, I am very pleased with this phone, and would recommend it to any first time Blackberry purchaser.
Pros Very easy to use as a Blackberry beginner. It has a setup guide built in (i.e email setup, typing tutorial, personalize features etc.) User friendly features home keyboard style (no searching for letters and counting to get to your letter!) Micro memory
Cons Not very many cons. It doesn't have 3g yes, but who cares when you're starting out with it. No GPS either. Doesn't bother me I have a GPS in my car.
Summary If you're thinking of getting a Blackberry you want to start here. You won't regret it. I haven't and never will. I've only been a Blackberry user for 7 months and can honestly say I will never go to any brand but Blackberry. It is the best.
Pros It doesn't blow my head off when I'm making a call.
Cons No GPS which means you can't use: Flixster, FourSquare, Google Maps, etc. The sound quality on this phone is HORRIBLE! That means the speaker phone and the small ear speaker. It is actually painful to talk try and have a conversation on this phone. LO
Summary Was told I was getting an "upgrade" by AT&T when my old Blackberry Curve gave up the ghost..NOT! My old Blackberry had GPS and it was used a lot for my business. Now I feel like an idiot for making the mistake of assuming that when AT&T said "upgrade" it actually meant a phone better than the one I was replacing. Shame on me.
Pros Very affordable
Expandable memory through SD
Quad band GSM
Lightweight (compare it to the torch!)
QWERTY physical keyboard
Cons Many people say that lack of 3G is a bummer, but if you see the res of the phone's screen, you really don't need it. emails you send or receive in this device aren't that heavy stuff to need 3G. EDGE performs just fine. If you need to download videos and
Summary Despite being true that the 8520 appeals to entry-level consumers who may not had any type of BB before, it's no surprise that many current users prefer it when upgrading from early models. Personally I own a torch because my company gave it to me, but for my needs, I'll be more than happy with the curve2.