"big improvement over 8330's glaring shortcomings"3.5 starson by pacey_waring
Pros: This 8530 corrects 3 major issues from the 8330:
1) the 8330's trackball would get debris inside.
2) the 8330 struggled to play music reliably - "Device Media Processor Busy" - required a battery pull every time
3) No threaded SMS conversations.
Cons: Call clarity. Also, email delivery to the device for users without a corporate Enterprise server is extremely difficult (impossible?). For my Hotmail account, I have to access email through the mobile site on my browser. Emails are not delivered.
Summary: The 8530 is a fun device that is usually easy to use, and it beats the pants off my 8330 (which frustrated me greatly after only 1 month of use). The 8530 is a much-needed upgrade of the deficiencies of the 8330.
Dedicated music keys on top of the device are wonderful to use, and the 8530 processor can handle initializing/closing the music player without compromising the device's ability to produce a single sound (this frustrated many 8330 users, who were forced to pull the battery in case of "Device Media Processor Busy" error message). Additionally, the tiny speakerphone does a mighty job of playing songs out loud. I can put the 8530 in my pocket and go for a stroll, or ride my bike (headphones are illegal for cyclists here), or go skiing.
The optical trackpad is more accurate than the trackball, and less prone to interference from debris (snowflakes, dust, etc). Because it does not use capacitive touch sensitivity, I can even use it with gloves on when I am skiing!
Threaded SMS conversations cleans up the inbox nicely, preventing pages of SMS texts with a single contact from accruing and blocking your other conversations. A simple fix in code-writing, but a big difference for the end user. I'm still learning shortcut keys to navigate the inbox. Top, Bottom, Unread, etc...
One durability feature is a thoughtful addition: the rubber coating on the top + bottom on the reverse side. This absorbs impact of accidental fumbles, and keeps scuffs at bay. I am concerned that my battery cover will lose its grip; I am frequently removing the cover to swap in a pre-charged replacement battery.
One ultra-specific gripe: the Alt and Shift keys on the bottom left are too staggered. On the 8330 it was easy to hold Alt and roll down to Shift, thereby locking the keyboard into "Alt" mode - I liked that feature. On the 8530 this thumb-ballet is a little trickier.
Bottom line: my previous phone was an ancient, decrepit, broken-down Sanyo Katana 6600, and I moved up to a used 8330... which I was unsatisfied with after only 1 month. I upgraded to an 8530 (ProTip: use Craigslist to avoid getting stuck with a carrier contract), and it makes me very happy! Having Google Maps in my pocket is a wonderful thing.