BlackBerry Curve 9300 review -

3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati, 3/7/2011 10:46:01 AM

6out of 10
Performance
8 out of 5
Look and feel
6 out of 5
Ease of use
6 out of 5
Features
8 out of 5
Battery life
Pros:

Synching the phone with multiple email addresses is a straightforward process, with multiple accounts supporting push email

Cons:

Despite supporting HSDPA and Wi-Fi, the video streaming process was very stop start

With the arrival of the BlackBerry Torch, RIM’s most revolutionary handset to date, the Curve 3G has slipped somewhat under the radar. Effectively an upgrade to the popular BlackBerry Curve 8520, it’s another “first BlackBerry” aimed to tempt the messaging obsessed consumer, but with a few tasty upgrades.

Look and feel

With the same dimensions as the 8520, the BlackBerry Curve 3G fits comfortably in your hand, with the front facing fascia divided equally between the 2.46 display and the expertly designed QWERTY keyboard. The keys are raised enough to easily distinguish between them. The most natural way of banging out text is by using both thumbs. It’s a smooth process, with the ‘alt’ key nicely positioned in the bottom left hand corner to transform the letter keys into numbers and punctuation marks. Our only (minor) gripe would be that your thumbs may battle for space when using the centre placed keys. Above the keyboard is BlackBerry’s now traditional trackpad. As with previous incarnations, the sensitivity can be adjusted and it continues to impress so much that RIM’s previous iconic trackball is no longer missed.

Flip the BlackBerry Curve 3G over and you’ll find a correlated rubber back. We found it a little cheap and certainly not on the scale of the Bold 9700’s leather offering. The front of the handset is either adorned with a chrome or red trim, with the former giving a more business like look and the latter a more whimsical feel.

Email

BlackBerry’s remain the daddies of email and messaging, with the Curve 3G continuing the high standard. You can add up to ten business or email accounts, with the latter simply requiring your email address and password. Each account will have its own dedicated icon with a red ‘*’ hovering above it each time you receive a new message. Emails were delivered to our device almost as soon as they were sent, while any emails you send from your Curve 3G will be retrievable from your home computer, something the iPhone 3GS doesn’t do (though the iPhone 4 now does). However, we did find the Curve 3G struggled with displaying picture heavy emails such as newsletters.  When in HTML mode, the images looked crowded and jumbled, and when displayed in text mode, it appeared as endless hyperlinks.

As previously mentioned, the BlackBerry Curve 3G is an upgrade to the successful Curve 8520. The key differences concern the data connection. Despite its name, the Curve 3G can run on an HSDPA data connection, while there’s also Wi-Fi for when you find yourself in a hotspot. Though websites were quick to load, when streaming video on YouTube for example, endless buffering was needed which led to a very stop start process, even when using Wi-Fi. The screen is also too small for it to be a true internet demon. Websites required endless scrolling and if you want to zoom in more than one step you’ll have to go through the fiddly menus that typify BlackBerry’s operating systems – thankfully an upgrade to the more friendly BlackBerry 6 is on its way.

Features

RIM has never been one for donning their handsets with anything more than average cameras, so it was no real surprise to find another below par snapper here. There’s no flash for starters, and with each zoom the image became increasingly grainy and cloudy. At the top of the phone are three media keys that can be used to rewind, pause/play and fast forward music and videos. Music can be played while using any of the Curve 3G’s features, apart from the camera, via the loudspeakers or by plugging a pair of headphones into the 3.5mm headset port. While this inclusion should be applauded, we think it would have been better placed at the top of the device, as extensive use could damage the headphones with the plug needing to bend at a right angle when the phone is in the pocket.

Conclusion

As a ‘my first BlackBerry’ we were big fans of the Curve 8520. While the Curve 3G builds on that success, we don’t feel the enhancements carry the phone forward as much as they should. For a messaging and emailing device it’s top notch, but beyond that we’re not convinced.

Danny Brogan