The BlackBerry Curve's curves are so subtle they're almost not there. Still, this is the smallest, lightest BlackBerry yet, and feels pleasingly familiar. The full-QWERTY keyboard has been shrunk, but is still usable.
The BlackBerry Curve features multimedia favourites like and MP3 player and a two-megapixel camera. And, of course, BlackBerry's sterling email functions. But while you can play video files, you can't record your own, and there is still no 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity. Why not, RIM?
The email functions are a breeze, which is why people love the BlackBerry so much. The BlackBerry Curve has a trackball, which makes naviation smooth and fast, and a full-QWERTY keyboard. This is a little small, but on the whole is usable. Operating the music player is awkward.
The BlackBerry Curve takes care of all you email needs without blinking, which is what we would expect. While the music player is basic, it sounds good, especially through decent headphones, and music software makes it easy to manage your tracklist. Web access is slow over a GPRS connection.
240 minutes of talktime isn't too bad, but you may have to make a choice between business and pleasure if you're away from your recharger. 480 hours of standby is rather better.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:48:53 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The Curve still retains what makes BlackBerry so successful: ease of use, email on the move and a great QWERTY keyboard.
BlackBerry continues to give 3G and Wi-Fi a wide berth and, while the multimedia presence is welcome, it's not the most realised.
Research in Motion (RIM) has sewn up the mobile email market with its BlackBerry devices and slick push-email solutions, but a new chapter in its evolution is beginning. The recent launch of the stylish slimline BlackBerry Pearl 8100 signalled RIM's intention to grab a slice of the consumer mobile market by introducing multimedia to its devices. The Blackberry Curve takes this further.
The BlackBerry Curve is named for it's shapely chassis, but the name is misleading. Its curves and ever-so-slightly bowed torso are very subtle and don't deviate much from previous BlackBerry designs. However, it is the smallest and lightest full-QWERTY BlackBerry to be released and compared with other models is incredibly compact. Of course, this size reduction means there is less space to fit the QWERTY keyboard, but RIM has done a sterling job to keep the key size manageable. It isn't a perfect compromise, and the fat-fingered may struggle, but it's still very usable. You navigate the Blackberry Curve using a trackball, which first appeared in the Pearl and subsequently the BlackBerry 8800. RIM ditched the side jog-wheel in favour of the trackball and the transition has worked well. You can tailor the ball's sensitivity to suit your preferences (70% feels like the right balance between speed and control) and once you've gauged its mood, it is easy to use.
BlackBerry's famed email performance is at the core of the Curve. Setting up email is a cinch and you can add a further 10 email accounts, including most popular ISP clients, online. We easily integrated our Google Mail and Madasafish accounts just by giving our email address and password. If you have the BlackBerry Curve through work, it will hook up with the dominant email exchange servers.Full HTML web browsing and emails arrive over a GPRS connection, as RIM strangely continues to shun 3G and Wi-Fi. GPRS speeds are just about sufficient (web page loading was sluggish), but 3G and Wi-Fi would improve matters.
The BlackBerry Curve has an integrated 3.5mm headphone jack and bundled Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 software, proving that RIM is serious multimedia. The headphone jack is a real boon, while the Roxio desktop music software is pretty straightforward. You get access to your PC's existing digital library and can drag and drop your tunes into the Curve's memory card folder. You even get the choice to encode your files for optimum playback on the Curve or keep it in its native format state. The Roxio software will tag your tunes via the online Gracenote CD database, while you can manage your videos and photos via the software. A microSD card slot sits under the rear bonnet and is on hand to store all your multimedia gubbins.
The music player is pretty basic. It's bereft of any sound enhancements or equaliser (repeat and shuffle functions are your lot), while controlling the player is a bit disjointed (a combination of the trackball, letters 'N' and 'P' on the keyboard, side volume keys and the top mute button deal with play, stop, pause and skip tracks). The audio quality sounds quite dynamic, especially through a pair of decent headphones.
The BlackBerry Curve has a two-megapixel camera, but it falls short of our expectations. It lacks auto-focus and a Xenon flash (it does pack a crude LED light), although still takes decent enough snaps in a 1600x1200-pixel resolution. Sadly, like the Pearl, the camera lacks a video-recording facility, which is disappointing considering video playback (MPEG4, WMV and H.263 formats) are supported in multimedia mode.The Curve is a mixed multimedia bag. It is undoubtedly the best BlackBerry to date, but can't rival other top multimedia smartphones. A BlackBerry with 3G and Wi-Fi should be next on the agenda, please RIM.