RIM BlackBerry Curve 8350i Review
Like any BlackBerry, the Curve 8350i supports a whole slew of messaging options. Standards like SMS and MMS are onboard, as is support for multiple email accounts and BlackBerry PIN messaging. Like the Sprint Curve, the 8350i includes AIM, GTalk and Yahoo Messenger clients. PIN messaging is like a hybrid SMS/MMS/IM. Each BlackBerry, regardless of carrier, has a unique PIN number and you add contacts to your list with this. Like IM you have a running conversation with the contact, and like MMS you can send files such as pictures, audio and even contacts. It is real-time communication, and a staple of most hardcore BlackBerry users.
Email setup on the BlackBerry is about as perfect as it gets, we simply put in our email and password and that was it. Even with our uncommon work email we didn’t have to enter any server information. The push email arrived nearly instantaneously in our testing. With the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) the user can have up to 10 email addresses on one device.
After our Storm debacle we were quite happy to get back to a real BlackBerry keyboard. We were again reminded of why BlackBerries will continue to remain the standard for mobile email and messaging.
Connectivity and Data:
Nextel has never had a data network to speak of, and because of this we were surprised to hear that an iDEN Curve was in the works rather than a QChat version that would take advantage of Sprint’s EVDO Rev. A network. RIM’s messaging service doesn’t need much of anything in terms of data speed though, and Wi-Fi has been added to improve the browsing experience.
The browser appears to be the same reworked browser first found on the Bold. It looks similar to the BlackBerry browser of old, but has some improvements that lead to a better experience. For starters, the standard mouse curser has been replaced with an eyeglass and a simple press of the trackball zooms in. Rendering is better as well, and speed has increased though isn’t what we’d call fast, even over Wi-Fi. Browsing on the iDEN network is painfully slow.
The 8350i features Bluetooth 2.0 and supports the HSP, HFP 1.5, PBA, A2DP and AVRC profiles.
BlackBerry Desktop Manager handles desktop sync as always. It is used to manage calendar, tasks, contacts and email synchronization with your desktop. You can also use the data cable to load media onto the memory card, and Media Sync will allow for iTunes syncing of non-DRM files, like we’ve seen with other recent BlackBerries.
1. stuntz (Posts: 177; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
seems if this phone was of the qchat origins, phone arena would have gave it a much higher score only real low points are camera and connectivity. And sprint is releasing a cameraless version also for those customers that cant have camera's in the workplace, will they re-review that phone?
2. havanahjoe (Posts: 1; Member since: 23 Jan 2009)
I think the reason RIM created an iDEN Curve instead of a QChat device is that they can sell this same device to every iDEN carrier in the world. Telus already announced that they will be carrying the 8350i for their Mike network. In places where Nextel is really popular, this thing is flying off the shelves. Border cities between the US and Mexico are a perfect example. I have seen so many people in San Diego and Tijuana carrying these and I'm sure the number will just keep growing. It's a great device that works perfectly in both countries (and will also work in the rest of Latin America), and QChat is not able to do International DC let alone roam for free like an iDEN device can. I was surprised that it wasn't a hybrid/powersource device like the ic902. They could have created a device that had EvDO and iDEN. The ic902 is a user's nightmare as it has tons of issues, so this could be a reason RIM didn't want to bother. Maybe it's because the PowerSource concept is a Motorola exclusive and RIM didn't want to pay for those rights. Who knows. Incredibly the 8350i works very well over iDENs 1/2 G network for basic browsing and e-mail. Sending a picture does take a while, but I wouldn't say my Bold is blazingly faster than the 8350i, they are sadly very similar after everything gets compressed through BIS and when using AT&T's crappy 3G service.