RIM BlackBerry Curve 8350i Review
As with previous editions, the Curve 8350i sports a 2 megapixel camera and a centralized media player, which allows the user to play and manage music, videos, ringtones, pictures and voice notes.
The media player is good and simple to use, but not overly loaded with features. It supports folders, and will sort your music by Artist, Album and Genres. It also supports album art and playlists, which the user can create on the go, and the other options are Repeat and Shuffle. Audio formats supported are MP3, AMR-NB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA and WAV, while the video formats are MPEG4, H.263 and WMV. The 8350i lacks the 3.5mm headset jack found in other Curves, which is a drawback to music lovers. iDEN units have a unique ring around the jack that, when used with a compatible headset, allows the user to PTT using headset controls, so while we lament the loss of the 3.5 we understand it and think the 2.5mm with ring fits better for this device.
The 2 megapixel again performed well, and is probably the same one we liked on previous Curves and the Pearl. It out-performed the 3.2MP shooter found in the Storm. Pictures were crisp and color saturation was superb. They were just a little dark, but we really had to nitpick to find something wrong with it. Options are sparse, the only real adjustment is the white balance, but the results speak for themselves. Especially since the camera is almost an ancillary feature we were pleasantly surprised with its performance on the Curve.
Video performance was more pedestrian. It records at 240x176 in normal mode or 176x144 for MMS mode, and is more on-par with what you’d expect from a cell phone. Performance isn’t bad, it’s just not good. The only option is Color Effect, and videos can only be recorded when using a memory card.
The 8350i has the most memory of any 83xx series device, with 128MB on board and microSD expansion up to 16GB. Perhaps because of the memory bump (the 8300/10/20 all have 64MB, the 8330 has 96) performance was better. The OS ran smoothly, and we did not experience any lockups or even momentary hangs. This is even more impressive given that it runs the graphically richer 4.6 OS, as opposed to older versions found on previous Curves.
There are a few GPS options for the iDEN Curve. Included out of the box is BlackBerry Maps and Telenav, the latter of which offers voice-guided turn-by-turn directions. It is included in Sprint’s $30 BIS package and their Everything plans. For those on older plans with the BES package Telenav is $10/month. Third party solutions, such as Google Maps, are available as well, but curiously it requires a Bluetooth GPS receiver.
Included software is relatively sparse, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. DataViz’s Documents to Go Standard Edition adds Word, Excel and Power Point support. As mentioned earlier there are several IM applications, and RIM has packaged four games with the 8350i as well: Word Mole, Texas Hold ‘Em King 2, Klondike (solitaire) and of course the ever-popular Brick Breaker. Other third party applications can be downloaded as well, such as Opera Mini and Facebook.
1. stuntz (Posts: 178; 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.