RIM BlackBerry 8830 Review

RIM has been one of the major companies in the smartphone market and they have now released the BlackBerry 8830. The 8830 is a version of the 8800 but instead of being a GSM phone, it is a CDMA phone which can be purchased through Verizon or Sprint.

In the competitive business world, RIM has managed to keep up to with all the others in the class by building wonderful smartphones directed towards those that need to stay in contact no matter where they were, regardless of whether it was talking or email.

Package contents

  • BlackBerry 8830
  • USB cable
  • Travel Charger
  • Charger adapters for world use
  • Case

PhoneArena's Blackberry 8830 Video Review

The BlackBerry 8830 is a bar type phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. There is a 2.6” display, with a resolution of 320 x 240, but due to the phones size, it seems relatively small. It does not disappoint, however, as the colors are very realistic and bright. There are two brightness levels available. The first is a default level and in normal light is very visible. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot make out the display, pressing the power button once will brighten it. This should not be an issue as the 8830 is equipped with light-sensing technology which will adjust the brightness of the screen according to the environment.

The 8830 manages to be slim and big at the same time. It measures 4.4” x 2.6” x 0.5” and weighs 4.7 ounces. It is comfortable to hold and does not feel heavy at all. Using the functions with one hand proves to be no problem.


Dimension (Inches)

Dimension (MM)

Weight (OZ)

Weight (Gramms)

Blackberry 8830

4.49" x 2.60" x 0.55"

114 x 66 x 14



Blackberry Pearl

4.20" x 2.00" x 0.57"

107 x 50 x 14.5



Motorola Q

4.57" x 2.48" x 0.45"

116 x 63 x 11.5



Samsung BlackJack

4.44" x 2.32" x 0.46"

113 x 59 x 11.8



Instead of using a D-pad, the 8830 lets you navigate through the menu using a trackball. We found that the trackball is nice but if little movement was applied, it seemed as if it didn’t read the trackball at all. Browsing through the menu is much faster than using a traditional D-pad. To the left of the trackball are the menu and call buttons and to the right are the back and hand-up buttons.

Just below the trackball is the keyboard. To make sure that it would fit, the keys had to be really small. We did run into a few problems because of this. First, due to their small size, we ended up hitting a few keys at the same time when typing quickly. Secondly, the “D” key and the spacebar seemed to not want to respond when pressed. You can feel the other keys click when pressed but the “D” key and the spacebar refused to move. Lastly, the “D” key and the spacebar did not respond when pressed. It wasn’t until another key was pressed simultaneously that the others started to work.

The number pad is in the keyboard itself on the left side. The “W” key acts as 1 and the pattern follows like any normal number pad.

On the left side of the phone is the 2.5mm audio jack, USB connection,voice-dialing shortcut, and cradle connection. The volume rocker islocated on the right side towards the top. On the top are thehands-free speaker, power button, and the speaker button. The batterycover takes up half of the back and removing it will revile the microSD slot and the battery. We did not like the location of the micro SDslot and thought it could have been placed in a much better location.Thankfully, the battery does not need to be removed to insert the microSD card.


The menu of the 8830 is similar to that of all BlackBerries. There are 29 icons in the menu arranged in rows of 5. When the main menu is hidden, five icons appear towards the bottom of the screen which make up the first line of the main menu. They can be changed to what you use the most or what you want to be there by moving icons in the main menu to the very top. To organize the menu, you can even create custom folders and then place in the appropriate icon into the folder for easier navigation.

At the top of the screen in the left corner, you will see the signal strength indicator. In the upper right hand corner is the battery indicator. Just below those, there is a bar with the time, date, and message notifier. There is no separate icon for SMS, or MMS messages to discern them from regular emails which can be inconvenient at times. Also, the icon is rather small and can be easily overlooked but this is common with BlackBerries so it is not specific with this model.

If you do not like the appearance of the default theme, there are three other themes to choose from. Each one will alter the appearance a bit but just enough so that it does look different.

The 8830 does not come with a camera. This is no surprise as these phones are geared more towards businesses.


The phonebook closely follows standard phonebooks but differs a little in its own way. You can put the person’s name, company, email address, phone number, and web page in along with many more options. If no default area code is set, the phone will ask you if you what area code to use. This will only be done the first time calling a number.

There is also the option to create groups to have the users categorized. This purpose is defeated, however, because every user that was added to the group was still seen on the main page. There is also no way to distinguish the users with special ringtones. The most that you have is to add a picture of each user.

To keep things a little simple, the phonebook doubles as an address book so that you don’t have to fill out email addresses everytime you compose an email. At the very top, there is a search field. As you type in the characters, the list will filter the list to the matching choices.


The calendar is very standard. It can be viewed in day, week, month, or agenda views. You can change the view, start and end of day time, first day of the week, and snooze option, along with others, to your liking. By default, the agenda view adds free time to the list when there is nothing planned in that time. It is rather annoying but luckily can be turned off so that you have less to sift through.

Adding a new appointment is very easy and there are plenty of choices to choose from: subject, location, description, if it’s an all day event, start/end time and date, duration, time zone, shown as (free/busy/tentative/out of office), reminder (none/0/5/10/15/30/45 minutes/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12 hours/1/2/3/4/5/6 days/1 week), recurrence (none/daily/weekly/monthly/yearly), mark as private, and notes. For those who travel often, you can set the appointments to different time zones to create less confusion for yourself.

There is a calculator added to the phone but this is just a basic calculator. Also, even though it uses the fullscreen, you can only enter 8 numbers into it. The alarm only supports one alarm set at a time. You do have enough options to make the most of this: daily alarm (weekdays only/on/off), time, snooze (off/1/5/10 minutes), alarm type (tone/vibrate/vibrate + tone), tune, volume (escalating/high/medium/low), and number of beeps (1/2/3). Outside of the calendar, you can the task pad and memo pad. The memo pad sounds exactly like what it does, it just stores little notes that you want to have at hand. The task pad is much more useful and almost feels like a second calendar. You can enter task name, status (not started/in progress/completed/waiting/deferred), priority (high/normal/low), due (none/by date), time zone, reminder (none/by date), categories, and notes.

There is a voice dial feature with the 8830 but it isn’t too great. There were times when it would not recognize what we were trying to say. After some frustration, we gave up and just searched through the menu manually.


The 8830, as with all BlackBerries, comes with a built-in email client which you can use to connect to any email address given to it. For the test, we used a Comcast email account to test the capabilities. Reconciliation between the mailbox and the 8830 is done automatically but you do have the option to force reconciliation if you want to make sure there are no new emails. There was a 3 minute delay between the time that an email arrived at the Comcast mailbox and when the 8830 picked it up in both the auto and manual reconciliation. There are no options that allowed us to change the reconciliation period. Once seen, the emails were categorized by time received and then into days. You could delete emails from the handheld only or choose to delete them from both the handheld and the mailbox. The only thing that is quite upsetting is that a multi delete could not be found. The only option was to select a date and delete all prior emails. This would defeat the purpose of such a wonderful email client especially if there were important emails that you would want stored on the phone.

There are actually two mailboxes that you can open. One is strictly for emails while the other shows all messages, SMS, MMS, and email.

When texting, you do have the help of AutoText, even though you have a full keyboard. This helps you in that if you misspell a word, say ahve instead of have, it will correct it for you automatically. You can even add in your own special words so that you have safety incase you ever mistype in the same manner.


Even though this is a CDMA phone, you do have world coverage thanks to it being a dual mode phone. The 8830 works on CDMA 800/1900 bands where it can, but if you were in a country where you cannot connect to a CDMA network, it will try to connect to GSM 900/1800 bands to give you coverage. Verizon’s roaming partner overseas is Vodafone to which Verizon has locked the phones to. You can opt not to purchase a world package and therefore you will not receive a SIM for use.

Sadly, the 8830 is not Wi-Fi capable but makes up for it by offering 3G on the EV-DO network.

To connect to a computer, you can either use the USB cable or Bluetooth. Even though there is a music player, RIM has decided to not include an A2DP profile so you can’t use your Bluetooth headsets to listen to music in stereo.


With the internet as big as it is, you can’t forget to include even a basic web browser with your phone and RIM certainly hasn’t. The 8830 uses the regular BlackBerry browser which, while it isn’t terrible, leaves something to be desired. We had no problems loading pages, even www.myspace.com, but it would change the format into a long list which means that there is a lot of scrolling to be done and the trackball is the only means you have to do this.

Opening web pages didn’t take too long. Myspace took only about 15 seconds to load which is great considering how much data there is on a page.


The 8830 is one of the few BlackBerries that offer a multimedia player. The player is very basic. The only real basic with only a play/pause and stop button. To fast forward or rewind, you simply select the indicator with the trackball and move left or right. Sound quality is decent but this is of course not meant as a multimedia phone. The songs sound almost muffled but are still easy to understand. Using a memory card, there was, at most, about a 1 second pause between songs. There were times where the songs switched over and there was no pause.

You can even go about your other work and have the media player running in the background. If someone calls, the 8830 with pause the song and then continue it once it is finished.

There are plenty of formats that can be played (MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, and MIDI), and when watching a video, you can watch a few formats (MPEG4, WMV, and H.263). When watching a video, you have the choice of either watching it in fullscreen or regular view. There isn’t too much of a difference because the video takes up most of the screen in regular mode anyways.


The 8830 comes with software that lets you view .zip, .htm, .html, .doc, .dot, .ppt, .pdf, .wpd, .txt, .vcf, and .xls, .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif, and .wmf files.

If there is a shortage of applications or if there is a certain type ofapplication that you want, say a different instant messenger, thenthere are third party applications which you can downloaded andinstalled on your 8830. Just doing a quick search on Google brought usmany results. We even found an NES emulator that is available for the8830.


The 8830 is very stable. There is almost no lag when a selection is made. We did not experience any rebooting or lockups at all. All commands or inputs put into the phone were processed quickly.

Sound quality was very good. There were only a few times were static was heard and all this happened in low signal areas. Reception was also excellent. There was not a time when we lost signal. Even the people on the other end didn’t express any complaints about sound quality.

Talk time on a CDMA network is rated for 3.66 hours (220 minutes) but we got just shy of 5 (4 hours and 54 minutes) of continuous talk time. This should be more than enough to satisfy even the busy users. Standby time is set for 216 hours (9 days) and while we could not prove this, leaving the phone half charged for two days and still getting more than enough battery life to test out the phone is a great thing. If you’re roaming on the GSM network, talk time is rated at 5 hours (300 minutes) and standby time is rated at 16 days.


The BlackBerry 8830 proved to be an outstanding device. We were very impressed with how well it works and the capabilities. It may lack some features like a camera, this is of course geared more towards businesses and some businesses prohibit camera phones.

Strictly from a business perspective, this is a wonderful phone. While you may not have a push-to-talk type feature, you will be able to stay connected anywhere in the world that you can get reception. The email client is able to connect to the major types of email boxes and typing messages will be simple thanks to the QWERTY keyboard.

As a phone for the mass public, it is still a great phone to keep in touch. It may not have features you wish for but it’s great at what it’s designed for. Still, if those are features you wish, look to other phones, such as the Mogul, for your needs.
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  • Sound quality
  • Talk time
  • Very stable
  • Wonderful email client


  • Keys on keyboard don’t always give feedback or won’t respond when pressed
  • Small message notifications
  • Voice dialing performance could be much better
  • No A2DP profile

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