RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 Review
This is a CDMA phone offered with Verizon,
but there is also a GSM variant for AT&T.

Introduction:

About this time last year RIM introduced the Curve 8300.  The consumer-friendly feature set paired with RIM’s legendary QWERTY made it an instant hit, and CDMA users have lusted after it since day one.  Now they finally have a Curve to call their own, and with a few enhancements to boot!  The CDMA Curve 8330 brings some notable upgrades to the original GSM 8300 including a bump in memory, integrated GPS and most importantly high-speed EVDO data.  Other specifications remain the same, such as the 2 megapixel camera, microSD expansion, 3.5 mm headphone jack and of course trackball navigation and that famous QWERTY keyboard.  The Curve serves as a compliment to the Pearl in RIM’s lineup; both devices have all the power a business user needs but with the multimedia features they are both aimed at breaking into the consumer market.  We’ll be taking a look at the Curves offered by both Verizon and Sprint.

Included in the box you’ll find:
  • Lithium Ion battery (1150mAh)
  • Home Charger
  • Leather Pouch
  • USB Cable
  • Stereo Headset
  • User Guide
  • Software CD
  • 1GB microSD Card (Sprint Curve only)


Design:

The Curve comes in two different color palates. Verizon’s unit is bright silver, whereas Sprint and Alltel have both chosen a more refined dark Titanium color. Both versions have a black, rubbery trim running along the sides of the phone, and it extends a bit onto the back, especially at the bottom. The housing around the display is black, as are the keypad keys. Keys with an Alt function are half and half, with a silver top and black bottom.


The 35-key QWERTY sits below the navigational trackball, which itself is flanked to the left by the Send and Menu keys and to the right by Back and End. The keypad is the best we’ve used to date and was a breeze to type on, even for those of us who don’t usually like QWERTY keypads. The keys have good travel, there is no doubt when you press a key that it has been pressed. They do, however, feel just a bit cheap. The keys wiggle ever so slightly, and while it did not affect our typing ability it didn’t give us a feeling of quality.

On top of it all is a 2.4” QVGA landscape display featuring 65K colors. It’s a good display, and we were able to use it in any lighting condition, but the picture wasn’t as crisp as we’ve seen on other devices like the Samsung Ace. At the top right above the display is a LED indicator light that flashes different colors depending on the event.

Along the right side is a volume rocker and multi-function key, both of which are bright chrome and stand out against the black trim. On the left is the 3.5 mm headset jack and miniUSB port, with a black multi-function key below. At the top is a single chrome key on the left used to mute the device and put it in/bring it out of standby. There are also two cutouts, one centered and the other off to the right, which serve as the Curve’s stereo speaker holes.


Flipping the Curve over reveals a large chrome insert at the top of the battery door. This acts as a housing for the 2 megapixel camera and flash, as well as a self-shot mirror. At the bottom of the door is the release, which is flanked by two gold contacts that charge the battery in an optional cradle. The door easily pops off to reveal the battery. The battery can be tricky to remove - you have to get your nails in the top, push down towards the bottom of the phone a bit and pry it out - which is troubling because that is where the microSD slot is located. The slot actually works more like you would expect a SIM slot to, you have to slide the catch to pop the door open, and there is no indication as to how to put the card in other than the exposed contacts. Overall, it is an absolutely horrid design that we quite frankly hate.

The Curve has a fairly good in-hand feel. The 8330 is similar in design to the 8300; the two units look nearly identical, but the 8330 is slightly thinner though a bit wider and weighs a tenth of an ounce more.


You can compare the BlackBerry Curve 8330 to many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.

At just four ounces the Curve feels very light in the hand and pocket, but unlike the Pearl this does not lead to a feeling of cheapness. Perhaps it’s the rubber ring around the phone, but the Curve feels decidedly higher quality than its little brother.

RIM obviously has a balancing act on their hands with the keypad and phone design, they have to keep the device wide enough so the keypad is useable but narrow enough so it still feels good in the hand. The keypad on the Curve is great, but we can’t help but feel that it is just a bit cramped. Conversely, the phone feels a bit wide in the hand as well, so it’s obvious that RIM tried to make the best out of the situation here.

We are a bit underwhelmed by the Curve’s overall design. It is a good size, but still on the large side for the average consumer. The keyboard performs excellent, but feels a bit cheap. The color difference is huge; Verizon’s silver housing looks almost gaudy, whereas the Titanium finish gives the Curve a very sleek and modern look. All in all it’s a case where we can’t necessarily find anything bad to say about it, but at the same time can’t really find anything good to say about it. It is what it is.

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