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RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team


RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
The review unit was provided by Negri Electronics.com


Traditionally RIM has catered to the higher end, but with their push into the consumer market the need for an entry level model was inevitable.  Meet the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520, previously known as the BlackBerry Gemini.  It offers a good form factor, solid but average specs and the wonderful QWERTY that RIM has been known for. The xx20 indicates that it has Wi-Fi, but on the cellular networks you’ll be putzing along with EDGE in lieu of 3G.  One unique feature is the optical “trackball,” replacing the analog one we’ve come to know and love.  The device has yet to be officially announced, but with the 85xx designation we expect it to be offered at a bargain price.


This new Curve follows the traditional Blackberry layout: the 2.64” screen sits above a full QWERTY keyboard, two convenience keys adorn either side and a simplistic back with the 2 megapixel camera at the top.  It measures 4.29 x 2.36 x 0.55 inches, which makes it slightly thicker than the Curve 8900, but weights about the same (3.74 oz).

The traditional layout of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
The traditional layout of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

The traditional layout of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The screen is unfortunately only 320x240, a noticeable downgrade from recent RIM units.  It is still sharp and crisp though, and QVGA isn’t exactly poor.  For an entry level unit it’s more than acceptable.

There is an undeniable plastic feel to this new Curve, though it doesn’t go so far as to feel cheep.  The sides of the phone, and top and bottom of the back, all are finished in soft touch paint which gives it just a bit of grip and a good feel.  The side keys (convenience keys on each side, volume rocker on the right) are all merely bumps as opposed to individual keys with the housing “stretching” to accommodate them instead of breaking.  We’ve seen this from Motorola iDEN units before, and we like it.

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

The keyboard layout is the same as always.  The one twist is that the trackball has been replaced with an optical trackpad.  We’re not exactly sure why RIM made this move, other than to try something different.  It took a bit of getting used to, but after cranking up the sensitivity we like it just fine.  It’s not really different than the trackball though, so unless RIM is trying to increase reliability (an well documented issue) there doesn’t seem to be any advantage to one over the other.

The keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
The keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
The keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

The keyboard of RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520

The top of the phone offers the user media control buttons, the middle of which doubles as a mute button.  The top left has a 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB data/charging port.  The back houses a simple 2.0MP camera in the soft touch area; there is no flash this time around.  The battery door is pried off, there is no mechanical latch, and underneath is the microSD slot.  Like the Pre and iPhone, the shiny black plastic is a fingerprint magnet but looks awfully pretty when clean.

Media control buttons - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
Headphone jack and microUSB port - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
Camera - RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review

Media control buttons

Headphone jack and microUSB port



The design may not be quite as high class as the flagship Storm, but it does not give the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 away as an entry level device.  The balance and weight is good, leading to a good in-hand feel.  The optical trackpad gives it a unique twist.  The display may not be able to match others, but its plenty good and don’t feel that it detracts from the overall design.

  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)

optical trackball adds something different than that stupid normal one

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 13:56

2. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)

Nice use of some Andrew Bird on the media player!!!

posted on 25 Jun 2009, 14:35

3. Arielnyc2006 (unregistered)

When does this come to Tmobile?

posted on 27 Jun 2009, 13:00

4. legionsreturn (unregistered)

Why are you guys reviewing a PROTOTYPE unit as the final product????????? How could you possibly hope to have an objective or accurate review when the device HASN'T EVEN BEEN ANNOUNCED???????

posted on 03 Sep 2009, 06:21

5. adoras (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)

Hey guys! Xpax is out with the 1st ever prepaid blackberry and it’s ready for pre-booking now! Go towww.xpax.com.my/orderblackberry and pre-register for ur very own Blackberry Curve 8520!

posted on 07 Sep 2009, 07:38

6. adoras (Posts: 2; Member since: 03 Sep 2009)

Finally a Blackberry that's affordable and it lets me post all the pics I take on my phone straight to my Flickr profile and my FB. No need to wait till I get home. You guys can pre-book the Blackberry Curve 8520 atwww.xpax.com.my/blackberry !

posted on 27 Oct 2009, 04:27

7. mjpower4 (Posts: 7; Member since: 27 Oct 2009)

Looks plastic. Feels plastic. Rim what are you doing? Waiting on the new Bold 9700 and hoping for better multimedia handling as this may be my future handset depends on how it shapes eager for that review Phonearena..... Also looking at E72 which if it goes like a previous handset in the E71 it should be a long term winner

posted on 31 Oct 2010, 13:26

8. Negrielectronics.com is a scam (unregistered)

Ryan Negri is a scammer and a harraser
I know he is doing this to his customers and suppliers…this guy is really mentally unstable and harasses people.

I have done some research and came up with this site–please check it out.


go all the way towards the bottom and there is another link which shows you that he is being investigated.

I would never buy again from this guy.

posted on 22 Sep 2011, 14:32

10. GadgetLover (unregistered)

I recently bought this phone having a fantasy to have a Blackberry. This phone might be value for the money but quite a lot of drawbacks
1. Battery dies rapidly, probably in 4 hrs time if WIFI is ON and if u have configured to receive e-mails then the phone batterey dies quite soon
2. Phone can be afforded but taking a BB plan with the service provider is much expensive. With Airtel, you would end yp paying 1100RS per month to have corporate email, yahoomail.... Which is quite expensive
3. Menu Button and Back button are quite irritating, might need to press little hard.

this phone is ideal if the Organization buys and provided the servce cost then its fine, otherwise it a HUGE LOSS

To be honest, not a great phone.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display2.6 inches, 320 x 240 pixels (152 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Single core, 512 MHz
0.1 GB RAM
Size4.29 x 2.36 x 0.55 inches
(109 x 60 x 13.9 mm)
3.74 oz  (106 g)
Battery1150 mAh, 4.5 hours talk time

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