Like any BlackBerry, the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 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.  Other preloaded IM clients are AIM, GTalk, ICQ, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger allowing you to keep in touch with virtually anyone.

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.

Connectivity and Data:

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a quad-band GSM device which unfortunately features only EDGE data.  It somewhat makes up for the 3G omission with Wi-Fi, but those not near a hotspot will be left in 2G purgatory.  As mentioned earlier the 8520 does not have GPS, but we’d expect an 8510 that does at some point.  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 trackpad zooms in.  Rendering is better as well, and speed has increased though isn’t what we’d call fast, even over Wi-Fi.

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.


The 8520 reverts to the 2 megapixel camera found on the original Curve, while ditching the flash.  It’s still a decent enough camera, with solid but not stellar results.  Both the camera and video interface is unchanged, and for an entry level model it’s more than sufficient.

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.  As you would expect videos look wonderful on the high resolution screen.  The included stereo headphones are pretty poor, but the 3.5mm jack means you can use any headphones you want.  With our higher quality headphones music sounded very good.


The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 runs on a 512MHz processor with 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM, which leads to exceptionally smooth performance.  There is not much in terms of software beyond what we have come to expect from Blackberry devices.  The most notable of which is the DataViz Documents to Go package, and of course Brick Breaker.  Since there is no GPS, there is no Blackberry Maps.  Keep in mind that by the retail launch this may change, and we expect carrier customizations.

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