RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 Review

Introduction and Design
BlackBerry Curve 8530 Release Date: November 20, 2009


Admit it, you feel naked without your Curve, don’t you?  The term crackberry isn’t just a clever play on words, it holds truth.  The Tour is great and all, but a bit more than the casual BlackBerry user wants to spend, and let’s face it the Storm just isn’t what RIM wants it to be.  The Curve hits the sweet spot of price, functionality and cool, but it’s getting long in the tooth.  So how does RIM make their most popular device even better?  How about making it smaller, faster and adding Wi-Fi?


The BlackBerry Curve 8530 is identical to the 8520 we reviewed several months back.  It is slightly taller than the 8530, but narrower, thinner and lighter.  Overall it feels like a much smaller device in your hand.  It is very plasticy however; we won’t go as far as to call it cheap feeling, but RIM is really toeing the border here. The size fits nicely in your hand though.

You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The 2.4” display has a resolution of 320x240 and 65K colors, the same as the original Curve.  It sits above a typical RIM QWERTY keyboard with a design similar to the 8330, which is to say individual hard plastic keys as opposed to the softer keys of the 9xxx series.  What sets the two devices apart is that the 8530 replaces the trackball with an optical trackpad.  The 8520 was the first RIM device we saw with this, but we’ve seen it on all RIM devices since save the trackball/pad-less 95xx series.  The trackball wasn’t perfect, but we’re far from being crazy about its replacement.  We definitely appreciate the sensitivity options, but no matter what we have it set to we just can’t be as precise as with the analog ball.

The keyboard is virtually identical to the the 83xx series with small plastic keys.  It is better than most on the market and easy enough to type on, but it just can’t compare with the amazing QWERTYs found on the 9xxx series.  Along the left side of the phone is the 3.5mm headset jack, microUSB charging/data port and one convenience key.  On the right is the volume rocker and second convenience key.  As found on the 8520, the top houses media playback keys, a touch we appreciate.  The battery door features a nice looking carbon fiber finish, which is the only visual difference from the 8520.  The 2.0 megapixel camera sits just above the door.

The Curve 8530 definitely feels entry level, more so than the Curve 8330. The original Curve still felt like a BlackBerry, but something about the size and weight of the 8530 makes it feel out of place in RIM’s lineup. The device almost feels hollow, and while our pockets very much appreciate the lightness it doesn’t pass our litmus test for feel.

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 360 Degrees View:

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