RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 Review

RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 Review
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:



4. BB8530,yuck! unregistered

I love my blackberry as a device, as a phone, I believe it is HORRIBLE! a waste of your money and time. Takes way go long on the Internet and I thought this was supposed to be 3G? if constantly freezes. The wifi.. What wifi? Calls fail 90% of the time.. The apps suck as well. They phone should come empty with know apps leaving it up to the customer to download. I do feel naked without my phone, before all the problems started happening my phone was my everything. The update took 3 hours to finish which I wasn't complaining about, but the fact that it DIDN'T WORK was obnoxious. Other than that I have nothing else to say.

3. Robyn Hode unregistered

I am with Virgin Mobile (after completing my 2 year contract with T-Mobile) and have the Kyocera Loft. I have been considering upgrading to the Curve 8530 but after this review will wait for VM to offer a better BlackBerry. Now that Sprint has bought them it shouldn't be long till they offer a Bold. PhoneArena offers the best and most comprehensive reviews. I've read virtually every review of this phone and none tops this one. Thanks!

2. Atlantaguy unregistered

In the video review, the reviewer discusses the trackpad and how it's hard to make precise moves with it, but you can go into the menu and easily adjust the sensitivity of the trackpad in up to 10 steps. This phone is also available through Virgin Mobile as a non-contract phone, though you have to pay much more for it up front ($249-$299), but their monthly rates are much lower to use it than Verizon, too. Overall I think this phone is ok. Yes, it feels cheapish, and the camera is only so-so even for a 2MP model. If you're willing to shell out a few dollars for the prepaid version of this, it will pay for itself in just a couple of months or so via the lesser monthly fees. If you go contract, you'll be shelling out $100 or so to use it, and for that much per month, I'd want a super-phone.

1. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

I've had nothing but trouble with my 8530 since I got it with Sprint. It constantly freezes, the battery drains worse than any Blackberry I've ever owned before (including the original Curve and Tour), it's slow as molasses, and it STILL doesn't have Rev. A. I purchased it because it was free for me, and yes, I was aware that it didn't have Rev. A when I purchased it, so I really don't hold that point against the device. I think this will be my last Blackberry, I'll be looking for something else once I'm available for upgrade.
Curve 8530
  • Display 2.4 inches
    240 x 320 pixels
  • Camera 2 MP (Single camera)
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon S1, RAM
  • Storage , microSDHC
  • Battery 1150 mAh
  • OS BlackBerry 5.0.x

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