RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 Review

User Interface, Organizer and Phonebook:

The Curve 8530 is running BlackBerry OS 5.0 (5.0.0.337 to be specific.)  We’ve officially seen 5.0 on a few devices now, and gone more in-depth on it with our Storm 2 and Bold 9700 reviews.  The quick version is that there are a few tweaks over 4.6 and 4.7, but the average user will only notice that the drop-down menus look different.  It runs very quickly, helped out by the boost in memory (up to 256MB of ROM) and 528MHz processor.



The phonebook, organizer and other PIM functionality remain virtually unchanged.  For anyone who has used a BlackBerry before you’ll be right at home.  For first time users you can store just about anything you want about a contact, and the full-featured calendar allows you to customize reminders, recurrence options and much more.  Other basic PIM functionality, like tasks, memo and a calculator are available, and voice dialing is handled by Nuance, as always.



Messaging:

One of the better features of OS 5.0 is threaded text messaging.  Standards like SMS and MMS are, of course onboard, as is support for multiple email accounts and BlackBerry PIN messaging 5.0.  Other preloaded IM clients are AIM, GTalk, ICQ, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger allowing you to keep in touch with virtually anyone.



As always email setup on the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 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:

One major advantage the 8530 has over the 8520 is 3G cellular data, EVDO Rev. 0 in this case.  For those still not blessed with EVDO coverage the Curve 8530 has Wi-Fi, something BlackBerry users have been asking about for years but are only now getting across the lineup.  Unlike GSM units, 3G and GPS are not mutually exclusive.  While it does feature the reworked browser first seen with the Bold, the RIM browser is pretty archaic when compared to other smartphone platforms.



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.

Multimedia:

The Curve 8530 has a 2-megapixel camera similar to the original Curve, but loses the flash.  It’s still a decent enough camera, with solid but not stellar results.  Both the camera and video interface remain familiar, 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.



Software:

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 has a slightly faster 528MHz processor than the 8520, and the RAM is doubled to 256MB, along with 256MB ROM.  With this increased memory the OS runs very smoothly.  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 BlackBerry Maps, DataViz Documents to Go package, and of course Brick Breaker.  App World can be downloaded which is a portal to thousands of apps, both paid and free.

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