Here’s one of the reasons I hate being on the low-end of the PR Press List (although I do generally get things after Engadget and Cnet gets done with them). While everyone else is out reviewing the new sexy Palm Pre (which I think is pretty ugly), I’m here reviewing the Blackberry Curve 8900 for T-Mobile. I Nothing against the folks at the big T but hey, what can you do. I’ve had the Curve now for about 3 weeks now and overall I like it but I think it’s now official I’m not a fan of the Blackberry, although I do think the Curve comes closest to what I would want in a Blackberry.
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It’s lighter and feels better in my hand than my iPhone 3G. It supports MicroSD card, has a built in 3.2 megapixel Camera with auto focusing and Video Recording as well as an app for voice recording. The phone uses a standard headphone jack and the playback is quite nice using standard headphones or my overpriced Bose headphones. The Base is rich and deep the audio quality is much better than on my iPhone. The Speakerphone sounds great and the video screen is gorgeous. I watched a couple of the sample video clips that T-Mobile had pre-installed and was impressed with the depth and richness in the video.
This thing contains one of the best cell phone cameras that I’ve used; it’s better than the G1 and the Versa and on par with the iPhone. It’s fast, responsive and works well in low light. Usually I can’t take a decent cell phone picture if my life depended on it because of the delay.
But here’s the rub – this is an Edge only phone so all of the cool things that this phone is capable of is hampered by the fact that it’s painfully slow and forget about any streaming apps. I was never able to duplicate the sample video using the YouTube app that I downloaded from the App Store. It was so slow and stutters so much that it was unwatchable. I tried a couple of my favorite music Streaming Apps like Slacker and Pandora radio. Both applications failed to connect to the servers 90 percent of the time and on the rare occasion it did connect it dropped the connection within 2 minutes.
The new Blackberry App World store is growing rapidly when I first received the phone three weeks ago the store was pretty barebones, now there are already over 300 games, 88 entertainment apps, and a lot of other interesting stuff. I like how everything is now centralized, in the past it was a “nightmare” to try and find applications on the Internet and then install them using the Blacberry Tools application. Now the middleman is gone, you can get the apps directly on your phone. The problem again, is the Curve is an Edge phone so those apps take awhile to download. It took about 20 minutes to download Slacker Radio.
Here’s why I’m not a fan of Blackberry’s – I just don’t like keyboard, it’s very small and tiny, it was a struggle for me to type even the simplest words, that alone full sentences and web browsing was a nightmare. It took awhile to figure out how to type in a web address, once I did the pages never loaded eventually I gave up in frustration. Not to mention the device doesn’t support rich web browsing so it rendered the entire exercise kind of pointless. What the BB is known for is Email and again the Curve excels at this basic function.
The Curve comes with the Blackberry User Tools application that is both Windows and Mac Compatible, although it never installed properly on my Mac. However the Mac will recognize it, as it’s own Hard Drive so you can easily drag and drop files onto the phone. On my Windows machine everything was a lot easier to manage. T-Mobile needs some more loving and marketing, I really like their service it’s reliable, good call quality and a bit cheaper than the others.
Overall I went from a visceral “this is a hot sexy beast of a phone” to this is a just a mean phone that is nothing more than a tease. It has all the elements to be awesome but its missing one key ingredient and that’s speed. I’m not saying 3G is the end all be all, but the difference in how Apps perform is night in day and I don’t know why anyone would pay the expensive Blackberry data plan rates for an Edge phone when they can get something like the G1 on T-Mobile’s 3G Network. So I’m not sure who this phone is for – other than Blackberry fans and even they should wait until Blackberry releases a 3G phone for T-Mobile.
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Originally posted 6.06.09