I’ve always been a great fan of the Curve’s form factor and arguably, its the most comfortable design that RIM has ever come up with. With the release of the Blackberry Bold and all its incredible features, I wondered how long it would take for RIM to update the Curve to support all those features [...]
I’ve always been a great fan of the Curve’s form factor and arguably, its the most comfortable design that RIM has ever come up with. With the release of the Blackberry Bold and all its incredible features, I wondered how long it would take for RIM to update the Curve to support all those features so with the release of the 8900 Curve, do we have a perfect Blackberry Unit?
Lets start off with the size and design- the new 8900 Curve certainly looks much nicer than the older 8300 Curve. RIM adopts the similar look of the Bold but has managed to keep the size of the 8900 about the same as the 8300 along with reducing the thickness by 0.1″. This makes the 8900 an incredibly stylish unit that sits very nicely in your hand. The spaced out keyboard is easily reachable with one thumb- at least for me, making one-handed navigation extremely easy. The glossy front does tend to attract finger prints while the back cover with a brushed Aluminum finish which looks and feels nice.
RIM has added a couple of “stealth” buttons on top of the unit where previously thee was just one recessed button for putting the unit in standby. Now you have the left hidden button for locking the keypad and the right one for putting the unit on standby. The right side has the 3.5mm jack, buttons for volume as well as the new USB connector which is a bit of a shame as you all your older mini-USB cables are now useless- but such is the price of progress we have to pay. Lastly, as expected, the two convenience are present on either side of the unit.
Although the unit looks great, I’m a bit disappointed with the build quality. The back cover tends to rattle a bit after using it for a week or so and doesn’t quite fit as nicely as the older Curve model. Even the keyboard is a bit shaky- you can place your thumb on it and wiggle it around which certainly feels a bit weird, especially coming from a Bold. The key themselves are nicely spaced but certainly don’t have that uxorious finish like a Bold and seem a bit noisier and harder to press compared to the Bold. You wont notice these things if you’re upgrading from the original Curve though.
Feature-wise, the 8900 is similar to the Bold. It doesn’t have as fast of a processor as the Bold (512MHz vs 624MHz) or 3G capabilities but you will barely notice the speed difference and 3G coverage in Dubai is’t the best so I’d rather be without it. Besides coverage, 3G also consumes more battery which was one of the issues with the Bold so removing 3G along with adding a higher capacity battery (1400mAh) certainly gives the 8900 a much better battery life. In fact, the battery life is so good that at times, I’ve gone two entire days without a recharge which is certainly impressive.
Besides the battery upgrade, RIM has upped the screen resolution slightly to 480×360 pixels and added more memory on the 8900 compared to the Bold. While the screen is physically smaller in size than the Bold, it has a greater pixel density making text appear very sharp. The higher amount of RAM (256MB vs 128MB) certainly compensates for the slightly slower CPU but as I said earlier, you wont really notice much of a speed difference between the 8900 and the 9000. However, again, if you are upgrading from the 8300, you will feel as though you’ve gone from a Tida to n Altima as far as speed is concerned.
Another nice addition for previous Curve users is the presence of both GPS and Wifi on the unit. On previous Curve’s you could have either or but with the 8900, you get both the additional radios. The camera also receives much needed improvement. Not only has RIM updated the MegaPixel to 3.2 but you now have auto-focus which greatly helps in taking sharper pictures. The camera is also covered by a glass now preventing dust-collection which the older berries were great with. Picture quality is definitely much better than older Blackberries but nowhere close to the high-end Nokia or Sony Ericsson handsets. A somewhat upgrade for 8300 users is the option of hot-swapping the memory card. however, its location inside the back cover certainly makes the process very inconvenient.
On the Software side, the OS is upgraded to 4.6 featuring all the bells’n'whistles of the Bold such as support for HTML email, the cool bedside clock mode and a much improved web browser which still doesn’t compare to an iPhone. Quick Office is also included for basic work with Office applications while games such as Word Mole and Soduko will keep you entertained for hours.
In short, the 8900 is an excellent upgrade for the 8300 Curve users. RIM has improved it in almost every possible way- the phone is fast, the screen is beautiful and the functions are plenty. Above all you are getting that Blackberry experience that no other phone can provide such as the Messenger and unlimited data. The only complain I have is the build quality. Other than that, the AED 2400 price could be a bit lower- ideally 1995/- but you are definitely getting one heck of a Blackberry that comes whole-heartedly recommended by me.