Probably the best device for someone looking to get into the Smartphone/Blackberry market.
The Blackberry Curve 8520 launched by RIM recently is probably the best Blackberry for someone looking to get into the Smartphone/Blackberry market. Its small in size, low in price and yet manages to provide an excellent Blackberry experience.
Packaged in a nice black box, the Curve 8520 comes with your charger and USB cable along with a wired headset, drivers CD and a 2GB microSD card. It has an excellent feel to it and borrows design elements from some of its higher-end siblings. For example, all the buttons are now placed under the skin that surrounds that unit. The size of the Curve 8520 is about the same as the 8300 albeit slightly thinner.
As usual, you have two convenience keys that can be assigned to any application along with volume keys, a USB connector and a 3.5mm audio output jack. On top, RIM has added three buttons that navigate you through your music or lock the device. Clearly, the 8520 is targetted towards a younger audience.
Hardware-wise, the Curve 8520 is not too far off from the Curve 8900. It boasts the same CPU and RAM as the 8900 meaning its quite zippy, however RIM has chosen a lesser resolution screen and camera, and axed the GPS. The biggest surprise is the lack of the trackball that has become synonymous with Blackberry and is replaced by an Optical d-pad which I think will serve Blackberry quite well in years to come. It took me a day to get used it and once I did, I can tell you that the trackball will not be missed.
The screen resolution on the Curve 8520 is the same as the older 8300 generation based curve, however the quality of the screen is miles apart. The 8520′s screen looks gorgeous and although a power user might miss the extra pixels found on the Storm or the Curve 8900, the Curve 8520 isn’t targeted towards such a user. My wife actually preferred the lower resolution on the 8520 over the 8900 where everything appeared too small to her. The camera is 2.1MP and manages to take pictures of the same quality as the older 8300 which isn’t saying much but then again, this is a somewhat budget device and RIM needs to keep a noticeable features gap between the 8520 and 8900.
My only real complain is the keyboard which is a bit stiff. I have a Bold which I think probably has the best keyboard out of any Blackberry deice and that made it harder for me to type for the first few days but you get used to it. Again, taking my wife who has the older 8300 as an example- she complained about the stiffness of the keyboard the first day but was quite happily IM’ing away three days later.
Battery life on the Curve 8520 is pretty decent. You should be able to get two days out of it if you’re an average user and by that I mean the occassional use of WiFi, about 30-40 emails per day, quite a bit of facebook and Blackberry Messenger usage and a few songs on the speaker. Speaking of the speaker- its loud. Its not necessarily as good as your Bose speaker set but it sure is loud. Voice quality was also top notch on the 8520.
The official price of the Curve 8520 is AED 1199, however, if you look hard enough, you can probably pick one up for AED 999 which I feel an excellent deal. At that price point, the Blackberry 8520 probably provides the best value for a Smartphone and I would not hesitate to pick one up. I highly recommend the Curve 8520 for someone looking into upgrading from a regular mobile phone or someone who is curious about the Blackberry experience- its totally worth it.