BlackBerry Curve 3G Review

9300 review
By Bla1ze on 2 Sep 2010 04:10 pm EDT

The BlackBerry Curve 3G is the next iteration of one of Research In Motions top selling devices. The latest in the Curve series brings 3G to the GSM side and also boasts its BlackBerry 6 readiness despite having been launched with BlackBerry OS 5 preloaded.

While many BlackBerry users have moved onto a Bold 9700, Bold 9650, Torch or even a Storm series device the Curve series still remains a top seller for Research In Motion and the latest revamp does that particular product line justice.

So no, it's not going to be a device for the hardcore BlackBerry user that needs the latest & greatest but it serves well to those who need a nice, functional and cost effective BlackBerry. It certainly cries out to those out there who may still be using a feature phone and are looking to make the jump to an easy to use smartphone. Read on for the full review after the break.

BlackBerry Curve 3G Hands On Video:


BlackBery Curve 3G Official Specifications:

Size (HxWxD) Height 4.29 in / 109 mm
Width 2.36 in / 60 mm
Depth 0.55 in / 13.9 mm
Weight 104 g
Operating System BlackBerry 5 w/ BlackBerry 6 Compatibility
CPU Speed 624 MHz
Memory - 256 MB internal flash memory
- 256 MB built-in storage memory
Expandable Memory - 2GB microSD card included
- Supports up to 32GB microSD card
Battery 1150 mAHr removable/rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Display 320x240 pixel color display
Transmissive TFT LCD
Camera 2.0 MP camera, fixed focus, video recording
Video Camera Normal Mode: 320 x 240 pixels
MMS Mode: 176 x 144 pixels
GPS Integrated GPS with A-GPS (assisted GPS) ready
WiFi Wi-Fi Band: 802.11b/g/n, support for UMA (carrier-dependent)
Bluetooth Bluetooth v2.1; Mono/Stereo Headset, Hands-free, Serial Port Profile, Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP) and Bluetooth SIM Access Profile supported
Headset 3.5mm stereo headset capable
Network Tri-band UMTS networks: (800/850)/1900/2100 or 900/1700/2100 MHz (check with your provider for network availability)
Quad-band: GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

BlackBerry Curve 3G Hardware Impressions

Appearance, Form Factor And Build Quality:

9300 review

When looking at the BlackBerry Curve 3G many folks are quick to point out that it looks exactly like the BlackBerry Curve 85xx. Now, while this isn't an incorrect statement, I personally found that the look of it is more similar to that of the original BlackBerry Curve 8300. The bezel on the 85xx series devices are flat and less streamlined where as the bezel on the BlackBerry Curve 3G has lines in it and seperates itself from the phone.

My first impression when taking it out of the box was not that it looked and felt like an 85xx but rather an 83xx device. I'm not saying this is a bad thing either. The BlackBerry Curve 83xx devices were/are tough and the BlackBerry Curve 3G feels just as durable, whereas the 85xx series did give way to a feeling of "cheapness".

The build quality on this round of the device feels much better. More solid feeling than that of the 85xx series. The trackpad is higher and more raised up where the 85xx series seemed to have them sunk in a little bit too far. As well, the area for the Call, Menu, Back and End keys has been enlarged as well, making them easier to get at and allowing users more "play area" to hit the right buttons when needed.



The keyboard is always a sticky point for me to cover. Ever since the release of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 I have become accustomed to that style of keyboard rather than that of any Curve series device. The only BlackBerry Curve I owned on which I really enjoyed the keyboard was an AT&T Curve 8900. The keyboard on the Curve 9300 is no exception to that. New or previous Curve owners will feel right at home here, but those who have enjoyed the comfort of a Bold style keyboard may have some issues adapting as the keys really do feel like I'm pounding away on Tic Tacs. Granted the keyboard (at least on this unit) was seated firmly and had no wobble or give to it. It was nice and tight as a keyboard should be.

Battery Life:

battery life

Going into testing this device coming off of using the BlackBerry Torch was like a dream come true. The battery life on the BlackBerry Torch 9800 on the latest OS is really not all that good, so using the BlackBerry Curve 3G reminded me of just how long a BlackBerry battery should last. With the BlackBerry Curve 3G using the standard 1150mAh batteries, I was under the impression that it may suffer a little bit due to the 3G but this was not the case at all. Research In Motion has worked hard on the radio stack in the OS' and this device is a prime example of that.

In the end, the BlackBerry Curve 3G on a full charge while using WiFi and occasionally GPS lasted me a full day. Remove the WiFi and GPS usage and I pushed a day and a half out of it just using email, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger. I'm sure I don't need to say it but I will -- I never used the browser much because quite honestly, coming off of using the BlackBerry Torch it really just irked me to have to use a BlackBerry OS 5 browser again. But the few times that I did use it, it had minimal impact on battery life.

Phone Quality And Signal Attenuation:


Incoming and outgoing calls on the BlackBerry Curve 3G were an interesting test. I compared it with that of the Torch, Bold 9700 and 8520. Out of all those devices, the Bold 9700 leads the pack for me with the 8520 coming in last. Where would I place the 9300? I'd have to place it ahead of the 8520 but not ahead of the Torch, which would be next in line after the 9700. Calls were loud and clear most times but occasionally it would give a rather hollow sound off and even a slight echo. Rogers has great coverage in my area so I really do think this was more of a device issue rather then a carrier/network issue.

In regards to "death gripping" it, again, I have awesome 3G coverage from Rogers everywhere I go in my city as the above pic shows, even cupping the bottom of the device doesn't cause any drop in signal at all. I'm not going to go all out and say the experience will be the same for you, because chances are it certainly won't be. One of the factors for the whole attenuation issue was that you had to be in a lower quality signal area in the first place, thus covering the device would likely weaken it even further. Where I am soaking in 3G it's safe to say attenuation is not a problem on any of my devices. The only exception to this rule thus far has been a Nexus One that I own which doesn't run on Rogers 3G as it's T-Mobile branded.

Camera And Video Quality:

8520 and 9300
8520 on top, 9300 on bottom.

Honestly, nothing to write home about here. It's a 2 MP camera with no flash -- you really cannot expect too much from it. Yes, it does fine for those quick pics of the kids, friends and Grandpa trying to muddle his way through using an iPad for the first time, but other than that you're not going to want to be capturing your precious moments with it. Although in my family, Grandpa using an iPad is pretty precious and well, bloody hilarious. Video is the same way -- great for quick clips and grabs but you're not going to be filming your wedding with it that's for sure. In the days of 5, 8 and 10MP devices, no one is buying a BlackBerry Curve 3G for the camera or video capabilities.

Other Internals: WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Speakers, Display


With WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth the BlackBerry Curve 3G is a well featured device. Through my testing the WiFi here is quite notable considering that it supports wireless b/g/n. N of course being the most significant since not even the BlackBerry Bold 9700 has that included, although the upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9780 is slated to. While it certainly may not be a selling point to some, to others it is and it works quite well.

In regards to GPS, the BlackBerry Curve 3G is on par with any other BlackBerry on the market today, It spins up and finds your location rather quickly and accurately. Although excessive GPS usage will cause some serious damage to your battery life here. Probably more so then say a BlackBerry Bold 9700 as the battery just isn't enough to cover it if GPS is something you use a lot of.

Speakers are an issue here, and well, speakers have been an issue for me on every BlackBerry device AFTER the BlackBerry Bold 9000. The Bold 9000 was and still is king. Research In Motion has never made another device sound as good as the Bold 9000 did and I'm quite certain they never will. When it comes to the BlackBerry Curve 3G, you will not be impressed in any way. The speakers are hollow and crackly sounding when listening to music through them however headphones are ok. Using the device on speaker phone is ok as well, but as soon as you want to watch a movie or listen to music, that's when you'll notice that they really don't cut it.

The display is something I wish Research In Motion had not of skimped on. The only North American Curve series device to get a higher then 320x240 display was the BlackBerry Curve 8900. The BlackBerry Curve 3G's display, while capable enough, does nothing for me personally. The screen real estate is small and the resolution isn't all that great. Although, if you've never been spoiled by another devices resolution you'll likely not care all that much.

BlackBerry Curve 3G Accessories:

New BlackBerry Curve 3G owners will have no real shortage of accessories to choose from. The fact the device is so similar to the BlackBerry Curve 8520 means that most cases and holsters are pretty much a given to fit the device. The only thing not really compatible would be screen protectors and some fully form fitted cases since the trackpad and keyboard area on the device have changed ever so slightly. You'll be able to find a lot of the essentials for the BlackBerry Curve 3G already available in the Shop CrackBerry Store ready to ship today.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, calling a spade a spade pretty much sums up how I feel this review of the BlackBerry Curve 3G should end. It's a low cost device that is intended for new BlackBerry users and one that carriers around the world will pick up and sell. Even Mike Lazaridis pointed this out in the announcement for it.

"The majority of people in the worldwide mobile phone market have yet to buy their first smartphone and the BlackBerry Curve 3G is designed to provide an extremely attractive and accessible choice that will help convince many of them to make the leap."

No one is out there trying to convince anybody that the BlackBerry Curve 3G is the greatest BlackBerry available. It is however, one of the most affordable BlackBerry devices available. Research In Motion knew what they were doing with this device. The BlackBerry Curve series has not had a 3G release on GSM carriers yet and while many will say that the 8530 is 3G, it doesn't matter. CDMA is not globally accepted, GSM is and thus we have the BlackBerry Curve 3G release for GSM. It was never intended for the hardcore BlackBerry user to consider purchasing.

If you want something with a better display, better camera and just overall better hardware then the BlackBerry Curve 3G is not for you, move along. That being said, the BlackBerry Curve 3G is great for those individuals who want the BlackBerry experience in a nice, cost effective package with 3G speeds. They are the target audience for this device and I assure you, if you fit this criteria when looking for a BlackBerry, then the BlackBerry Curve 3G will suit you just fine. It's sharp looking, built well, it's durable and it fully delivers the BlackBerry experience without all the extras you're probably not looking for. The BlackBerry Curve 3G is available now on Rogers for $49.99 with a new 3/yr contract.

Related BlackBerry Curve 3G Links

Reader comments

BlackBerry Curve 3G Review


I don't really see the benefit to this phone when you can buy a bold for such a reasonable price. Someone help me out here.

Bold 9700 is double the cost on Rogers.. Some folks may not want to pay double. Then you have some folks who may not even want the Bold keyboard..whatever reason. It has a target market, clearly you're not it. :)


On top of that, even though the device is $49.99 right now, it's just a hop, skip, and jump to $0.00 from here. It's also a good candidate for a Buy One, Get One promotion as well, just like the older Curves.

When my contract expires, and T-Mobile still doesn't release an actual upgraded BB, I'm gonna go with the 9700. Not only is it better than the 9300 (IMO) but I just checked in their site, and the 9700 is FREE w/ a 2-year contract. So unless if T-Mobile releases something actually better than the 9700, I'm gonna go with the 9700. Nice review though Bla1ze

No hard feelings from me bro.. I just wrote the review. It's not a device I'd use on a daily basis either.

Covers all the stuff you need to know and written for the audience at hand, i.e. CrackBerry Nation. I thought it was honest and to the point, and I enjoyed reading it.

I was particularly interested to read the comments on new build quality, having owned an 8310 and an 8520.

It's not easy reviewing a more entry level in what is kind of a specialist field, and more so when your audience are kind of experts too. This is an elegant review that isn't trying to talk up or push the device onto anyone. Mention was made clearly that if you're after bells and whistles, move along!

As for the device itself; my mother has just received her first BlackBerry and it's an 8520. She's aware of my sister's iPhone and my 9700 and just couldn't be happier with the essential functions the 8520 gives her, it's as simple as that.

RIM will continue to sale a lot of these entry level (cheap) smartphones. But I'm afraid that a number of RIM devices are hurting them in the consumer market (STORM1, CURVE, TOUR)...

Yes you may "get" what you pay for, but that works both ways in a competitive market. I know that Android also has a number of entry level devices, but the Android brand is a little more removed from these devices. A customer may not be happy with some aspect of the device, but that could have more to do with the hardware manufacture than with the OS supplier. And Apple... they don't bother with commodity devices, but the do sell the previous years device at a lower price point - but customers know that they bought an "older model". With BlackBerry customers, they only have either themselves or RIM to blame, most folks are not going to admit that THEY made a mistake.

good god...

low res screen fragments the platform....

no openGL graphics...

why on earth is RIM not pushing this low-end device to business user and instead focus its engineering power at producing competitive high-end phone with 800x4xx screen, openGL, mangnetometer/gyro, augmented reality....

RIM, welcome to the world of Nokia, ex-producer of high end phone...

Why on earth would I buy a new phone when it takes pictures with less resolution than my 8900????? The other features are nice, but a camera downgrade?!

I totally agree! I've keep staying with my 8900 because there has been no true successor to it. The 3G is great, but other than that I feel my 8900 is still a better phone.

I find myself faster and more accurate on it than the 9700. (that form factor with that keyboard just don't jive for me)

Really all I want is a 9700 with the Curve keyboard. :)

Me too I thought most people have jumped off of the 8900 but its the most blackberry for the money and the screen is fantastic its the first one to have a screen this nice

For all those of you complaining, this phone is not targeted for you. It's a Curve. It's the "economical" line of BlackBerry devices. It's a nice looking communication device that will do well. It's not a gaming device. If you want to play games, get something else.

Excellent review BTW!

You got it right. The people buying this phone use it as....a phone. Never ceases to amaze me that people on this board can't grasp that fact.

A few months ago my wife upgraded from a dumbphone to a 8520, and despite being happily clueless about the real nuts and bolts, she loves it for most of the same reasons us CB fans love our BBs. But she's finding the screen res, compared to that on my 8900, a real hinderance. In everything from viewing pictures, using the browser, using facebook, even sending messages - all the things that basic users will probably do - the low screen res really affects the user experience.

Not all people that buy BlackBerries are the hardcore users that frequent this site. There is a reason that the 8300 series is such a high selling device for RIM. There are plenty of people just getting into the smartphone market, and there are a lot people that don't need a higher end device. My girlfriend just upgraded from a 8330 to the 8500 and couldn't be happier, but all she normally does on it is messaging, and pulling up a web page once in awhile. I wish the Curves had a higher res screen, and a different keyboard, but that would probably push the cost of them up, and they wouldn't be the cheap entry market smartphone that is making them so popular. Really it isn't a bad thing on RIM's part to have a phone that is easy to get into. Once people get used to having BBM, push e-mal, twitter, facebook, the web and such it might prompt them to drop more on a higher end phone.

maybe rim doesn't really want to compete with the bleeding edge of smart phone technology. If you want the fastest and great it already seems in most peoples minds you go apple or android. why compete for scraps in a very competitive expensive market segment when you can mass produce more entry level and business phones. Carve out a niche, and make a solid margin on big volume, sounds like a good strategy to me.

almost jumped on the 8530. currently eyeballing either the 9100 (pearl 3G), or the Curve 3G. it seems a better review then the 8530. Either way I am waiting until May for my contract upgrade... and maybe something else will come along by then

RIM should have based this Curve on the 8900. All they really needed to do was use the better display and camera, and slapped on a touch pad, added the extra memory, 3G, better UMA and OS6 ready.

I don't worry about curve 3G because curve 3G have 2.0 camera and bold 9700 have 3.2 with flash and zoom is something I like best.

I read it, didn't skip through anything. What rim wants to do is their business entirely. Hell, I could've chosen a curve but I got a bold because of the DVD-quality video recording it offers. My camcorder has messed up quite a few times and this blackberry saved my ass.

If I had a curve, it would be the same for me. Record, edit, upstream to 480x320 and upload. That be all. I don't expect much and I didn't feel any buyers remorse either. Sure, we all like high-end devices, but these devices have very limited hardware-upgrades.

The curve is good, that is all. Relax. I don't complain! LOL

Flash in a mobile is quite overrated, I found I can take much better photos with my 9700 by turning the flash off and adjust the white balance instead. Very rarely I do need the flash.

I use the flash 5 days a week as a flashlight... I don't need this bb, but if you've never tried using your vid cam flash as a flashlight you'd be surprised... Talk about having a candle in an emergency. Got me out of a few jams and helps fix the car in the dark. Maybe not the best flash for taking pictures or video recording, but a great short distance (<20feet)flashlight

I really don't understand the constant bashing of some people. There are many users that just do phone calls and emails with their phones, nothing else. So for those two reasons alone, this phone is just as efficient than a Bold, Torch etc.. There is a place on the market for this phone.
Nice review Bla1ze, as always.

This looks like a great candidate for the corporate phone sect. It is cheap and provides the basics the you would see in a "company phone". The 3g, ofcourse, allowing faster download of windows documents. I constantly view excel spreadsheets and payroll pdf's (while away from the facility) on my 8310, and always find myself wishing for 3g so that I can view, do what I need to do and get back to my day off (LOL!). So again, this looks like a great product to be bought in quantity and distibuted amongst your minions. Those of us who have been using BB's for a while? Not so much...we bog our lower end models down with apps, files and such and realize sooner than later...I NEED A BETTER BLACKBERRY!!!

I would totally get this phone if I wasn't in knowledge about the upcoming developements ( as most of us who regularly visit this site are). We know we will need more memory, more processor capability...OS6 is here and it's many updates will soon follow! Myself? Going to Verizon for the 9650. Same RAM and processor, 3g (as 9800) without the lost memory and speed for the touchscreen driver...just my personal approach, maybe I'm just not ready for the touchscreen either).

2 week ago I got a Certified Pre-Owned 8530 (I WAS stuck with a Pearl Flip and LOW cash). After reading the forums (ALL the time) I had expected this BB to be LESS well constructed...I NEEDED a NEW phone...I now see that person opinion rules the day here. I love this phone...NOT having $600 to get a 9650 (I'm a Verizon cust 4life)...I only wish my 8530 had the silver bevel...8900ish!!!

to the camera? They make an upgrade for Curve lovers that will eventually sport the 6.0 but they won't give them a camera with a flash. I think that is just ridiculous.
Glad I have the Bold, but for the Curve user, they will still have a nice BB just NO FLASH. come one RIM give the Curve a flash

I have a Curve 8320 and it was my first ever foray into the Smartphone world, even though I have supported many different smartphones over the years. For me, it has served its purpose. I am looking to upgrade soon and will either go to the Bold, Torch (if it ever comes to T-Mo), or the Samsung Vibrant. The reason is simple: when you upgrade, you want better features/capabilities.

As far as the review goes, it's a solid one and explains why it is a good phone for someone who wants more than a "dumb" phone, but doesn't want to spend a lot of money, either.

Hello, I am a new BB user and this is my very first Smartphone. I'm posting this from my 9300 device. I just wanted to say a few things. Certain things about the phone isn't a problem for me like the sound for music as I own an iPod Classic which I take with me everywhere and I normally just have my phone on vibrate. The camera isn't much of a problem but for what I'll be using it for it does the job. I moved onto this phone from a SE W850i. That phone was amazing! The keyboard for me is perfectly fine to use and I am able to type pretty quick with it. Depending on how much I use it while at work for internet and such things my battery will last the whole day and I just charge it overnight. I have 2 email accounts set up on the phone and they work perfectly. I use MySpace,Facebook, MSN, BB Chat and WhatsApp on here and everything runs and works fine. This phone will be a great phone for me to use and so far it seems to do the job with what I want it to do. The screen is small but I still manage to see everything fine with no problems and I'm also able to type this on here! To me this phone is a great little device and works well for what I use it for.

Why the fuck is everybody buying a phone because of it's picture quality? Me personally I'm a amateur photographer and I own a nice camera, so honesty I could care less. I previously still own the Curve 8330 with flash, but I wouldn't mind getting this. It'll save me $100 from getting the 9650. I don't care for all the games and pointless apps like them android and iphones.

Making an entry level phone is one of the best things RIM could do. The first blackberry I used was the 8330 and I loved it compared to my old Razor, and now, I work at US Cellular and can try out any of the phones I want. Just getting used to Blackberry with the 8330 has made me love Blackberry and no matter what phone I try out, HTC, or even Android powered phones, there is always a reason to go back to one of my Blackberries (Tour 9630, Bold 9650, or Curve 8530)

I think this phone is great for people that want to use a Berry for it's basic purposes. My wife has an 8310 and when I explain all the stuff my 9700 can do she just looks and me and says "I don't need any of that stuff" so for minimal users and newcomers it will be a great phone.

I also have to say the keyboard on the 8310 and this phone look very similar which is in my opinion easier to use for people like me (Big ol bear paws). the tight keys on the 9700 may work for some but I prefer my wife's curve for typing anyday of the week.

I purchased, CASH ($200.00 ++ CDN), a BB 9300 with WIND Mobile, in Vancouver, Canada, 3 months ago. After 2 months of fighting with it, and searching all over the Internet for reviews and Solutions, I have composed my own review, on my tiny website, < >, in the folder < > under the linux list, BLACKBERRY_9300_REVIEW , with the folder list item BB_9300_REVIEW.html . Full Link is < > I have read hundreds of reviews and COMMENTS and would have to say that the classification " ENTRY LEVEL Blackberry " is an oxymoron, with emphasis on the MORON. If you gut and cripple a Cell Phone badly enough, all it will do is eventually become a liability. I got the 9300 since a number of friends purchased it with UNLIMITED Everything with WIND, and were absolutely delighted to be freed from the shackles of the big three CARTEL - Rogers/Bell/Telus, and finally get to "USE" a Cell phone. However, after I purchased the 9300, and everyone got to really "Experience" the "features" of the 9300, everyone, myself included, is DISS-Appointed to death - to the point that everyone is looking at the iPhone and the Android. Typical EXPERT Reviews of the 9300 have someone borrow a 9300 for a day or two, and go through a typical CHECK list. They click here, snap there, take nice photos of the phone, and whip off a "review"-- if they were FORCED to use the Cell Phone for a month of two and ONLY that cell phone, they would write an entirely different review! I am experiencing new information on the 9300 on a daily basis, and am documenting the "experience". My review will END the day that the 9300 actually "works". A few honest reviews state that the user is happy, since they ONLY want the qwerty keyboard for Texting, or that they want the BBM messaging to avoid per-text charges, or they want occasional light use for some of the smart phone features -- as an upgrade from the wretched PQRS7 keyed old phones they replaced. Fine. ANYONE who actually USES the 9300 and uses the 9300 Smartphone features "Seriously" is "seriously" unhappy, - myself included. The OS6 is severely bloated with huge amounts of garbage and "features" the "user" cannot delete, and the 9300 collects HUGE amounts of garbage data, that instantly fills the TEENY RAM MEMORY, which then causes ERROR generation that is unheard of in any smartphone ever known... This could be fixed in a DAY by allowing the "user" to delete "features" they do not want, and by re-programming the OS to actually "USE" the memory that is available - something that the last 3 revisions I have FLASHED Do NOT do. This seems rather bizarre, and unnecessary. The bloated OS is unnecessary, the Memory hogging "features" are LOCKED, and unnecessary, so it almost appears like deliberate sabotage! The battery on my 9300 DIES in 3 hours, so I put a plastic tab over the contacts to disconnect the battery, until I "WANT" to use it, and I have 2 extra battery chargers and batteries. (You must be kidding). There are dozens of other people around the world who report about a 3 or 4 hour battery life, and hundreds more who report that it barely lasts a day. (You must be kidding.) Anyhow, given to a person who knows nothing about Cell phones, particularly "smartphones", who just wants the qwerty keyboard to make a few text messages from time to time, -- the 9300 is fine. Anything beyond that is a waste of time. Buyer Beware! My review has photographs and is constantly updated as I get to EXPERIENCE the "full" 9300 "features".

I have had nothing but problems with this POJ the side and top buttons have completely disintegrated and the track pad is intermittent