BlackBerry Curve 8520 Review - First Impressions

A First Hands-On Look at the BlackBerry Curve 8520
By Kevin Michaluk on 4 May 2009 11:22 am EDT
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A CrackBerry.com Hands-On First Look at the BlackBerry Curve 8520...

A New "Low End" BlackBerry That Rocks?!

Rumors of a new BlackBerry with the codename "Gemini" have been running around the interwebs since early 2009, evolving slightly with every new blog post made about it. After some back and forth on device model number (previously labeled as the  8325 after some initial confusion), the prevailing thought on what has been now named the BlackBerry 8520 is that would it would be a new "low end" EDGE-only addition to the popular Curve line. In other words, the Curve 8520 was not something to get too excited about.

However, this changed after seeing the first live shots of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 surface this past week, which showed off a slick looking device with the traditional trackball replaced in favor of an optical one... the "Gemini" was officially now a device we couldn't wait to learn more about. And good news - it didn't take us long to get our CrackBerry-addicted hands on one. So grab a bevvy, sit back, and read on to see plenty of photos, a video and our initial impressions on the newest Curve.

* Disclaimer: Like all of our pre-release reviews, please note that this is non-commercially available device which means things could change by the time it comes to market. *

Read on For Photos, Video and First Impressions of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 >>

 


A Note About the Pre-Release Device Review

As far as pre-release reviews go, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 in this hands-on feels very much like a production unit. The hardware is well put together and the OS is running smoothly. Edge devices like this are old-hat for RIM so that's no surprise. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 reviewed here is running OS 4.6.1, but we expect (hope) to ultimately see this hit store shelves running OS 5.0 (click here to learn about the improvemens in OS 5.0). With it now being fairly clear that devices running an operating system version older than 4.6 won't be getting an update to 5.0, it makes sense that RIM refresh the 83xx series into the 85xx series, which will get the newer OS. And like the Curve 8300 series, where you have your choice of one big feature (8310 for GPS, 8320 for WiFi, 8330 for CDMA), we expect to see more than just the 8520 be rolled out in the months ahead. Again, think Curve 8510 with GPS, Curve 8520 with WiFi, and Curve 8530 for CDMA carriers (this is unconfirmed... just think of it as logical speculation for now).

Many of you reading this will go "No 3G, Fail!" but you need to remember that there is and will be (at least for a little while longer!) a market for EDGE-only devices  and RIM needs to have a base model, full QWERTY Edge device in their next-generation styling to fill that need. Thus it seems logical that the 8500 series is simply the replacement to the Curve 8300 series. This also justifies why a base model device will be the first to introduce a cool feature like the optical trackball. The Curve 8300 series lineup has been hugely popular and has a lot of loyal users (Curve is the #1 Selling Smartphone in the USA) and there are likely a lot of existing owners out there who would make the jump up to this device.

As for attracting new users to BlackBerry, it has also been suggested by many people that the 8520 is device built with Pay as You Go in mind. We haven't heard much yet in terms of carrier pickup for the 8520 (who's getting it) so whether this 85xx series rolls out to a lot of carriers as a replacement to the 83xx series or becomes a prepaid play by a few select carriers, we're honestly not quite sure at this point. Time will reveal all.

A few things are more certain though:

  • With GPS and WiFi in one and overall better hardware specs (better camera, display, battery, etc.) the BlackBerry Curve 8900 is clearly the current flagship of the non-3G BlackBerry line. So the Curve 85xx device model falling in between 83xx and 8900 makes sense.
  • For those of you upset with the lack of 3G here, keep in mind that's simply not the point of this device model. If you read the BlackBerry blogs, you'll know there are a lot of other upcoming rumored devices (who's drooling for Magnum?!) that will fit into the 9000 series of BlackBerry devices sporting 3G. Hopefully we'll see some new and exciting things in that lineup soon!
  • Based on the unit reviewed here, while we don't have any sort of concrete release date information on the 8520 at the time of this writing, we'd bet that it does get announced sooner rather than later. It feels good to go.

BlackBerry Curve 8520 Overview

With its blacked-out look and optical trackball / trackpad thingamabob (I'm sure RIM will coin a term for it like SureScroll or SureTrack or something like that), I personally think the Curve 8520 is HAWT! But as stated above, when it comes to actual hardware specs, the 8520 is outclassed by its older brother the 8900. With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 some of the key points to make note of other than the optical trackball are:

  • Edge device
  • 320 by 240 display
  • 256 megabytes of internal memory (same as 8900)
  • 1150mAh battery
  • 2 megapixel camera, no flash
  • processor: not quite sure actually - more thoughts on that below

An updated look that blends the old in with the new Standard BlackBerry ports and buttons, plus media controls on top

So long physical trackball, hello optical! Works well... Holding down Play / Pause puts the phone into standby mode
A hands-on look at the BlackBerry Curve 8520

If you follow RIM's quarterly reports or talk to any analysts, you'll know one of the areas of concern around companies that build smartphones is the margin they can get off each device sold. Picking up the Curve 8520, while it has a new look you get a bit of a sense of "recycling" of older (high margin!) parts. The display, battery and camera (minus the flash) appear to be straight off the Curve 8300 series. It's kind of like GM tossing Cavalier door locks onto their H3. But honestly, it's not a bad thing at all as the whole package is tight - the Curve 8520 is a real nice device to hold and play with.

BlackBerry Curve 8520 Video Overview

The Curve 8520 makes me think of Johnny Cash (one of my heroes!). He was the Man in Black, and seriously, this is the BlackBerry in Black. That said, I recorded the video below Sunday morning (and after Saturday night had no way to hold my head that didn't hurt) hence the music selection. So take a watch to see the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and its optical trackball in action... I hope you enjoy the show!

BlackBerry Curve 8520 First Impressions

Picking up the 8520, you know it's a BlackBerry Curve. Despite the visual changes and addition of the optical track-ball-pad, it maintains that user-friendly feeling and form factor of the Curve 8300s and 8900 in hand. And the whole package works well. I was scared to say goodbye to the trackball, but took to the optical sensor within a few minutes. And though I'm not sure what processor is in there, the OS experience is much improved over the Curve 83xx (if it's the same processor, the additional memory must make a world of difference?!). While I'm more of a fan of high-end specs on gadgets, I could actually see myself leaving my Bold or Curve 8900 or Storm or 9630 at home some days and carrying around the 8520 just to enjoy the experience. It also makes me excited for what we'll see from RIM in terms of their upcoming higher-end devices. If this is the look and feel of their base model device, then I'm thinking we should be wowed by their next generation of high end devices.

Form Factor - I personally really like the design approach Research in Motion has taken with the BlackBerry Curve 8520's form factor. On the front, they've extended the LCD protector / covering / shiny stuff (don't know what the actual term for it is but I'm sure you know what I mean) both up towards the top of the device and down over the buttons and right to the keyboard. Subbing out the trackball for optical trackpad, this combined gives the 8520 a more modern and sleek look. Though the Send / End / Menu / Back keys are still clickable, they are combined into one piece (the white lines are slightly ridged up so you always find and hit the right command). The rubber coating on the volume buttons and convenience keys also makes them seem more a part of the device itself. Along with the camera flash, another BlackBerry feature notably missing from the 8520 form factor are charging contacts - I guess there won't be a BlackBerry charging pod for this one. Come to think of it, you probably won't skin this device either since it sort of comes pre-skinned with it's rubberized body (no charging pod, no need for skins... lends well to the theory of this being a prepaid play).

All in all, it's a more unified design philosophy which I have a feeling may hold up better to wear and tear than previous BlackBerry smartphone designs.

A BlackBerry that's really black No charging contacts. Battery door holds well yet is easy to remove

1150mAh battery. Media card inserts and removes easily The BlackBerry Curve 8520 has two notification lights
More BlackBerry Curve 8520 Eye Candy

Optical Trackball - There are a couple of other smartphones on the market that use a similar optical trackpad for navigation, and I'm happy to say that RIM's implementation of it on the Curve 8520 seems to be pretty smooth. You can watch the video above to see it in action. Just like the standard trackball, you can adjust the sensitivity of it under Options > Screen/Keyboard. With the Audible Roll setting on Mute, I was a little tripped out by the lack of noise while navigating. With no tactile/audible response, you're really forced to look at the display to see just how far you've moved. I turned the audible roll onto Click, and from there felt immediately more at home. For navigating the OS and doing things like web browsing, the optical sensor works well. I guess it is an eight-way pad, as I could scroll diagonally while web browsing. And it does "click" down, like a regular trackball, for making selections. So far, the only place where I've found myself having a bit of difficulty with the optical input is playing BrickBreaker. I think the traditional trackball is probably better for quick, accurate motions. Though practice does make perfect. I've heard sweaty fingers and being in bright, bright light can cause issue with this kind of an optical input, but I haven't experienced any issues yet. All in all, so far it's a thumbs up from me. And with no moving parts, it should prove more durable than the traditional trackball. 

Media Buttons - New to the Curve 8520 are dedicated media player buttons, located at the top of the device. While there's no dedicated lock key on the 8520, holding down the Play / Pause button for two seconds does put the device into standby mode. 

L to R: BlackBerry Storm 9530, Tour 9630, Bold 9000, Curve 8900, Curve 8520 BlackBerry Curve 8900 and 8520 side by side

The BlackBerry Curve 8520's buttons are rubber coated No camera flash or charging contacts on the Cuve 8520

The 8520's camera and display are old tech when compared to the 8900 Both unreleased as of yet: BlackBerry 9630 and Curve 8520
Comparing the BlackBerry 8520 to some of its siblings...

Display: The Curve 8520 features a 320 by 240 resolution display. I left all my older BlackBerry devices at home when I came out to Orlando for WES, so unfortunately while writing this don't have an older device to compare to (will follow up next week with direct comparisons). I can say that while the display shows a decent picture and video, it is definitely a step down if you've ever used the Bold, 8900, Storm or 9630. And where you really lose out is in web browsing. 320 pixels just isn't enough these days for those of us who like to browse the web on our smartphones.

Other Stuff: Be sure to click the images above to zoom in on the photos (I've left some descriptions beneath) and get a better look. You'll see the keyboard is much like the 8900's (which is kind of like the 8700's) but with a slightly different bottom row. There are actually two notification lights. The battery door doesn't feature a latch, but is sort of gently pried off.  It is easy insert and remove microSD cards into the media card slot (also underneath the battery door) and you don't need to remove the battery to access it.

BlackBerry Curve 8520  - Some Closing Thoughts for Now...

House of Cards? Try house of BlackBerryz!!
The rubberized casing makes it easier to build a "House of BlackBerry Smartphones"


As was correctly rumored, looking at the specs the "Gemini" isn't what you'd consider a top of the line smartphone. And that's ok - it wasn't designed to be and I'm sure it won't be marketed to compete as such. I will be curious to see how RIM ultimately positions the device - whether the 85xx will be picked up by carriers as a straight update to the Curve 8300 series or if instead this will be sold outright for use on prepaid BlackBerry plans. Either way, I really like the 8520. It looks good, feels good and the optical trackball seems to fit well and work well on a full qwerty BlackBerry (I wonder if it will become the new standard input method or if we'll still see new models with trackballs??).

I'll be sure to follow up with some more thoughts on the Gemini in the weeks ahead. Until then, be sure to drop your comments, questions and thoughts below or in our new BlackBerry Curve 8520 forum.

Related Links

Topics: Device Reviews

123 comments

Chantaland

Its so beautiful, if I had money fot this I realy bougt it!!!! I want this <3 LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT<3

Garz

Very nice device but not impressed with camera or resolution

Edge device
320 by 240 display
256 megabytes of internal memory (same as 8900)
1150mAh battery
2 megapixel camera, no flash
processor: not quite sure actually - more thoughts on that below

Its the same resolution as the 83xx series. I would have thought the resolution would match with the 8900 of 480x360

matthew_i

This device is not for you. This is a low end, low cost, high margin, value conscious device. But it is going to sale like hotcakes. I am betting on a $99 or lower price point ($149 max). This device is like the wii of the smartphone market.

Hardware wise, the wii is old and dated compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3, yet it out sells them both because of the unique experience it brings for consumers and the affordable price point. The wii is also cheap for Nintendo to produce, so they are able to make a healthy profit on each unit sold.

Anonymous123

Looks like perfect candidate for a prepaid smartphone.

Queen4111

Yep, I said the same thing...PrePaid BB.

GapBoyPCS

This can also be seen as another entry vehicle into the BlackBerry family for those who don't like the Pearl and its SureType.

Offer this "bargain basement" BlackBerry, and it will sure to snag those who are on the fence about getting one. Not everyone wants the highest resolution screens or fast processors or fancy cameras with flashes. It will do for those who just want their messages and be able to make a phone call. Besides, buyers of this device will probably like it and then want to move up. Get people hooked on the lower end, and hope they stay within the BlackBerry family!

Hurricane2k9

I'd say it's the new 8300. For now I'd say the progression of berries, from lowest end to highest would be: Pearl Flip, Gemini, Curve 8900 and Storm, Tour, Bold.

caldenni

Yap, the Curve 8900 is still much better, regarding the specs. I absolutely agree with your list, but I think that Onyx will be the highest rank :) Hope it will come soon :)
*caldenni is an author of bestblackberry.com site

bhk8743

dills, i want one

NOT DoCKABLE? whaat

matthew_i

I have never docked my 8830 (or my 8700). I don't think the target market for this device is interested in docking. Not including the charging contacts makes the device more sleek, which does appeal to the target market.

chopsticks

Wait one sec. Kevin how did you get two????? Awesome post as always. I still want the 9630 though lol

BryanTheRed

I want one now!!! Thats supa sexy!

lyoko37

Amazing. Looks like a nice user-friendly device. Maybe not for the power users but the causal BlackBerry fan

haxit

Wonder if it would be possible to mod the 8900 with the Gemini optical trackball. Would be really nice...

jamierson2k

yea yea yea keep dreaming, i thought the same thing when i got my 8520.

Yzz

yea,just waiting for 8920

SexiLexi08

I was wondering the same thing. That would be wonderful.

CurlyFatAngry

Thanks Kevin for the review, and excellent choice of music I must say. I enjoyed this video a lot.

LOL @ the 2 new curves side-by-side too

R1cowl

The Video was Awsome. Kevin, You timed that out nicely. Great Job.

jamierson2k

I'm just finding out the hard way that the 8520 doesn't support UMA, which sucks.

Also on all these preproduction models, the led seems to be offset?

lang007

Wish my BOLD had that trackball

jamesvdm

seconded. maybe a hardware hack in the future

matthew_i

What are the two LEDs used for?

autoprime

jamierson2k - you're really really cool for having a preproduction 8520.

matthew_i

When I saw the 9630 get its cameo I got all giddy. I assume that is normal behavior for addicts.

squintyboy

wonder how good videos look on this.

pmich

I was most impressed by the back covers on all the phones.. I loved the Bold's back "coveroo" I'm really tempted to get one now. It looked like a silver grey/silver back with a titanium finished CB logo. love it!

shaydakiss23

Im diggin it. Really feelin the all black too. In honor i think i'll dress my Storm in a black outfit 2morrow and also grab up that RIM logo background as well. lol.

BTW: CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GET US AN OS WITH GLOWING ICONS ON THE STORM???

Ok, vent over. Thank you! lol.

FrenchCrackberry

Can imagine that One is for BT and the second one for Message alert , No ???

CeluGeek

Hmm, I kind of like the idea. If AT&T carries the 8520 as a GoPhone model, I might pick one up just for the heck of it.

Queen4111

TMO USA needs to come out with this BB 8520 as a Prepaid BB.
That would give Boost Mobile and MetroPCS a run for their money!

fadetoblack1985

i stand by the fact that on a blackberry you don't really need 3g. I like this device, a 2megapixel camera is not to bad, if you want a high quality digital camera go buy one? lol.

This will be a great change for people with the 83xx series of blackberries and it looks good and looks like it feels pretty nice too. if it came with both gps and wifi like the 8900 then that would be a bonus but its a great low end blackberry that looks awesome and i'm sure will be very durable and long lasting

berryfit

Is RIM nuts? 83xx phones are still being sold as new. Owners just purchased 83xx phones and now they arent to upgrade to 5.0 so they can sell 85xx phones?

Nothing like buying a phone that is already out of date when you purchase it!

Way to rip folks off RIM! $#@!#@!#

Hurricane2k9

That's the way of the game bro. And it's still way better than the PC market, where your video card and processor are outdated 4 months after purchase.

xxandres1126xx

im just surprised the os is so stable, when the first videos of the blackberry tour came out the os just kept making the phone reboot.

VIDGMER

those pictures remind me of ole palm..

fraunhofer777

Holy blackberries batman!

celulita

I dont think this comes at as a surprise,
a budget blackberry is just what RIM needs, they are able to clear old technology (screens, batteries, etc) to make way for new displays, and RIM can tap into new costumes by hooking them on the crack early.
In this economy a budget blackberry is a good idea.

chosen1_88

It's a much better looking device than the previous photos showed, so I take back my words about how it looks ugly, but it still gives little benefit over an 8320. In fact, it almost feels like a downgrade from the 8320 since it has no flash (not that the camera is all that great to begin with).

RIM should really be focusing more on getting production prices down on the 8320, thus allowing it to be sold cheaply for prepaid purposes, while having the design and engineering guys work on a single device to rule them all, like a Curve 8900 with tri-band 3G or a Storm with wifi. Or improve the browser.

AZN.M3NACE

very nice.. i would actually consider this phone than the 8320...

tony bag o donuts

Looks like my old q9m and q9c with the single flat button below the screen divided by little rubber nubs....looks a bit cheap no?

leroypinto123

i guess it looks a little cheap, but hardware-wise, i consider it an upgrade from the trackballs... much like the old computer mice, to optical or laser mice..

leroypinto123

damn that video was awesome just for the music... wish they make a trackpad for the bold and sell it on cnn.cn ...... i would soooo buy it.

rajiv1989

where's the flash for the camera??

cvlowe

No flash? No GPS??

Why would I give up my 8330?

Saleen4971

NOBODY CARES ABOUT AN EDGE PHONE THAT IS BARELY AN IMPROVEMENT ON THE 8900!

GET WITH THE DAMN PROGRAM!!

Snowman81

The QVGA screen is a turn off for me. Even though its more than enough for texting and email, I'm not going back there, the graphics on QVGA displays are just too crude once you've experienced Half VGA, VGA or Wide VGA.

gbsesquire

This review confuses me as it implies that this 85xx Gemini series is not 3G, and that that's okay because the Curve has done gangbuster business, etc., etc. I don't know about you, but my Curve is 3G and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's super fast when in 3G coverage, which is most of the place in LA. Are some Curves non-3G? Would a CDMA Gemini have 3G like the Sprint Curve?

fadetoblack1985

the cdma version of the 83xx isn't actually 3g, its 1X EVDO which is slower than the GSM version of 3g which is what everyone has been commenting on. The CDMA "3g" is actually the same speed or slower than EDGE on GSM.

Cheers

mab4285

Actually, CDMA EVDO IS 3G, and it is faster than EDGE. AT&T and other GSM carriers have done a bang up job of confusing everyone saying that CDMA does not have 3G, when in fact, they have had it before GSM carriers.

tech42er

EDGE < EVDO Rev 0 (Curve) < EVDO Rev A (Storm) = 3G on GSM carriers

more or less

zarzamora_hermosa

I will pass... and never look back

md12

yeah the CDMA 85(30 probably) would be 3G just like the 8330 is. Thats if VZW carries this phone, which they might. I heard they were getting the 8930 1H 2010 but who knows.

rommelh

nice wallpaper. where can i get it from?

mhind52

I like.....the 89xx is replacing the 83xx, so I like the new addition as another bb option. Welcome to the family!

LuisT

The device is VERY VERY sleek. I love the addition of the optical trackpad (or whatever they call it). Like they mentioned in the review, this is for LOWER END BB Users.

I just upgraded to the 8900 and the 8520 doesn't really appeal to me. Its really nice, but the 8900 has more features for me :).

-Luis

KoukiFC3S

What carrier is this for?

RoxyGr52884

It reminds me of my old Q9M. Looks cheap and I don't think it looks like the "signature" blackberry. Trackball looks interesting...

Not my cup of tea; of course, someone else's I'm sure!

fondoo

where can i download that wallpaper?

wendybeee

I'm curious about the service provider in this pic of this BB...ATT-Rogers ??? is this Canadian or American ?

ernest.childs

I'm sure Rogers is the SSID for his wireless access point (WiFi).

tim harvey1

where can i got it and can i get it with tmbile

180kid

Where can we get that wallpaper?!?!

crysis63

the look of this phone especially the optical trackball reminds me of another phone, to me change from the original trackball to this is bad.

thenashy

It look cheap and nasty to me.

danaedot

Hmm, overall I'm not convinced and I still want to upgrade to a Bold from my 8310. But I am totally diggin the new trackball :)

vx1

no one, I mean no one wants a LOW end high priced phone bill eating
blackberry.

thats what this is. no 3G, 2 Mega Pixel Camera ( yah you heard right not even as good as 8900 3.2)

dumb square with retarded optical mouse

Rubber end as if this was Grade 2

Go Home. BAD BAD BAD Idea

Mike4391

I agree with you 110%!

fred jackson

who wants a NEW handset from the LEADER in SMART PHONES that has a 2MP camera with NO FLASH, NO 3G & just 256MB OF MEMORY??? we'll c what the magnum brings. pass on the 8520...

CarBob

Hi Kevin,

Guess now 'BB' could stand for 'Basic Black.'

I will hang onto my BlackBerry 8330 Curve until BlackBerry 9630 Niagara/Tour is launched/released.

Enjoy yourself at WES.

- CB

Anonymousbold9000

im sorry if i didn't read the article properly and totally missed it but hows the battery life?

dammit even though i still love my bold which i just got and which i HAVE to keep for another gagillion years,a new one comes up.

Ekachu

But way too big for my tastes. I don't like the really wide smartphones (which is why I opted for a Pearl)...

Though I would love to see an addition to the Pearl line with the optical trackball.

elvin1983

I like everything about this device, but I'd like to have a flash on the camera... I know it's not a big deal at all, but when I had my Razr with no flash the pictures were certainly worse than if it had a camera. Other than that, looks like a great unit!

tnewton3

I too am not impressed with the device as a whole but I use the Bold so I can't judge them side by side. The more blackberries in the wild whether it be pre-paid or just a $100 BB after rebate is what I DO like to see. Finding someone out and about and getting to know them and finding out they can be loaded onto BB messenger is sweet.

Keep the new BB's coming RIM.

Mike4391

Don't like the device AT ALL and HORRIBLE music.. sorry

itsagadget

We review BlackBerry 8520 or Gemini model...

Seabass88

It's so annoying that people have to point out that they're the first to comment...who gives a shiat!

Nice phone, but the camera and lack of flash is a big downside.

antprdgm

okay so here's the order:

EDGE < EVDO REV 0 < EVDO REV A ≤ HSDPA/HSUPA

Make It Seven

I live in waterloo where RIM is located and my buds has had this phone for months now! He is on Rogers, for all the americans wondering what carriers this phone is coming out for. Overall, great phone, i have a 8900 which i bought for 200 haha and i can say i like the rubber on the back of the 8520, it completely dismisses the need for a skin. Trackpad is just like dude says, almost the exact same as the trackball if not better. Speakers are alright most likely the same as the 8300 series speakers. Keyboard is the same as the 8900's. For those who jsut text and call people or have e-mail on their phone... this is all you need, this phone is very small, very light, and is great for a low-end type of blackberry

Crunch

No 3G...fail, 320x240...epic fail, and it's a step DOWN with the "no flash" thing...

However, good for T-Mobile, and pre-paid, agreed.

Magnum!!!!! Yessss....I'm drooling alright...:D

Bunnii_09

The resolution on that 8900 up there is gorgeous.. I'm so jealous...

chris.tan

still a fan of the trackball but it would be interesting to try this new thing

cb2gman

I work for a HR software company in the UK and we have rolled these out to 20 mobile staff, and we've even got our own HR software working on them, so that staff on the move can fill in their timesheets, book holidays and if they are a manager, even approve holidays for their staff. It was technically easy to do, but as far as the handset is concerned, it is robust and has gone donw well with all our staff. A big thumbs up!

If you want to know mre, contact us at www.cascadehr.co.uk

imiller

No gps and camera doesn't look up to par and the rubber case just means it collects dust from every angle. So why buy this just because of the trackpad??

blackmangabbin

This looks pretty good. Still in love with my 8900 and looking more at the Tour. The resolution not really happy about, but it's on the low end of the curves so I would kind of expect something like that.

wolfinspirit

As a person who had the 8320 and upgraded to the 8900, the 8520 seems like a step backward to me. OK so it has the optical trackpad and the dedicated music player buttons. Other than that, the 8520 seems like a "dressed up" 8320 to me. Don't get me wrong. I liked my 8320 a lot, but I like my 8900 a LOT better.

Compared to the 8900, the 8520 has worse screen resolution, no camera flash, no docking capability, and no WIFI. I broke the charging port on my 8320 from simple daily charging (connecting and disconnecting), so docking capability is a MUST for me. I don't trust the port anymore. Camera flash is important to get decent pictures - as in better camera resolution, so both of these things stepped backward on the 8520. I have never owned a 3G phone so I don't miss it on the 8520, but I would miss WIFI if I had to do without it.

I guess I'm one of the rare people that simply isn't impressed by "touch" controls. Yes I get annoyed when my trackball ossionally locks up, but not enough to give up these other things.

ucsdgirl04

I like the looks of this. I have an 8320 at the moment...I'm on my third one, with a fourth on the way. This would be a good device until the Onyx releases and then keep this as a backup.

The only thing I would have like to have seen is a better camera and flash. Other than that, it seems like a great device! looks great and love the blacked out look.

Tmobile may send me this device as another option to getting another 8320. hopefully i fare better with this model should i get this instead of another 8320!

lenorules1950

I got it yesterday and have spent the better part of yesterday and today playing with it. My previous BlackBerry devices include the 8100 and 8220 and even though it's being touted as an entry-level device, it's a HUGE improvement over both of my earlier phones. It has yet to freeze on me (and no dreaded "Input System Error The System is Being Restarted" message yet), YouTube videos load almost immediately and the best part? NO TRACKBALL!!! The optical pad has virtually no learning curve, and hopefully won't fail like both trackballs on my past BlackBerrys have. Mind you, I've only had the thing for a day but I can see myself hanging onto it for a while.

miharms

i neeeed a blackberry soon!

d.dawg32

I like the Curve form factor with the keyboard. This doesn't appear to have any advantages over my 8330 other than the new style track ball. I would like to see an improvement on battery life. The extended battery I purchased makes my phone somewhat awkward.

bnelson0323

I think this is a great product, it will allow entry into the blackberry market for some who may not otherwise be able to afford it. I don't think this phone is for me however, but I am still impressed.

brooklyn33

I like the new design of the curve, i have been using the curve for the last 4 years. I will not purchase another phone, i am so happy with all the upgrades and new applications that we as the consumer can utilize. Thanks RIM, for bringing the best phone to the market.

spitwad

Neet phone...wish I could WIN ONE!

munnugles

This is a nice bb on the cheaper side of things. It looks really nice as well. it will probably do a perfect job for people who want bb's but dont want to go all out.

savage.a

does anyone know a release date of this on o2 uk?

charles_tytto

i think the 8520 is a great device for those of us who are new to the wondreful world of blackberrys. I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing more about it.

s0ulive

I've been using my Curve for about a month. 2 main issues - the new functions on top of the Curve accidentally plays my mp3 music and my Pandora when I placed it in my pocket, even though I locked my phone. And secondly, the battery life runs really quickly. half the day or by the end of the day, I have to charge my phone. It's a great phone, but those were my 2 reasons.

DanielVox

I think it looks ugly right now . . .

considering a berry

I am not only new to the blackberry world, but to smart phones as a whole. I'm 22 years old and would like a blackberry only for texting, e-mails, and some light mobile web browsing. (facebook,youtube,pandora,etc...)I'm attracted to the low price of the 8520 gemini but as with alot of phones, low price=piece of junk. I've read every post on this forum and reviews seem to be a pretty even mix of good and bad. I guess what i want to know is will this model be sufficient for what i'd like to use it for? HELP ME!!! lol

yangkai

about the camera ,it is not useful to me!

brittanylynnvictoria

i just got the white version of this phone and im in absolute love with it! i would definately say two thumbs up for this phone ! :)

nikaclut

if i get this phone, this would be my first blackberry. at first i didn't see the appeal to bb phones when i was younger. my first phone was a razr and then a sidekick iD. i had no complaints because as long as i can talk and text, it's all good.

right now i have the t-mobile g1. and i'd actually be content with this phone if i get it. as long as i can keep my days organized, i wouldn't mind. since i'm a college student and i work part-time.

i've read so many reviews, watched video reviews on youtube. i even tested them at the stores so i know what i'm getting into. i know i'm not gonna get a flash with the camera, and the g1 doesn't have flash so i wouldn't even notice the difference. i use EDGE on my G1 because the 3G drains my battery, and the g1's battery life is horrible as it is. but at least this phone will have AIM that'll work, and my g1 didnt even have aim bc android decided to charge for applications that were once "free."

and another thing that really made me decide this is the phone i want is it's cost. i don't make enough money to even buy the 8900. i'm working really hard to get this phone asap. and to save up for the 8900 will take me a year lol. i'll stick to this phone and wait for future bb's to come out after i graduate from college.

buddo

Im still relativly new to the blackberry world. but i just got the 8520 and I am 100% impressed... its my second one... my first bb was th 8703g and it was a great device, now i have the new curve after 2yrs of not having a bb...
im still waiting for decent themes, and software... but i recomend one to a first time buyer

bmcleod7

Just curious if anyone heard any leaks about bell getting the BB Curve 8520/8530 sometime soon?

LLBBLL

Just ordered this today through T-Mobile. Really looking forward to getting it. Super excited about the optical thumb pad thing. No flash for the camera? No big deal to me. Like a previous poster said, I mostly use my BB for talking, texting, emailing and light web browsing. Love the look of the 8520, very sleek looking and very blacked-out.

Will have it in my mitts in 12 business days and counting!

carlisle.wesley

i am a new bb user and coming from the helio ocean i am impressed

Vatis

Best Buy has this phone for free. Can't beat it for the money. Very functional and easy to use.

robertoap

the blackberry is very nice

inchiriere

I think this is a great product. We need more sites like this. I commend you on your great content and excellent topic choices.
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pinchus718

guys, I had Palm Pro after Sprint has convinced me to transferred to it from Blackberry. Today I am waiting for my Blackberry and I am all excited - never leave Blackberry!!!!
Any BB is better then any other smart phone, even the old models of Curve are way better then any other smart phone

mveal

first BB and so far I'm totally confused by it, I'm having problems with wifi and the back light seems to get brighter whenever it wants. so far this phone kinda sucks, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

alloyd02

The Blackberry Curve 8520 is a cell phone that is sleek, stylish, an affordable. This is a cell phone that many people already may have or must try out. This phone comes in the color of one‘s choice and gives them access to a full keyboard. The Blackberry Curve has all the features that one will find essential throughout its use and experience.
The Blackberry Curve has video messaging that can be used when one is away from home or on the go. One can use it to capture their favorite moments on video, and then share them instantly with friends and family (tmobile.com).Whether one just want to capture a photo of oneself and send to their loved ones or capture a last minute event or recital; this phone has a feature that could be great for them.
Another feature this phone consists of that is highly in demand is text and instant messaging. Text messaging is a quick and easy way to stay connected while sitting at work or at an appointment where one would want to refrain from talking. One can utilize the phone’s keyboard to type and send messages. With instant messaging one can send and receive messages with AOL, Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger, and Google Talk (tmobile.com). Personally these are two of my favorite features. I can connect instantly with Facebook (the social network) and MySpace. Anything that hits ones personalized page of either will automatically go through their personal email (which is connected to your phone) and one will receive it instantly. One can post comments, tag photos, and upload to their pages all from the convenience of this phone.

mertonmarshall

It works well i have one and it is also pretty sturdy

mertonmarshall

This led me to buy the 8520 and it is a really nice phone. I would recommend to anyone.

Johnexo

I am using this phone 8 months. I am very happy with the performance. All the applications are working fine with it. Camera has not been very disappointing and music quality is also good.
http://www.gsmcellulars.com/rim-blackberry-curve-8520-an-entry-level-bla...

bbcurvemaster

i have this phone i agree the camera charecteristics are not all advanteges but im atleast proud its a blackberry

HC2011

I am one of those "on the fence" people. Always wanted a blackberry, but have never really wanted to fork out the big bucks and get locked into expensive smartphone contracts to get one. But this is perfect. Inexpensive, good features, and its pay as you go at Rogers in Canada. Its awesome, I shall be getting myself one asap.

Minny07

I just began using it two days ago and its my first BB phone.
I hate that it comes with only one Theme,but yeah this is minor> Since its my forst one I dont really know what to expect so Il say someything more useful down the line...

dradinovic

HI THERE!
HOW TO CHECK IF MY BLACKBERRY CURVE IS REALLY NEW? I BOUGHT IT IN T- MOBILE IN MONTENEGRO WITH THE GUARANTEE BUT RECENTLY I SAW THAT I HAVE SOME RUSSIAN NUMBERS WITH THE ADDRESSES AND E MAILS IN CONTACTS ,SO I DOUBT IT IS NEW, THINK THAT SOMEONE ELSE USED IT ALREADY?
HOE CAN I CHECK IT?
THANKS