AT&T BlackBerry Curve 8900 Review

By Trevor on 22 Jun 2009 10:22 am EDT
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AT&T BlackBerry Curve 8900

The BlackBerry Curve 8300 was and still is one of RIM's most successful smartphone devices. Recognizing that, RIM released a new version of the popular curve. The new device is called the BlackBerry Curve 8900. Already available on T-Mobile for a while now, this next generation Curve recently landed on AT&T. The 8900 has an all new body, but has a similar layout and feel that any 8300 Curve user will find familiar.


Key Features

  • Full Wireless Functionality: EDGE, WiFi, and Bluetooth allowing you to browse the internet with its full HTML Browser, send emails and access your information on the go.
  • Built-in GPS, allowing you to utilize At&t Navigator for turn-by turn directions.
  • Built-in media player allows you to take your music, pictures, and videos with you.
  • Crystal Clear 480x360 LCD Screen makes using the new Curve even easier.
  • Full QWERTY Keyboard makes typing out emails and text messages a breeze.
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with Auto Focus takes very respectable pictures and videos for a smartphone.
  • Voice Activated Dialing allows nearly hands-free use of the phone, while and excellent speakerphone offers clear reception and transmission of voice calls.


Initial Impressions

After receiving the phone in the mail and unboxing it, a couple things about the phone really stood out to me. First of all, the overall design of the phone was fantastic. The 8900 improves upon the 8300's fantastic case design, which makes it a natural fit to your hand. Of course, when receiving a new BlackBerry one must obviously test out the keyboard. The 8900's keyboard is very easy to type on and took no time at all to get used to. The new BlackBerry 4.6 Operating System looks fantastic on the 460x360 LCD Display. The Curve 8900 is RIM's thinnest BlackBerry to date, but it is not so thin that it hampers use, which I have found to be the case with some other smart phones. I would call the 8900 the perfect amount of thick and thin. It is thin enough that it isn't like carrying a brick, but thick enough to make it substantial in your hand, which is a big plus in my opinion.

Side View Curve 8900

On the right side of the device from top to bottom are a stand 3.5mm headphone jack which allows you to utilize industry standard headphones. Below the headphone jack is an easy to use volume rocker, below the volume rocker is one of the 8900's two convenience keys that can be programmed to launch any application on the BlackBerry. Finally, you have charging port. With the 8900, RIM has changed from using the standard Mini USB charging port. This is one of my complaints. All the BlackBerrys I have used have shared a common charging port, I'm not sure why RIM changed this on the new Curve. The Pearl Flip, Storm and it looks like all future devices (Tour, etc.) have now switched to Micro USB, which will be fine moving ahead but renders my old accessories useless. On the left side of the device is the second programmable convenience key.

Picture of the lock button on the top of the device

On top of the device you will notice (or maybe not) two *hidden* buttons. On the right side of the device is the standby key which will put the device into standby mode. On the left side is a lock button which will lock the device.

Front View

On the front of the device are the standard keys. Left to right, you have a send key, the BlackBerry key which opens the menus, a return or back key, and finally a end key. In the middle of the 4 buttons are the trackball. With the 8900, RIM has used a new black trackball. The new trackball is not backlit, but is a nice improvement in my opinion because it does not show dirt like the old white illuminated trackballs.

 The sleek back of the Curve 8900, at the top you see the 3.2 megapixel camera with flash.

Under the battery cover are the battery, SIM card slot and micro SD card slot, which allows a memory card to be inserted without removing the battery. Granted, you do have to remove the battery cover, but this is a nice compromise to keeping the outside of the device sleek and no memory card door to get ripped off on like on my old Pearl.

SIM Card, micro SD card and Battery.

The BlackBerry Operating System

The new BlackBerry 4.6 operating system on the Curve 8900 is excellent. In the period I have spent reviewing the device I have had no problems with the device. The new OS is very similar to older BlackBerry operating systems and should take no time to get used to if you have used a BlackBerry before. If you haven't used a BlackBerry and this is your first one, I think you will find that the BlackBerry is very intuitive and easy to use. OS 4.6 has a new sleeker appearance that makes the Curve a joy to use. With the new OS, the BlackBerry has an excellent battery life, RIM quotes the battery life as 5.5 hours talk time and up to 15 days standby time. I charge my phone every night and have not tested the battery, but through normal daily use of texting, mobile browsing, phone calls, etc. the BlackBerry has not gone dead or gotten low. The 8900, like all new BlackBerry device models, has access to the BlackBerry App World allowing you to download and install applications over the air (OTA) without the need to sync to a computer. Of course, you can also check out the CrackBerry App Store as well.

The BlackBerry home screen on the 8900. Note the profiles icon is up in the right corner.
Viewing all icons by pressing the BlackBerry Button

 

Picture of the 4.6 OS Full HTML Browser

 

Picture of the Media Player
 
 
Bedside Mode

With this being my first exposure to 4.6, I was definitely happy. And it seems further improvements are just around the corner with OS 5.0, which the Curve 8900 from AT&T will benefit from once the update is released later this summer.

Conclusion

If I had to pick one smartphone to use it would definitely be the BlackBerry Curve 8900. I have used plenty of other phones and the new Curve is a joy to use. It has all the features available for business users or personal users. I can definitely see the 8900 being on of RIM's best sellers. The BlackBerry Curve 8900 is currently available on AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile in the U.S. for around $150 with a new 2 year contract or contract renewal, a very reasonable price for all the features included.

Pros

  • Sleek body design with easy to use full QWERTY keyboard and trackball.
  • Gorgeous user interface for a more pleasant smartphone experience.
  • Excellent stability, continuing the BlackBerry tradition making of stable and secure phones.

Cons

  • Charging port has been changed from the standard Blackberry Micro USB to Mini USB - a con for those switching over
  • No 3G support may disappoint users in 3G coverage areas

Related Links

47 comments

quailallstar

Amazon.com has this phone for $0.01 :) (with a new account or a renewal).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002AKKJWM/ref=s9_simp_gw_s0_p107_t1?pf...

I always go through Amazon to upgrade/renew my contracts, and have NEVER had an issue with them.

Exciter

I see $399.99 for a renewal. $0.01 with new service plan.

bighap

Lack of 3G on an AT&T BB isn't much of a con, as their 3G coverage only tops T-Mobile(which isn't saying much). Damn good looking phone.

rizzzzoooo

Can't believe BB decided to no include 3G on this hot device!!!!

grundyman

it makes sence not to include 3g, for rim or att. if they did so , no one in there right mind would buy the bold

isaacleese

"It is thin enough that it isn't like carrying a brick, but thick enough to make it substantial in your hand, which is a big plus in my opinion."

I LOVE my BrickBerry Bold! :p

threedeckstew

why get this when you can have a nice shiny bold which is the same but has 3G?

MooPenguin32

I am in an area where I have 3G coverage all around me. So, between the BlackBerry Bold and this BlackBerry Curve 8900, I chose the bold for the 3G. It's also nice to have the more common mini-USB port, though micro-USB seems to be becoming more and more popular.

My fiancee will be getting the BlackBerry Curve 8900 because she likes the fact it is smaller and does not care about the lack of 3G. She also likes the fact she can get an official pink battery cover for it.

IIIM3

So is the PIN number still located under the battery or is it along side the SIM card or the SanDisc card? I know that it's a real pain to remove the battery in order to get your PIN.

tnewton3

is where you can find your pin without removing anything. Also holding the alt key and typing eace brings up help screen which shows your pin.

Mark_Venture

sarcastic6, Your link doesn't work...

But you are correct, the Moto SKN6252A USB Mini-B to MicroUSB adapter works perfectly to allow one to re-use old Mini-B chargers and cables with the new MicroUSB phones.

It was available from T-Mobile stores for $4.99, listed as a Charging Adapter for Moto Razr2 V8 (SKU SUPM93367). I haven't been in their stores in a while, not sure if they still sell it, especially since they are not selling the V8 anymore.

They can still be found online from many retailers, including ShopCrackBerry.com -> http://shop.crackberry.com/motorola-mini-usb-to-micro-usb-charging-adapt... And Amazon has a few listed CHEAP

tnewton3

Absolutely love this phone but the lack of 3G does it for me. I know everyone is saying the 3G isn't that big of a deal but it is when you are on an hour long conference call and want to be able to BBM, email and surf the web at the same time. My g/f just got this phone and I love the feel in my hand and the battery life but even while I was setting it up for her I was on the phone and needed to pull google maps up and realized I couldn't do that with the 8900.

The new charging port is rumored to be the new universal port on all new phones coming out. I heard some sort of thing on all the companies coming to an agreement on the Micro USB charging port. Time will tell.

If 3G is no big deal to you this is the only way to go, if voice over data is where it's at this phone won't cut it.

curiosityscat123

I wonder if the 4.6 Operating System is going to leave Adobe Flash/Java further in the 'dust'.

I have the 'old' 8310 (my choice - as there was some functionality I didn't wish to lose out on and it was the 'latest' available at that store, the last time I went phone shopping - given that was about 6mths to 1yr ago)..But, my Blackberry Series/phone type doesn't matter, the following issue exists on all Blackberries that I know of "to date", including this new phone.

It is one thing that has driven me crazy technology wise over the last year and it is the fact that Adobe Flash on websites makes BOTH my phone (Java doesn't do Flash - so I run into the download Flash request - which you just can't do) and my laptop freak out (my laptop is 64bit tech and Adobe Flash only supports 32-bit - Adobe is lagging behind the available technology).

So, I'm wondering just how much further behind 'accessing' the 4.6 operating system or each newly developed phone system for Blackberry will put Adobe Flash & Java (conversion) with regards to accessibility by Blackberry operating systems and add-ons?

I wish Adobe (make their app. compatible to Blackberry) or Blackberry (would provide an add-on built-in solution) would figure these issues out, it's extremely frustrating NOT being able to access Flash Websites!!!

As I am constantly using my phone as a web portal, even though I have a laptop and a desktop.. and yes, I have Opera's Web Browser - which is MUCH better than the built-in Blackberry operating system internet html Web Browser, even using Opera I still run into this issue of Adobe Flash compatibility on my Blackberry.

So..HELP ADOBE!! -- Catch up with Technology Already!!! and..HELP BLACKBERRY -- Build a Work Around Already!!!...IT ISN'T LIKE EITHER OF YOU DON'T KNOW THIS ISSUE EXISTS - IT'S BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS --- AND I KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE BEGGED FOR HELP!!! (because I am one of those that has contacted you directly asking for you to update your products to be compatible)

cowboys2000

The Tmobile version has UMA and does allow for voice and data at the same time. So doesn't that make it a "carrier" issue and not a phone issue? :)

mail2aj

I would consider that a major con. I'm surprised no one else mentioned it.

tomalotuyo

Bought it for my wife a week ago...no complaints at all. excellente phone. She is a first time Blackberry user, so she is getting the hang of it!! All around great phone. Picture quality is excellent!! Blackberry ROCKS!

Matt_25

Uhh, the 8900 DOES have a micro-usb charging port. NOT a mini-usb port as indicated in the review...

KoolKeyth5

I wonder will Sprint ever get the 8900? It would make sense for them to get this device as well.

hotwax

The usb port is on the opposite side that previous devices, making it very awkward to use while plugged in, for a right-hander!! Camera is very good!!

MarkMSG

THis is a great phone. I love it. Very fast and reliable.

crackcookie

Sprint will get it, though it will come out years later, like 2 later.

micro usb is the future.....um, get used to it?

The camera is better

battery life is solid

also, they didnt talk about the enhanced edge.....a shame

Also, I wish they would rate berries across the board, you know?

Like Im sure for its time, the 83xx was great, now I wonder how a bold compares to a storm to a flip to a curve

avmsam

sprint wont get the 8900.

micro usb is now the norm since all he major manufacturers have signed an agreement.

http://www.gsmworld.com/newsroom/press-releases/2009/2548.htm

btw, did we really need a review for the att8900, when its the same as the tmobile 8900?

adobe is already working on flash for mobile browsers. they've run into delays and issues though.

rob1247

Why is this phone getting a review now? It came out months ago.. Or are we just reviewing it on AT&T Network?

CatAlex

Nice. I like how it comes with the black batt cover.

Scotty.dont

Not very much unique to AT&T in this review

quailallstar

Got this phone as a renewal for a penny. See below the copy/paste from my Amazon cart.

Items Ordered Price
1 of: AT&T Nation 450 Rollover Minutes + BlackBerry Curve 8900 Phone, Black [Product Bundle]
Condition: New
Sold by: Amazon.com, LLC
$0.01
(Monthly service charge billed by service provider)
Amazon Prime: Two-Day Shipping is free
- 1 item(s) Gift options: None
+ 1 of AT&T Nation 450 Rollover Minutes
(Monthly service charge of $39.99 billed by AT&T)

+ 1 of AT&T 2-year Contract (One-time activation fees apply: first new line of service, $36; each new additional line, $26; contract extension, $18.)
(No Charge: Included with AT&T's Monthly Rate Plan)

+ 1 of BlackBerry Personal – Unlimited data (corporate e-mail not included)
(Monthly service charge of $30.00 billed by AT&T)

+ 1 of I already have AT&T service and want to extend my contract with them.
(No Charge: Included with AT&T's Monthly Rate Plan)

+ 1 of Messaging 200 - 200 Text, Picture & IM messages
(Monthly service charge of $5.00 billed by AT&T)

+ 1 of Regulatory Fee
(Monthly service charge of $1.25 billed by AT&T)

Item(s) Subtotal: $0.01
Shipping & Handling: $0.00
-----
Total Before Tax: $0.01
Sales tax: $0.00
-----
Total for this Shipment: $0.01

nani198

have any of you received ur 8900s yet from amazon? cause i am eligible as well for renewal. but i am skeptical and questioning the price like seriously a penny for a 500 dollar phone ?

luizadyali

I can't stop bragging about it. I'm not gonna lie I miss my G1 but this phone is amazing besides amazing picture and video quality!

mixoplex

You get your pin # by going to options, then status, then it will list it.

Or go to (if its there )

Options - Advanced Options - Enterprise Activation - then it will show device pin : XXXXXX

mixoplex

You get your pin # by going to options, then status, then it will list it.

Or go to (if its there )

Options - Advanced Options - Enterprise Activation - then it will show device pin : XXXXXX

nastyboy2

"All the BlackBerrys I have used have shared a common charging port, I'm not sure why RIM changed this on the new Curve. The Pearl Flip, Storm and it looks like all future devices (Tour, etc.) have now switched to Micro USB, which will be fine moving ahead but renders my old accessories useless."

you can get a mini-usb to micro-usb adapter for $5 and still use all the old mini-usb accessories. dollar general sells those $7 car chargers that contain 4 interchangeable connectors including mini and micro usb that work with all motorola/blackberry devices.

nastyboy2

i love the 8900 because it plays divx video files. no need to convert videos to mp4 or crummy 3gp format to get them to play on the device

nastyboy2

lack of 3g is a big deal. edge is painfully slow like dialup. the only time i attempt to browse on my 8900 is when i'm on a wifi connection. i'd love to have wifi/3g speed wherever i go. my sister's sprint samsung instinct runs circles around my device when it comes to browsing.

WazzuKirk

Too many people are complaining about the lack of 3G. I have the 8900 on T-Mobile and it is almost as fast as 3G on ATT network. Also, the phone has WiFi which I use all the time which blows 3G out of the water. The form factor on this phone is the best that BlackBerry has put out and is hands down the best BlackBerry on the market right now.

GadgetMomma

My order status looks just like the order copied above. My husband is eligible for an upgrade on Thursday, and it let me go ahead and purchase it today. I may never order directlly from AT&T again!!!

My final bill reads: $0.01

Amazing.

I'm looking forward to giving this to my husband, although there is a selfish part of me that is hoping he wants to keep his 83xx curve so I can have this! =P

quailallstar

Glad you got the phone for a Penny as well.. ATT can kiss my rear. Amazon is the way to go.

DanielVox

This is a good phone. AT&T people will be happy.... I wish the back of mine was black though...

aonarach

according to techie-geeks, micro-USB ports/prongs are more stable and durable than mini-USBs, and will be the new standard going forward for small electronics.

wsfanatic

I personally prefer the newer keyboard on the T-Mobile 8900 as opposed to the carry over keyboard from the 83XX that AT&T uses.

mdines

Why does this have the old curve keyboard? Did RIM cut a deal with AT&T to make cheaper 8900s with new old stock from older models?

NexUsandThem

No discussion of enhanced Edge and lack of T-Mo features like UMA. Pretty bad review if you ask me. Also micro usb vs. mini usb mistake at the end. Sloppy work.

lindros2

There is no way I would get this phone from AT&T. EDGE and Wi-fi, but no UMA?

No thank you - I'll go to T-Mobile.

(and if AT&T gets a version of the Tour or the updated Bold 9020, this release appears even more stupid for AT&T)

dnuex2

Two weeks back a 48 hour special, i picked up two for renewal. Now they show $59 for renewal. Love it!

petes99

I grabbed one of those $99 iPhone 3G's as my Pearl is not cutting the mustard anymore.. after 3 weeks, I'm pretty sure I'm going to return this and get the 8900 for my real replacement... so whats this Enhanged Edge? I heard the 8900 has more "channels" or something to that effect for better data performance?