T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8520 First Impressions

By Adam Zeis on 4 Aug 2009 03:56 pm EDT
Curve 8520

I received my Curve 8520 today (which is now available on T-Mobiles site) and was extatic to get it out of the box and start playing around. Kevin has given us his pre-release review of the entry-level device, but I was happy to have one to play with for myself as well. Mind you, I'm always happy to get a new device to review, but this one will be my first GSM device so I'm in for a totally different experience. Coming from a CDMA carrier I may sound a bit jaded at times, so throwing in a SIM card and firing up Wifi was really something to look forward to. Having my Tour for a few weeks now I'm fully ready to give another device my time (for a few hours anyway). The Curve 8520 is available on T-Mobile today for $129.99 on contract, or at WalMart for $48.88 on contract (yes same phone, same service). This is just a quick look at the Curve 8520, with a more detailed review to follow.

Box Contents

In the box you'll find the standard fare - the device, charger, battery, earbuds, software CD, manuals and a SIM card. The first thing I noticed about the device is how lightweight it is compared to my Tour. Its not "cheap" by any means as it feels sturdy and well constructed. The Curve 8520 runs on the same battery as the Curve 83xx series. The battery door is pressure fitted - there is no latch or button to pop it open and it simply clicks into place. I actually love the battery door and can see some great potential for a CrackBerry sticker or a sweet Coveroo with all that space. The SIM card fits nicely under the battery, and the included 1gb memory card sits off to the side. This is a great spot for it in my opinion as there is no external slot to worry about, and you don't have to remove the battery to get at it.



Once the battery was in the device powered up quickly running OS Nothing really new for those of us using OS 4.6 or 4.7, but those coming from OS 4.5 (or first-time users) will be excited with all the new features. Hardware wise obviously the first major change is the switch from the standard trackball to the new trackpad. It is a fairly big adjustment and takes some getting used to. I had to turn on the audible click to remind me I was actually moving the cursor since it flows so well. I'm still not sure how I feel about it so we'll see how it fairs for me. The Send/End Menu/Back and trackpad layout flows right into the LCD making for a very smooth, clean look. Its kind of all one piece and it just runs together. The keyboard is a great size and has raised keys like the 83xx series but they seem a bit closer together. Convenience keys are in place on the left and right, as well as volume buttons. They are covered by the "rubber" on the sides which I actually like. There is also the new addition of media keys on top of the device for quick access when playing music or movies. Overall the look and feel of the device will entice a lot of users. It feels good and looks good and is a great step up from the original Curve series.

Curve 8520

The software has all the basics - browser, BlackBerry Messenger, calendar, tasks, messages etc. Included are the shortcuts for IM apps like AIM and ICQ as well Documents To Go. I was told that the social network apps (Facebook, Myspace etc) were installed as well, however I can't seem to find them on the device. Once activated the T-Mobile MyFaves icon showed up as well. 

Overall with only a few hours of play time under my belt, I can say I'm already a fan of the 8520. I can see new users falling in love with BlackBerry for the first time, as well as Curve converts ready to updgrade. I'm excited to run through the device and check out the features. For me, having Wifi on a device has never been a huge issue, but I'm interested to see what all the hype is about and maybe join the Wifi bandwagon. I'll be giving the Curve 8520 the once-over for a few days, and will report back with all my findings (and most likely my new found love of Wifi). If you're itching for more right now, check out Kevin's full pre-release review of the Curve 8520 or grab your own 8520 from T-Mobiles website.

Topics: Device Reviews

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8520 First Impressions


Yeah, I've been waiting for someone to say "hey, the disk includes Desktop Manager for OS X"..............anyone?

I'm hoping to win one of these bad boys! You HAVE to have WiFi on your phone IMHO. Otherwise, why do you even need WiFi at home? ;-)

If your going to do reviews you guys seriously need to take better photos to do justice to these devices. I am not saying they need to be over the top but at least decent point and shoot photos. I mean everyone and everyone has a decent point and shoot camera to take pics with. You should not use a "Cell" phone camera for your photos for a review. The photos come out dark and with all sorts of "Mixed" light throwing the color balance of the photo all out of wack. Get your self a decent light tent to take photos or use some decent soft natural light or bounce some light from the ceiling. The light tents are like 40 bucks or even make your own. It will make a "WORLD" of difference on your credibility of the articles or reviews of these devices. Those photos above are terrible... It does not take much effort to make some decent pics if you put some effort in it.

WTF are you talking about??

This isn't a freakin PHOTOSHOOT, it's a REVIEW. You want studio quality pictures, visit BlackBerry.com. Jeez what a whiner.

Not everyone needs 3G or lives in a 3G zone... My town isn't GSM 3G at all, not T-Mo, not AT&T. Only 3G we get is Sprint and Verizon.

Plus, for a large company deploying a lot of Blackberries, the lack of 3G keeps the cost down.

Except if your in wifi spots frequently then Wifi dusts 3G and also doesn't drain your battery. But why make a educated opinion when its easier to banter off false information.

Then let's all turn off our cell phone radio and heck, let's tell rim to not even include radios in devices, let's all go to wifi spots to use it. The point of a mobile phone is to..... BE MOBILE!! Heck if you want faster speed then mock up a cable modem connection. And since you are so worried about battery life glue the device to a generator . Yeah, that sounds like a plan......

I've become a big fan of the 85xx series.Well built and the trackpad is a big winner.The perfect replacement for the 83xx series.My biggest non-device issue is why didn't RIM give 8520 buyers a protective pouch/sleeve?

Guess it's a good platform to test the trackpad. I sure hate seeing BB turn out entry level stuff. I guess I'd still rather have this than the iPhone or any HTC.

I think that the 8520 looks kind of poor... i don't know that plastic back, and soft plastic around it... i really dont like it.

I know thats an entry level device, but my beloved curve 8300 was 10 times better looking... my curve 8900 looks wayyyy better too, and it doesn't look bad either when compared to my bold...

Quite frankly I really think that this device looks...well "cheap" in a sence. I do understand that it's supposed to be an entry level BlackBerry but they could have at least made the thing LOOK better.

I feel like they just throw out some ideas and the first ones they heard they went with it without any true thought.

I'm the one thats always after the next best thing, but with this I feel you lose more than you gain.

Just got the phone im a hardcore blackberry fan/user as well as an iphone owner lol (dont hate me i like to have fun, and i know there are some of you blackberry users out there that have an iphone in your back pocket just arent going to mention it on this website), but anyway i like this phone a lot i have switched from the storm to make this my main phone to do business on and i love the switch. Its a cheap phone in price not quality and definitly gets the job done for me in the since of email and chatting clients that im on all day good phone RIM. I wouldnt be surprised if this phone doesnt become a huge seller once it hits some other providers besides t-mobile.

Does anyone know or heard of anyone trying to watch movies on this particular model? If so did you use blackberry video converter or something else? Please let me know thanks. If I can findout someone has actually watched movies on this phone then I will definitely like to purchase this well built phone.