Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G Review

Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330
By Adam Zeis on 23 Sep 2010 02:29 pm EDT
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Hands On Look at the new Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G - an Entry Level BlackBerry that's BlackBerry 6 Ready

Verizon's latest offering comes in the form of the new BlackBerry Curve 3G. A near dead-ringer for its 8530 sibling, the Curve 3G (or 9330) is another "entry-level" device geared towards users just getting into BlackBerry or looking for a cheaper alternative to the more expensive models like the BlackBerry Bold 9650. The device features a full-QWERTY keyboard, Wifi, GPS, optical trackpad and the ability to run BlackBerry 6 thanks to its memory increase from up to 512MB from the standard 256MB found in the Curve 8530 and even the Curve 3G 9300 (upon release, which we have yet to see for a device other than the BlackBerry Torch). The Curve 3G obviously isn't marketed toward seasoned BlackBerry users as most will feel it is a bit of a downgrade with a "cheaper" feel and lower resolution screen. If you're checking out BlackBerry for the first time or looking to get in on the less expensive end, the Curve 3G just may be the device for you. Read on for our full review.

Features and Specifications

BlackBery Curve 3G (9330) 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 (BlackBerry 6 Compatibility)
Memory
- 512 MB internal flash 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
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
CDMA Dual Band: 800/1900MHz
CDMA Dual Mode: CDMA 2000 1X with EVDO
 

Hardware

The Curve 3G feels solid overall when first handled. It feels fairly well constructed and you can't help but notice that it's all plastic all around, with no chrome bezel to break things up. The 320x240 screen sits over top of the Send, Menu, Back and End buttons which are centered by the optical trackpad. The screen and button set flow together extremely well as they are all one piece that covers right down to the keyboard. The full-QWERTY keyboard goes back to the style of the old 83xx series which is one of my favorites. The keys are separated so even people like myself with fat fingers have no problems typing. They are a bit "clicky" at first and feel kind of cheap, but I think once you get into using the device you won't really notice either.

The Curve 3G is sporting Bluetooth, Wifi and GPS as well. The Curve 8530 was one of the first devices on Verizon to have Wifi available and it's been a hit ever since. With so many college campuses being Wifi'ed out, having the option on a device is a huge plus and can potentially save a ton of money.

There is 512MB of internal memory, which is actually double what the Curve 3G 9300 (the GSM version has). It seems for BlackBerry 6 GSM devices can get away with 256MB of memory while CDMA devices require 512MB, hence the bump up compared ot the Curve 3G 9300. The Curve 3G supports up to a 32GB microSD memory card as well. The device isn't bursting with memory, but it's enough to get things done. Using a media card (a 2GB card is included) for photos, videos and music, you really don't have to worry about eating up space on the device itself.

Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G

Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330

Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330

Software

The Curve 3G comes from Verizon loaded with OS 5.0 but is "BlackBerry 6 ready". What does this mean? This means that should Verizon (and pretty much every other carrier) get their act together, you will be able to install BlackBerry 6 on this device. For now we're stuck with OS 5.0 which still does what it does and does it well. Included are the default applications you would expect including email, SMS, MMS, phone, calendar, memopad, tasks, clock and BlackBerry Messenger. Other add-on applications like BlackBerry App World 2.0, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Myspace, Facebook, Flickr and more are all available for download at launch as well. The web browser is a bit outdated at this point but with the new WebKit browser on the way as part of BlackBerry 6 things will be much better on that end.

I did load up a leaked version of OS 6 on my 9330 just to take it for a test drive. The OS is available as a leaked beta, but still hasn't been officially released by Verizon. The revamped OS is a big redesign of the old 5.0, and really adds to the usability of the device. It adds amazing features like the WebKit browser, Universal Search, multiple views and more. OS 6 runs very well on the Curve 3G and is only held back by the low resolution screen. Don't get me wrong I love OS 6, it just seems to drop a bit short on the 9330 when you go from using the Torch 9800 or even the Bold 9650 with the same OS. OS 6 does make things a whole lot easier as it is much easier to get around the device (mainly with Universal Search) and having the updated browser is a huge plus.

Conclusion

Overall I can say I do like the Curve 3G. As in the case of the Curve 8530 however, if you are switching from a newer BlackBerry you mostly likely won't be satisfied. The Curve 3G is geared towards new to BlackBerry Users and those who don't really need/want the "latest and greatest". The device is solid and has all of the BlackBerry features you would expect, and with BlackBerry 6 is really gets the job done. New users will love the OS and won't mind the low resolution as they get into the BlackBerry world, but may look to upgrade to a different device down the road.

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Reader comments

Verizon BlackBerry Curve 3G Review

43 Comments

What about this phone is different enough from the Tour (9630) that allows it to run OS6, but the Tour can not?

Ah, the above table of specs was changed with the correct memory size. When I posted earlier, it stated that it only had 256 MB.

It seems that the battery for the Curve 3G is the same as the Curve 1/2. Along with no camera flash, makes me wonder RIM's R&D thinking process.

The phone has a faster processer to give it Blackberry 6.

Funny how my year old "Flagship Blackberry" isn't as advanced as today's "Entry level Blackberry" where I can't upgrade to a new operating system without having to scrap my year old investment.

Oh well, I guess that's how it goes in today's market. I'm just glad my personal computer has more longevity where I can at least confidently upgrade the O.S. past just one year of ownership.

I do have issues with this CDMA vs. GSM pseudo-war... but a year ago I was giving back a Storm 1 to a friend of mine in favor of a 8520. The Curve "2" sucked so bad, and I so wished I had my 8320 back, that after trying to cope for a couple months with legacy dumbphones... I bought a 9700 outright...

THAT was - and afaik IS - the Research In Motion "flagship". Now I haven't held all of these devices in my hand... and I'm pretty sure I'd never go back to the Curve product line... but I'd easily take my old 8320 over a cheapass 8520, and probably a 9320 - the screen res is horrible, and the camera has moved backwards.

I dunno - I really am a fan of RIM. You probably can't tell from my posts... But I think the future is bright.

I guess the bottom line is that if you like the BB entry-level experience, move on... Get a REAL RIM device, like the 9700, 9800 or 9650. If you want to find a cheap or $20 phone (with 2-3 year contract) get a Curve. (Keep in mind that contract is gonna cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the term, so why not spend an extra $80 or $100 up front to get the best the market can offer?)

I thought the CDMA version had 512MB, am I mistaken? I also read somewhere that this version doesn't have wireless-N

That what I read too. Can someone please find the official specs on this phone. I read it had 512MB but didn't have Wireless-N Wi-Fi. It seems like people who post about this phone half the time just use the GSM 9300's specs from RIM's site. The specs listed above here also say that the 9330 has EVDO Rev.A? Pretty sure it's the same as previous Curves,REV.0.

You're totally right. As you'll see, we updated the information to the correct info. I'm gonna stick up for Adam here though.. cause well, he's getting married next month and clearly is NOT thinking straight. However, all the accurate info is there now. And of course, our apoogies. :)

Thanks,Maybe I'm still bitter after watching RIM push out the Storm 2.5 "refresh". LOL Getting Married? I think the 9330 will be the least of Adam's worries. Good Luck!

Ok, I am getting tired of you guys crapping on the 8530/9330 curve phones. This phone may feel plastic and cheaper, but it has all the internal specs of the Bold. I am a power user, so when you say this is an "entry level" or "geared towards users just getting inti blackberry" it gets me a little fired up. I work as a pilot, so I am always on the road or flying, I listen to podcast when I am flying on my downtime, and slacker radio when driving. So I Love the big media keys, it means that I don't need to look down to change tracks or pause the song/p-cast. I don't take much pictures with my phone, I have a camera that I take with me on my trips. So the 2 mp camera with no flash does not bother me. I love the 9650 keyboard, and if it had the media keys I would use it too. And the CDMA 9330 comes with 512MB of memory. I love you work and always look forward to reading your articles on Crackberry, so I am not attacking you, just making my case.

I REALLY wish RIM would have made half an effort to make a nice update to the Curve line,starting with an updated 8900. Are they that scared that an improved Curve would embarrass the current Bold lineup?

"The Curve 3G is geared towards new to BlackBerry Users and those who don't really need/want the "latest and greatest".

I would say this is true about every blackberry currently on the market. None of them provide the "latest/greatest" of anything.

Right, this simply has some lower spec'd parts than more expensive BBs...and some people might not care about the lesser specs.

One spec I like is that it doesn't weigh very much (104g), due in part to using a smaller battery.

Can anyone who owns this phone comment on the battery life ? Do you charge it every day, how much can you do before it requires a recharge?

Thanks.

The battery is the same as the other Curve models & my battery usually lasts about a day & a half with heavy usage. Hope this helps!!

What are you talking about? If you look at the specs from the bold they are the same as the curve 3g. Check your facts, I am getting tired of idiots like you talking about stuff you know nothing about.

The other commenter must have not understood this is a faster processor curve then previous curves, so might have spoke too soon.

By lower spec'd parts I was of course talking about the camera, and display. (not the processor and other internals)

I wish these reviews had some standard method of checking battery life on these devices, but I'm sure that might be too time consuming.

I'm not sure how accurate RIM's web is compared to real life, especially since I've never owned a smartphone.

From what I learned RIM never gives info on their processor speeds so one can only assume the processor is the same. The only thing that has changed for sure is the amount of memory, all other specs are the same as the 8530.

Right, RIM doesn't list processor where they list the phone specs. Some reviews on the web list the processor speeds. Too late for me to go looking and comparing now.

Philbert81:
LOL I was on your side with your first post "Hay Adam".

I should have been more clear in my original post about "this simply has some lower spec'd parts". I knew what I was trying to say, but nobody else knew what I was trying to say :)

I must apologizes for my over reaction to your comment. I didn't think about the camera when you where talking about the specs.

Ok, thanks.

I learned my lesson, and that is to make my ideas clear before pressing the Post comment button.

Jesus fucking christ, I'm completely fed up with RIM when it comes to the new Curves. Not only do they keep churning out the same bloody device over and over with a different finish, but no matter what, Verizon always gets a better, higher-spec version with OpenGL a few weeks later, thus screwing over us GSM users, it really pisses me off.

not the 9330 but to defend the new curve line here in France where i just moved the bold 9700 was 130 euro. The 9300 was 31e with a 30 mail in rebate. that's say 150 bucks for a 1 yr contract. Sure i would have preferred the bold but really its got the same internals, doesn't the 9300 even have wireless N. ok the camera is only 2 rather than 3.2 but i have a real camera that's 7mp for taking quality pictures. The screen res is not as good, fine, that's a little bit of a shame but frankly this isn't a 3.5 or 4 inch screen anyways nor would i watch tv shows or movies on a phone screen even that big, i have a laptop for that.

So for my needs its great. Does everything i would use on a bold mins some screen res for 150$ less. $150 also happens to be 3 weeks rent to put that into perspective.

"It may be an entry level blackberry but really every blackberry is an entry level smartphone now"

BWAHAHA ....You are correct sir

:)

"It may be an entry level blackberry but really every blackberry is an entry level smartphone now"

BWAHAHA ....You are correct sir

:)

I don't believe the 2GB card is included with Verizon.....at least not in the ones I've ordered for work.

This just shows why more and more people are leaving blackberry and switching to Android. Really? Curve 3G? what is SOOOOO different about this phone? a boost in memory so that it can handle an operating system that may take months to come out, that should have been out a year ago? Just like the Bold vs the Tour. Same phone with a boost in memory. Oh yeah, the Bold has wifi. Truth is, RIM has been holding back on features in order to maximize profit from phone sales, only now to find themselves losing marketshare. I'm not seeing one area where RIM is better than Android anymore. The Torch, while being a cool phone, was a year too late, and still locked to a carrier where most people prefer an iphone? How much sense does that make? It should have been released on VZW where their market is jumping ship to Android in a hurry.

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i just got the curve 9300 big upgrade from my bb pearl 8220 i love the size of it and feature wish it had a flash aswell but i had to get something as by pearl was just messed up and i plan on calling into rogers once the torch comes out and complain enough to get it! but as for teh 9300 love it @ this time no issues had it for over a week and my boss who has a bold likes it better than his for the size and said seems to run smoother than his!

Anyone know if its coming to sprint? I got the 8530 and really not liking it. Miss my 8830 World Edition. My first blackberry and loved it

It's coming to Sprint next month but if you hate your 8530, I doubt you'll like the 9330. It's the same phone with more memory but it is OS6 ready so that could be a selling point, I guess!!!

some people can't think out of their own world. For a lot of people there that don't want to spend lots of $$$ on a new phone and don't have a need for a lot of fuzz this is a good phone. Just like the 83xx this is texting/messaging machine. My girl still loves her 8530 and so do a loot of other people. They sold bucket loads of 85xx.

so it not such a weird move. I think this one looks a bit better the 85xx

Exactly. People forget that one person's requirements for a smart phone will probably different than another person's.

For example I'd never buy a smart phone in which I couldn't switch out the battery for the spare battery. Other people don't care about this ability.