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Everytime I mention owning a BlackBery Curve 8520 to another smartphone user, be it in person or on Twitter or in the CrackBerry forums, I often get a similar grilling across the board. These response is usually in the form of a question along the lines of Why would you use an 8520 over your Bold? or You actually use that thing? These questions really make me wonder if people are aware of how great the little device actually is.
Let's start with some basics that some may not be aware of or have forgotten. The processor in the Curve 8520 is the very same one that is in it's big brother the Curve 8900 so you know already that the device is snappy. Also like the Curve 8900, the 8520 comes with 256MB of RAM on board which is actually double the Bold's 128MB of RAM. This jump in RAM makes a big difference in everyday use, especially if you have a lot of apps installed and tend to keep many open. No camera flash a concern for you? I can understand that, however, even without the flash I find the Curve 8520's 2 megapixel camera takes better pictures than the Bold's 2 megapixel camera in most lighting conditions (no, it doesn't touch the 3.2 megapixel camera w/flash found on the Tour/8900/Storm).
The lack of a larger display and GPS are valid reasons I can see some users being turned off from giving the 8520 a fair shake, but really the display on the 8520 is not that bad. The original BlackBerry Curve 83xx series was 320x240 resolution and it went on to be and still is one of the top selling smartphones today. Where you really notice the lack of pixels (compared to 480 by 320 on the Bold) is in the web browser - you see a bit less of a web page, but it is something you used to. The lack of GPS was never an issue for me either, sure it is great to have, but most applications now a days use the triangulation method and will still function almost as well as they would with real GPS integration -- Google maps is great example of this.
Overall the device is great,. The form factor is awesome, the OS is snappy (no need to be on pins and needles waiting for an updated OS to leak), it takes solid pictures, battery life is great and when you scrap the trackball in favor of the 8520's touch-sensitive trackpad which is just amazing you simply have a great little device. If you haven't held one or haven't given it a second look due to specs, you really should because you may find you are missing out on a great device all because it's "seemingly" not up to par with other BlackBerry offerings. In my humble opinion, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is NOT a downgrade from my Bold - it's another option.