The five BlackBerry Curve smartphones are in three model categories. These include the 9300 series or 3G which consist of two smartphones, the 8500 series which also consists of two smartphones and the 8900 which stands alone. What you will come to learn at the end of this article is that RIM is pretty consistent with features and specifications, so a few of these models will seem like replicas of each other and some will not be highlighted unless they stand out in some way. Some of them will have few changes within their specifications.
Display, Battery, Size and Camera
All BlackBerry Curve smartphones have a display of 320x400 and a talk time up to 4 and a half hours with the exception of the Curve 8900, which has a display of 480x360 and a talk time of up to 5 and a half hours. Icons, images and videos do look a little sharper on the 8900, but it is nothing to base your entire opinion on. All BlackBerry Curves are pretty much the same size; the length and width are the same, but the 8900 happens to be just a little thinner than the others, yet it manages to weigh .1 ounce more. How contrary.
The Curves are not known for their cameras, as a matter of fact, they all have a 2.0 MP camera, with the exception of the 8900 which has a 3.2MP camera. The Curve 8520 and the 8530, both have 5x digital zoom as opposed to the 2x that all the others have. But what is the point of 5x zoom if the picture is still going to look fuzzy at the end of the day? I must admit that the videos look quite good, but the pictures are horrible. If you plan to take a lot of pictures with your Curve, get a Curve 8900. And another thing, only the 8900 has flash.
So in essence, the 8900 is the best BlackBerry Curve for this section, let’s see how it stacks up as the comparison continues.
Memory, Keyboard and Media Keys
If you thought that the 8900 would have the best memory, you would be wrong. In this category it is pretty much the same 256MB onboard as all the others, with the exception of the Curve 9330 (one of the Curve 3G phones), which has double at 512MB of onboard memory. The good thing about all BlackBerry Curves (at least to me) is that they all feature a full physical QWERTY keyboard, so there is really not much to compare here. The media keys, however, are not stretched right across the board and you may be surprised at the one Curve that does not have dedicated media keys. These are keys situated on the top of the phone that allow you to play, pause and skip through music from your playlist without even entering the phone’s menu. The 8900 is the one that lacks this feature, so it is safe to say that the best BlackBerry Curve in this section would be the Curve 9330.
GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G
This is where the comparison matters for many people, because mobility is an essential part of having a “mobile” phone. And by mobility, I am not simply referring to the act of carrying the device around with you, but to also have it fully functional at all times. Most BlackBerry Curves have GPS with the exception of the Curve 8520. You could still use GPS on the phone, but you will need to purchase an additional device to do so. Well thank goodness they all have Wi-Fi because not all of them have 3G and Edge is not always suitable for browsing certain sites or downloading certain content. The 8900 and the 8520 do not support 3G and as such they have to rely on Wi-Fi to browse sites like YouTube at a comfortable pace. Edge is still pretty decent if you have a good carrier, but Wi-Fi is always better and faster if you can get it. So which Curve is the victor here? Definitely not the 8520; I have chosen to not select any one winner but to eliminate the losers. Therefore, as long as it’s not an 8520 or an 8900, you are good to go in this category.
Navigation: Trackball vs Trackpad
While this may seem like a minor feature, it should be duly considered when purchasing a BlackBerry Curve or any other BlackBerry for that matter. I have never owned a BlackBerry with a trackball or trackwheel for good reason. All my colleagues who own one of these BlackBerry phones always start to complain at some point or another; the track ball is either not spinning properly, not spinning at all or has completely fallen out. While I am not trying to deter you from your trackball, I would suggest you stay away from it if you are going to be in an environment where dust is prevalent. The trackball tends to collect dust and as it builds up under and around the ball, it starts to lose its navigating abilities. You can easily pluck it out and clean it, but why go through that ordeal if you don’t have to? The good news is that only the Curve 8900 has a track ball so any of the other Curves would be fine.
Before I attempt to select the best Curve, I will point out that I currently own a BlackBerry Curve 8520 and while I love it very much, it is definitely not the best BlackBerry Curve. In my opinion, the best BlackBerry Curve has not yet been made because it would be a combination of the camera from the Curve 8900 along with the specs and memory of the Curve 9330. However, if I had to choose one, I would go for the 9330 because it has all the features of the others with the exception of the 8900’s camera and it has a bigger onboard memory. While it still has the poor 2.0MP camera, I would rather walk around with my digital camera than the Curve 8900 with no 3G, no media keys and a doomed trackball.