Blackberry Curve 8900 review

The Blackberry Curve 8900

The Blackberry Curve 8900

One of a number of handsets created in reaction to Nokia and Apple’s advances on the premium business phone space, the Curve 8900 fails at every turn to make itself a device worth having.

The Blackberry brand has always been associated with businessmen and e-mail junkies, something that is sure to be both a curse and a blessing for creator Research In Motion (RIM). The Curve 8900 is one of many new Blackberrys that try to push the company into a broader area of appeal, housing better media and social functionality.

At its heart it is still an e-mail client, however, and strangely this is where it fails first and foremost. Syncing up with an existing address is relatively easy, particularly if it is a web-based address like Gmail or Yahoo. However the automatic setting for e-mail on the device is the old POP3 system, which does not update other devices when you make an action. In other words, when you read an e-mail via POP3 on the Blackberry it does not get marked as read in your PC’s inbox and vice versa.

In order to use the newer IMAP4 process you have to enter your details in a convoluted and backwards way, instructions for which have to be found online. Even when this is done not synchronise in the way it should. All of this compares to the likes of the iPhone, where inputting a username and password is enough to allow automatic and full e-mail syncing.

On top of this browsing through e-mail is awkward at best. It seems impossible to jump to one e-mail from another, you have to go back in order to go forwards.

Beyond e-mail the web browser is OK to use but it was a mistake to have the trackball double as a way of zooming and clicking links. It pales in comparison to Safari on the iPhone, which in fairness to the Curve is true for most phone-based browsers.

In physical terms the device is quite light but feels a little cheap as a result.

The key size on the full QWERTY keyboard is not the smallest going but it is very awkward to use – forcing anyone with big thumbs to hit the keys with the side of their digits. Also the trackball that is used as a replacement for a mouse feels a little loose and can be hard to control precisely at times.

The physical buttons on the sides allow for voice dialling, volume control and camera functionality while two neatly hidden buttons offer keypad lock and mute functions. The volume buttons are not there to control the ringtone volume, by the way, just the earpiece level while on a call or the sound level while playing media. When you press the volume keys it can also cause the crystals in the LCD screen to visibly move, another factor that adds to the cheap feel of the device.

In short the Curve 8900 is not a good example of what a Blackberry can be. If this were the company’s only response to what its rivals were doing you could assume it had no future. Lucky for RIM the phone is one of a range of handsets that are looking to keep the brand at the top of the pile in the business sphere. Hopefully for them the others do a better job of this.

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