Though the BlackBerry Curve 8530 was just released at the beginning of the year, RIM is back with the Curve 3G 9330 for Sprint and Verizon. This new Curve offers virtually no physical upgrades to the 8530, but under the hood it packs a new processor, more memory and most importantly is upgradable to BlackBerry OS 6. Sprint’s version is packaged with a 2GB microSD card, AC adapter, microUSB charging/data cable and stereo headphones.
RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G Video Review:
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 is identical to the outgoing 8530 in terms of design, with one exception. The trackpad on the Curve 3G is slightly raised which actually makes a lot of difference and gives this new Curve a better feel. It could be our imagination but the trackpad also feels a bit more responsive. When set at the same levels we feel that we have more fine control on the 9330 than we did with the 8530. The Curve 3G feels more like the Bold 9650, and in all likelihood they probably use the same trackpad.
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 is identical to the outgoing 8530 (right) in terms of design
You can compare the RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The Curve 3G 9330 is available in both Graphite Grey and Royal Purple, both of which feature a chromed finish around the front. The back is soft touch with some nubbed texture, a welcome upgrade from the Sprint 8530’s plain plastic back. The keyboard is the same; as a BlackBerry it is still one of the best QWERTY’s available though we prefer the larger keys found on the 96xx series of phones.
The back of the RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 uses the same 2.4” 320×240 display. It is just as light as the 8530, but does not feel cheap. It has a very solid feel to it and the rubber around the edges of the phone makes it easy to hold. It slips just as easily into the pocket of a suit coat as it does into your jeans and we have a feeling it can withstand the everyday bumps and bruises.
Interface and Software:
For the time being there is really nothing new to comment on here, read our RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review if you need an in-depth look at the OS. The major difference in the 8530 and 9330 is that the latter features Sprint’s visual voicemail, a feature that is slowly creeping its way onto all of Sprint’s smartphones. Sprint Zone, an app designed to help learn your phone, navigate apps and informs you of the carrier’s latest news, is also virtually installed on the device. Hide those two apps and you’d never know the difference in the two phones.
The OS clocks in at 184.108.40.2063 and offers the same experience as the 8530. It runs quite quickly thanks to a processor bump from 528MHz to 624Mhz. The memory has been increased as well; the BlackBerry Curve 3G has 512MB of storage, up from 256MB on the 85xx series Curves and even a bump from the 9300.
We keep referencing the future because the Curve 3G will be upgraded to BlackBerry 6 sometime next year. So far we’ve only gotten a look at this OS refresh on the touchscreen Torch 9800, but at the end of the month Sprint will be launching the Style 9670, a flip BlackBerry with no touchscreen. We’d imagine it has similar if not the same memory and processor specs as the 9330 so we can get a preview of how this new OS will run on a non-touchscreen device. We’ll make sure to post a more in-depth news article when the Curve 3G receives it’s BlackBerry 6 update.
Camera, Multimedia and Connectivity:
Again, there isn’t something much different here either. It uses the same 2 megapixel camera we found on the 8530. Our sample photos turned out fine; they don’t excel in anything but at the same time don’t have any glaring weaknesses. It doesn’t have a flash, and as expected you’ll find noise and blurriness in low light conditions.
Samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330
The media player also remains unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s simple, but straightforward and easy to use. It does not have the video prowess as an Epic 4G, but as a music player it gets along just fine. Our test videos wouldn’t play at resolutions larger than 640×480 and it couldn’t play H.264 or DivX files, but did handle MPEG-4 and XviD files fine up to VGA resolution.
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 is an EVDO Rev A phone (the 8530 was Rev 0,) but the high speed data is mostly lost on the cumbersome browser. Even over Wi-Fi it took minutes to load our homepage, but there is hope as BlackBerry OS 6 offers a WebKit browser that will hopefully not only speed up the process but also make things run smoother. It has all the other requisite radios too: Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth (2.1.)
Performance and Conclusion:
As usual, the RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G scored high marks on the performance section. Callers were amazed at how good we sounded, calling it “high def kinda stuff.” They said we were extremely clear and that they could hear everything, and rated us 9/10. Things were good but didn’t have the wow factor on our end. We could hear them just fine and they sounded perfectly natural. Battery life remains the same at 4.5 hours of talk time.
It’s almost not fair to review the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 right now. The main reason it was brought to market was because it is BlackBerry OS 6 compatible, otherwise it’s just a slightly better Curve 8530. Even in its current state it is better than the 8530 though, so at least there are some improvements like better feel, a faster processor, more memory and an improved trackpad. As it stands the Curve 3G 9330 is a great entry-level BlackBerry that only stands to get better once it receives an OS upgrade.
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