Product Type: Blackberry Smartphone
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You did well Bud, You did well
Blackberry Curve 8520
Member Name: Coconutter
Blackberry Curve 8520
Date: 30/03/12, updated on 30/09/12 (64 review reads)
Advantages: Good realizable phone, variety of features, no longer one of the dearest phones on the market, BBM
Disadvantages: Lots of BB eventually break, camera/ video camera weren't very good, internet connection is terrible
Wasn't gonna write this review because of the vast amounts of reviews that have already been written but as phones go this little guy has been a big part of me for the last two years- and you know what, I think I owe it to the little guy to at least give him a review before I stop using him for good.
_Why the Blackberry?_
I wasn't ever that typical in terms of being a teenage girl with my phone: I used it because I needed to contact people not because I was the stereotypical girl glued to her phone practically attached to the little lump of metal and technology. I was much more of a computer person and would happily leave my phone barely touched for days without a thought during holidays. My sister on the other hand followed the exact stereotype i didn't and could barely go a minuite without her phone so when all her friend's were upgrading to the latest phone models she decided she wanted a new phone rather than the Samsung she had, had for four/ five years and for her birthday she was given a Blackberry 8520. My birthday was soon approaching and being the frustrating person I am for another year I had no idea what I wanted and told my mum that exact thing because I was generally happy with everything I had at that point- my mum is a big softy though and massive on birthday's so likes to make sure we get something we like on our birthdays so I had suspisions that like my sister I would be getting a new phone to replace the Samsung I had also had for the past four/ five years.
_Twas a Blackberry_
As I had expected on my birthday I unwrapped a present to be greeted by the Blackberry 8520. I was very grateful for it but at the same time definatly lacked the enthusiastic jumping and sercreaming my sister had. It took me a couple of weeks to open it- something that I regret in the respect that it was far from the thanks my mum deserved but I did eventually open it (about two weeks after my birthday) and then got going. As with most Blackberry phones it came in the normal (caboard?) packaging with the phone sat in it's indented spot and the accessories, booklets/ instructions hidden behind. We're talking around two years now so I can't honestly say I remember all the booklets and accessories that came with it but it contained the normal; instruction booklet with the set up instructions, FAQs, contact details, etc; some more little advertsiment booklets; a charger; the phones battery; and blackberry head phones- possibly more but these are the essentials that I currently remember. It was a pretty little black phone (my sister had the viloet version which was a very nice colour): compact but not tiny standing at about 10cm tall. The phone had two wrap/ screen covers covering the back and front to protect it during it's time spent in the box. I followed the instructions and took the back cover off and activated the phone then put my sim card and the battery in- the first time I would be greeted by that Blackberry screen. Automatically I took the front screen cover off- something I later came to regret realizing I could have used it to protect the phone until I got a proper cover. It had been largely bought with the basic phone purpose of calling people I wasn't with but for the first two weeks I left him at home living by slighly OCD tendencies to not want a single scratch, planning to get a cover but after these weeks had gone by I decided I couldn't wait much longer- I still had no plans (or money) to go buy a case and it seemed like a waste to have a new phone that I was using only indoors- so off into the big wide world we went together.
The phone soon lit up after putting the battery in and within minuets I was working my way through this new phone- starting with the basics: setting time, writing in my details, etc. I had previously had a fairly basic phone that had very few features so this phone was a massive step up for me. I had gone from a mobile that seemed to struggle with anything past phoning, texting and for those hours I was a little bored good ole' snake to a phone that was suddenly very able to text and call but also came with a variety of other features from more games, to Internet access and even a camera- my world had officially been rocked.
The phone ended up doing really well (I will go through the individual components of the phone below). It's strange as I could almost right two totally different reviews on this phone as it worked brilliantly for the first year and a half out of the two year contract I had it on until one day when it went down hill at an incredible rate. Surprisingly this phone brought a new found love of phones in me, not my sister's obsessive phone nature as I could still happily go a day or two without touching it but a love that did get me hooked for a good couple of hours most days/ weeks.
_Phone/ text ability_
The first part I'm properly going to evaluate is the ability to phone and text with this phone as for me this seems to be the primary use of a phone and at the end of the day I could happily live without all the games and documents and other special features but when I'm in the middle of no where and need someone to come get me then I do quite badly need a phone that can call and text other people. The BB 8520 was actually really good at both of these- it wasn't always the best at getting/ keeping signal but once in a good area it was very good at calling people, receiving calls, sending texts, etc. It also had the added bonus of what everyone seems to rave about: BBM. For a small price this admittedly was very useful and probably one of the things that made this brand stand out around the rest at one point- I have a lot of friends who also have BBs so this was very useful in saving my text allowance but also communicating with friends. In terms of it's ability to text and call I can't really find fault as it was pretty good.
_Using said Blackberry_
One thing I really like about the BB (Blackberry) was how easy it was to use from the moment i began using it.Unlike my previous phone which required a lot of button pressing the blackberry 8520 had a touch box that was the control point and used your finger to move the cursor. Rather than the shared buttons between numbers and three/ four letters the blackberry has a keyboard like a computer would with each letter having it's own button but then numbers and punction marks sharing some of these buttons accessible through the 'alt' button- this I personally prefer a lot more than the traditional phone layout and it's a lot quicker and easier to write with. There were also a variety of buttons on the sides of the phone- most of which I barely touched as they were just a quicker way to get to certain features such as the camera- these were great if you ever needed to jump straight into action or obviously the volume key (which didn't have an option within the phone) if you needed to change the volume level.
In terms of how difficult it was to actually navigate throughout the phone I can say personally I found it pretty easy, admittedly I am fairly tech savvy in general but I doubt this would be a phone that posed too many problems for even the least mobile friendly person. It had a relatively simple structure with the main page made up of a background and options that you can change around depending on which you use most regularly. The blackberry button next to the control button opened up a whole menu page which held various folders that then held different applications. Clicking too quickly sometimes lead to moving different folders around but once you know how to fix this it is just simly a matter of putting it back.
_Internet and der otha social bitz_
I was delighted when my first realized that I could now get on the Internet from my phone- I am very much an Internet addict so it seemed like a great way to feed my addiction everywhere I went. It held both the options of connecting it to an already existing Wi-Fi connection or for a cost having it's own connection. In theory this was brilliant but in reality the Internet access it gave was absolute poo. I regularly tried both and although it wasn't too much of a struggle to get it to find a connectin and then connect it then worked incridcibly slow once you were on the Internet to the point where this became a feature that I very rarely used and it would take 10 minutes just to upload one page- I had a life to be getting on with rather than sitting waiting for my phone to keep up.
The price and therefore value is totally dependent on when and for how much you got it for. We got ours just before the next Blackberry Curve came out so still held a relatively steep price but reduced quite a bit to how much it had been when originally released. I was on contract so i struggle to give a real feel for whether it was decent value value for money but I can say it definatly wasn't a ridiculous price either way as it wasn't cheap but did provide me with a very good service for the next year and a half. At the moment it seems that it is seeping in a variety of places at around the £100/ £110 mark which personally I think is pretty good as long as you aren't bothered about having the newest model.
_Camera and Video_
This was yet another feature I was really excited about but was left disappointed with. I am a massive photography lover- no idea why but I love the thought that one picture can tell a thousand stories- so I was quite eagar to try out my new camera and video camera. On trying it out though both created very poor quality pictures/ videos and I still have one picture on my phone that for the life of me I couldn't tell you what it is of. However I was aware that this wasn't a phone designed to take brilliant photos so although a disappointment this wasn't something I'd say was a major problem- just meant I had to remember to take my camera whenever I went out. One thing I do want to say though is that a memory card is essential if you want to take pictures or videos on this- without one it holds only around 10ish photos and a videos are too large individually. These were (not sure if current ones that fit in it are still easily avaliable though probably are) readily avaliable from most of the big shops and I think come in a couple of different sizes, I only went for the smallest option as for my media needs this was all that was needed.
I'm not gonna go through the rest of the applications/ features as I could go on all day as there are quite a few. These included: games, on the go document processors, music, video player, memo pad, Blackberry app world, maps and a few others. The games I loved, they weren't anything amazing but for games that came free with the phone they kept me amused for hours especially Brickbreaker; there was also Sudoku, Poker and Word Mole. I didn't bother with the map or document processors as found both really hard to use and not worth the effort. The music and videos could be put on the phone from a computer this isn't a feature I used too much but when I did it was pretty much as expected, it played the songs videos to the quality that I thought it would. Blackberry app world like the like the Apple App store mean you can buy new applications to sort your personal tastes, I got a couple of the free ones but won't go into that here. The memo pad was quite uesful and was pretty much just a place where you can write reminders out but you have to get in the habit of checking them as on a couple occasions I wrote important things in there, didn't bother using the memo pad for a couple of weeks to only realize I'd totally forgot about the thing I should have remembered. I loved the alarm option- it can be set on the clock display and for at very long time helped me get up every morning. It can be personalized to suite tastes (I.e what wakes you up, how long snooze lasts, if it vibrates) and alongside my other alarm did work for both me and my sister.
_Where it all went wrong_
Prior to about November/ December last year I couldn't find any real major fault in this phone- yes it had some parts that I personally would have liked to be better and for the price they should have been but it had been pretty reliable and that was my main need. Then it went down hill and raced down that hill like there's no tomorrow. Unfortunately the curse of the Blackberry. First it started to destroy batteries- ok not destroy but it decided it liked to reshape them. When it broke the first one the back of the phone soon followed and the part that kept it attached to the actual phone broke off and I then got Mr Cello-tap out to give me a hand to keep it together. This was very annoying but was mainly cosmetic so I wasn't too bothered. Then the phone all together stopped working- the cursor could no longer be controlled making the phone next to useless and it would require either plugging the charger in or messing around with the back; then eventually it just decided to randomly turn off (after about three minuets of continuos use) and not come on unless it was plugged into the charger- something that was incredibly frustrating when I was just about to make an important call when I was out and didn't have the charger on me or anywhere to charge it. By February this year I pretty much had a useless phone- half the time it had itself off and the other half I couldn't move the cursor so couldn't text or talk the only features I actually needed and made for some very angry friends and family when I didn't meet them as I couldn't read their text.
I've only ever had one Blackberry (well up until recently) so I can only give you my own experience but from the sounds of it the time mine lasted without any problems without any problems was pretty great and I put this largely down to the fact that I didn't obsessively use it like most people do. My sister's phone broke literally months after getting it and then seem to get every problem under the sun to the point where she didn't even bother sticking with Blackberrys and I would need more than a couple of hands to count the number of people I know who have suffered the same fait with BB. Though it does seem to be getting better with newer models Blackberrys do seem to be a phone that come with a lot of technical problems.
_And one final word_
All in all the Blackberry 8520 worked out to be a really good realizable phone and for a year and a half it did me really well and I would have been more than happy to keep using it for another year of it hadn't suddenly taken a turn for the worst. Though a decent phone and one I found to be quite good there have been a lot of improvements on the problems I found on this phone in the newer models so if I'm honest I think I'd recommend going to further models if your looking at getting a Blackberry rather than this one. Be wary though as a lot do seem to fall into the curse of the Blackberry where warranty or insurance is a really good idea- no point paying for a phone that you can't use. I really enjoyed this phone and am really glad my mum did get me it and I have now got another Blackberry just fingers crossed this one will make it the whole contract.
Summary: A very nice phone but does have some issues so I think I'd recommend some of the newer models.
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