Product Type: Blackberry Smartphone
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Blackberry Curve 8520
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Blackberry Curve 8520
Advantages: Durable, BBM, impressive battery life
Disadvantages: Rubbish camera and zoom, trackpad, Internet, maps
The phone itself is hard wearing and durable. It's survived many drops and bumps over the time I have owned it. Unlike my husband's iPhone which smashed to smithereens in the Eden Project when he dropped it on the floor. Yes the iPhone is sleeker to look at, but the Blackberry is something you can pretty much throw around and not have to worry about. Its plastic casing protects it surprisingly well.
Blackberry Messenger (BBM):
Having a number of features the Blackberry's biggest unique selling point is Blackberry Messenger or BBM, which is a messaging service only for users of Blackberry's. Unlike 10 years ago when a text cost you 12p (I can remember going through £20 worth of credit one night as a sulky teenager who had argued with my (loser!) ex-boyfriend), now with unlimited usage for text or a massive bundle which I only ever seem to use the smallest percentage of, we don't need to worry so much about how many texts we are sending, but this free service is handy nonetheless. It's also real time, so you can see the person you are communicating with is 'writing a reply'. You can also see when a message has been read, and as a user you can say if you are available to chat or you are busy.
This is a feature that I have always liked with the Blackberry: The 35-key backlit QWERTY keyboard, means it feels just like a keyboard. For office workers and people spending long periods of time using PC's and laptops, this makes the transition after work from keyboard to phone so straight forward and simple. People with little experience of mobiles would find this an easy transition, but the click click of the buttons can be frustrating when you are trying to tap off an email or send a text late at night. My husband mentioned the other day how annoying he finds this, and until that point I hadn't really noticed it before, but he is right, it is quite an annoying noise! A massive massive sticking point (literally) for me is the trackpad. This is a very small mouse like button which on the old Blackberry's used to be a roller ball which would move as you rolled your finger over it. This is the navigation point for the whole phone and essential to get onto the main menu and navigate to where you need to be. Unfortunately for me, as the phone is now nearing the end of its life (I would imagine - phones, in my experience don't really last much longer than a couple of years without faults occurring), the trackpad is now stopping working. At least once a week the trackpad becomes unresponsive and I cannot open texts or scroll through my contacts. My phone is literally useless until it (for no apparent reason), decides it is ready to work again.
The camera for me is a massive sticking point and there can be no comparison between my blurry photos and my husband's crystal clear and perfect photos taken with his iPhone. The 5 x zoom is a nice feature but completely useless as it just makes photos even more unclear than the original size. It also doesn't have a flash believe it or not.
Not something I ever use to be honest, the built in speakerphone is a good idea in principle but completely redundant when the caller on the other end of the phone is constantly saying 'pardon' and 'could you repeat that?'. It has a 3.5mm headset jack, so can be used with earphones, but this is something I rarely do.
The 256MB on-board memory is impressive and fine for my needs but nothing in comparison to Apple. You can buy micros SD cards to give expandable memory.
What can I say? The internet and browsing on Blackberry's is absolutely horrendous. The few times I have attempted to get onto the internet to browse have just been slow and intermittent, if I can even get on in the first place. This is while using it at home as well as Wi-Fi hotspots so it's nothing to do with the connection. I have noticed that other users of Blackberry's have encountered the same problem. Blackberry's own navigation mapping system is a good idea, but when I have tried to use this, it can't even detect where I am, so another fab idea that falls flat on its face. Social networking apps, come already installed on the phone so you can easily sign up to Facebook and Twitter. I don't have a Twitter account so didn't use this, but Facebook worked fine. In the end I deleted it as I was spending an unhealthy amount of time on there!
The phone has dedicated music buttons for media playback. You can repeat, skip and pause by simply pressing buttons on the top of your phone.
I have email set up on my phone, which comes through constantly throughout the day (when I write a review that's usually fun, as it pings every 10 seconds lol), so I can't see why the connection seems fine to let email come through, but to browse on the internet is absolutely useless. The nice little feature I do like is a small flashing light which only flashes when you have an email or text message, You can adjust this to your own preference, but I find this handy at work when my phone is on silent, but I can be notified when I have an unread text/ email.
Now, this is Blackberry's one redeeming feature and a kick ass one over the Apple every time. The lithium-ion battery (which is removable and you can buy spares to have as a backup), will give approximately 4.5 hours talk time and an impressive 17 days or 408 hours standby time. My husband has to charge his iPhone literally every single night, whereas my Blackberry can last around 5 days without needing to be charged. Recently, my battery has been zapped a little as we have just bought a new car which has Bluetooth connections, and which I can make calls using buttons on the steering wheel while I am driving. Constantly having my blue tooth on has meant I now need to charge around every 3 days. Still, pretty cool.
In summary, if you are interested in using a phone for texts, calls and emails only then this is the phone for you. Anything else? Don't even consider it.
Unfortunately for Blackberry, the company is going massively downhill. I always rooted for Blackberry as I thought they were innovative and leaders of the market well before Apple came and trampled in. It's no wonder that profits are down and many big US government branches are swapping their Blackberries for iPhones. The one thing that I think may keep them in the market a little longer is the price difference. Contracts are much much cheaper than on an iPhone contract and often big corporations can't justify giving all of management having iPhones. I work for the NHS and I would imagine we will be sticking with Blackberries!
Pricing varies on tariffs, but I think a lot of the pricing depends on minutes, etc. On Amazon for the phone only, you will pay £124.99. I currently pay £35 a month on Orange for my phone which gives me a stupid amount of calls and texts which I never use, and I received £200 cash back at the beginning of the contract.
The 8520 is available in black, white or frost. I opted for the very bland and boring black.
Height 4.29 in / 109 mm
Width 2.36 in / 60 mm
Depth 0.55 in / 13.9 mm
Weight 3.7 oz / 105 g
Summary: 2 stars