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BlackBerry Curve 8520
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Created: 11/23/09

Review of T-Mobile's BlackBerry Curve 8520

RIM's BlackBerry Curve 8520 is the third generation of the company's compact, full-QWERTY messaging smartphone line. It features the same basic form factor as the original 8300 series devices, but gets some nicely upgraded features and more modern styling in a package that is roughly the same sized as the more expensive Curve 8900. We reviewed a T-Mobile USA version of the Curve 8520, which supports the company's UMA based HotSpot @Home VoIP calling service.

Physical Aspects

At 106.5g (3.8oz) in weight and measuring 109mm x 60mm x 14mm (4.3" x 2.4" x .6") in size, the new Curve 8520 is slightly lighter than the Curve 8900, but basically the same size. The keyboard on the device is much like the original's and offers great feel, but the backlighting and color of the keys on the blue model we tested makes reading them difficult in dimly lit rooms. We suspect that the black version of the 8520 will be easier to read in such environments. The call keys and the menu and escape keys on the 8520 are flush mounted on the face of the device, but they still offer a good tactile click when pressed.
vibrant media

The new optical trackpad controller takes the place of the trackballs that we've seen on most BlackBerry devices for a few years now. The trackpad is basically an optical mouse that has been turned upside down. It works quite well in general, though is probably a bit more difficult to control than the trackball. The upside, however, is that the trackpad won't get gunked up by dust or facial oils the way a trackball will. In the end, I think the switch to a trackpad is a fair trade that works out for the user in the long haul.

On the top of the phone things changed up a bit from prior BlackBerry models. There is no lock button any longer, and we now have dedicated next and previous track music controls that sit on either side of the dual-purpose mute and play/pause button. A 3.5mm headphone port is located at the top of the left edge of the phone, just above the micro-USB charger and data connector.

As was the case with the more expensive Curve 8900, the overall build quality of the Curve 8520 is very good with one exception: the rear battery cover. It fits better than the one on the 8900 does, but is still slightly loose at times and can make some noise when the phone is used. It's not a deal-breaker by any stretch, however. Otherwise, the build of the device seems quite good, and the new built-in, rubber convenience and volume keys on the edges of the device look like they should be very durable, all the while keeping dust out of the phone.

The only thing about the BlackBerry Curve 8520 that is likely to leave many folks unimpressed is the display. Like the Curve 8300 series before it, the Curve 8520 sports a QVGA (320 x 240 pixel) display. While more than bright and crisp enough for most uses, the display lets the phone down when it comes to web browsing, as you can see in our videos. But using components like that QVGA display and the fixed-focus 2 megapixel camera, which is located on the back of the phone, is how Research In Motion was able to keep the cost of the phone down. For people that just want a BlackBerry for messaging, this will work out just fine.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 10/04/10

Blackberry Curve 8520 T-Mobil

A great and simple phone. Super for entry level Blackberry users. You can mail, browse internet, use like an ipod, video, facebook, etc. It doesn't have all the features of the BB Bold (Camera Flash, GPS, 3G) but is a great low cost starter Blackberry. One key feature you get with this phone if used with T-Mobile US is UMA calling. T-mobile calls this wi-fi calling. UMA/Wi-Fi calling enables you to use a wireless hotspot or router to make a virtual call through the T-Mobile system. It is like having a T-Mobile antenna wherever you are. So if you have poor service in your house but have a wireless router you can make your mobile calls through the router. Note that these calls still count as T-Mobile minutes. In addtion, when roaming outside the United States, you can use this UMA calling functon to get off a roaming network, and make a call like you are in the United States. This is a huge savings in roaming costs.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 10/24/09

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Somebody forgot to tell the BlackBerry Curve 8520 that it's supposed to be a budget BlackBerry device. Sure, the phone lacks some of the high-end features of other BlackBerry phones, like a high-res screen or GPS navigation, but the Curve 8520 does right all of the things that we expect from a BlackBerry. For e-mail and messaging, it's just as fast and well organized as any other BlackBerry phone. We even like the design. Though it's supposed to be low-end, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 packs some new additions we've never seen on a BlackBerry, like a responsive optical trackpad button and real multimedia playback controls. The keyboard is solid and we rarely noticed a dip in performance compared to more advanced BlackBerry phones. Plus, on T-Mobile's network, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is capable of cut-rate calling with it's UMA Hotspot @Home calls over your Wi-Fi network. In the end, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is an easy phone to recommend, especially since Amazon is offering the phone at launch for only a penny, with a contract. Release: August 2009. Price: $1.
Pros: Slick, lightweight design with a nice optical trackpad and media playback controls. Does almost everything the more expensive BlackBerry phones can do.
Cons: Lacks GPS and high-speed networking. Call quality is mediocre. Battery life not as impressive as other BlackBerry phones

6 of 7 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 07/11/10

exellent phone by the price, very complete in usability

this phone (BB Gemini 8520 curve) is the best by the price and functions, have gps, video camcorder, wi-fi, have tracking sensitive pad (non tracking ball) better becouse no damage and no dirty frequently, is fast when requarid be reloaded, support memory cards (i use a 4gb card and no problem), have very good stereo sound, good resolution in camera (but dont have flash), full qwerty keyboard, is not sensitive as others blackberrys is very stronge phone in durability, only thing bad as all blackberrys the battery end soon, endure one day or less.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Feature ratings

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Created: 06/16/11

BB 8520

Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 features a responsive optical trackpad and dedicated media controls. The smartphone also offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera, and good call quality. i dislike that it lacks 3G support and GPS. You can only save downloaded apps to the phone's main memory.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 11/19/10

Item just as described,overall great transaction!

brand new just like described!thanks!the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a sleek entry-level smartphone that delivers some nice design enhancements and great performance. While available directly from T-Mobile, Wal-Mart offers the better value on the smartphone.

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Created: 06/03/11

Awesome phone, great value for the money

Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

This is a great phone it does everything a blackberry can do but better than before. The trackpad is head over heels better than the trackball and it makes for a much smoother feel when using the phone. This phone isnt expensive and offers more than you would need so its a great buy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Feature ratings

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Created: 03/28/12


Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

The device has a 2-megapixel camera with video recording. Image quality was decent, though colors looked a bit washed out. The smartphone supports stereo Bluetooth wireless accessories, and its Wi-Fi support allows you not only to connect to the Internet but also to make calls via a T-Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot or a T-Mobile home Wi-Fi router. The Bluetooth adapter worked well when I tested it with mono and stereo wireless headsets. Audio from the unit's earpiece was clear and loud, though not as rich and bassy as the sound from some other recent smartphones. Regardless, all calls were intelligible, even in moderately noisy settings like a busy cafeteria. When playing music, the audio quality of the handset was adequate but not remarkable.

The bright, 320-by-240 pixel, 2.5-inch screen is clear and sharp, and ideal for viewing e-mail and playing video. The Web2Go browser had problems rendering some Web pages, but the "column view" feature makes it easier to read complicated pages by showing them a one column at a time.

The Curve 8520 is clearly designed for the social networker. Aside from the Facebook app, the handset's instant messaging menu includes applications for AOL Instant Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. You can also download more programs via BlackBerry App World, which is preloaded on the device.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 has some great multimedia and social networking features that will appeal to younger audiences. But with no speedy 3G connectivity, the Curve 8520 can't keep up with other smartphones on the market.

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Created: 12/08/10

Great Phone, but Bad Service

I love this phone. I learn how to do a new thing with it everyday. I've downloaded several apps and they range from fun to very helpful. The BOOST Mobile Network is 20X more reliable then the Comcast connection we have in our home which is utterly terrible (always getting kicked off and having to fight our way back on!)!

I'm going to order a 16 gigabyte memory card from Ebay for Xmas and then I'll be able to teach myself how to do even more fun things with the Blackberry Curve like putting music and TV shows on the thing so my iPod will be come pretty much useless except for DRM protected files I bought from iTunes Store.

The only problem with this phone isn't a problem with a phone at all. The thing is, if you're going to buy the Blackberry Curve, don't buy the one that's for BOOST subscribers, especially if you live in the rural NJ area!! I have to go outside just to maybe get ONE BAR!! I should have suspected that this would happen because my last BOOST phone was the same way, but a lot of people told me that much of the time it's not the service, it's the handset. They turned out to be 100 percent WRONG!! The service still sucks just as bad using a $200 BOOST handset as it did when I was using a cheap $30 handset I got from BEST BUY!! Don't let them fool you!

I don't understand how BOOST's Mobile Network for using the wireless internet can work in my home pretty much from an area where I'm near a window, but I have to go outside and practically climb on to the damn roof just to get one bar if I want to call somebody. But then again, I have never had a phone that has had good reception in this area. Not Verizon or T-Mobile has been any better. Omnipoint was even worse but that was a decade ago. From what I understand AT&T works wonders, but I don't have good enough credit anymore so I'm screwed unless I switch to CRICKET, but then I'll have to buy a new phone again!

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Created: 04/23/10

Not in love with it yet

It's been only a few days, but I'm frustrated with the phone! It could be the learning curve from having a Pearl for two years, and I hope it will grow on me. It is a good looking phone (in white), and the quality of the graphics are pretty nice.
I've had a time trying to figure out the folders and what applications are where; again, that should be better once I've become more familiar with it. However, I am finding the call quality to be very annoying! Perhaps it will grow on me, but I have doubts that this is a "grow on you" kinda thing. Of course, it could be my particular handset, but there's that tinny-type echo when I speak and when the other person speaks. I'm not sure how it sounds on the other end, no one has mentioned any issues and I haven't asked yet. I couldn't link my existing wireless headset, but that may or may not be the phone's fault. It is much better on speaker, when I'm not speaking directly into it.
I also need to adjust to the keyboard, definitely an adjustment from the Blackberry Pearl...yikes. Something about maybe the size of my hand, my fingernails, the keyboard layout...the combination is slowing my texting/typing ability. Now that I've figured out BB Messenger(lol) every other word has to be deleted due to a mistype.
*sigh* So, I won't exactly be getting rid of the phone, but I sure hope it "grows on me" very, very soon!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

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