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As a former AT&T iPhone user disenfranchised by steadily increasing hidden fees, I decided to give Boost Mobile a try when they began carrying the Blackberry Curve 8330. While it was a great phone for it's day, the 8330 was several years old and severely lacking on memory by the time Boost picked it up, making it less than ideal for running multiple applications.
Boost heard the concerns of their customers and quickly picked up the much more efficient Blackberry Curve 8530, which trumps the older 8330 in nearly every way. Aesthetically, the most notable feature is the lack of a trackball, which was notorious for getting clogged with pocket lint. It has been replaced by a new touch-sensitive trackpad, which admittedly takes some getting used to, but widely outperforms the trackball.
The physical size of the 8530 is very similar to its predecessor, albeit just a bit thinner. You will find the button layout to be nearly identical as well, although the 8530 has unfortunately opted for smaller shift keys, which is a small gripe and can be easily adjusted to. The addition of rewind, play/pause and fast forward keys have been added to the top of the phone, which are a welcome addition for those that prefer keeping their Blackberry holstered while listening to music.
Not much has changed in the way of the screen, as the size and resolution are identical to the 8330, although the 8530's appears to be slightly brighter. The phone comes equipped with the final version of the 5.0 OS, although the menu layout has improved from the 8330 - there are now 6 shortcuts available on the home screen, and the application icons themselves are larger, making them more distinguishable.
The voice reception is excellent on both the handset and included headphones with built-in mic. The speakerphone is loud and audible, and is even loud enough to listen to music in a small room. Web browsing is much improved thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi capability.
Unfortunately, the 8530 does not come packed in with a holster like the 8330 did, which most BB users know can tremendously help with battery life. This leads me to the only 2 downfalls of the 8530 in comparison to it's older brethren - the battery life is somewhat shorter, and the 2MP camera does not have a flash! This may not be detrimental, but is still inexcusable considering much older BBs have this feature.
What really makes this phone stand out from the pack though, is that it comes equipped with 256MB of on-board memory, up from a measly 96MB on the 8330. This means that you will no longer need to reset your phone on a daily basis, and will no longer find yourself doing a battery pull at inopportune times. With the vast and quickly-expanding Blackberry App World, you'll have plenty of room for the great apps, many of them free - including Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and Google Maps. Room for additional pictures, documents and music is no problem either, as the upgradable memory slot accommodates all sizes of MircoSD cards.
If you're a smartphone user that has grown tired of being stuck in a multi-year contract with one of the big companies and find your bill to be ever-increasing, even when staying within limits, this phone is for you. It's not quite an iPhone 4 or Droid X, but with many of the same apps for only $60 per month and the opportunity to shrink your bill to $45 after 18 on-time monthly payments, it's really hard to turn down - simply the best prepaid phone available.
The Curve series phones all look similar, the 8530 is most closely related to the 8330. It has more memory, newer operating system support, and a touch trackpad instead of ball like the 8330. Virgin's plans ($25 + $10 for BIS/BES Blackberry service) are the cheapest for Blackberry handsets to my knowledge. I like how replacement parts are easily found on eBay for the housing, etc.
The phone functions well for everything I try doing. It runs multiple apps without slowing down much, and it has tools like spreadsheet, word, and powerpoint to go. They are immensely helpful for those in any business field. If you just want a toy it's not as flashy as others and the $10 for BIS/BES a month might not be worth it to you.
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) is a great messenger service and lightyears ahead of SMS texting, but you must consider that the people you wish to contact also have BBM. Wifi connection is a huge plus. Call reception and clarity is outstanding compared to many phones I've used. It also has plenty of security tools for users.
Overall, I'd say don't buy a Blackberry if you're not too tech savvy and require very simple operation. If you love technology and enjoy tweaking and modifying themes and advanced settings there is no better handset than a Blackberry. They support free tools for users to create their own apps and themes. RIM Blackberries also have many incredible features that sadly most consumers cannot easily tap into. You can also browse the web to find helpful forums and/or tutorials to help you do just about anything with these handsets.
Here are some highlights of the phone:
* Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
* Bluetooth 2.1
* 256mb internal memory
* 528MHz processor
* 2.0mp camera
* Dedicated media keys
* microSD expandable up to 32gb
Blackberry 8530 slightly smaller than other BlackBerry models. It doesn't have any flashy onyx or chrome highlighting. The all black design look sporty. The rubberized surrounding feels good in your hands and contributes to the overall simplicity.
When compared to the old Curve 8330 it is slightly thinner, a little taller, and a little less wide
Luckily, like with the new Storm2, BlackBerry added Wi-Fi! As some of you know, Wi-Fi. Only certain phones previously had Wi-Fi, but now it seems every new smart phone that rolls out is getting it. Finally.
The Curve, unlike the Storm2 and Tour, is CDMA only. This means that it can not be used on GSM networks. Unfortunately they only gave it a 1xEV-DO rev.0 data connection and not the rev.A, which is a little bit faster
Camera & Media
The camera on the Curve could be better. It's only 2 megapixels and doesn't include a flash. Pictures are okay if you're in a well lit room, but they come out a bit grainy You can pretty much forget about getting good pictures in low light situations. Here is a picture taken in best case scenario with good lighting.
They QWERTY keyboard somehow feels bigger to your thumbs than it appears. This is due to the way BlackBerry angled the top of the keys. However, after using the keyboard on the BlackBerry Tour for a bit, I prefer the Tour. BlackBerry made the keys on the two devices slightly different.
I really liked the addition of the trackpad. It seems that BlackBerry is moving away from the noisy trackball. It feels like a little mouse for your thumb, to put it simply. I had no problem getting used to it. I think that previous trackball users will really appreciate the trackpad. The standard BlackBerry send, menu, back, and end surround the trackpad extending off of the same piece of plastic used for the screen.
I had used a blackberry curve 8330 with cricket and really loved the phone but decided to switch to the 8530 since it would be able to take advantage of cricket's blackberry plan where features such as apps, email, and such would work. The 8530 is a great phone and is a little more powerful than the 8330. I like the fact it has WiFi and the trackpad is much better than the old trackball. Due to the added features of the phone, the battery does not hold a charge as long as the 8330 did, but using an extended battery gives plenty of battery life while still allowing the use of all the extra features. Call quality is great, the keypad is easy to use, web browsing is pretty quick, and media quality such as music, photos, and videos are great as well. The camera takes great photos and video, but I do wish blackberry had not taken away the flash feature that the 8330 had but this phone does not. The location of the mini sd card slot is much more convenient than the 8330, you still have to remove the battery door to access it, but no need to remove the battery and wait for a re-boot and no tricky latch to deal with, it simply slides into it's slot and slides back out. All in all this is really an excellent phone especially if you are on the cricket network due to the limited choice of phones that will work with all the additional features.
I received this item very quickly after researching online for different phones and trying to decide on what network to go on. I decided to go with Boost Mobile after doing a price comparison with the other providers. This BlackBerry is a relatively old device compared to some of the others but it performs beautifully. You can download apps for just about anything you'd want to do on a phone. Email setup on it is a breeze and works wonderfully. That's what BlackBerry has been known for and they still do it great! So far, it's been a great experience and I'm looking forward to learning even more about this great device. I have no complaints at all so far!