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BlackBerry phones Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

BlackBerry Curve 8520 review

£164.54 inc VAT

Manufacturer: RIM (BlackBerry)

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is RIM's latest consumer smartphone, but it's noticeably slimmer than previous models in the range. RIM has refined the design of the Curve, shrinking the handset's overall dimensions and replacing the famous glowing orb navigation device with a touchpad that makes it very fast to access onscreen items.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is RIM's latest consumer smartphone.

RIM (BlackBerry) is continuing its push into the consumer smartphone space with the launch of a BlackBerry Curve model that will cost markedly less on a monthly contract that previous models and that will also be available on a pay as you go basis.

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 will cost from £25 a month on an Orange or T-Mobile contract or can be bought outright for £199.95. All the UK mobile phone operators are expected to offer the handset, while Carphone Warehouse will also carry it. The Curve 8520 will be available in the UK from 11 August.

BlackBerry has refined the design of its Curve consumer smartphone line, shrinking the handset's overall dimensions and replacing the famous glowing orb navigation device with a touchpad that makes it very fast to access onscreen items.

The front of the phone is dominated by a 2.5in QVGA screen which is brighter than an Apple iPhone 3GS's and that fades after a few seconds to preserve battery life. The result is a handset that looks smart and stylish and that's comfortable to hold.

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The BlackBerry Curve 8520 weighs 106g and is noticeably slimmer and smaller than previous Curve models. It's shorter and lighter and about 2mm less broad than the iPhone 3G - we're pleased to see a move away from the giant smartphone trend and a focus on basic phone and text entry functions.

The 8520 is partially clad in soft rubber, though the slide-off back panel is shiny plastic and matches the shiny finish of the Curve's front. This component doesn't feel as solid as it might, but is the only quibble we have in the handset's design. A large speaker above the screen ensures the caller's voice is sufficiently loud and clear, while the rubber casing on the right of the handset conceals volume switches and a hardware button to invoke the camera. The current volume is indicated by an onscreen slider, but we didn't need to turn it up in order to hold a perfectly clear conversation over the roar of the office air-conditioning and general hubbub.

Any missed calls or emails awaiting attention are indicated onscreen. Details of a missed call can be viewed or the message dismissed, but you aren't automatically shown the name or number of the caller. A single click allows you to add a caller's details to your address book however.

NEXT: touch of genius?

INDEX:

  1. Review: Opening remarks (this page)
  2. Touch of genius? Picture this...
  3. Communication station
  4. Web browsing
  5. Our expert verdict
  6. Compare the best pay monthly, pay as you go & sim only deals on the Blackberry Curve 8520

BlackBerry Curve 8520 Expert Verdict »
BlackBerry Curve 8520 Scores 8.3 out of 10 based on 5671 reviews
Quad-band smartphone
Wi-Fi
GPRS, Edge, Bluetooth connectivity
512MHz processor
256MB RAM
2Mp camera with 5x zoom
video camera
iTunes and Windows Media Player sync
BlackBerry Media Manager
BlackBerry Sync
BlackBerry App World, BlackBerry Web Browser, BlackBerrry Email, BlackBerry IM
BlackBerry Maps
organiser, task list, calendar, 3.5mm headphone jack, dedicated media controls, 4.5 hour talk time, 17-day standby
1GB microSD card supplied, accepts microSDHC memory cards up to 16GB (32GB support to come)
direct uploads to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
60x109x14mm
weight: 106g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

All in all, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone is an impressive piece of telephonic gadgetry for the money. We've yet to have a chance to test out its battery life but based on all the other BlackBerry handsets we've tried, expect it to be unfazed bv being in standby for a period of two weeks and then springing into action again. We'd love a better resolution camera and, if we're honest, will be scampering back to the iPhone for its superior web experience. The omission of 3G doesn't feel like a big deal, however. For a £200 phone or £25 on contract, though, this is a superb smartphone that we unstintingly recommend.

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