Sunday, July 24, 2011

BlackBerry 8520 Review

In a nutshell: An entry-level BlackBerry Curve, with a new-fangled Trackpad to replace the annoying trackball on previous Curve models. The 8520 offers a full QWERTY keyboard, mobile e-mail, a basic camera and a media player, plus good memory and connectivity. But it cuts corners with the display, camera and lack of high-end features that are common in many smartphones.
BlackBerry 8520
BlackBerry are trying hard. People like us have been moaning for ages about the trackball that featured in previous curve models. The trackball that often gets stuck and develops a mind of its own. And now they've come up with an alternative: a touch-sensitive Trackpad. Good work, but somehow they've fumbled the keyboard, and the beautifully responsive keyboard that appeared on the 8900 has been replaced by one that just doesn't quite have the same sureness of feel. What a shame! Still, the combination of trackpad plus QWERTY keyboard isn't a bad one, and it sure beats struggling to write an email with a conventional alphanumeric keypad!

Anyway, we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's take a step back and survey the BlackBerry 8520. What is it's place in the BlackBerry family? It's not a 3G phone like the BlackBerry Bold, and it's missing features like GPS that appear in the BlackBerry 8900. No, this is an entry level member of the curve family, equipped with a basic screen and a really clunky camera. But it does have several strongpoints - the push email application and QWERTY keyboard that have made BlackBerries famous, excellent connectivity and some decent memory. The connectivity includes WiFi and Bluetooth 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate, plus the benefit of a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting headphones or plugging into your car stereo.

As a budget BlackBerry, the 8520 has its place in the line-up, but the cost saving compared with the 8900 isn't very much. On balance, we'd prefer the BlackBerry 8900 to the 8520, despite the trackball vs trackpad issue. The 8900 is a better featured phone in several ways, and the outstandingly good keyboard on the 8900 is a major plus for anyone serious about mobile messaging.


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