If you can excuse the rather geeky pun based on its new round navigation button, RIM could be said to be on something of a roll at the moment. Back in early March we had the mobile phone sized Pearl, with its numeric number pad and SureType text entry system. It was followed up rather quickly by the more traditional BlackBerry style 8800 which we also reviewed and liked a lot.
Now, hot on the heels of that pair comes the Curve 8300. As I write this review the Curve has been stocked by Vodafone where it is available from free to £127.66 depending on your tariff, and on O2 where prices also start at zip.
This latest BlackBerry might look a bit familiar. In fact it is very similar to the 8800. Sitting the two devices side by side, the silver of the Curve and the black of the 8800 are obvious differences, as are the rather different keyboards with the Curve sporting small, well separated keys, while the 8800 has larger keys.
You’ll also see from the photo that the silver Curve is a bit smaller than the 8800. The size difference is negligible, and the Curve is actually a bit fatter. So, for the record, the Curve’s vitals are that it is 107mm tall, 60mm wide, 15.5mm thick and 111.4g while the 8800 is 114mm x 66mm x 14mm and 134g.
On the inside, one of the key differences is that the Curve lacks a GPS antenna which the 8800 does have. However the Curve comes with the BlackBerry Maps application and has Bluetooth built in so with a Bluetooth GPS antenna you could do turn by turn navigation. Note, though, that maps are downloaded over their air, so you’ll need to budget for the download costs.
Its relatively small size makes the Curve comfortable to hold for voice calls. The silver and black colour scheme doesn’t break any new ground, but I do like the rubberised feel to the left and right edges, which make the Curve that little bit easier to grip. And no, before you ask, I can’t fathom why it is called the Curve. It is not particularly curvaceous.
RIM must know that it is facing stiffer and stiffer competition from Microsoft and Symbian in the area of mobile email, and that those two operating systems can also handle consumer friendly technologies very well – the most notable of these being multimedia.