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BlackBerry Curve 8520 - BlackBerry Curve 8520

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



Our Score:


Connectivity is also a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand you get Wi-Fi for fast web browsing at home or when you're within range of a hotspot, plus Bluetooth for use with car kits or stereo headsets. However, there's no GPS and this is yet another BlackBerry that doesn't support 3G at a time when it's difficult to find a smartphone from any other manufacturer that doesn't feature 3G support. That said, the lack of 3G isn't really all that noticeable when you're using the device for email due to BlackBerry's clever compression technology. However, it's a different story with the web browser as when you're away from a Wi-Fi signal and working over the mobile EDGE network it can be pretty slow to load pages in the browser.

But despite the small screen and lack of 3G support, the browser is actually pretty decent as it feels responsive and is easy to navigate using the onscreen cursor via the optical trackpad. It also does a pretty good job of rendering sites, although it does muck up the formatting every now and again on really complex pages.

As with all BlackBerry devices the 8520's messaging features are top class. It's easy to set the phone up to receive push email from an existing email account via the BlackBerry web service and its instant messages support is also excellent with ICQ, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger all present and correct. What's more, there's a great little Twitter app preloaded and you can download extras for Facebook and Myspace for free via the BlackBerry App Store.

The camera, on the other hand, is a bit disappointing, especially for a device that's primarily aimed at consumers. It has a 2.0-megapixel resolution so there isn't a huge amount of detail in the shots it takes. Photos taken outdoors in good light look decent, but as the camera lacks a flash or autofocus it really struggles indoors leaving you with dark and noisy photos. The camera can also be used to take videos at a resolution of 320 x 240, but the results look a tad jerky. Video format support covers MPEG4, H.263, H.264, and WMV3.

As the 8520 is quad-band compatible you can use it in most countries around the world and as with many of the BlackBerry's we've tested in the past it's call quality is excellent. The ear piece is nice and loud, the mic isn't over directional and even the speakerphone function works quite well, boosted by the beefier speaker RIM has used for this model.

One of the traditional strengths of BlackBerry devices is their long battery life and here the 8520 is no different. From a full charge you'll get around three days of medium usage out of it for emailing, phone calls and a bit of web browsing, which is very impressive.


The BlackBerry Curve 8250 is certainly a little light on features, with 3G and GPS the most serious omissions, but the phone still manages to rise above these limitations. It's the combination of its excellent email features, long battery life and easy to use interface that make it so likeable and as a result we think it's a good choice for those who want more than a standard mobile, but haven't got the cash to go the iPhone or HTC Hero route.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 8
  • Features 7
  • Design 8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

James Reckitt

August 26, 2009, 1:38 pm

The 8520 matches my needs as a public user perfectly, it's just a case of whether it's cheap ENOUGH to make the 'better' devices take a back seat.


September 18, 2009, 4:51 pm

Blackberry's focus is market share and this device will not only attract a great consumer following, but also tempt in cost conscious small businesses. Dare I say its a very prudent choice. I bought this for my daughter (I use a bold personally) and I love the optical mouse, but the media controls are a bit of a waste of time as the latest BB's can skip back and forward with a long press of the volume controls.

Elaine Vance

January 3, 2010, 5:08 pm

BE WARNED DO NOT PURCHASE THE BLACKBERRY CURVE 8520 PHONE - I cannot understand the last two reviews. This phone is useless and it certainly insults the terminology 'Smartphone'. I could think of other words like 'playphone' 'uselessphone' 'stupidphone' but not 'smartphone'. The definition is ridculously low, the screen is too small, handling is poor, it lacks 3G and GPS, viewing the browser (if you can get connected) is difficult to say the least as the screen is so small, the camera is measley with no flash,(the list is infinite - I could go on about the poorly designed user interface, the fact that a media card is required for video and camera use, poor memory, you are supplied with only one theme (a big ugly sunflower) I am sorry I cannot comment on the MP3 type function - I perish the thought). I have had two IT guys look at this for me in order to set up simple tasks like wireless connection and smartnumbers (their commonly used phrase for this phone is 'thickphone'). The user guide is of no help - probably because there is nothing about this phone that is of use. Another poor point - little to no accessories available. The unfortunate thing now is that I am stuck with it for 2 years. I feel that I have been fooled into buying something worthy of the title 'smart'.


February 3, 2010, 1:27 am

i have to agree 100% with previous reviewer. this phone is a major disappointment coming from the nokia environment (e71, e63). the kbd is terrible - double-key typing is common. but the WORST of all is the period and no. typing. Its unbelievable that RIM couldnt have simply gone for the 'hold-down' function to get the alt. letter or number as in the nokias. most function just seem so under-developed. there is no full functionality pc-suite equivalent. surely rim must know users have other phones and will be comparing directly. we need new phones that take the best of others and build on it; not start a few steps back? Im desperately looking to swop the 8520 for another e63 or e71 (which are superb, well-optimised devices, not without its issues, but NOT BASIC ones like typing periods and other symbols...please!!)


May 7, 2010, 7:18 pm

I really liked its 35-key backlit QWERTY keyboard. Recently I have purchased the same Blackberry 8520 from fones.com

Brian 17

June 21, 2010, 4:00 am

Just bought this phone 2 days ago from T-mobile on payg for £149 Came with 6 months free internet & e-mail. I think it's great. Aswell as the usual phone facilities it's e-mail and messaging services are brilliant. I can chat on msn from any location aswell as send and receive e-mails. The phone can store up to 10 different e-mail addresses. If you want a good camera then buy a camera? As a mobile communication device, It cant be beat.


August 3, 2010, 11:12 am

I have had the Blackberry Curve 8520 about 2 months now, and ive never hadan easier life with a mobile phone. It's complex as its a smartphone but when you read the instructions and follow the setup properly things become more easier. Looking at "Elaine Vances" comment. The Blacberry is a smartphone and couldn't be described as useless; i can't see how the screen is too small and if yo need it you can make the print on the screen larger by a vast ammount. With every phone you buy sample photos are always on there and one is set as you background on the first page, you can delete this take a photo and change it thats what its there for. The wireless function takes time to setup,and use, because its got to link in with wireless. When i had mine i setg it up left ita few days and the wireless and internet browser are amzing. I love checking my emails every day when im 80 odd miles away from my wirelessplug in box at home.The MP3 music player on it is GREAT! i love it the sound quality is amazing compared to other phones.

There are a few disadvantages to the phone like all phones really:

1. The camera is of very poor quality which is a shame but i always take another camera out now. 2. The cursor stops working every now and again & you have to turn it on and off before it start again.

Overall the Blackberry Curve is a modern up to date smartphone and is very handy to have. Other comments you may see is that people cannot get use to the complex modern technology of the Blackberry Curve. It takes a bit of getting used to but overall a brilliant worth while mobile phone.


July 2, 2012, 12:44 pm

Blackberry Curve 8520 full QWERTY keypad and 2.46" wide screen display really great. Further it is enhanced by Touch-sensitive optical trackpad which is really amazing. Some India's online shopping portal like Infibeam selling BlackBerry Curve 8520 at great prices.

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