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RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 review

RIM looks to bring BlackBerry to the masses with this affordable handset, but the 8520 brings some innovations of its own to the party. Does it do enough to impress us?

Social networking is also made simple on this phone with the ability to tweet' or check Facebook well catered for.

The browsing itself is well-designed, albeit sparse. On opening you merely have to start typing and your previously visited websites are listed handily in the address bar if you need to jump back. The track pad again added to ease of use here, enabling quick movement to click on links. Websites loaded quickly and the browser coped admirably with both mobile and full sites.

Charging is via mini USB but we actually didn't have to do this too often. Battery life claims stand at 17 days standby and 4.5 hours talk time, and under fairly heavy use we only had to charge every three days, which is better than most smartphones.

Behind the battery cover you'll also find a microSD card slot, and fortunately you don't have to remove the battery to switch cards. There's 256MB of fixed flash memory already built-in though.

If you are new to the BlackBerry family this might be a good way to enter as it's available for free on both Vodafone and Orange on reasonably priced contracts of 25. At the price, it's likely to attract Blackberry virgins, so it's fortunate that one of the strengths of the phone is the simplicity of the interface with options clearly laid out, often just in black and white. This means less time getting to know your phone and more getting on with your daily tasks.

While it may not be feature heavy, the Curve 8520 is simple, tasteful and practical, and even with its flaws works as a good entry-level device.

However, if you are a seasoned Blackberry user and want everything they can offer, rather than well chosen highlights, you may be better off stumping up for a higher end model.

Click here to see what business deals Vodafone has to offer on the BlackBerry Curve 8520.

Verdict

A great budget option for the BlackBerry and a good starter phone if you are new to the brand. However for BlackBerry old-timers, you will need to go up a price level to get all you really want from this business device giant.

Networks: Quad band 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE

Dimensions: 109 mm x 60 mm x 13.9 mm

Weight: 106 grams

Battery: 1150 mAHr, 4.5 hours Talk Time, 17 days Standby

Display: 2.6in transmisive TFT 320 x 240, 65,000 colours2.46 inches (diagonally measured)

Camera: 2.0MP camera with video

Memory: 256MB Flash Memory, SD micro slot

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR

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