Blackberry Curve 8320 Review
The latest Research in Motion BlackBerry Curve is the 8320 model, a surprising improvement on an already stellar smartphone. It’s got a sleek, slim, and compact design familiar to users of the BlackBerry Curve 8300 model. The new BlackBerry Curve 8320 comes in both a pale-gold and a titanium version.
Unlike its AT&T BlackBerry Curve counterpart, the T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve 8320 is definitely geared more towards the general consumer and less towards the corporate/business population. The standout feature in this effort is integrated Wi-Fi which works perfectly with the T-Mobile HotSpot@Home service, letting users make phone calls from their smartphone using Wi-Fi. Revolutionary!
While users are of course still able to make calls using the traditional GSM cellular networks, the real benefit of using a Wi-Fi network, whether your own at home, your employer’s at the office, or a Wi-Fi hot spot anywhere in the world, is that calls made this way are not deducted from your monthly minutes. EDGE and Bluetooth are also supported, though alas there is no GPS in the BlackBerry Curve 8320.
As a phone, the device is a quad-band world phone with the same modern user-friendly call technologies its competitors have (such as voice dialing, conference calling, smart dialing, etc.) but it also has the bonus of a new, leading-edge background noise-cancelling and echo-cancelling technology. This great feature also automatically adjusts the volume level if you suddenly enter a particularly noisy environment.
Like its predecessor, the BlackBerry Curve does not have a touch screen, but the screen it does have is a QVGA 2.5″ 320 x 240 pixel, 65,000-color display with light-sensitive backlighting that automatically adjusts the light level on the screen for easiest reading depending on the current ambient lighting conditions. Users can also customize the display endlessly (ie. fonts, icons, and layout).
With the 8320, RIM expanded generously on the already spacious QWERTY keyboard, for finger-friendly text messaging (among other uses). And although the body of the BlackBerry Curve 8320 is wider than that of most other smart phones, this one comes with rubber edges for a truly comfortable grip.
The BlackBerry Curve 8320 uses a trackball for navigation with several primary controls laid out alongside it (such as Menu and Escape). In addition to the volume control on the right side of the device is a convenient and customizable user-defined launch button that is set by default to activate the camera. On the left side is another such user-programmable key as well as a headphone jack and a USB port.
A mute button resides atop the device and a handy SD card is located in an unfortunately less-than-handy spot beneath the battery (still a useful addition no less). The lens, flash, etc. for the built-in 2-megapixel camera is located on the back side of the device.
On the downside, the camera does not give you the ability to record videos and the built-in web browser is inferior to many of the competitors.
The Sony Ericsson W995a is a stellar media phone, for starters. It boasts an 8.1 megapixel digital camera which is just about as close to professional-quality photography as any smartphone camera today can achieve. And it’s got 16x zoom. Plus, the W995a comes preinstalled with Sony’s Media Go software which is an unbelievably easy way to manage transfer of photos, music, and videos between your PC and the device with drag and drop simplicity. You can also use the Media Go software to transcode music and video files in a manner familiar to anyone who’s used a Sony PSP lately. The phone even comes with a built-in Walkman and an FM stereo radio.
The battery on this smartphone is also quite impressive, with up to 9 hours of talk time, up to 370 hours (we did the math to find that that’s 15+ days!), and 20 hours of music listening pleasure. With recharging smartphones always such a hassle for most of us, this longer battery lifespan is a welcome improvement on the meager old standard.
The W995a has Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, all standard for most smartphones today. But unlike most, it also has a neat and convenient kickstand (sometimes it’s the littlest things that count the most, right?).
he 2.6″ display is stunning with 320 x 240 pixel resolution, offering 16 million colors (though with such clarity, you’d think videos would appear sharper). The navigation is acceptable (especially by Sony’s standards), with an adequately large and tactile central OK button and circular toggle a la’ the iPod. The keypad leaves a bit to be desired, with small and “slippery” buttons. Still, it’s all better than Sony Ericsson has managed to come up with to date.
So the bottom line on the Sony Ericsson W995a? It may not be an iPhone-killer per se, but it does seem to hold up well as a scaled-down iPhone alternative (though, granted, the iPhone is a heck of a lot cheaper).