BlackBerry Curve 8900

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry Curve 8900

The Javelin has landed at vowe's magic flying circus late last week. I was having high expectations for this device, but I was sadly disappointed. I was expecting a Mini-Bold, but the new Curve does not come close enough.

Good news first. The display has 480x360 pixels, 40 lines more than the Bold. It is smaller and even crisper. Side by side I find the Bold display more appealing, but if you don't hold both at the same time, you could not tell the difference. People who loved the Curve keyboard will like this one as well. Personally, I prefer the Bold keyboard. The new black trackball feels tighter. We will see how well it behaves over time.

The 8900 comes with GPS and Wi-Fi, but not with 3G. It's a quad band (850/900/1800/1900) class 10 EDGE devices. This works well on the T-Mobile network in Germany (and they are coming out with this device) but not so well on the other networks I use. Standby is rated at 356 hours or 330 minutes of talk time. Suits me well, and is more than the Bold does on 3.5G.

The 8900 is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Bold. Fits much better in a shirt pocket. Its camera lens is not recessed, so it's easier to keep clean. Resolution goes up from 2 MP to 3.2 MP.

BlackBerry Curve 8900

Now for the bad news. The 3.2 MP autofocus camera is completely useless. Two seconds (2 seconds!) shutter lag. Press the trackball and get a completely different picture from what you framed. Until you notice you are more likely to shoot your foot than what you were aiming at. The camera does video but only at 240x160. The really bad news is the Storm has the same camera. And it shows the same behaviour. People assume it will be fixed by the time the device is released, but I am not holding my breath. RIM would have fixed this before releasing the 8900 if possible.

The SDHC slot is under the battery door. While the battery does not have to be removed, it's very hard to swap the card. Do it without a table and you are likely to drop your memory card on the floor. Most people probably won't swap the card out often, so it may not matter.

I miss 3.5G when using the 8900. On the Bold, web pages load faster, software downloads are more swift, attachments come down faster. For regular mail it probably does not matter.

RIM is stepping down from miniUSB to microUSB so the device won't charge with the cables I have almost everywhere, including the power cable I have in my car. While the Bold has its USB port in the upper half of the device on the left side, the 8900 has the port in the lower right hand site. With a cable plugged in, I cannot type on it. Works like a charm on the Bold.

BlackBerry Curve 8900

Everything else pretty much comes down to personal preferences. I find the 8900 too flimsy. The back is really thin, and it gives a little bit when typing. It does not hold as well as the Vodafone 8310 that has 'rubberized' sides. The back is slippery, unlike the faux leather of the Bold.

The 8900 does not win the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back-award. Once I finish my review for c't, it goes straight back to RIM.

[Please consider voting in the sidebar for your favorite new BlackBerry.]


Disappointing. Will stick with my Curve for now.

Chris Linfoot, 2008-11-12

Good review, Vowe. Can't believe they've change the location and the connector of the USB link... Very silly.

Becoming more sure of the iPhone switch every day.

Stuart Mcintyre, 2008-11-12

Volker, thanks for the review and especially your reasons behind your conclusions. I have several users who are thinking about the different devices and unsure of what they want. Your reviews are helpful so they can determine what their individual priorities are. With converged devices, the personal aspect is important and I have found customers who have legitimately found the color scheme to be a deciding factor (the new pink Pearl 8110 with the decorative scroll is surprisingly attractive!) to those who want the gadget envy ("Oh! You've got a later/better/more cool looking device than me") to those who need particular functionality (e.g. 3G speed, interface).

Daniel Lieber, 2008-11-12

I am glad I got a bold ... and the upgrade from a peal and iphone was a good call. The bold is the best device if you are a business user. period.

john head, 2008-11-13

Very nice review! I totally agree about the charger on the right hand side of the keyboard. What were they thinking?
I will mention it later tonight on BerryReview

So what are you keeping? The Storm, Bold, or 8900?

Ronen Halevy, 2008-11-13

@John I am sure you meant to write "In my opinion, the bold is the best device if you are a business user."

Stuart Mcintyre, 2008-11-13

Stuart, John does not have much exposure to Eseries devices, so how would he know? :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-11-13

I love my blackberry Bold. I use to be an iphone user and got ride of it. I came to realize the iphone is an entertainment phone...THE BLACKBERRY BOLD ROCKS!!!!!!!! The Bold is the best device if you are both a business user and a consumer user..

willie morales, 2008-11-15

very good review but are you really sure for that:
"The 8900 is noticeably smaller and lighter than the Bold"

Imho it is noticabeably smaller and slighter than the Bold, but it could be my inexperience.

ciao marco

marco foellmer, 2008-11-21

Loving my BlackBerry Storm! It has taken some getting used to. After the firmware automatic update/upgrade, the camera and overall response appear to be just great! The 3G Network appears to be faster than at&t's and in my opinion, I'm not seeing a need for WI-FI! I do kind of miss the Qwerty keyboard, but typing out an email, etc., rocks over any iPhone!

David Arnovitz, 2008-12-10

Talk about an absurd and ridiculously biased "review"...("I like the Bold better"). How many times was that remark inferred?? Why don't you just do a review of the Bold all over again. Everyone from the Sunday school teacher to the 9yr old on a skateboard has looked at the screen and noticed that it's brighter and has better resolution...except for you. Do you not understand math?? [480x360 is bigger than 480x320]. Although the Bold's screen is bigger in size, it is however, not a better resolution. "It's smaller and even crisper", and yet you jump right back over to kiss the Bold's @ss. Perhaps a visit to the Optometrist is in order....

Once again, your math befuddles me. How you can say a 3.2 MP camera w/autofocus and flash is "completely useless" is sooo way off base. Of course with OS upgrades, this little quirk has been fixed. "RIM is stepping down from miniUSB to microUSB...". Stepping down??? You mean using something that will become a universal standard for all cellphone devices. It's like line after line of complete drivel spewing out of your mouth. I mean really, was this a review?? No mention of the OS, the media player and at last check, IT IS A PHONE. Did we hear about call quality at all??

For example, "The back is slippery, unlike the faux leather of the Bold". This just in from the "No S#!+" Department. Really?? Slippery... is this a review. The further along I read, the more annoyed I became. Another example of completely running out of useful information and choosing to just bash the device as opposed to giving an actual review. "'s very hard to swap the card. Do it without a table and you are likely to drop your memory card on the floor." Really?? Where else had you decided to swap your memory out other than a table?? The ICE train?? I was gonna stand in the aisle of the ICE train and swap my memory card. How ridiculous!!!!

I absolutely found your "review" to be nonsense and after I got to the beginning of the third sentence, "I was expecting a Mini-Bold....", I should've known. You had nothing nice to say about the device and instead should have titled this "review", "I'm in love with the Bold but I'm gonna review this phone anyway". You've even managed to persuade your first poster Chris to be completely turned off by the device. Good job Volker....good job.

This has been one of the sorriest "reviews" I have ever read about a telecommunications device. Next time, can you be more obvious about which device you like more at the END of your "review" as opposed to interjecting after every4 or 5th verb of a paragraph.

Btw, I'm the owner of 2 BlackBerry's (8100, 8900) so I love BlackBerry and I like the Bold very much and will stick up for BlackBerry whenever possible but it sounded like a "let's compare this side-by-side with the Bold" instead of what this article should've really been about.

Andew Hall, 2009-03-21

Laughing my arse off.

Ben Poole, 2009-03-21

I agree with Andrew Hall, the review appears biased. Some reference to speed comparisons and position of port in the lower right hand side is useful information. I would have like to see more specs on processor and others listed for true comparisons. I have owned an 8700, and 8310 curve, and look forward to my next version.

Oswald Colon, 2009-10-12

Hmm. I considered both the 8900 and the Bold when recently upgrading from an 8310. Liked both devices, but in the end I just judged the Bold to be slightly too large physically. Would have been nice had they been able to squeeze 3G into the 8900 package - but will have to do with EDGE and Wi-Fi.

Joel Lamp, 2009-11-05

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe