The Curve 8900 is equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera with video-recording capabilities, flash, autofocus, 2x zoom, and image stabilization. In camera mode, you get a choice of three picture sizes and three picture qualities. There are white balance settings and the capability to add various effects to your photos, and with the built-in GPS, you can also geotag photos. The camcorder records clips in two formats (normal and MMS) with sound and offers video light and color effects.
Picture quality was OK. Even though we could make out the objects in the picture, the overall image looked hazy and somewhat gray, and video quality was a bit murky. Once done, you can share photos and videos via e-mail. You can also send photos via multimedia message or upload them to Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you can also set them as your background image or assign them to a contact. The BlackBerry Curve 8900 has 256MB of internal memory, and the microSD expansion slot can accept cards up to 16GB.
AT&T packages the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 with an AC adapter, a microUSB cable, a wired stereo headset, a soft protective case, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check out our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900;GPRS/EDGE) BlackBerry Curve 8900 in San Francisco using AT&T service, and call quality was decent. There was a bit of a background hiss during lulls in the conversation and some occasional crackling, but for the most part, we enjoyed clear audio with good volume. We didn't have any dropped calls and were able to use an airline's voice-automated system with no problems. Friends didn't report any major issues on their end. Speakerphone quality was quite good and almost more impressive than regular voice calls, since we thought the sound was much more pristine.
We were able to pair the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones. With the 3.5mm jack, you can also plug in your favorite pair of headphones for listening to music. While the BlackBerry's media player is fairly basic, we were happy with the sound quality when we plugged in our Bose On-Ear Headphones and listened to tracks. We also checked out a couple of video clips. An MPEG-4 file played back smoothly with clear picture and synchronized audio, but YouTube videos took a while to buffer and even then, the stream wasn't the smoothest.
The Curve 8900's full HTML Web browser is a great improvement over past models. Navigating sites is easier with the Page and Column view options and onscreen cursor. There are also zoom in and out functions. That said, it still trails the competition in terms of usability. Using AT&T's EDGE network, CNET's site came up in 55 seconds, while mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in 15 seconds and 25 seconds, respectively.
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 comes with a 1400mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5 hours and up to 15 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests but will update this section as soon as we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the Curve 8900 has a digital SAR rating of 1.01 watts per kilogram.