The BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 is a perked-up version of the entry-level BlackBerry Curve 8520, with 3G connectivity and slightly more oomph under the hood. But its trackpad is frustrating, and it offers absolutely nothing to get excited about. Overall, the Curve 3G is the definition of 'decent but dull'.
You can find the Curve 3G online for free on a £20-a-month, 24-month contract. You can also pick it up for around £280 SIM-free.
Icing on the cake
The Curve 3G is definitely an improvement on the Curve 8520, thanks to its addition of 3G connectivity. We didn't complain about the lack of 3G on the 8520, because it offers Wi-Fi for when you need to do some serious Web surfing, and it's inexpensive. But 3G connectivity is now a feature that we're used to seeing on almost every smart phone, so it's good to have it on-board the Curve 3G.
It's not all sunshine, lollipops and minor upgrades, though. The Curve 3G has the same optical trackpad that debuted on the 8520, but it wasn't as responsive in our tests. We sometimes found it downright dumb, and needed to swipe at it several times to make it do what we wanted. After getting the hang of its quirks, we were able to use the trackpad, but it wasn't as fun or zippy as that which we've come to expect from a BlackBerry phone. It's surprising that a feature that worked so well on other models is such a disappointment on the Curve 3G.
Black is back
The Curve 3G has a staid, business-friendly appearance, and looks similar to the. It's trim and feels solid, but it won't win any awards for innovative design. We liked the Curve 8900 because it was smaller than the , which was RIM's top-of-the-line handset at the time. But, since then, the slightly smaller has taken the BlackBerry throne, so the Curve 3G doesn't offer a huge advantage in the size department.
Work those fingers
Like its BlackBerry brethren, the Curve 3G's Qwerty keyboard makes it a great choice for people who love texting and emailing. The BlackBerry Messenger instant-messaging service lets you chat for free with other 'Berry owners, anywhere in the world. The phone also lets you use up to ten email accounts, with support for push email letting you get your emails as soon as they hit the server. The only downside to these features is that you must have a BlackBerry contract for the phone to work -- you can't just pick up a cheap SIM card from anywhere. If you don't have a BlackBerry contract, most of the phone's features won't work at all.
For social butterflies, there are solid Facebook and apps on the Curve 3G, with a decent choice of more from the store. BlackBerry apps tend to be more expensive than similar apps on the or on platforms, but there are plenty of free ones too, and they tend to be reliable.