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BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 review: BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330

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Nicole Lee
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Nicole Lee

Former Editor

Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.

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The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 for Verizon Wireless isn't very different at all from its predecessor, the Curve 8530. Indeed, the only changes seem to be cosmetic, and even then the changes are slight. You still have the media keys on the top, the familiar QWERTY keyboard, and the optical touchpad, with only a minor shift in details. The Curve 3G 9330 is identical to its GSM cousin, the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 for T-Mobile, so we'll point you to that review for the full design lowdown.

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7.7

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330

The Good

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 has a responsive optical touch pad, a slim profile, external media keys, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, GPS, EV-DO, and a 2-megapixel camera. It is very affordable.

The Bad

The BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 is not too different from the Curve 8530 aside from a few cosmetic changes. Photo quality is poor.

The Bottom Line

Despite its entry-level status, the RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 is a decent smartphone for the price.

Because it doesn't have a whole lot of new features, the Curve 3G 9330 is billed as an entry-level smartphone. And luckily for us, it has a price to match. The Verizon version of the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 is available for only $29.99 with a new two-year service agreement.

Features
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 comes with BlackBerry OS 5 but RIM and Verizon have promised that it will be upgradable to BlackBerry OS 6. The new OS promises quite a number of improvements like a revamped home screen, universal search, easier access to messaging, a new Webkit browser, and more.

The Curve 3G 9330 has the usual phone features like voice dialing, conference calling, speed dialing, a speakerphone, vibrate mode, and of course text and multimedia messaging. Instant-messaging options include BlackBerry Messenger, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, and Windows Live. Continuing the RIM legacy of strong e-mail features, the Curve 3G 9330 can sync with your company's BlackBerry Enterprise server in addition to other e-mail systems like Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, and your own POP3 or IMAP accounts.

Other features include GPS/A-GPS with VZ Navigator support, EV-DO Rev., Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), and stereo Bluetooth. You can use the GPS with other location-based apps and for geotagging photos. Mobile professionals will appreciate the calendar, a memo pad, document viewers for Microsoft Office, Corel WordPerfect, PDF documents, and more. The phone has 512MB of flash memory, and there's also a MicroSD card slot that can accept up to 16GB cards.

The Verizon version of the phone comes with a few Verizon-specific apps. They include V Cast Music with Rhapsody, Verizon's music store, and V Cast Video, Verizon's video streaming service. You also get visual voice mail, but you do have to pay a $4.99 monthly fee for it. Other apps included with the phone are VZW Tones, Verizon's ringtone store, and Bing. There are also a few games like BrickBreaker, Texas Hold Em, Word Mole, Sudoku, and Klondike. If you want more apps, you can get them from the BlackBerry App World.

As for multimedia, the Curve 3G 9330 has a music player with support for MP3, WMA, AAC, and MIDI file formats, plus there's a video player with MPEG4, WMV, H.263 and H.264 support. The 2-megapixel camera is similar to the one on the Curve 3G 9300, and the photo quality is just as mediocre.

Performance
We tested the RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was very good on the whole. We experienced little to no distortion with loud and clear voice quality. Callers also said it was good as well, though they did hear a tiny bit of static. They also said our voice quality was a little harsh at times.

We enjoyed good 3G coverage from Verizon Wireless. It rarely dropped out, even when were in the subway. We managed to load CNET's front page in around 34 seconds and the mobile version of CNN in just 12 seconds. We downloaded a song from V Cast in around 30 seconds. We also experienced very little buffering when watching streaming video. Video quality was quite pixelated, though.

The audio quality over the speaker was fine, but nothing earth-shattering. The sound was a bit hollow, and we didn't sense much bass at all. We would definitely recommend using a headset for better audio. We like that there are external media keys so we can control the music without looking at the phone.

We found the optical touchpad and overall navigation to be quite smooth thanks to the 624Mhz processor. Launching apps felt snappy, and transitions felt smooth.

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 has a 1,150 mAH lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 4.5 hours and up to 19 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 4 hours and 11 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Curve 3G 9330 has a digital SAR of 1.28 watts per kilogram and has a M4/T4 hearing aid compatibility rating.

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7.7

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8