The BlackBerry Curve 8330 comes with a 2-megapixel lens with video-recording capabilities. For still images, there's a 5x zoom and flash, as well as three picture sizes and three quality options. You also get white-balance settings and several color effects you can add to the photo. Video options are limited with just two video formats (normal or multimedia message), three color effects, and a video light.
Picture quality was less than stellar. Though images had good definition and we could make out each object in the picture, there was a grayish overtone that kind of ruined it for us.
On top of all of this, we can't forget the Curve 8330's core functions: voice and messaging. Phone features include a speakerphone, voice dialing and commands, conference calling, text and multimedia messaging, and call audio enhancement, which lets you boost the bass or treble of sound. The Curve also has Bluetooth 2.0 with full A2DP support. You can also use Bluetooth for hands-free kits and as a wireless modem, though the latter will require a Sprint Power Vision Modem Plan.
The address book is limited only by the available memory, and each entry can hold up to eight numbers, work and home addresses, e-mail and Web addresses, company information, and notes. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo to a contact as well as a group category--business or personal--or one of 45 polyphonic ringtones. Like the RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8120, the Curve 8330 has a slightly revamped Address Book with separate panels for information that makes it easier to read.
For e-mail, the Curve can sync with your company's BlackBerry Enterprise server with support for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise to deliver corporate e-mail in real time. You can also use the BlackBerry Internet Service to access as many as 10 personal/business POP3 or IMAP4 e-mail accounts. We configured our review unit with our Yahoo account, and after entering our log-in and password, we started receiving messages within minutes. Finally, another differentiating factor between the Sprint Curve and the Verizon Curve is that this model offers AIM, Yahoo, and Google Talk instant-messaging clients in addition to BlackBerry Messenger.
For mobile professionals, an attachment viewer opens popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Corel WordPerfect, PDF, JPEG, GIF, and more. You can also view tracked changes and embedded images and zoom and rotate documents, but you can't edit documents out of the box (something you can look forward to with the new RIM BlackBerry Bold), though third-party software is available that allows this functionality. Sprint includes a link to its software store so you can download more programs for your device; you can also check CNET Download.com for more titles. Other applications on the Curve include a calendar, a tasks list, a memo pad, an alarm clock, a password keeper, a calculator, a Brickbreaker game, and a voice recorder.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO) RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330 in San Francisco using Sprint service, and call quality wasn't all that great. On our end, friends sounded mostly clear, though voices could be garbled at times. We were still able to able to carry on conversations and use an airline's voice automated system. However, the experience wasn't so good on the other side, as our callers said they could hear an echo. The echoing problem only got worse for our friends when we activated the speakerphone. On the bright side, we were able to pair the Curve with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
General performance on the Curve 8330 was good. There were a few instances where we watched the hourglass do a few rotations (mostly when trying to use the multimedia functions), but other than that, the Curve was quite responsive. Web browsing was pleasant thanks to EV-DO; however, accessing some of the Sprint TV and Sprint Music Store content took a bit of time. As for multimedia performance, it was a bit mixed. Music playback through the phone's speakers sounded a bit hollow, and the sound tends to get blown out when you have the volume set at high. However, we don't suspect a lot of people listen to their music through the speakers, and, fortunately, the Curve is equipped with a 3.5mm jack so you can plug in a nice pair of headphones.
We also tested the Curve 8330's GPS capabilities with Sprint Navigation. We were impressed at how fast the device was able to get a fix on our location (about 2 minutes), and the receiver did a steadfast job of keeping its lock on our position. Sprint Navigation provided accurate directions, complete with traffic optimized routes.
The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330's 1,150mAh lithium-ion battery has a rated talk time of 5.9 hours and up to 11 days of standby time. On a single charge, the Sprint BlackBerry Curve was able to get 5 hours of continuous talk time in our battery drain tests. We are also currently confirming the digital SAR rating of device.