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BlackBerry Curve 3G review:

BlackBerry Curve 3G

Unlike its predecessor, the Curve 3G has GPS/A-GPS, 3G, and Wi-Fi. It also has Bluetooth with support for A2DP stereo streaming. Mobile professionals will also appreciate the addition of document viewers that can open and edit Microsoft Office, Corel WordPerfect, and PDF documents. You can download more productivity tools and other apps from the BlackBerry App World. The phone has 256MB of flash memory (256MB RAM), but it also has a microSD card slot that can accept up to 16GB cards.

If you're tired of all work and no play, the Curve 3G also comes with a few multimedia options. There's a music player that supports MP3, WMA, AAC, and MIDI file formats, and a video player that'll play MPEG4, WMV, H.263, and H.264 video files. There's also a 2-megapixel camera on the back, which is very similar to the one on other 8500 series BlackBerry devices. It has 5x zoom and a camcorder built in.

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G's 2-megapixel camera doesn't take very good photos.

We were rather disappointed with the picture quality. Lowlight photos were darker than we expected, and images were blurry and pixelated, with dull and muddy colors.

We tested the quad-band (GSM850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE/UMTS 1700/2100) RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. We were very impressed with the call quality on the whole. We had very clear audio on our end with little background noise or distortion. Voice quality sounded natural, and we were pleased at how close to landline quality it was.

Callers said the same thing for the most part. They said we sounded crystal clear with great volume and little to no static. In fact, when we turned on the speakerphone, callers said they didn't hear that much difference in our voice quality. We paired the smartphone with the BlueAnt Q2 without any problems.

We also enjoyed great 3G coverage from T-Mobile. The signal strength was good and the speed was satisfactory. We loaded CNET's full site in around 40 seconds and the mobile version of CNN and BBC in just 15 seconds each.

Though the 624Mhz processor doesn't sound like much, we experienced very snappy performance. Transitions were smooth and launching apps only took a second or so.

Music playback was also surprisingly impressive. The sound quality over the speaker had a good volume, though we still thought it was tinnier than we would like. Since the phone has a 3.5mm headset jack, we certainly encourage the use of a headset rather the speakers. We're especially grateful for the media player buttons on the top so we could control the music without having to unlock the phone.

The RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G has a 1,150mAH lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 4.5 hours and up to 19 days standby time. It had a talk time of 5 hours and 5 minutes in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Curve 3G has a digital SAR of 1.12 watts per kilogram and has a M4/T4 hearing aid compatibility rating.

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