CNET First Look
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 (T-Mobile)The RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 offers T-Mobile customers a nice entry-level smartphone with a couple of design twists. Find out more in ourFirst Look video.
>>[background music] Hi I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and today we're taking a first look at the RIM Blackberry Curve 8520 for T-Mobile. This is an entry level Blackberry so you're not going to get all the bells and whistles of the Blackberry Curve 8900 Torrent or Bold but there's still plenty to like about it. First off there are a couple of design features that are completely new to the Blackberry model. Just below the display here you'll notice that the trackball navigator is now gone and it's been replaced with an optical track pad. We saw this on the Samsung Omnia and I didn't particularly like it so I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it on the Curve 8520 but I was pleasantly surprised. It works really well and is very responsive so scrolling through menus and web pages was no problem. You can also press down to select an item. Also new to the device is the dedicated media controls on top here. You get track, forward, back and play pause buttons which you use for both music and videos. There's also a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack so it's definitely more of a multimedia friendly device. The downside is that the 8520 has a lower resolution display so images and videos weren't as sharp as some of the other Blackberry's. The rest of the Smartphone design is pretty similar to the Blackberry Curve 8900 here. It's nice and trim and it's actually lighter, which is great, but I also thought it felt a bit plasticy. You do get a soft touch finish along the outer edges of the device so it doesn't feel completely slick. The qwerty keyboard will probably feel a bit cramped for some. The buttons are pretty small so there might be an adjustment period until you feel comfortable using it. Like I said at the beginning, the Curve 8520 is more of an entry level device so it's not as full featured as some of T-Mobile's other Smartphone's like the T-Mobile dash 3G and the Mytouch 3G. The major things that are missing are GPS and 3G support but other than that you still get a solid set of features including Blackberry's email capabilities and you can always add more apps to this device since it comes preloaded with Blackberry's app world. You also get Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and with Wi-Fi the phone supports UMA so that means that you can make calls over wireless network without having the minutes deducted from your voice plan. But just be aware that this feature, you have to sign up for a T-Mobile Hot Spot calling plan, which starts around $10 a month. The Smartphone offers great call for a regular voice call. My friends were really impressed with the sound quality and they didn't even notice when I switched over to the speaker phone. The Curve 8520 is also fast and so it's just a really good performer in general. T-Mobile is offering this Smartphone for $129.99 with a 2 year contract. I do think it's actually a little too high but the good news is Wal-Mart is offering the same phone for just $49, which is a much better price and definitely a bargain so you can get to Wal-Mart. [background music] I wouldn't hesitate recommending this phone for a first time Smartphone buyer. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the RIM Blackberry Curve 8520 for T-Mobile. [ Music ]