>> Bonnie: Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com and today we're taking a first look at the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 for Verizon Wireless; this is the carrier's newest BlackBerry and unlike the BlackBerry Tour it's more of an entry level device so you're not going to get some of the higher end features on the Curve. Mostly the tradeoffs are in the phone's design. The overall form factor's pretty much the same as the BlackBerry Curve 8520, which is the GSM version of the phone available through TMobile. It's very compact and light but it feels a little cheap to me. The back cover just doesn't feel all that sturdy and the navigation buttons here on the front feel real plasticy [assumed spelling] and are stiff to press. Also, you lose a little bit in the display quality. The Curve's screen has a 320 by 240 pixel resolution compared to the Tour's 480 by 360 pixels, so text images and videos just don't look quite as sharp or vibrant on the Curve. Also, the QWERTY keyboard is similar to the other Curve models. The buttons are a little on the small side so users with larger thumbs will probably have to take some time to get used to it. I have small hands, as many of you have already told me, so I had no problems typing messages on it. There are some good points to the Curve's design. For one thing you get dedicated media controls on top of the device so you can easily advance or rewind tracts without having to even look at the phone. Plus it has a standard 3.5 millimeter iJack so you can plug in your favorite headphones. And also like the newer BlackBerry's the Curve 8530 replaces the track ball navigator with an optical track pad, which I prefer. I think it's easier for scrolling through long lists and web pages and it's very responsive. Now, even though the design didn't impress me much the Curve 8530 does offer a pretty good set of features. Many Verizon customers will be happy to know that this Smartphone does have integrated WiFi as well as 3G support, Bluetooth and GPS. Of course you get the great email support which is what BlackBerry's are known for and the Smartphone ships with Documents to Go standard edition so you can at least open and edit Office documents you just can't create new ones. Other apps on the device include personal information management tools like Calendar, Address Book, File Manager, Memo Pad, Alarm Clock, etcetera. You can download plenty more from the BlackBerry App World Catalogue, which is included on the device. You also get a 2 megapixel camera and the media player's pretty basic but decent. The one area where [inaudible] really needs to step up their game though is the web browser, it's just really clunky to navigate so I find that I don't use that often. Still, if it's just a basic messaging Smartphone you're looking for the Curve is a solid choice but you might also want to take a look at the HTC Ozone from Verizon which offers world roaming capabilities and costs about $50.00 less. The BlackBerry Curve 8530 will be available November 20th for $99.99 with a 2 year contract and after a mail-in rebate. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8530 for Verizon.
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