Review: BlackBerry Curve
The Curve's screen is phenomenally bright. It was easily viewable in direct sunlight. Colors are accurately represented. In terms of size, the screen is just a hair shorter than the Pearl's, but is far wider. This width improves the way web sites appear on the page, as well as emails. It leads to less scrolling to read and view content. The resolution seems to be on par with the Pearl's. More pixels per inch would have been nice, but most icons appear smooth with little pixelization.
The Curve was a mixed bag with respect to sound. Call quality was not what we expected from BlackBerry. There was a constant ghostly echo present during phone calls. It varied in severity, but once was so intrusive we were forced to end the call and call back from another line. Calls placed via another AT&T cell phone did not produce the echo, and the echo was present from several different calling locations.
The quality and volume of the ringers and music playback, however, was solid. Set to its loudest volume, the Curve was easily heard in loud environments, both in terms of the speaker volume and the earpiece speaker. Volume dies off quickly if you turn it down. With the volume set to the halfway mark, the Curve was much more difficult to hear. Music sounded good through the external speaker, through regular headphones, and through stereo Bluetooth headphones. This is a marked improvement over the Pearl.
The Curve performed in line with most AT&T handsets we've tested in the metro NYC region. Most of the time it held onto 5 bars of coverage. In a known deadspot, it dropped to one bar of coverage briefly, but didn't lose the signal altogether. The Lincoln Tunnel test proved successful both for voice and data calls, and walking around the urban canyons of Manhattan failed to tax the Curve too much.
BlackBerries are known for their long battery life, and the Curve is no exception. We easily went 4 days between charges, even with heavy SMS/email composing, voice calls, and web surfing. Music playback, especially via Bluetooth, sapped the battery far quicker. If you listen to 60 to 90 minutes of music each day over stereo Bluetooth headphones, expect to charge the Curve every 2.5 days instead of every 4. Using regular headphones will boost you back up to 3 days.