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Review: BlackBerry Curve

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

BlackBerry OS, as it is often called, can be a love-it or hate-it affair. The Curve comes with three pre-loaded themes identical to the Pearl's, each of which offers somewhat easy access to the large number of applications, folders and subfolders contained in the OS.

Two of the themes are similar in that they display an abbreviated list of applications down the left side of the screen, leaving the majority of the screen blank. The 4 or 5 most important applications are listed here, such as messages, call log and contacts. You can also choose to view everything at once. This is a massive grid of icons. We're talking 38 applications or folders. It is almost overwhelming. There are 6 rows of 6 apps each, and you have to scroll down to see them all. It can be a bit unwieldy.

The most common/useful ones are bunched in the first row, such as messages, calls, contacts, the browser and calling log. The rest, though, are a total mish-mash of icon madness, with no seeming reason behind their location on the screen. Thankfully, you can hide icons at will, as well as rearrange them to an order more suited to your needs.

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As long as you like having everything laid out before you, this version of the home screen makes for quick access to oft-used applications or folders. It saves you one step of having to dive into the "applications" folder to see most everything. Until you memorize where certain icons or applications are, it can be frustrating.

As pointed out in Phone Scoop's review of the Pearl, beyond these initial screens, the main applications and menus are simple, stark, B&W affairs. The media-centric applications, such as the music player or camera, have slightly less-dated looking interfaces, but most of the root OS is black lettering on a white background. The UI is as simple and basic looking as it gets once you are navigating the interior menus.

Jumping around in the menus to adjust the phone and use applications isn't super intuitive at first. You need to get a basic understanding for the way RIM lays out its functions. Once you do, everything makes more sense and the simplicity of the bare-bones lists makes it easier to use.


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