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Review: BlackBerry Curve

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Menus Calls/Contacts Messaging  

The messaging application is the numero uno, most important and primary function of any BlackBerry. As with other programs on the Curve, it may lack a pretty interface, but the sacrifice of form for function is well worth it. The messaging center is tightly entwined with the calling and contacts applications. These three together create a trifecta of usability.

The main inbox holds every email, SMS, or MMS sent to the phone in one gigantic list. This can be a boon or a bane, depending on your style. If you like everything in one spot, it is quick and easy to access everything. If you have multiple email accounts tied to the Curve, and prefer to see the emails sorted into their respective inboxes, this view may not be for you. Luckily, you can sort out each inbox so they are in fact separate and you don't confuse which email account you are in. (The Curve supports up to 10 email accounts.)

Probably the most powerful aspect of the messaging app is the search function. Because BlackBerries keep messages stored for 30 days (unless you delete them more often), searching your inbox might be a painful prospect for that one email or SMS you know contains vital information. With the search function, you can find practically anything in your inbox as long as it is still stored on the device.

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When viewing emails, the BlackBerry software recognizes phone numbers and email addresses. When you scroll down a page, they are auto-highlighted, allowing you to email people or call them without having to type anything. Simply scroll over the name or email to highlight it, press the track ball, and bingo. Hitting the BB key opens up the options list for the emails or numbers found in your inbox.

SMS messages are threaded into a single conversation (similar to a Treo or iPhone) as long as you and the contact continue to reply to messages already sent and not type a brand new message.

New messages of any sort are easy to initiate by simply typing in the contact's name. Once you have a contact selected, you have the option of sending them any sort of message. In the main messaging center, hitting the trackball (with the date at the top highlighted) opens up a top-level menu and asks you what sort of message you'd like to compose. Selecting any of the options brings you to a blank message screen. If you begin typing a contact's name in the address field, it will auto sort your contacts in that field and let you select from that list. Same goes for SMS or MMS messages.

Speaking of files, the BlackBerry inbox lets you view most attachments, including images and Microsoft Word documents. You may not be able to edit the documents, but being able to read them is very useful.


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