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Review: BlackBerry Curve

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The Curve takes the multimedia applications of the Pearl one step further, but in our opinion that step wasn't quite big enough. If you ignore all the AT&T-branded music applications and tools and focus on the native BlackBerry app, it boils down to one icon labeled "media." This brings you to the main Curve media menu, which has four options: Music, Videos, Ringtones, Pictures. Unlike the rest of the Curve's menus, this one actually has full-color icons from which to choose.

Selecting music takes you into a simple menu that is white lettering on a gray background. This is your basic music menu. It lets you select from the songs, artists, genres, albums, playlists, etc. While you can sample songs and even shuffle, there are no advanced music functions, such as an equalizer. Hitting any of the menu selections takes you into another list of what's available, be it the songs, albums or artists. These lists may be simple, but this is a major advancement over the Pearl, which made you jump through folder after folder after folder to find what you wanted. Once you make your selection, the player interface launches.

The player is no more impressive than the Pearl's. You can play or pause/stop the music with the track ball. If you're interested in skipping forward or backward tracks, you had better know the keypad shortcuts ("P" for previous, "N" for next), because there is no way to do it with the track ball or function controls. As with most media players, a progress bar shows you how much of the song remains, and album art is displayed if it is tagged to the song.

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As we noted earlier in the review, sound quality is good. The one issue is that the media player has serious lag. There is a significant pause between selecting a song or menu and having that selection pop up on the screen. The average pause is about 3 seconds between pressing the key and having the application actually perform the task. This leads to multiple double presses, which sometimes confuses the Curve and causes it to do something you didn't want or intend.

One other foible, the headphone jack is located on the side of the Curve, rather than the top or the bottom. This could create problems if you use it with headphones that have a straight jack, rather than an right-angle jack.

Otherwise, the music player performs ably, but nothing sets it apart from many other media-playing phones. In fact, it is still several generations behind what other phones on the market are capable of.


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