Your trackball is broken, don’t replace it. Buy this. The new BlackBerry 8520. The BlackBerry 8520 is a full qwerty keyboard smartphone which is the first phone to feature RIM’s new trackpad technology, the replacement for trackballs which have caused many people frustrated because of it getting stuck and unusable and it has finally come to Rogers.
- Email, calendar and contacts pushed to your smartphone in real-time
- The first BlackBerry device with an optical trackpad for easy navigation
- Access your multimedia easily and instantly with dedicated external media keys
- 2.0 MP camera with video capture
- Built-in Wi-Fi (Supports TalkSpot™)
- World Phone Quad Band EDGE with Stereo Bluetooth®
- Social Networking if you prefer Facebook&trade, Flickr®, Twitter™ or love them all, the Curve 8520 will keep you connected
- Out of the box Mac computer support
Pricing and Overview
The BlackBerry 8520 is available on Rogers Wireless now for $99.99 on a 3 year voice+data plan, while buying it out cost $449.99. After a few days with this phone, I can finally say that RIM has successfully stopped with the crappy quality phones. The build quality is amazing with no loose battery cover or keys which many users have complained about on the BlackBerry 8900 and Bold.
Lets start off by talking about the design. Yes, it is made of plastic and ruber like most BlackBerry’s. But I’ve found this 8520 to be extremely durable with the design and feel of the phone. RIM has made the feel of the phone in your hands just right. The side buttons have all been replaced with a rubberized button which I have found to absolutely adore, not only because of the looks, but also because of how well it blended in throughout the phone. There are also 3 multimedia buttons located at the top of the phone. The center button is the pause button which also acts as the mute key while the buttons on the left and right act as the next and back button for the music player. The micro-usb port on the 8520 has been relocated back to the top left of the phone where it should have been in the first place. RIM made a huge mistake of putting it on the bottom right of the 8900 where it makes it very annoying to use the phone.
Call Quality & Signal Strength
Call quality and signal strength is amazing as always expected by RIM. I’ve never experienced a drop call and I was able to hear clearly as well as the other person hearing me loud and clear. The 8520 also has the 3 multimedia buttons located at the top of the phone which comes in handy making this phone great for teens. The loud speaker wasn’t as clear as the BlackBerry Bold’s but it’s decent enough and with the new Ontario driving rule in effect, this would be a great feature to use if you decide (but not recommended) to call while driving.
Messaging on a BlackBerry is what its all about. The full qwerty keyboard is quite small for people with big fingers but the gap between each key makes it phenomenal to type on. Coming from a BlackBerry 8900, I had no problems getting use to this. The BlackBerry 8520 features full push Email and Instant Messaging support including Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, and others. 3rd party applications to combine all these IM clients into one are available on the App World which can be downloaded at www.blackberry.com/appworld
Screen Size & Quality
One thing I really disliked about the 8520 is the screen quality. While this is a low end model, it is quite a disappointment to see such low resolution screen at 320 x 240 which means you can easily see each pixel. The screen size is large enough at 2.64 inches which an average size but don’t expect it to replace your video/music player that you have. I also wasn’t a fan of the screen design which was attached to the send, menu, return, and end button leaving marks and fingerprints. That being said, the trackpad, also attached to the screen, makes up for all these flaws with the smoothness of scrolling left, right, up and down. You’ll never be able to turn back to a trackball.
Camera quality on the 8520 is not great. But for a 2.0 megapixel phone camera, its quite well as you can see above. (click to enlarge) I’ve noticed that it’s much better quality then the 83xx series where all their pictures showed up grain. Video quality on the 8520 was also quite disappointing. While this device isn’t a camera, with today’s technology. RIM should have put in the 3.2 megapixel lens. It’s a disappointment that they didn’t include a flash but for a $99.99 price-tag. It’ll do.
Overall, I love the device. While it might be complicated to use if you’ve never had a BlackBerry before, you’ll quickly fall in-love with the phone and notice that no other smartphone device will be able to push data quite as well as BlackBerry’s do. I currently have an 8900. While I thought about purchasing an 8520 to replace it. It seemed that I would be loosing too much features, but as I said before. The trackpad is what makes up for all the flaws. If your not ready for the BlackBerry 8520, look out for the BlackBerry 9700 (code name Onyx or Bold2) that’s said to be released on Rogers “in the coming week” along with a review from SFN.
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