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Comments on BlackBerry Curve 8330

So far I'm very happy with my new mobile phone from Verizon. As I said before, I would have loved to have a new iPhone, but AT&T was the show stopper. Phone is not much good if it doesn't have a signal. I was at the airport last night with someone else inside the General Aviation building and he had no bars while I had 2-3 bars. Yeah, that's why.

I'm still amazed at how lightweight the phone is and the size is really nice--not to bulky, not too small. This is my first phone that is not a clam shell design and I like that too. The keyboard is small, but I've quickly adapted to it. You feel like your thumbs are 10 times too big, but you find that right touch after just a day or two. I think I would prefer this keyboard over the the iPhone, but only played with the iPhone for a few minutes.

Messaging just works beautifully and seamlessly. Messages arrive within seconds and SMS works perfectly as well. I like being able to carry on a SMS with someone else and it keeps those threads together. That's handy when replying to someone and you want to recall what they said yesterday or just in the previous message. The "Messages" app contains ALL messages from all applications in one place which is also nice. Want to reply to any of them? Just tap R and now you're replying based on the application associated with it.

Notifications are a bit daunting and complex. There are lots of profiles defined right up front and you can create more. Here is where you need to be careful as you can make it very complicated. So, I took this in baby steps and then just fine tune on a daily basis. I wish there was a way to change a ring tone in ALL profile at once instead of going into each profile to make that adjustment. Still, it's extremely flexible. There are even separate sections within each profile to control the sound, vibration and flashing LED based on whether or not the phone is in a holster--nice. While you can create exceptions, you can only define this based on the phone number--NOT based on SMS or email. Hopefully they will address that in the next update. I wish there was an option to have a reminder beep/vibrate for missed calls or unread messages. Right now the flashing LED is the only option. The overall sound could be louder too.

The built-in browser does a good job, but I have to admit that Opera Mini is better. It's simply more reliable. The built-in seems to get hung on various web pages for no apparent reason. I do wish that Opera could do keyboard shortcuts when typing a URL like the built-in browser.

The Gmail app works great. It synchronizes every few minutes and many of the keyboard shortcuts you use in a regular browser work here--sweet. Threaded messages work just like the main web interface too. By default it keeps the default view to just your inbox. So, if you have lots of filters that keeps messages out of the inbox, you will want to use this. If you add your Gmail address to the BlackBerry system, then you will get ALL of your email (just new messages) with no threading. That was not going to work for me.

I also installed Google Sync to synchronize the calendar and it does OK. It got confused at one point and created duplicate entries, but that has not come up again. I'm still confused about reminders and how to configure those as I get duplicates there--one from Google via SMS and one from the BlackBerry. If I turn it off on the web site, then I get nothing? That one still eludes me.

Battery life is decent. I can go for almost 2 days right now and that's after quite a few phone calls and a great deal of tinkering around with applications. Seems to charge within a few hours. The smart back lighting of the screen and keyboard is a big help as well by only using what is needed and also dimming it when you are in a dark place. The screen also does not light up when an incoming message comes in unless it's a phone call.

I am using The Missing Sync desktop application for Mac to synchronize my contacts and music/podcasts. So far, it's doing a great job at this. I'm still concerned how it is mapping contacts with the different fields between BB format and Mac format, but no issues yet. Happy to sync my music to the 8GB microSD card on the phone too.

This is something I should have gotten a long time ago. It's worth the extra money and I use it. Being able to get to my messages, Gmail and a web browser from anywhere is great. I really hate that Verizon disabled the GPS chip from 3rd party applications (like Google Maps) and they also crippled Bluetooth from computers being able to talk to the mass storage device--grrrrrrrr. I'm glad I got the unlimited data plan for $30/month.

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