Input on Blackberry Curve?

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I'm in the market for a new phone to replace my venerable Treo 600 and I'm thinking about the Blackberry 8300/Curve (allegedly available from Cingular/ATT in the US in a few weeks). Do any EG readers have one of these already and want to chime in with their experiences. I'm particularly interrested in (1) call quality and (2) how the keyboard compares to the Treo.

UPDATE: Here's CNET's Curve review


I'm a long-time BB user, currently have an 8700, and have played with an 8800. The 8300 is substantially similar to the 8800 with a camera added, stereo support, and newer software. I've also played with the 8100 ("Pearl"; I had it with me in Prague), which has the camera too.

I can't compare the keyboard with that of the Treo, since I haven't used the latter, but I can say that I'm very happy with the full BB keyboards. I do not like the keyboard in the 8100 — the one with two letters per key, and software to sort it out. But they keyboard on the 8700 and 8800 (and, thus, the 8300) works great for me.

The call quality is excellent at both ends, whether with the built-in speaker and mic (held to one's head), with a wired headset, or with a Bluetooth headset. I've used my 8700 with a couple of BT earpieces, as well as with the Motorola HT820 headphones. I'm told that the 8300 will support the A2DP profile, which would make the HT820 work great with it — A2DP for stereo music, Hands-Free profile for using the phone.

I'll note a coupla other things:

1. The 8300 has voice dialing, a feature missing in the 8800.

2. All the BlackBerry devices have the email-push feature that I love — you don't ever have to "get" your mail, it's sent to you and it's there.

3. Unless they've put a much better camera in the 8300, you won't be buying this for the camera. The 8100's camera su... uh... is sub-optimal. (I can send you some pictures I took with it in Prague, if you want to see what I mean.)

I plan to get an 8300 as soon as it's available at T-Mobile, which should be within 90 days of when AT&T has it.

The Curve has a 2 megapixel camera, which is an improvement on the Pearl's 1.2 megapixels. I'm not too picky about that, because if I want good pictures I'm not taking them with a cell phone, period.

Other than that, the Curve is just a Pearl with a full QWERTY keyboard and new chassis, as far as I can tell. It's wider than Pearl, on account of the keyboard, but also thinner.

Other than that, the Curve is just a Pearl with[...]
As I noted in my comment, the other difference between Curve and Pearl is that the new device does stereo... which matters if you want to use it to replace your MP3 player.

Not what you asked, but I'm quite pleased with the Nokia E61 -- I gather from discussions with other Blackberry users that you're kind of tied to proprietary mail setups with such devices, whereas the E61 uses IMAP/IMAPS, POP (over TLS or SSL), and SMTP (again, over TLS or SSL).

I haven't used a Treo, but the E61 has *really* good sound quality (and even a usable speaker phone -- rare in a cell phone), and a reasonably easy-to-use keyboard with good tactile feedback. The only awkward bit about the layout is the way you enter mixed numbers and letters.

If you're interested, I can give you more detailed reasons that I like the E61 over the alternatives that were available back when I got my phone.

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