The third generation of BlackBerry smart phones is the Curve 8520 which offers a lightweight, easy to use smart phone with the full Querty keyboard that BlackBerry users have become accustomed to. The 8520 follows the traditional Blackberry layout with the 2.64î screen above a full QWERTY keyboard and two convenience keys on either side.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 offers high call audio quality, particularly on VoIP connections with Contact Management allowing for searchable contacts from the home screen and speed dialling and speaker independent voice dialling also available. The phonebook allows users to store virtually an unlimited amount of contacts which can be sorted by user definable categories.

As with all BlackBerry phones, messaging is still the primary focus of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 which supports messaging options such as SMS, MMS and multiple email accounts and BlackBerry PIN messaging onboard while other preloaded IM clients such as AIM, GTalk, ICQ, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger allow users to stay in touch.

Multiple email accounts can be configured simply with the option for combined or separate inboxes for their email and SMS/MMS messages. Messaging is made faster through the large number of keyboard shortcuts, the un-read message indicator on the home screen and main menu and the automatic correction function offered by the BlackBerry OS.

The BlackBerry 8520 is a quad-band GSM device which unfortunately features only EDGE data. The addition of Wi-Fi however, allows for smoother and faster browsing for users via their wireless network or a hotspot which many users will find both useful and advantageous with higher speeds when browsing.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 boasts a fixed-focus 2 mega-pixel camera that produces more than acceptable quality shots with a user interface that is simple to use and allows the user to send a photo via email quickly and efficiently. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is also capable of recording video with good quality full screen playback. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 offers dedicated music controls, a 3.5mm headphone port and a music player application which allows for simple searching of albums, bands or songs. Audio formats supported are MP3, AMR-NB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA and WAV, while the video formats are MPEG4, H.263 and WMV.
The replacement of the standard trackball controller with a trackpad controller provides users with an accurate and versatile tool to scroll or navigate.

The BlackBerry 8520 runs the 4.6 OS which is a beautiful UI with modern icons and offers some adjustments and tweaks to the categories of the BlackBerry OS while maintaining a recognisable format for users who are accustomed to the BlackBerry OS.

The web browser on the Curve 8520 formats complex sites well to allow for easier browsing, although there is no flash support in the browser.
The organiser applications, such as calendar, can be synchronised with a personal computer or to a corporate BlackBerry server to provide the smooth synchronised organisation that BlackBerry users have come to expect. Other basic PIM functions such as Tasks, Voice Recorder and a Memo Pad are also available.
There are also a large number of applications available from the BlackBerry App World, which can be purchased or downloaded for free.

Although the BlackBerry Curve 8520 ships with a 1GB microSD memory card, the phone can support larger cards of 16GB while offering about 120MB of built-in storage. The Curve runs on a 512MHz processor with 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM leading to exceptionally smooth performance.

Overall the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a strong contender for an entry level device into the smart phone market, bringing the best BlackBerry features that users expect to a low-end device.

Specifications:

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
Size / Dimensions 109 x 60 x 13.9 mm
Weight 106 g
Display Type TFT, 65K colors
Display Size 320 x 240 pixels, 2.46 inches
- Full QWERTY keyboard
- Touch-sensitive optical trackpad
Sound Alert types Vibration; Polyphonic(32), MP3 ringtones
Speakerphone Yes
- Dedicated music keys
- 3.5 mm audio jack
Call records Yes
Internal 256 MB
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps
3G No
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
Bluetooth Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, microUSB
Camera 2 MP, 1600×1200 pixels
Video Yes, QVGA
OS BlackBerry OS
CPU 512MHz processor
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM
Browser HTML
Radio No
Games Yes + downloadable
GPS No
Java Yes
- MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV player
- MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
- Organizer
- Voice memo/dial
- T9
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 1150 mAh
Stand-by Up to 408 h
Talk time Up to 4 h 30 min