Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hands-On: Sprint Curve 8530

Sprint Curve 8530

Summary: Sprint’s Blackberry Curve 8530 is a thin, light, reliable, lower-end blackberry with more of a professional design than previous Sprint models.

Hardware: Sprint’s Curve 8530 consists of the same hardware as the Verizon Curve 8530 reviewed earlier on BerryReview. See: http://www.berryreview.com/2009/12/16/review-verizons-blackberry-curve-8530/. Elaborating on the earlier review, the keyboard of the Curve 8530 is a little more difficult to use than some of the more high-end Blackberry models—the keys are small and placed somewhat close together. The trackpad is nice and gives the phone a more professional and modern appeal but, like other newer models with trackpads, it sometimes does not catch your movements and you have to move your finger across the trackpad a few times before it works. The resolution of the screen is nice and sharp and the colors are bright. The rubber on the top and bottom parts of the back of the phone detracts a bit from the otherwise professional look of the Curve 8530, but does contribute to its durability. Similarly, there are music button on the top of the phone, as well as volume control on the side. Furthermore, the phone does not have any of the bright colors seen on older Sprint models, and is a lot slimmer and less clunky, which helps with the professional look.

Software: Overall, the Sprint software contains standard items like navigation pre-installed on the phone, and also comes with SprintTV.

Navigation: To use the Sprint navigation system you have to register with your name and email address. The program allows you to get turn-by-turn directions. What is cool about the program is that you can enter an address by speaking into the phone, but this is not always accurate. You can also save favorite places, which mitigates the hassle of typing in frequently used addresses. As with other navigation software, you can choose different routes (fastest, etc.). The directions come up on the screen in color with maps and arrows, and the phone will also say the directions out loud, which really helps if you are in the car. Also, you can see whether there are traffic delays on the screen while you are getting the directions. By pressing “0″ when an accident or traffic delay comes up, the navigation will change your route to avoid it. The software also allows you to search for restaurants, businesses, and other points of interest and get reviews for them. A feature that I really like about the navigation software is that you can also set up a traffic alert for your commuting route so that if you take the same road every day, you can get an alert if there is traffic.

SprintTV: The concept of being able to watch TV on your Blackberry is really cool, but the problem is that the quality of the TV isn’t great—it looks pixely. For a small screen, though, it isn’t too bad. Also the video comes up quickly and there is no buffering, which was a nice surprise. The sound also gets pretty loud. The TV programs are not live, but you can choose to watch different programs from stations such as ESPN, ABC, NBC, and CBS. You have to pay extra for some of these (SprintTV Premium), which will run you $7.95 plus tax per month.

Sprint Radio: The basic radio program is free and has a variety of music genres, including Hip Hop, Latin, Jazz, Rock, and Country. There is also a subscriber version of Spring Radio, called Spring Radio Extra, which costs an additional $5.95 plus tax per month. Some people might enjoy this feature, but I personally preferred to install the Pandora application on the phone.

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