RIM has added 3G to the Curve range, but the other specifications are mediocre and let the device down. This handset may be a good choice for users who have yet to make the jump to a smartphone, but it offers business users nothing new. Those wanting to use the BlackBerry for work should look into the Bold 9700 and the upcoming Torch.
3G/GPS; strong battery life; BlackBerry 6 ready.
Awkward Qwerty keypad; low-resolution screen; bland design; average camera; pricey
£ 299.99 SIM free
BlackBerry 6 OS ready, 320 x 240 pixel color TFT LCD screen, 2-megapixel camera, full Qwerty Keyboard, touch-sensitive optical trackpad, 3.5mm audio jack, Wi-Fi/3G/GPS/Bluetooth, microSD slot (up to 32GB).
The BlackBerry Curve 3G is the latest addition to RIM's ever-expanding Curve range and, by the looks of it, the device is a slightly cheaper version of the Bold 9700.
While the Curve 3G comes with RIM's traditional BlackBerry design, it looks and feels rather bland. Weighing in at 104g the device is nearly 20g lighter than the 9700, but surprisingly feels chunkier.
Gone is the fiddly trackball to be replaced by the now standard optical trackpad, which is far more responsive. The Call, Menu, Back and End buttons look like they are touch-sensitive, but they are standard push-down buttons, which is disappointing.
Four rubber button shortcuts run along both sides of the phone giving quick access to camera, voice recognition and volume controls. There are three dedicated media keys on top of the device, which go some way towards allowing the Curve 3G to double as a decent music player.
The specification in general seems rather baffling. RIM has decided to include a 320 x 240 resolution TFT display, which is a downgrade from the 480 x 360 TFT screen on the Curve 8900.
Meanwhile, the 2-megapixel camera doesn't have a flash, again showing RIM's reluctance to update the device too much. This is especially strange considering that the Curve 8900 has a 3.2-megapixel camera.
Presumably both the display and camera were not upgraded so as to keep manufacturing costs down and make sure the handset remains in the midrange pricing bracket.
The 2.4in screen is by no means poor, but again it does nothing to make the Curve 3G stand out from other models.
RIM ships the device with the standard BlackBerry 5 operating system. It contains the usual six customisable icons along the bottom of the home screen, and a basic but comprehensive menu.
Syncing email accounts is as easy as ever, and is one of the reasons that BlackBerrys have proved so popular with the enterprise market. The inclusion of BlackBerry Messenger also means that secure instant messaging is available from the start.
The handset is shipped "ready" to be upgraded to BlackBerry 6. No date has been given as to when users will actually be able to do this, but it is expected to be later this year.