BlackBerry Curve 8900 review: Curved right

GSMArena team, 18 March 2009.

Plenty of games aboard

The BlackBerry Curve 8900 managed to surprise us by having no less than five games preinstalled. We didn't really expect to see many games on the Curve 8900, let alone more than what we had on the Storm.

The first two titles are already familiar from the Storm. They include a version of the all too popular Bricks game and Word Mole, where you have to compose words with the letters given on the board. We did find Word Mole quite amusing as it offers various bonuses and extra levels.

BlackBerry Curve 8900
The Bricks game never gets old

The new games include Texas Hold'em King 2 which, as the name suggests, is a mobile version of the popular card game. The other two games are Sudoku and the Klondike solitaire. There's hardly anything to explain here as both of them are familiar enough.

BlackBerry Curve 8900 BlackBerry Curve 8900 BlackBerry Curve 8900
Texas Hold'em King 2 Sudoku Klondike

GPS navigation

BlackBerry Curve 8900 is equipped with a built-in GPS receiver and comes with A-GPS support. For navigation you get BlackBerry Maps preinstalled. Unfortunately it is yet another application that only works with a BlackBerry internet plan activated. This means that voice-guided navigation is out of the question for the ones that buy it SIM free and then use it with their regular plan.

BlackBerry Maps provides basic map functionality plus voice-guided navigation. You can enter addresses straight from your phonebook and you can also save your favorite spots so you don't have to type them every time.

The BlackBerry Maps also allow you to send your location to anyone via email or SMS, and that rounds off a decent but certainly not spectacular application.

Final words

Bottom line: the BlackBerry Curve 8900 is less controversial than the TouchBerry Storm. It comes to update the Curve line and it does its job quite well. We guess only the missing 3G won't let us call the 8900 Curve the perfect upgrade. Anyway, on home Blackberry turf the Curve 8900 certainly holds a high position.

As to reaching outside the BlackBerry realm, the Curve 8900 does have the looks and some of the skill to try and earn new customers for the company. But the very concept of the closed BlackBerry ecosystem is a limitation.

In our case, the Curve 8900 is not a bad phone, but once the BlackBerry Internet Service account is out of the equation, it is much worse a deal than what the competitors can offer.

The Nokia E71 costs less than the Curve 8900 and puts HSDPA on the table. It also matches the document editing of the Curve and has the solid metal feel that some will sure prefer. While the lighter weight of the BlackBerry shouldn't be underestimated, the E71 is still the slimmest smartphone to-date and is by no means less pocketable, which makes it quite the better deal.

Nokia E71
Nokia E71

Windows Mobile QWERTY devices are also likely to be picked over the Curve 8900 for offering a much greater variety of 3rd party applications to choose from. While there certainly are a number of apps for the BlackBerry too, they are merely a drop in the bucket compared to the software available for WinMo.

So all in all, we're gonna leave pricing and features somewhat aside now. We guess the most important thing here is that - like all BlackBerries - the Curve 8900 is more the carrier's than the end user's type of phone. With that in mind, comparison with competing smart QWERTY messengers is not quite fair but in our humble reviewer's opinion it's not in favor of the BlackBerry Curve 8900 either.