New Delhi: If you are looking for a budget-friendly smartphone, which not only has a solid form factor and rich features, but also has some brand value attached to it, then you should not ignore RIM's BlackBerry Curve 9220. The company launched this feature-rich affordable smartphone last month, and after using the device for almost a month, I am a satisfied user and believe the phone offers good value for money.
The phone is officially priced at Rs 10,990, but is also easily available in the market for Rs 10,300. Those who are planning to buy a new smartphone at this price point, the Blackberry Curve 9220 can prove to be a good deal.
But, there are some tiny things that may disappoint you. On to the detailed review:
After using the device for almost a month, I am a satisfied user and believe the phone offers value for money.
Hardware and styling
Though it is a mid-range phone and does not have extraordinary and eye-catchy design, yet it exudes class. The phone is slim and light in weight.
On the top of the phone is an unlock key and a 3.5mm jack. The front has an LED notification light, a 2.44-inch display and a 35-key, backlit, narrow QWERTY keyboard.
Just below the screen, there is an optical trackpad. To the left of the trackpad are send and menu keys, while ESC and end keys are to the right of the trackpad. Succinctly, look-wise, the BlackBerry Curve 9220 looks like many of the other members in the BlackBerry herd.
The screen is not scratch resistant, so it is advisable to get a screen guard immediately after buying the phone.
Initially, you may find keys a tad hard to press, but once you will get accustomed to them, you will not feel the hardness.
The rear panel is made of high-quality plastic, but it has a glossy finish, which makes it prone to scratches. The rear also has a 2 megapixel camera. The phone has no flash. It also has a microSD card slot.
This budget phone is comfortable to hold.
On the left side of the device is a dedicated BBM key and a micro USB connector. There is a speaker on the bottom of the device. The right side houses a volume button and dedicated camera key.
The phone has a 2.44-inch transmissive TFT LCD with a resolution of 320x240 pixels at 164 ppi. The screen produces good colours and offers fairly decent viewing angles. The screen is sunlight readable. It has high brightness and contrast level, and offers good colour rendering.
Today, when people prefer comparatively bigger screens on their smartphones, the 2.4-inch display on the BlackBerry Curve 9220 might disappoint some of you. But, the fact is that this 2.4-inch screen size does not restrain you from experiencing what you can experience on a bigger screen. And, altogether, the user experience is quite satisfactory. I was not a BlackBerry user, but now I am.
However, reading books on this display may turn you off.
Operating System and UI
The phone runs BlackBerry’s latest operating system - Blackberry 7.1 OS, which gives a smooth and fast experience. The interface is quite intuitive (as I mentioned that I was never a BlackBerry user, but it did not take me a long time to get habitual to this device.)
The phone has great multitasking capabilities. Switching from one application to another is a treat. I have experimented with around 6 to 7 apps running at a time which include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, BBM, YouTube and some other websites, but it never let me down. It was a breeze to switch from one app to the other.
The phone comes pre-installed with certain apps like Facebook, Twitter, Maps, YouTube, GTalk and Yahoo Messenger. However, users can download numerous apps from the BlackBerry App World.
Here is a little list of free useful apps that I would suggest you to immediately download after buying this device (if you are planning to get the one). These include Viber, Zomato, UnZipMe, WhatsApp, BeBuzz and Screen Grabber. However, the Viber app on Blackberry does not have the calling capability, but it is expected to arrive soon. So till then, you can use it for composing and sending messages for free.
If you are already a Blackberry user, then I expect that you understand the usefulness of the BBM (Blackberry messenger), but if you have never owned a Blackberry phone before, then I just hope that you would like it and understand the convenience of having this app.
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 includes an inbuilt FM radio, thereby allowing users to tune into their favourite local stations. Though this is not a great feature as almost all phones today have built-in FM radio. But this feature is rarely found in a BlackBerry device, so it merits a mention.
Besides, this phone comes with WiFi and 2G, and lacks 3G support. Though you cannot enjoy 3G speed on this phone, but honestly, it is not at all a bad experience to connect to the Internet on EDGE.
If you are a shutterbug and loves to take pictures from your phone, then this phone is not for you. But if you use the camera on your phone occasionally and the camera quality does not bother you much, then you should not neglect this handset. But, it does not mean that the phone produces low-quality images.
Its 2-megapixel camera produces excellent images in bright sunlight. But in low-light conditions, it produces horrible results, and one of the reasons is the absence of an LED flash. The camera offers up to 5x digital zoom. The jerky zoom can be a thorn.
In the video mode, the camera can record good-quality videos in bright light, while in low-light conditions, it fails to impress. And again, the jerk zoom is an irritant.
The phone comes packed with a 1450 mAh removable lithium-ion battery that offers an excellent battery backup. The company claims that the phone gives users up to 7 hours of talk time or up to 28 hours of music playback or up to 18 days standby time.
And after using the phone for over a month, I will not waffle to state that the phone has a long lasting battery. It can easily survive for more than one day if put to normal use. And also, with heavy usage, its battery can easily survive for a day, once charged. I use this phone heavily to check my mails, browse numerous websites, watch videos on YouTube, listening to music and to stay active on Facebook and Twitter, and I have no complaints about its battery life.
The call quality is good. Its speaker is moderately loud, and produces clear sound.
The disappointment here is that the phone has an internal memory of 512MB. Though you can expand the memory up to 32GB via a microSD card, but a phone with a high internal memory is always a treat. But if you are not a kind of person, who loves to install a plethora of apps on the smartphone, the 512MB internal memory should suffice. The phone also has 512MB RAM.
Though it’s pretty obvious, but I would still like to mention here that the phone comes bundled with a pair of quality earphones.
Though RIM is struggling hard to maintain its market share, but it has understood the way to keep a hold on mid-range customers in the Indian market. The BlackBerry Curve 9220 is said to be the successor to the Blackberry Curve 8520, with some additional features. The Curve 8520 was released way back in August 2009 and proved to be a mega-success. Following the same philosophy, the company again came up with this affordable BlackBerry handset for the price-sensitive Indian market, especially targeted towards the youth.
The phone has the potential to woo Indian buyers, and I can recommend this phone to all those who are planning to shell out Rs 10K for a new phone.
+ Slim and lightweight
+ Decent looks
+ Great multitasking
- Poor camera quality
- No LED flash
- Low internal memory