The Cricket Blackberry Curve 8530 is an no-contract smartphone that comes with an affordable unlimited plan.
Of course, the vertically oriented QWERTY keyboard is one of the things Blackberry phones are known for. If you haven’t used one before, you might find that the keys to be a little too close together. I find that it helps if you use your thumb nails. They don’t have to be long (you’re not playing a guitar), just long enough to easily press the buttons. Most people probably just learn to use the tips of their thumbs.
Experienced Blackberry users are fast. I once witnessed a competition between an iPhone user and a Blackberry user to see who could send a text message or email faster, and it was no contest. The person using the Blackberry was done in about half the time.
Currently Cricket currently lists the phone at $129.99 if you order online. Shipping and activation are free.
The $55 true plan includes all telecom taxes and fees. So you pay $55 a month plus local sales tax if any, but you don’t pay extra for any of the usual regulatory taxes, because they’re included in the price of the plan.
The plan itself includes unlimited talk, text, and data from anywhere in the US and international texting within their network. Of course, you also get Blackberry email and messenger services. Yes, there are no extra charges for data. Note that 3G data is limited to 1 GB after which I believe they slow you down.
There is supposed to be an add-on if you want to tether your phone to your PC, but I couldn't find it myself.
Though their network has grown substantially, there is the possibility of roaming charges in some areas, which leads us to . . .
Now you may have already used a Blackberry with some other provider like Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile. You will want to find out about the level of service which basically boils down to how good is Cricket’s coverage.
Well, it’s not going to be as extensive as Verizon’s, but it’s much improved this year. Cricket now claims to offer better coverage than T-Mobile. Still, it’s true that you will need to check coverage maps
So if you’ve used Blackberry before and the 8530 is offered in your area, switch if you want to save money.
What if you haven’t used a Blackberry before, but want to try it and the $55 unlimited talk and data plan out? Cricket has many other smartphone available, but currently carries only this Blackberry phone. However, most Blackberry users want to be able to send and receive their push emails fast, and the Cricket Blackberry Curve 8530 should do the job.
There is a detailed interactive 8530 user guide available. This is conveniently hosted on Cricket’s website, though you can also root through RIM’s support site to find the same guide.
There is also a one and a half page Quick Start guide (plus 12 pages of legalese in English and Spanish) which shows you how to set up the Curve – you do have to call up Cricket and get various ID numbers.
The interactive guide is great, probably explains most of the things you might want to do with your phone. It’s nice to see a visual depiction of how to do things with the phone.
Check out the interactive guide and then check out a few comments about the features below.
Video recording is at 320 x 240 (QVGA). This also corresponds to the screen resolution of the phone.
The camera takes still pictures up to 1600 x 1200 pixels. Or you can reduce the image size to 1024 x 768 or 640 x 480. The only thing the camera doesn’t have is a flash. If you plan to download the photos, you don’t have to worry too much about the size. Your photos and videos will transfer pretty fast via . . .
One improvement of the 8530 over the 8520 is support for Bluetooth 2.1 which means faster file transfer. Another speed improvement is 3g speed.
The 8530 runs on Cricket’s 3G network when possible.
Full HTML web browsing is available. For videos, there is a video plan add-on you may want to check out.
You can listen to songs, podcasts, etc through the multi-format music player.
The package comes with a 2 GB card which you can use to store quite a few songs and photos. If you need more room, you can use up to 32 GB microSD cards to store your music and stuff.
The stereo Bluetooth capability means you can avoid the wires if you wish. You don’t have to however, because the Curve has a regular 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can you your standard hi-fi headphones, and if you lose those you can find a cheap replacement at any dollar store.
You have access to Blackberry’s App world where you can find business applications as well as games and themes. You can download stuff through Cricket’s store front as well. There are a bunch of productivity apps available, including the necessary integration with Microsoft Office etc. If you need any of this, you are probably already familiar with it.
The Blackberry Curve is officially rated as having a standby time of up to 252 hours (10.5 days) and a talk time of 270 minutes (6.5 hours). However this depends a lot on how you use your phone. The more high-end features you use, the shorter will be your battery life. Make sure you charge your battery every night and during the day. Those lithium-ion batteries like to be charged early and often.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that this smart phone has the desirable HAC rating of M4/T4. This is relatively rare among smart phones. This also is a plus for government and corporate settings.
Okay, that’s about it. In keeping with the spirit of this site, we treat these phones as useful devices and tools rather than something to obsess over. But if you want obsession you can find it in these Blackberry forums here. They also offer some free blackberry themes as well.
You can get iSkin covers for this and other smart phones. iSkin focuses on covers for products from Apple such as the iPhone and iPad and on covers for Blackberry phones.
For Blackberry, they've named their covers "vibes" and they've got the colors to match. In addition to the Curve series of phones, these phone skins are also available for the Bold and Torch series of phones.
Would you grade this on a Curve?
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
I love this!
I have been with Cricket for about 8 years now, and I am so happy they finally released these two smartphones. I originally got on the "Flashed" wagon …
Room for a SIM Card? Not rated yet
I want to take it overseas with me and put a SIM card in it. Does it have a place for SIM Cards? --------------- I don't think so. The 8530 is a CDMA …
Too slow Not rated yet
Got it about 2 months ago and cannot express the level of disappointment. The phone is PAINFULLY SLOW. The longer you use & attempt to customize your phone …
How can I extend my battery life? Not rated yet
Q: How can I extend my battery life? A: There are a couple of things you can change in the way you operate your 8530 to extend its battery life. These …
While Blackberry phones are not so common these days, a few are still available as no-contract phones. The model 9310 is available from both Straight Talk and Virgin Mobile.
Otherwise, here are a few alternative QWERTY phones.
The Samsung S390G even has a trackpad to boot.
The LG 900g has some memory limitations but is an otherwise quality phone with a nice keyboard and screen.