After 14 months of hard and heavy use and abuse - I broke up with my Blackberry (Crackberry) Curve. The model that I had was this 8330 in Red (on Sprint). This was my first "Smartphone" and I was a first time Blackberry user. Now, some might think that full-time moms don't need a blackberry, but if anyone in my household needed one - it was me. I maintain multiple email addresses for various compartments of my life and am usually on the go. My cell phone is the primary way to get a hold of me and my inboxes fill up daily. When my flip-phone came up for an upgrade I knew that Smartphone was the way to go and Blackberry had everything that I wanted.
Setup with the Blackberry wasn't too hard at all and I was able to add in my email addresses from yahoo, gmail and verizon pretty easily. The Blackberry software came on a CD that I installed to my laptop and then was able to sync it with my Outlook calendar and contacts. Later I moved to using a Google Sync calendar and that was able to smoothly integrate with my blackberry as well.
The Curve comes standard with onboard memory but will take a microSD card so I added in an 8G card which is the max and never ran into any storage issues with pictures, movies, and media items. I did notice that when I had a lot of pictures my blackberry did lag and freeze a few times. When this happened I simply tethered the berry to my laptop via USB and transferred some images off.
The blackberry can be customized with themes, a wallpaper or desktop layout. I used the Stargazer theme that I downloaded from a Blackberry addicts website and stuck with it as it gave me access to my messages and everything that I regularly used right on the home screen. As time went on I added some additional applications/programs to my blackberry including Twitter (I used Twitterberry and Ubertwitter) and of course, the Facebook app. My husband and I also ran some apps like Loopt or Samecell for location sharing. There are quite a few free or low cost apps out there for the blackberry including RSS readers, Voice recognition, Maps & GPS programs and the like.
Sprint has their blackberry pre-loaded with Sprint TV and also a Telenav GPS. My kids liked to use the TV and watch Disney while we waited at restaurants. The GPS came in handy a few times when my GPS in the car was discharged or on loan to a friend but since it wasn't my primary GPS it wasn't a must have feature for me.
One thing that I loved with the blackberry was the ability for me to designate times for it to turn off and turn on -and to differentiate these times for weekday or weekend. I am very bad about leaving my phone on and then waking up to find that I have a dead phone in my purse. I found that the battery life on my Blackberry was very good and I could often go up to 3 days on the battery depending on how much I used it during the day. Heavier use during the day for internet, twitter or facebook drained it quicker as well as being in areas where the signal was week. For example, when we were in Disney our resort had crappy signal and the battery drained quickly because it was constantly searching to find a signal. Thankfully those instances were few and far between.
I found the Red Blackberry (or redberry as my kids called it) attractive and just the right size. It has a full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom that makes texting very convenient and easy. I also used the built in BlackBerry messenger program to message friends who also had blackberries (you need to know their pins and add each other). To navigate from application to application it uses a pearl style trackball that glides easily. On a few times my trackball got stuck but I believe it was from dust or sticky fingers.
I did have the full replacement/insurance add-on for a few extra dollars a month which I felt was warranted in case it broke. This did come in handy because after a month the seal on the screen started to peel under the screen which was clearly defective and even after the tech at Sprint opened it and pushed it back it happened again. I was able to get a new unit sent to me at no cost and this wasn't a problem again. After a year of use with the new blackberry it started showing signs of doing this again. I personally think it had to do with getting hot from using an aftermarket car charger but I am not certain what exactly caused it.
As a phone, I have no complaints whatsoever with the Blackberry - call quality was good via the handset and it has a decent speakerphone. I used mine with a Motorola Bluetooth while in the car and it was easy to set up.
The blackberry has a camera on it that I used all the time, even though it wasn't the best. I could snap photos (they are only 2mp so a bit grany) and upload and share them on facebook, email them or send them as a MMS or via BBM. It could also easily capture video -- both very important as I tended to forget to bring my "real" camera when I needed it more times than not when my kids did something funny or cute.
My blackberry was like my best friend this past year, going everywhere with me and keeping my life 'together' and organized. I could access my emails, calendar, appointments, contacts, the internet, open documents, surf the web and even go on twitter and facebook at any time. I became a texting machine. I even used my blackberry as an alarm clock! I have an unlimited data plan or else my phone bill would be ridiculous with how much I used my blackberry!
Only a few times did my blackberry freeze or "crash" and I would need to do what's called a battery pull and reset it. After I'd had the unit for a year this happened while I was sending a photo to my mother and my berry kept giving me an error message and it wasn't working at all. I had to do a full wipe and reinstall on the OS which freaked me out quite a bit. This was what ultimately set me over the edge to upgrade to a different phone as I felt my berry was nearing its "time".
Overall, I really really loved my blackberry and I definitely do recommend it for someone who is looking for a solid, basic, smartphone. After a year, I came up for upgrade again and I began thinking about trying something new. It took me 2 months to decide and take the plunge but in the end I turned off my blackberry in turn for getting a Google Android phone. Still, now that I have upgraded there are things that I must say my Blackberry did way better and yes, I do miss it.
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Amount Paid (US$): 100
Recommended for: Professionals On-the-Go - Internet and Email is a Must!