Blackberry Curve 8320
We're no strangers to the BlackBerry Curve, originally released as the Curve 8300 on the AT&T network in June 2007. The Curve proved to be a very popular and strong smartphone, and T-Mobile users lamented AT&T's several month exclusive. Now T-Mobile goes one better with the Curve 8320 which adds not only WiFi but UMA for phone calling over WiFi networks. That's what we call a killer application in tech lingo: something new, cool and downright useful that might just start a new technology trend. We'll cover UMA in detail, along with features unique to the 8320. Since the 8320 is in most respects identical to the recently released Curve 8300, we won't repeat common feature coverage when possible. Please refer to our BlackBerry Curve 8300 review for further detail on features of interest not covered in this review.
What is UMA? It's a technology that allows you to make voice calls over WiFi and switch fairly seamlessly between GSM and WiFi calls. No need for a separate VoIP account and application on the phone (i.e.: Skype). Simply use your phone number and your phone as if it were a normal cell phone. This isn't quite free: T-Mobile offers their $10/month Hotspot@Home service. You must add this to your account to use the BlackBerry 8320 and the handful of other UMA phones offered by T-Mobile over WiFi. Yes, even if you want to use the service on your home WiFi network and not a T-Mobile hotspot, you'll have to pay the $10/month, because T-Mobile provides the backend services that handle tunneling GSM calls though IP networks and they provide the transition between WiFi and GSM calls. But for $10/month (that's the introductory price, it may go up if you sign up after the promo period ends, and family plans for up to 5 lines cost $20/month), we call it a bargain: you can make unlimited domestic WiFi calls. No charges beyond the $10/month fee. Calls that originate on UMA (WiFi) are billed as unlimited Hotspot@Home accounts, even if you walk away from the access point or hotspot and the phone switches to GSM. Likewise if you make or receive a call while on GSM, you'll be billed for the entire duration of that call using your regular plan minutes, even if you get in range of a hotspot and the phone switches to UMA. If you have weak cell phone service at home, make a lot of calls when in range of a home/work WiFi access points, the service makes a great deal of sense.
For those who are technically minded, UMA works only with GSM and it's technically not VoIP as are SIP services. UMA provides a pipeline or tunnel for pure GSM to travel through via IP. The somewhat more common SIP phones turn calls into multimedia streams and send them over the Net (this is a simplified explanation). Seamless call hand-off between mobile networks and UMA is a real possibility, whereas it isn't with SIP.
T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home UMA service includes the option to buy a modified Linksys WRT54G-TM (we assume the TM stands for T-Mobile). The router is $50 and there's a $50 rebate, so it's free in the end. This is an 802.11b/g WiFi access point that can function as your home/work's sole access point or it can be hooked up to your existing network as a repeater. Or, you need not use it at all: we used the BlackBerry 8320 with our existing D-Link DIR-655 802.11n router with no problems whatsoever.
Call quality over UMA was excellent on the Curve 8320. And we didn't have a single dropped call when the phone transitioned
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
One of the better BB's
The BB 8320 offers integrated Wi-Fi . The smartphone also features a nice, sleek design, a 2-megapixel camera.
The Curve can't record videos, and there's no 3G support. The BB Web browser isn't quite as sophisticated as those on competing smartphones.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Great Phone, but Bad Service
I love this phone. I learn how to do a new thing with it everyday. I've downloaded several apps and they range from fun to very helpful. The BOOST Mobile Network is 20X more reliable then the Comcast connection we have in our home which is utterly terrible (always getting kicked off and having to fight our way back on!)!
I'm going to order a 16 gigabyte memory card from Ebay for Xmas and then I'll be able to teach myself how to do even more fun things with the Blackberry Curve like putting music and TV shows on the thing so my iPod will be come pretty much useless except for DRM protected files I bought from iTunes Store.
The only problem with this phone isn't a problem with a phone at all. The thing is, if you're going to buy the Blackberry Curve, don't buy the one that's for BOOST subscribers, especially if you live in the rural NJ area!! I have to go outside just to maybe get ONE BAR!! I should have suspected that this would happen because my last BOOST phone was the same way, but a lot of people told me that much of the time it's not the service, it's the handset. They turned out to be 100 percent WRONG!! The service still sucks just as bad using a $200 BOOST handset as it did when I was using a cheap $30 handset I got from BEST BUY!! Don't let them fool you!
I don't understand how BOOST's Mobile Network for using the wireless internet can work in my home pretty much from an area where I'm near a window, but I have to go outside and practically climb on to the damn roof just to get one bar if I want to call somebody. But then again, I have never had a phone that has had good reception in this area. Not Verizon or T-Mobile has been any better. Omnipoint was even worse but that was a decade ago. From what I understand AT&T works wonders, but I don't have good enough credit anymore so I'm screwed unless I switch to CRICKET, but then I'll have to buy a new phone again!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Blackberry 8320 is excellent
screen size and resolution
the track ball slips at times. It is handy for use as a mouse when surfing the web, but when navigating the home screen it slips and there are no other directional keys to move the cursor up/down/left/right.
I decided to buy the blackberry 8320 because I wanted a smartphone with good battery life, high quality construction, mini sd slot for storing music, wifi for browsing, and apps for customizing the phone. Its a great purchase for the $70 i paid for it with only 1 visible scratch, and it was used for work email, so i knew it was in good shape before buying it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
If you need to make phone calls, buy something else
| No, I would not recommend this product.
|Ease of use|
|Value for money|
Blackberry Phone arrived, I put in my sim card, no calls enter and no calls go out. Signal is very bad (where with other phones in the same area it's excellence) change of sim card phone calls only possible outside the house. After 24 hours the trackball stopped working. Since you can not do nothing without the trackball, I went and had it fixed 15 USD extra for a not working phone. Tried to install Blackberry maps or Facebook app, it's just loading loading and loading for ever. Surfing the internet is good and fast (depending connection I guess) It's good looking, but if you need to make phone calls, buy something else. I needed a phone that worked so I bought another phone within one week. Double cost for nothing I am very disappointed!
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.