My 3rd Blackberry, my 1st Virgin phone
I used to have T-Mobile, but needed to downsize my phone expenses. When I found out about Virgin's $25 for unlimited messaging & data & 300 minutes of calls, I pricked up my ears - I haven't needed thousands of minutes of talk time in over a year, communicate mostly with text messages, & WANTED a data plan but it was always too expensive before. Since I had a Blackberry 8320 before, & the reveiws for the 8530 were good, I went for that. I like the trackpad better than the trackball, which had started malfunctioning from getting squished in my back pocket (oops). The QWERTY keyboard is fine & feels good, though if you get a hard cover like I did you'll find it a bit difficult to press the outside buttons. The screen looks great, nice & bright. If you don't like the theme you can check online for free alternatives - I downloaded Skylark :)
The Blackberry software neatly transferred all my contact info to my new phone, plus I have a 2gb card (that's PLENTY of room). When I plug it in to charge, i get an analog clock screen saver (can be changed to digital) - looks kind of like an Omega. 2mg camera, no flash (nuts) but the pictures look fine, plus I have 5 different light settings, which eases the pain a bit. The touchpad zooms in & out with no glitches. Lots of features - video cam with sound! Notepad, calender, alarm, different tones...I've heard that you can't make your own ringtones from sound clips because Virgin wants you to buy downloaded tones, but that's not a big deal to me, I just WON'T.
And HEY, I never had a data plan before! I have Internet, & mapping! The GPS seems to work OK - I haven't used it much yet. There are lots of apps to download from App World, many of them free. What I DON'T like is the way the Blackberry site keeps ending the session before I've had time to do much more than find ONE thing that sounds interesting - seriously, folks, eBay lets me stay logged in for a whole day, & even my bank at least ASKS me if I want to continue my session. Sheesh,
What I also wasn't counting on was that I HAD to pay the extra $10/mo. for the Blackberry email features, which is really just a collator for your various email accounts. So instead of $25/mo I'm paying $35/mo (not including taxes etc) :/ I like the email feature, but not sure I like it $10/mo worth, so now I wish I'd gone for an Android phone. That said, if you're a Blackberry fan, this phone keep you happy & Virgin's plan will save you money. NO the coverage probably isn't as good as Verizon, but it's as good as T-Mobile (looks like I left just in time, as they just got eaten by ATT - poor T-Mobile, I really liked your service & you were good to me!). It's not like I NEED to have phone access while 10 miles offshore on Lake Michigan. I get signal pretty much everywhere I need it. Oh, and call quality is fine too, and the battery is good for...I don't know, all day or so depending on what I'm doing; I usually plug it in when I got to bed & there's always at least 50% left. Absolutely no complaints about this phone, it was a good deal.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Simply the Best Prepaid Phone Available
As a former AT&T iPhone user disenfranchised by steadily increasing hidden fees, I decided to give Boost Mobile a try when they began carrying the Blackberry Curve 8330. While it was a great phone for it's day, the 8330 was several years old and severely lacking on memory by the time Boost picked it up, making it less than ideal for running multiple applications.
Boost heard the concerns of their customers and quickly picked up the much more efficient Blackberry Curve 8530, which trumps the older 8330 in nearly every way. Aesthetically, the most notable feature is the lack of a trackball, which was notorious for getting clogged with pocket lint. It has been replaced by a new touch-sensitive trackpad, which admittedly takes some getting used to, but widely outperforms the trackball.
The physical size of the 8530 is very similar to its predecessor, albeit just a bit thinner. You will find the button layout to be nearly identical as well, although the 8530 has unfortunately opted for smaller shift keys, which is a small gripe and can be easily adjusted to. The addition of rewind, play/pause and fast forward keys have been added to the top of the phone, which are a welcome addition for those that prefer keeping their Blackberry holstered while listening to music.
Not much has changed in the way of the screen, as the size and resolution are identical to the 8330, although the 8530's appears to be slightly brighter. The phone comes equipped with the final version of the 5.0 OS, although the menu layout has improved from the 8330 - there are now 6 shortcuts available on the home screen, and the application icons themselves are larger, making them more distinguishable.
The voice reception is excellent on both the handset and included headphones with built-in mic. The speakerphone is loud and audible, and is even loud enough to listen to music in a small room. Web browsing is much improved thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi capability.
Unfortunately, the 8530 does not come packed in with a holster like the 8330 did, which most BB users know can tremendously help with battery life. This leads me to the only 2 downfalls of the 8530 in comparison to it's older brethren - the battery life is somewhat shorter, and the 2MP camera does not have a flash! This may not be detrimental, but is still inexcusable considering much older BBs have this feature.
What really makes this phone stand out from the pack though, is that it comes equipped with 256MB of on-board memory, up from a measly 96MB on the 8330. This means that you will no longer need to reset your phone on a daily basis, and will no longer find yourself doing a battery pull at inopportune times. With the vast and quickly-expanding Blackberry App World, you'll have plenty of room for the great apps, many of them free - including Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and Google Maps. Room for additional pictures, documents and music is no problem either, as the upgradable memory slot accommodates all sizes of MircoSD cards.
If you're a smartphone user that has grown tired of being stuck in a multi-year contract with one of the big companies and find your bill to be ever-increasing, even when staying within limits, this phone is for you. It's not quite an iPhone 4 or Droid X, but with many of the same apps for only $60 per month and the opportunity to shrink your bill to $45 after 18 on-time monthly payments, it's really hard to turn down - simply the best prepaid phone available.
33 of 35 people found this review helpful.
Excellent phone for the cost, although a bit outdated
The Curve series phones all look similar, the 8530 is most closely related to the 8330. It has more memory, newer operating system support, and a touch trackpad instead of ball like the 8330. Virgin's plans ($25 + $10 for BIS/BES Blackberry service) are the cheapest for Blackberry handsets to my knowledge. I like how replacement parts are easily found on eBay for the housing, etc.
The phone functions well for everything I try doing. It runs multiple apps without slowing down much, and it has tools like spreadsheet, word, and powerpoint to go. They are immensely helpful for those in any business field. If you just want a toy it's not as flashy as others and the $10 for BIS/BES a month might not be worth it to you.
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) is a great messenger service and lightyears ahead of SMS texting, but you must consider that the people you wish to contact also have BBM. Wifi connection is a huge plus. Call reception and clarity is outstanding compared to many phones I've used. It also has plenty of security tools for users.
Overall, I'd say don't buy a Blackberry if you're not too tech savvy and require very simple operation. If you love technology and enjoy tweaking and modifying themes and advanced settings there is no better handset than a Blackberry. They support free tools for users to create their own apps and themes. RIM Blackberries also have many incredible features that sadly most consumers cannot easily tap into. You can also browse the web to find helpful forums and/or tutorials to help you do just about anything with these handsets.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.