Research In Motion (RIM) has for a long time targeted the business honchos with its BlackBerry range of smartphones. But off late, it has revamped its smartphones to attract the young minds as well.
The Curve range of smartphones form BlackBerry is a classic example of a youth centric smartphone that is great for business but equally satisfies the multimedia and entertainment needs of the users.
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 is the latest and the most economical BlackBerry OS 7 based handsets till date. It comes with a dynamic design and provides a much more responsive and faster performance than its competitors in the same price range.
Looks and Build Quality
The Blackberry Curve 9220 straight out of the box impressed us with the signature black colour and the sleek look that RIM has perfected over the years. The Curve 9220 borrows some of its looks form the older Curve 8520 in terms of the keypad and the form factor while the call keys and the control keys of the device have been designed like the ones in Bold 9790.
The glossy black front and the back panel look good and gives a touch of class to the phone as well. To make things a little exciting, the Curve 9220 also gets rubberised trim on the edges and at the back that break the monotony of black while giving the much needed grip.
The device although is same in terms of the length and breadth as its predecessor – the Curve 8520, BlackBerry has managed to take a few pounds off the device despite packing a bigger battery. To be precise, the Curve 9220 is slimmer by 1.2mm and lighter by 4 grams than the BlackBerry Curve 8520. The body of BlackBerry Curve 9220 is made up of plastic with a piano finish that looks good but is a fingerprint and smudge magnet.
The build quality of Curve 9220 is top notch and the body which gives a bit plasticky feel is sturdy enough to handle most rigorous and careless usage.
At the top of the device, which houses the screen lock/standby button, has been devoid of media control keys that gives the device a neater look. On the right hand side of Curve 9220, you will find four neat keys that offer functionality without affecting the design of the device at all.
The keys are made up of hard rubber and are extremely comfortable to use. On the right hand side there are the volume rocker keys which doubles up as the play/pause key as well for media. The lower end houses the camera key which is very useful.
A new addition to this device is the dedicated BBM button that is placed on the left hand side and is a great feature to have especially if you are heavy BBM users.
Display and Keyboard
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 has a 2.44 inch TFT LCD display with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution but as compared to its predecessors, the display has a higher brightness and contrast level that makes visuals look better. The display is definitely better as far as visual reproduction is concerned. The improvement on the processor part has a role to play for the graphics and the display improvements on the device now. You no longer see the clock sign that was a common in the older Curve smartphones.
Both the keypad and the track pad in the Curve 9220 have been upgraded and the keys now offer better feedback and require lesser efforts to get the work done. The keys have been made smaller in size but have been spaced out well for a speedy and more comfortable operation. The track pad is similar to the one featured on the newer BlackBerry devices and is highly sensitive thus improving the navigation multifold as compared to the Curve 8520.
OS, hardware and Performance
The Curve 9220 is powered by BlackBerry’s newest, and the fastest operating system – BlackBerry 7 OS. The new operating system adds a new user interface and the all new BlackBerry Messenger with loads of connected applications like Facebook and Twitter. In terms of performance, the Curve 9220 is certainly faster than the Curve 8520.
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 runs on a totally new processor, whose details have not been revealed by RIM and coupled with 512 MB of RAM memory the device is fun to use at all times. The operating system optimisation of the device has been done quite brilliantly and during the whole period of the test, the device hardly froze.
The BlackBerry OS 7 is fast without any doubt and fully compliments the upgraded hardware on the curve 9220. One thing to be mentioned here is that with new OS a lot of applications and games have been added to the kitty. However, the faster processor does tend to heat up the device while playing games for longer durations.
In terms of connectivity, the BlackBerry Curve 9220 still misses out on 3G which is a great disappointment. But the device features EDGE connectivity so data speeds will be almost similar to that of older BlackBerry devices. However, the quad band cellular radio of the device works really well and there is hardly any connectivity issues.
For wireless connectivity, there is Bluetooth 2.1 on the Curve 9220 besides WiFi. But there are still limitations with the WiFi data usage as some functionality still do not work in the absence of a dedicated BlackBerry data plan.
Camera and Multimedia
The Curve 9220 comes with a 2 megapixel, fixed focus camera which is same as the camera featured on the Curve 8520. Since it does not have Flash, you will have to keep the device in your pocket only in low light conditions.
The major let down of this device is on the video recording front. The device can record videos well but still is capable of recording in VGA mode only.
The standard 3.5 mm audio connector and the Micro USB connector ensure easy connectivity with most other devices, including headphones and earplugs. The BlackBerry Curve 9220 features expandable memory up to 32 GB via a MicroSD card which means you can carry your favorite videos, tunes and pictures along with you at all times.
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 is the first BlackBerry to feature stereo FM tuner and RIM has executed the whole thing quite brilliantly. The FM radio’s interface is neat while the auto search option is a bit of confusion as it searched channels but fails to save them. Users have to save channels manually and there is no hot keys assigned to change channels other than getting in to the favorites and changing them. But overall quality is great and reception is loud and clear.
RIM has also included the music store app in the device which allows users to search try and purchase music from various stores like Amazon but foreign currency payment will be a bit of a hassle.
The Curve 9220 features an all new 1450 mAh battery pack that is capable of powering it for up to two days of nominal usage. But as with all smartphones the battery life is affected deeply by the usage pattern and the use of EDGE networks. We managed to run the device for up to 3 day with EDGE connectivity turned off.
But overall the battery life of the device is quite impressive and we have no complaints what so ever.
To sum it all up
With a price tag of Rs 11,000 approximately, the BlackBerry Curve 9220 is a great device that gives users all the fun of the OS 7 within a confined budget.
On performance front the device outshines its predecessors and although there are some shortfalls like a lackluster camera and absence of 3G connectivity, we are still highly impressed with the Curve 9220. So if you desire a BlackBerry with a low budget go ahead with the Curve 9220 and you will love the feeling.