RIM's BlackBerry is still standing firm amidst all the negative reports coming out of media channels. This, for me, is testified by their continuous release of budget-friendly smartphones for consumers to enjoy. After the highly successful BlackBerry Curve 8520 comes the BlackBerry Curve 9220, an extremely light and handy smartphone.
Running on BlackBerry OS 7.1, the Curve 9220 offers most of the features that more expensive BlackBerry models have, but with a more conservative set of specifications.
Hardware and Design
The body of the BlackBerry Curve 9220 has a glossy, all-black finish that surely looks sleek and classy. Because the housing is made of plastic, the phone is prone to scratches and therefore must be protected with a third-party case.
On the front's top right is an LED notification light, and below it is the phone's 2.44-inch display. I highly suggest that you get a screen protector as soon as you get hold of the phone, since the screen is not scratch-resistant. Though the screen size is good for normal use overall, reading e-book or surfing might be a disappointment to some.
The phone's 35-keys look like that of the Curve 8520. It is easy to press and use. Typing on a great set of QWERTY keypads is surely one of the things I like about the BlackBerry phones.
At first, the trackpad below the screen was quite hard to control, but when I managed to change the sensitivity from 60 to 80, navigation across the phone has become so much easier.
The sides of the Curve 9220 draw the difference from the look of the entire phone by having a black rubber texture. It makes the pressing of the side keys and the grip of the phone better.
One thing that RIM changed on the Curve 9220 is the addition of the BBM key on the left side, below the charging port. Technically, it's just the Convenience Key available in other BlackBerry models, but the change is definitely good. In fact, RIM's addition of the etched "BBM" looks great.
The right side of the phone has the volume keys and the camera button. Meanwhile, the top part has the unlock key and the 3.5mm jack used for listening to the radio and call hands-free. The bottom portion both contains the microphone and the speaker.
On to the rear side, it basically has the 2-megapixel camera without a flash. Along with the battery section is the microSD card slot and the SIM card slot.
User Interface and Experience
With the phone running on BlackBerry's latest software, it gave me a relatively smooth and fast experience. Similar to the first time I used a BlackBerry phone, the user interface is easy to adapt and therefore will not incur so much of a learning curve to other new users.
The Curve 9220 comes with pre-installed apps like Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry Messenger, Maps, Yahoo Messenger, etc. More apps can be downloaded from the BlackBerry App World. It has a good multitasking feature that allows the switching from one app to another by simply doing a long press of the BB logo.
Owning a BlackBerry 9700 without the FM Radio app, it is worth to mention that this phone actually has one for convenience of listening to favorite local stations. On the contrary, the Curve 9220 only allows connectivity using Wi-Fi and 2G. Its lack of 3G feature is still acceptable for me, since BlackBerry compresses the data well and therefore gives a decent experience even when connecting on EDGE.
Camera (Photo and Video)
As a normal user who takes picture of random stuff without having to get super good quality photos, the Curve 9220's 2MP camera with 5x digital zoom actually serves its purpose. Taking pictures on a brightly lit surrounding results to decent set of pictures, while doing it indoors or with a low-light environment results to an "uhh-okay" photo.
The absence of the an autofocus feature makes photo capturing quick, but of course lacks the luster of pictures that use such function. Toggling between just Auto or Night scene modes may leave some users a bit of disappointment with the lack of options. Obviously, this phone is not for the shutterbugs.
Same case goes as for the video recording, which results to good on highly-lit scenarios and poor on low-lighting conditions.
Battery, Memory, Etcetera
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 packs a 1450mAh removable lithium-ion battery. Using it for one week always gave a good battery life to me, lasting for at least a whole day with normal usage of texting, calling, tweeting, video streaming and surfing.
Call quality is also clear and good. In addition, the speaker is moderately loud and produces clear sound overall. Listening to music over the loud speaker lacks a bass, though, but acceptable.
One of the lowlights of the BlackBerry Curve 9220 is its internal memory of only 512MB. Although it may be expandable to at most addition of 32GB via microSD, having a huge built-in memory is always preferred. For people who doesn't want to install so much apps, the 512MB will suffice. The phone also comes with a 512MB RAM.
Both push email and BBM - BlackBerry's most loved features - are still available in the BlackBerry Curve 9220 and works greatly for those into checking emails on-the-go and conversing with family and friends here or abroad.
It is known that RIM is struggling to keep its market share in today's smartphone competition. But one thing's for sure - it has captured the hearts of many Filipinos with its pocket-friendly devices and great communication functionality.
Following the BlackBerry Curve 8520's tremendous success, RIM has gone with the same principle to offer consumers the BlackBerry Curve 9220, an affordable phone with more than the basic capabilities of a feature phone. Although there may be some glitches that RIM needs to improve on, the Curve smartphone is still one of the phones I'd gladly purchase anytime.
The BlackBerry Curve 9220 is available with an SRP of Php9,990 in three colors - Black, Pure White, and Teal Blue. While all colors can be purchased from retailers nationwide without any lock-in, it is good to note that getting bundled unlimited data plans from our telcos can surely give us a couple of bucks of savings. Black can be purchased from Globe, Smart and Sun, while the other two colors are exclusively available from Globe.