| | 08-13-2011, 02:05 PM Thread Author #1
Virgin Mobile USA Blackberry Curve 8530: A Five (5) Month-Based Review
Earlier this year, I bought out my contract from AT&T. Up until that point, I have been with them for almost a year, but could not anymore take the horrendous service I was encountering from them on a continual basis. Though I had to pay a hefty price for buying out my contract ($325), it was well-worth it, especially since I averaged a 30% rate of dropped calls and data outages! I looked for a wireless service that had qualities that were the anti-thesis of my experience with AT&T: reliability and value orientation. Fortunately, I came upon the services of Virgin Mobile USA, a no-contract division of Sprint.
When you first enter Virgin Mobile’s realm, you are presented with a wireless campaign that promotes true value, suave hipness and sensible practicality (and yes they succeed)! I looked at their selection and ecstatically saw a Blackberry Curve 8530 model! My business associates and acquaintances all have Blackberries and have always recommended one due to four (4), commonly toted, but established pillars: security, data-efficiency, reliability and practicality. At the time, the price was $200, but with no hesitation, I quickly bought the Blackberry and went home to activate it.
I opened the box containing the corporate-popular fruit and was greeted with a small, but evidently, powerful pomegranate. The form, for my preferences, is perfect. It has a “candy-bar” design, having an impressive QWERTY keyboard, a moderately-sized screen, navigational buttons and an optical pad in the middle. Unlike the popular, touch screens, the design is very efficient and fluid, which promotes an easy-to-use, user interface.
Setup and activation, unlike with other wireless companies, was fast, straightforward and with no fees. I simply called Virgin Mobile USA and my phone was up and running within a few minutes. Once activated, I effortlessly setup my email and changed the phone settings to my tastes through the Setup Wizard. Plus, Research in Motion (RIM), for the first month or so, sends you helpful tips to make better use of the phone. This has helped me greatly in taking full advantage of the phone’s capabilities.
Now the juicy part of the fruit: How does my Blackberry fare on a day-to-day basis? In the five (5) months I have been using my phone, the 8530 has proven to be an extremely stable and highly dependable asset. While starting up the phone after a restart takes a few minutes and there are occasional slowdowns from the meager processor, the OS rarely freezes on me and has never crashed. Everyday, I am usually accessing tons of financial/business sources for news and data. I also heavily use Twitter and other business productivity apps to further gain and relay information pertaining to my business and the 8530 all does these tasks rapidly and successfully on a daily basis without any fusses. It has been such an effectual device that I now do many aspects typically reserved for the pc on my phone (email, business positions, news, data, etc).
More important factors I also want to take note of are call quality, texting, internet browsing and battery life. When I need to make a call, the Blackberry does it effortlessly, like doing so on a normal telephone. Plus, call quality is fantastic. I never have gotten a dropped call on my phone and hearing and talking to another caller is always very clear and audible. When it comes to chatting with friends and associates on popular instant messaging services or even writing short to even long emails, Blackberry’s legendary QWERTY keyboard makes texting quick, painless (and quite addicting). Perfectly spaced and designed, the keyboard allows me to do much of these tasks for hours-end, without pouring a sweat. On the other hand, navigating the internet, via the Blackberry browser, is quite slow during the first, few times, averaging loads of 20-30 seconds. However, after using it for a while and accumulating especially push content, it has become fairly swift, now averaging around a solid 7 second range. There are times when I need to access exceedingly heavy, data-intensive and even fully-encrypted websites, and for this, I use the Bolt browser, which loads these kinds of sites very quickly. But for most of my needs, the Blackberry browser is my main choice for normal, daily browsing. Of course, battery life is another essential factor. When I first began using my phone, the battery would last for just around six (6) hours with normal use. Yet, thanks to the useful tips from RIM (closing apps, breaking-in the battery, charging with at least 10-20% power) the battery now easily reaches 24-32 hours even with content encryption enabled (without content encryption, 48-56 hours is achievable).
Other noteworthy features I use occasionally are the camera and internet video via Blackberry browser and GPS. The camera is 2.0 megapixel, and at best, the quality is average, suffering from low-resolution and “dusty” properties on photos. But, there are times when I need to take a fast photo of a document or data and the Blackberry has done so acceptably. In regards to video quality on the internet browser, quality was surprisingly very good! While I don’t watch too many videos on my phone, I once watched a European big-rig truck racing and a few Formula 1 (F1) clips and the quality was superb, akin to DVD. When the time to plan awesome adventures and explore new places arises, the GPS feature is purely indispensible. Via Google Maps, I plan out destinations and mark my coordinates on the map. Plus, using the Where app, I can use the GPS feature to find local restaurants, movies and even compare gas prices in my area.
In summary, my purchase of the Blackberry Curve 8530 has proven to be an excellent investment. Paired with the reliable, value-packed service from Virgin Mobile USA, my Blackberry efficiently accomplishes all of the heavy, business (and even personal) tasks that I throw at it without any complaints. With the highly, positive five (5) months of use and experience I have gotten from this phone, I am confident that it will serve my needs faithfully for years to come.