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Motorola Atrix HD LTE

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Introduction
The LTE-packing Motorola Atrix HD for AT&T faces a couple of hard challenges. First and foremost, it has to build on the user experience of original Atrix 4G, giving its owners who are up for an upgrade these days, a reason to stick with the brand.
And that’s not going to be easy, considering the iconic status that the Atrix 4G had for Motorola. Announced as one of the brightest stars of CES 2011, the Atrix 4G developed a solid following and for a good reason – it was one of the very first proper dual-core Android powerhouses, whose finger scanner added an extra dash of massive geeky coolness.

Motorola Atrix HD official photos
Additionally, the Atrix HD will try to appeal to all Motorola fans in the United States who were not given the chance to own a GSM flavored, subsidized Motorola RAZR.
And now that we have the smartphone’s family history out of the way, let’s take a closer look at its specifications.
Key features
Quad-band GSM and 3G support
Class 17 LTE network support
21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
4.5″ 16M-color LCD capacitive touchscreen with HD resolution (720 x 1280 pixels); Gorilla Glass; ColorBoost technology
Superb build quality; Kevlar coated, splash resistant body
Lightly customized Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
1.5 GHz dual-core Krait CPU; Adreno 225 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 chipset
1 GB of RAM and 8GB of storage; microSD card slot
8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; face detection and geotagging; 1080p video recording
1.3MP front-facing camera for video-chat
Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
GPS with A-GPS
Accelerometer, proximity sensor and auto-brightness sensor; compass
Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v 4.0
microHDMI port
Smart dialing, voice dialing
DivX/XviD video support
Office document editor
Attractive price tag
Main disadvantages
No dedicated camera button
1780mAh battery and comparably short battery life
No FM radio
Dubious design – the AT&T logo at the bottom looks like a button, but it isn’t
Non-user-replaceable battery
Quite frankly, we were caught by surprise when AT&T and Motorola announced the Atrix HD. For a smartphone whose specs are so impressive, the arrival of the latest member of the Atrix family as well as Motorola’s most powerful handset on the US market, was a seriously low key affair.
As you can see from the lists above, the Motorola Atrix HD is one the best equipped smartphones currently on the market. You will be hard pressed to find much to frown about in its specs sheet – it screams flagship from beginning to end. And then there’s the fact that the smartphone is priced lower than its direct rivals to sweeten up the deal even further.
The Atrix HD is not without its faults, though. We can’t help but be skeptical about the size of the handset’s battery. Its 1780mAh capacity is nothing to write home about, especially when put in a device manufactured by the company which gave the world the RAZR MAXX. The design could have also been a bit more inspiring, but that might be just us.

Motorola Atrix HD live photos
Overall, the Motorola Atrix HD is one of the most interesting smartphones we’ve welcomed in our office recently. We are hoping that its real-life performance can maintain the good impressions that its specs sheet creates. As always, we’ll kick its review off with an unboxing of the handset, followed by a look at its design and build quality.
Note: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn’t include all of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The Motorola Atrix HD is a North America-only phone, so it will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. Still, we think we’ve captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that’s become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

Sony Xperia T Review

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Sony’s Xperia T is also known as the James Bond phone following its appearance in Skyfall. Yes, of course the world’s best secret agent needs a smartphone endorsement. In the world of the fiction in which Bond lives, he’s more likely to have a handset that can double up as a super-high-tech Q-engineered multitool than any of the current crop of smartphones. But in the real world of onscreen endorsements he gets to handle the Xperia T. C’est la vie, Bondy.
The Xperia T is being pushed by Sony as ‘the ultimate HD experience’. That refers to the handset’s large screen, a 4.6in beast with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. That really is quite impressive. It rivals the Samsung Galaxy S3’s pixel count and is just 0.2in smaller.
So how good is the screen? Well, colours are quite rich and it certainly does enough to make me think you could spend a pleasant hour or two watching videos. Viewing angles aren’t great, but I’m being picky there.
One interesting feature about the screen is if you put the brightness slider in a certain position this seems to act as a base point for the auto brightness setting. I found cranking the slider right up near the top of the range worked well.
Sony has commandeered a small strip of the screen for the three Android touch buttons: Home, Back and Recent Apps. This means there’s a little less of the screen available for viewing information. For instance, you lose about a row of data in the settings area; a bit is chopped off the calendar; the bottom of any webpages you browse (or the right edge if you switch to landscape mode regardless of which way up you are actually holding the phone), and so on. The buttons do disappear at times, becoming three small dots that transform into the buttons if tapped when you’re using the camera, for example, but the space they occupy is still set aside.

On the plus side, the buttons themselves rotate as you twist the screen so they are always the right way up – something I really liked on the backlit, sub-screen touch buttons of the HTC Incredible S. And they are extremely responsive to the touch, as is the screen in general.
The other key feature of the Xperia T is its 13-megapixel camera. Yes, megapixel counts are not everything. Here, though, Sony has tried to provide more than just lots of megapixels. The touch focus works well and means you can take some smart, and relatively arty shots, for example. Sweep panorama does the job of clicking the shutter for you and produces reasonable results too. There’s also a front camera, with a more typical 1.3-megapixel capability.

The Xperia T is powered by a mere dual-core processor – the 1.5GHz Qualcomm Krait MSM8260-A. It is capable, though, and with 1GB of RAM doubtless helping, I found performance to be smooth and responsive. There’s DLNA support and NFC on board too. And the micro-USB connector supports HDMI – though you’ll need to buy an adaptor to take advantage. There is 16GB of built-in memory.
As usual, Sony gets into heavy skinning of Android (4.0 in this case). The lock screen lets you do a left sweep to get directly to the camera, and you can control music playback from here too. Add-on apps are plentiful and there are many widgets including Sony’s once much-maligned but improving messaging aggregator Timescape. Sony also pushes its own Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited apps, among others, and it has renamed the music player as Walkman (and given it an appropriate icon design).

Sometimes these apps double-up on Google offerings, and there’s one, Wisepoint, a navigation app, which needs to be ignored in favour of Google Maps. Taken overall, it adds up to an Android styling that looks too disjointed for my taste, and an oversupply of apps that might fox the newcomer.
Much better are the ‘Small Apps’. Hit the Recent Apps button and you can call up a calculator, note taker, timer, and voice notes recorder. It’s a great idea, and one I hope Sony develops further.

One area where the Xperia T is let down is the build. There is a slight curve in the back so that the middle is thinner than the outer edges. I’ve seen this before from Sony, of course, in the Xperia Arc, and Sony clearly likes the idea, but I’m not convinced. To me it just makes the outer edges look bulging and oversized. Nor does it help me get over the feeling that this is a very blocky handset. It feels thicker in the hand than its 9.4mm; the fact that the back has a slightly bigger footprint than the front does it no favours in the looks department; and the rubberised back looks like it might scratch easily. Actually, I found it does scratch fairly easily. And the whole phone bends and flexes quite readily in the hand too.

The positioning of the power button half-way down the right side should make it easy for those with small hands to turn the phone on and off, and it sits alongside a volume rocker/camera zoom and a dedicated camera button. The micro-USB slot is on the left edge of the casing, and headset slot on the top.
You can’t remove the backplate to get to the battery, and the microSIM and a microSD card slots are both located under a large hinged flap on the right edge.
Verdict
The Sony Xperia T has a very nice screen and delivers good quality video. I’m not that big a fan of the build (and nor, I suspect, would our fictional Mr Bond be), and while I like the Small Apps concept, overall Sony’s plentiful app extras make Android feel too busy out-of-the-box for me.

Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/reviews/mobile-phones/sony-xperia-t-review/#ixzz2VMbRXoyf

iPhone 4 Review

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Editor’s Note: With the release of the iPhone 4S the iPhone 4 is no longer Apple’s flagship smartphone. Nevertheless, it’s still a powerful device and one that’s available at a very good price: $100 with a two-year service contract.

It’s also received a number of system software updates since this review was first written, and is now running iOS 5.1. This means it has most of the features of the iPhone 4S except the Siri voice-recognition system.

Every year Apple hits us with a new, shiny iPhone. This year, we are finally getting features that we’ve wanted for a while now, such as a new design, front facing camera, a better quality camera with flash, and of course a much improved screen.

The iPhone 4 also packs some hidden treats on the inside, making this the best model so far. Is it worth the upgrade from the iPhone 3G? Did you just recently buy an iPhone 3GS and you aren’t sure if you want to upgrade already? Or maybe you have never owned an iPhone yet and are thinking the iPhone 4 might be the time to switch. Keep reading to find out, and see if the iPhone 4 can live up to your expectations.

Note: Pay attention to all the pictures in this review, as they were taken strictly with the new iPhone 4 camera.

DESIGN & BUILD

Apple gave the iPhone 4 a design overhaul from the previous 3GS version. The new model is only 0.37 inches thin, compared to its predecessor which is 0.48 inches.

There is no plastic on the exterior of the iPhone 4, and the standard silver bezel that was the trim to all previous iPhones is now gone. The front and back now glass. Supposedly, the glass used is “30 times harder than plastic”, and is “comparable to the strength of sapphire crystal”, according to Apple’s Jonathon Ives.

Between the two pieces of glass is an aluminum strip that wraps around the entire phone. The cool part about this is that the metal trim serves as an antenna for 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth, which helps signal significantly.

Display
When you first look at the display on the iPhone 4, it is simply gorgeous. This is without a doubt one of the best improvements on the new model. The new screen resolution is 960 x 640, up from 480 x 320 on all previous iPhones and iPod touches.

Since the screen didn’t get any bigger, there is a lot more pixels per inch now — 326 to be exact. Currently, there is no other smartphone on the market with a screen of this resolution. To the human eye, it is almost like a digital print. You really can’t see any individual pixels anymore, and everything is more crisp.

It will only be a matter of time before all the current applications are updated to support the resolution. The developers have to do little work to make this change.

Now if Apple increased the screen size of the iPhone, that would have been a completely different story, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

Buttons and Controls
On the front of the Apple iPhone 4 you have the standard “Home” button, along with the proximity and ambient light sensor, and the biggest change, a VGA front-facing camera.

Around the outside of the device you can find the standby button, the new microSIM slot (which has some improved benefits over the standard SIM card), a speaker, a microphone, another microphone (that helps remove background noise), a headphone jack, a silent toggle, and two separate volume buttons.

Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant™ | Black

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Experience the mobile revolution with the Samsung Galaxy S family of brilliant phones. Powered by Android™ 2.1, Galaxy S Vibrant is designed to give you a fully integrated entertainment, messaging, and social networking experience – uniting your life and your world online seamlessly. Its impressive 1Ghz processor and advanced video support not only lets you watch and record HD videos, combined with its 3D surround sound capabilities, you can enjoy mobile gaming like never before. And with the world’s first 4” Super AMOLED touchscreen providing stunning, out-of-this-world HD graphics, you’ll see that Vibrant is not just smart, it’s absolutely brilliant.

Nokia 2730 Review

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Nokia 2730 classic Review

The Nokia 2730 classic is a new economical mobile phone from Nokia, which is made to target the mid range buyers. This Nokia 2730 cell phone provides all the basics of a phone that one wants. This handset supports GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 on 2G network and UMTS 900 / 2100 and UMTS 850 / 1900 – for America on 3G network. The 2730 Classic also supports Nokia Life Tools and Ovi Mail, two services from Nokia which hope to gain a wider market share in emerging nations. The display on the handset measures 2″ and comes with QVGA resolution; this gives clear visual for reading messages. The Nokia 2730 Classic is equipped with 2 megapixel digital camera that can capture tiny 176×144 resolution video clips as well. For entertainment in this device there is a MP3 music player and FM radio. Other applications like Email, web browser are preinstalled. Additional Java programs can be downloaded as well. For transferring files to PC and other devices there is Wireless Bluetooth and USB cable. And lastly with this handset comes a 1 GB memory card and 32 MB built-in memory.

Nokia 2730 classic is a new candy bar form factor mobile phone, which is available in Black or Dark Magenta skin colors. The keypad on front of this device is standard and the keys are big. On the front this handset also sports a 2.0 inches TFT, 256K colors screen and on the front top there is a0n ear piece too. On the back side of the handset there is a 2 mega pixel camera but unfortunately there is no flash. On the right side of the cell phone there is a there is a microUSB port. On the left side of the 2730 mobile phone there is a micro microSD (TransFlash) card slot. The overall measurements of Nokia 2730 classic are 109.6 x 46.9 x 14.4 mm, 65 cc and weights around 87.7 g.

Nokia 2730 classic Key Specifications

The key features of the Nokia 2730 classic include a 2″ QVGA active display, 2 megapixel camera, MP3 player, 3.5 mm AV connector, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.0, EDR, Bluetooth stereo, Chinese-English-Chinese dictionary, Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Flash Lite 3.0, Voice dial, MIDP Java 2.1 with additional Java APIs, Stereo FM radio and Voice memo. The Nokia 2730 classic can facilitate you with its best battery time of 7.5 hours on standby and with 12 of talk time.

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Nokia 2730 classic Technical Specifications

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Nokia 2730 classic General Specifications

Status: Coming soon
Phone dimension: 109.6 x 46.9 x 14.4 mm, 65 cc
Phone weight: 87.7 g
Phone color: Black or Dark Magenta
Battery: Standby Up to 396 h (2G) / Up to 408 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 7 h 20 min (2G) / Up to 3 h 30 min (3G)
Music play Up to 12 h
Nokia 2730 classic Network and Technology

2G network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G network: UMTS 900 / 2100
UMTS 850 / 1900 – U.S
Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML
GPRS: Class 32
Messaging: SMS, EMS, MMS and Email
Nokia 2730 classic Multimedia Specifications

Display size: 240 x 320 pixels, 2.0 inches
– 5-way navigation key
Screen type: TFT, 256K colors
Camera: 2 MP, 1600×1200 pixels
Card slot: microSD (TransFlash), up to 2GB, 1GB included
– 30 MB
EDGE: Class 32
HSCSD: Yes
USB: microUSB, v2.0
3G: Yes, 384 kbps
WLAN: No
Bluetooth: Yes, v2.0 with A2DP
Infrared port: No
Ring tones: Downloadable polyphonic, MP3 ringtones
Vibration: Yes
Games: 4 + Downloadable
Phone book: 1000 entries, Photo call
Call records: 20 dialed, 20 received, 20 missed calls
GPS: No
FM Radio: Stereo FM radio
Java MIDP 2.0
MP3/MPEG4 player
Organizer
Voice memo
Voice dial
Flash Lite 2.0
Chinese-English-Chinese dictionary
Windows Live Messenger (MSN)
T9
Standard battery, Li-Ion (BL-5C)

Samsung Ace Review

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The world needs more CDMA/GSM combo phones to let Sprint and Verizon users roam internationally. Enter Samsung’s Ace, which lets Sprint users roam abroad without giving up Windows Mobile flexibility at home. At first glance, this slim handset, with its excellent keyboard, looks as if it could be a good solution for international travelers. But it turns out that there are better smartphone options for globe-trotting Sprint subscribers.
View Slideshow See all (11) slides
Front
Back
Sim Card
Earphones

Let’s praise the Ace for its physical design first: At 4.7 by 2.3 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and 3.9 ounces, it’s a slim slab-style smartphone and looks a lot like a member of Samsung’s BlackJack line for AT&T. One standout feature, though, is the Ace’s excellent keyboard. The keys are slightly pyramid-shaped, bowing out in the middle, resulting in a truly comfortable and fast typing experience. It’s far better than the BlackJack’s or even the BlackBerry’s keypads and is on a par with, though very different from, the stellar keyboards of the Motorola Q9 series. If you’re a hard-core texter or e-mailer, you’ll be very happy with the Ace’s keys.

This phone’s special advantage is that it combines the GSM and CDMA networks for global roaming. Most Sprint phones (except the Ace and the BlackBerry 8830) work on the CDMA radio system, which runs in the U.S., Canada, and about 30 other countries—but most notably, nowhere in Europe. The competing GSM system pretty much covers the rest of the globe. If you’re traveling to a GSM country, you can switch the phone’s mode using a built-in application. Sprint supplies the phone unlocked, so if you’d rather slip in a local SIM card to get a foreign phone number and lower calling rates, you’re free to do so.

In GSM mode, you can make and receive calls using your Sprint phone number, browse the Web, and check e-mail overseas, though at slow speeds. When I took the Ace to Spain, I got 40-kilobit-per-second downloads owing to the slow GPRS modem, but it was good enough for basic surfing. You also lose text-messaging capability, which is a real pity because those Europeans really love their texting.

As a phone, the Ace is average. The handset exhibited decent reception in CDMA mode, and call quality in both CDMA and GSM mode was fine. Volume levels were average in both the earpiece and the speakerphone, though calls in CDMA mode sounded a bit muddled, with some volume wobble. The Ace connected easily to our Editors’ Choice–winning Plantronics Voyager 520 headset and was able to trigger voice dialing through the headset, though accuracy was poor.

For a device outfitted with a 312-MHz Marvell PXA270 processor, the Ace feels surprisingly slow. It scored low on our CorePlayer video-frame-rate tests, and the interface lagged from time to time. Speeds on Sprint’s EV-DO Rev 0 network weren’t too impressive, either. Both on the device itself and when it was used as a modem for a Windows Vista PC, I got speeds in the 400-to-500-Kbps range—well below what I’ve achieved with a dedicated PC Card on the Sprint network.

The 53MB of program memory was enough to run a few programs at once, but the built-in software pales in comparison with the luscious bundle on the competing Plantronics Motorola Q9c. While the Ace supports the Sprint TV video-streaming service, you won’t find an IM client, Sprint Navigator (or any support for GPS), or Documents To Go; instead, there’s a poor-quality alternative, the Boratech File Viewer. I’ve never seen this program in four years of reviewing Windows Mobile devices. It handles basic Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents but chokes on PDFs, misplaces some visual elements, and periodically spits out error messages in really poor English (“Out of memory, document it ends,” for example) You’re better off investing the $30 in Documents To Go. You can also buy an IM client, of course, but we’d prefer to have it included.

The flashless 1.3-megapixel camera takes relatively soft, somewhat blurry photos, but it records surprisingly good 320-by-240-pixel video at 12 frames per second. The device played 176-by-144-pixel videos from a PC smoothly in full-screen mode, although PC videos in full 320-by-240 were jerky. For music, the Ace supports MP3, protected WMA, and unprotected AAC files, and it can play music through Bluetooth headphones (or wired headphones, though you’ll need an adapter for the oddball jack). Disappointingly, the handset supports microSD cards up to only 2GB; it wouldn’t read our 4GB or 8GB cards.

Another big drawback: You’ll get socked with incredibly high fees for browsing the Internet abroad with the Ace. Business accounts can get a $70-a-month unlimited global data plan, but individual buyers are stuck paying a shocking $16 per megabyte for data in Western Europe. Using a local SIM card, for instance, a French card from (Call In Europe) can reduce that rate to $5 per megabyte, but that’s still pretty high if you plan on doing any real surfing. With the BlackBerry 8830, on the other hand, any Sprint user can get the $70 per month unlimited data plan.

Ultimately, expensive data rates sink the Samsung Ace for us. Although the BlackBerry 8830 is less fun, you’ll likely feel more at ease with the predictability of an unlimited data plan for roaming in Europe rather than getting charged $16 every time you want to download a Google map. If you’re staying Stateside and want a superb messaging smartphone experience, check out the Motorola Q9c instead. It, too, has a killer keyboard, along with better performance and a heartier software suite.

Benchmark Test Results
Continuous talk time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Pros

Excellent keyboard. Roams to Europe.
Cons

No text messaging in GSM mode. Feels slow. Data overseas is very expensive.

Bottom Line

If the Samsung Ace were a little faster or more polished, it could be a killer option for globe-trotting Sprint users. But as is, there are better options for Sprint users both at home and abroad.

(taken from: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2261355,00.asp)

Nokia C6-01 Review

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Following in the footsteps of its Nokia C6-00 predecessor, the C6-01 effortlessly competes on the smartphone market. Although the handset is not on top of the food chain per se, it does offer features that are vastly superior to most devices in the mid-range category.

At first glance, only a handful of downsides cripple the phone like the fixed focus of the camera or the lack of a document viewer, but the strong points easily overcome these disadvantages.

The phone is delivered with Symbian^3 on board, which might not be so appealing these days when iOS and Android are the real stars of the mobile phone market.

This is likely the main reason that the Finnish manufacturer decided to drop prices to the point that they become real bargains. Even with such an old mobile platform inside, Nokia smartphones still embed high performance hardware.

Nokia C6-01 was announced in September 2010 and hit the shelves two months later, in November.

Currently, customers can choose from two color schemes: Silver Grey or Black. Nokia C6-01 is available for purchase for around EUR 270 unlocked.

Design

Nokia C6-01 features a rounded pebble-like rectangle shape, which makes it more comfortable to carry and nice to the touch. The device measures 103.8 x 52.5 x 13.9 mm and weighs 131g (battery included). The smartphone has been completely dressed up in a metallic case, similar to Nokia N8, but this one is stainless steel rather than anodized aluminum. This gives the phone a solid look and protects it from scratches.

The phone’s medium size allows owners to easily carry the phone in any pocket. The C6-01 is a little bit heavier for its size because of the metallic case, but well balanced and ergonomically efficient.

The mid-size 3.2-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen is surrounded by a metallic stripe, which is both a design trait and a protective measure. Above the display are a secondary VGA camera, an ambient light sensor, as well as a proximity sensor and the in-call earphone. Nokia C6-01 features the usual set of three keys, just below the touch screen: Accept calls, Menu (Symbian) key and Reject calls. The latter can also be used to power on/off the phone.

The right side of the device features a dual volume key, a lock/unlock sliding key, as well as a dedicated camera key. The left side of the phone is keys-free and the same goes for the top side of the device. No less than three ports have been placed on the bottom side of the smartphone: charger port, 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB port.

The back side of the smartphone is made from stainless steel, including the battery cover. The C6-01 features an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and a small loudspeaker next to it.

The memory card slot has been placed under the battery cover, on the right side of phone, which means that users won’t need to pull out the battery to replace it.

Nokia C6-01 looks stylish enough to appeal even the most pretentious customers. The solid build and high quality materials makes it one of the best choices in its price range.

Display and Camera

The C6-01 comes with a nHD AMOLED 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen that supports 16 Million colors and 360 x 640-pixels resolution. However, the interesting thing about the display is that it features Nokia’s ClearBlack technology. The ClearBlack screens seem to be able to provide superior contrast and sunlight legibility by incorporating a layer that works similarly to a polarizing filter.

This is the first Nokia phone to include the ClearBlack technology, which seems to be more efficient indoors than outdoors. The main reason is the fact that Nokia has previously launched high-tier devices, such as Nokia N8 and E7, which perform very well when exposed under strong sunlight, so there’s no difference between these smartphones.

Furthermore, the screen is covered by scratch resistant Gorilla glass, which makes it almost unbreakable. Still, the display is prone to fingerprints and grease. The phone also features a built-in accelerometer for display auto-rotation, multi-touch input method, as well as proximity sensor for auto turn-off.

The 8-megapixel camera of the C6-01 features fixed-focus, dual-LED flash, geo-tagging, face detection and a straightforward interface.

Unfortunately, the fixed-focus feature makes a difference in comparison with autofocus and it’s not the C6-01’s favor.

The camera can take photos of up to 3264 x 2448 pixels in resolution, but the lack of autofocus will make close-up photos be worse than other 8-megapixle camera with this feature. Furthermore, the processing software of the camera tends to over-sharpen objects, while the noise reduction smears fine detail. The camera UI is another downside, as it seems old and obsolete with just the standard settings: White balance, ISO, Colors, Contrast, Sharpness and Scene modes.

Taking night pictures won’t be a problem, thanks to the dual-LED flash, but the results won’t be satisfying for close-ups (closer than 50 cm).

The maximum resolution that can be used for video recording is 720p@25fps in MP4 format. The quality of the clips is surprisingly good compared with the pictures, but selecting the maximum resolution will take its toll on the storage space.


Menu and Software

Just like the N8, C7 and E7, Nokia C6-01 is one of those Symbian^3 smartphones that were launched as a response to the Android hype. Unfortunately, they are software packages. Even though Symbian^3 is something “different” compared with earlier iterations of the operating system, it still feels like the mobile platform is somewhat behind its main competitors, Android and iOS.

The C6-01’s homescreen is now stretched on three panes, which can be populated with widgets, shortcuts, contacts or favorite websites. The interface is now a bit more responsive due to the removal of the “touch-to-select-touch-again-to-open” approach, that was specific to all Nokia touchscreen phones before Symbian^3.

The same block-like layout for the homescreen has been implemented, so if you want to add contacts, widgets and other stuff, you’ll be adding them in the form of block. You can change between them or remove them with ease, by tapping and holding on any of them.

The main menu can also be rearranged to look like a grid or list, but I wouldn’t recommend the latter as you won’t have all the icons in front of you and you will waste time scrolling through the programs. You will find applications that come pre-installed with the phone together with the Clock, Photo editor, Social networking services, Search, Ovi music, Office, Notes, Mail and other Symbian-specific functions.

Kinetic scrolling is now present and works smoothly. Clicking near the battery icon, on the upper right corner of the homescreen will give users quick access to the connectivity settings, alarms, as well as power saving features.

To bring up the Main menu key, click the large middle key. The key can also be set to highlight when you receive a message or you miss a call. The option can be found in the Setting menu, under “Notification lights”.

Some of the key applications that come pre-loaded with Nokia C6-01 include: calendar, calculator, file manager, recorder, Adobe PDF, QuickOffice, Zip, Dictionary, Message reader, Traveler, F-Secure. There’s no media sub-menu, but you get some dedicated apps under the Music menu: music player, Stereo FM RDS Radio and Ovi Music.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay to upgrade the QuickOffice application in case you want to create and edit new documents.

Overall, I believe that Nokia still has a lot to work in order to come out with something competitive. Obviously, there’s some improvement compared with Symbian ^1, such as the beautiful graphics and responsive interface, but there are still things that need to be done if Nokia wants to really take on Android and iOS.

Communication

Nokia C6-01 is a quad-band GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) handset, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 (10.2 Mbps) compatible, and also features GPRS class 33 and EDGE class 33 support.

The smartphone is an all-rounder when it comes to connectivity. It has all the possible tools that one needs on the go. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go support, HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps, HSUPA 2.0 Mbps offer users enough connectivity options for any budget.

The USB On-the-go feature is extremely useful, as users will be able to attach an USB stick to the phone or even connect another compatible smartphone directly to the C6-01 through an USB cable and transfer files.

The integrated browser is the one from the older N97 phone, but got minor improvements and bug fixes. It now has full Flash Lite 4.0 support, kinetic scrolling and pinch to zoom.

Other features included in the browser: auto fill-in, RSS reader, download manager, password manager, pop-up blocker. Unfortunately, Nokia still has a lot to work on this one, as the browser does not fit the text correctly when the zoom function is used, so you will still have to scroll sideways to be able to read the whole text. Also, you won’t be able to open webpages in new tabs, unless you click on a pop-up link.

The handset features a built-in GPS receiver, which works in conjunction with Ovi Maps 3.04 Touch. It comes with A-GPS function, which makes localization even faster.

In terms of messaging, the phone offers a complete solution, accepting all available message types. The message client works with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols, and supports more than one email account. Also, it can download headers or full emails, and supports attachments. There’s a nice feature that will turn your text message into MMS automatically if you insert a clip, or into an email if you fill in the “To:” field with an email address.

The quad-band (GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible smartphone has a very good GSM signal reception. The sound is very good at both ends, and pretty loud too.

Processor and Memory

Nothing new here, as Nokia C6-01 is powered by the same ARM11 family processor running at speeds of up to 680 MHz, that comes with the N8. Nokia stated that you should hold the power on/off button pressed for about 8 seconds to restart the device, if it freezes or you get a “system error” message.

The smartphone also features 340 MB of internal memory, as well as 256 MB RAM and 1GB ROM, which is an upgrade compared with the N8’s 512 MB ROM. The memory can be expanded up to 32GB and is hot-swappable. The sales package contains a 2GB microSD card.

Multimedia

Just like the rest of the Symbian^3 smartphones, the C6-01 features a new music player with an overhauled user interface that includes a Cover-flow-like album art feature. However, the rest of the settings remain the same, such as: Equalizer (Bass booster, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock), Balance, Loudness and Stereo widening. Sound quality is well above average, so the C6-01 can certainly be used as a music phone.

The device features FM Radio with RDS function, but no FM transmitter. Reception is very good, and sound is above average as well. The Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP support enables you to listen to music wirelessly.

The included video player comes with DivX and XviD codecs, but it won’t display subtitles. Also the C6-01 does not feature an HDMI port like Nokia N8.

Battery

The 1,050 mAh Li-Ion (BL-5CT) battery has an officially stated life expectancy of up to 408 hours of standby mode (372 for 3G) or up to 11 hours and 30 minutes of talk time (4 hours and 30 minutes for 3G).The manufacturer also states that the smartphone’s battery should last for about 50 hours of continuous music playback.

However, even though the numbers above seem impressive, the battery drains quickly when the phone is used for more than a few voice calls and the occasional listening to music. Thus, the C6-01 needed to be recharged every 2-3 days, just like the N8.

Impressions

Even though the C6-01 is nothing out of the ordinary, the smartphone is definitely better equipped than its competitors. All those Nokia innovative features like ClearBlack screen and USB-on-the-go make it much more appealing than most of the phones in the mid-budget category. The device offers the best value for money, which is a rare thing for a Nokia smartphone that usually tend to be overpriced.

The Good

Beside its premium look and solid build, the C6-01 is an all-rounder in all aspects. It does good pictures, excellent audio quality, outstanding data speeds and includes the best hardware that the Finnish manufacturer can muster.

HSDPA 10.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2 Mbps support, ClearBlack AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 8 megapixel camera, DivX and XviD video support, Flash and Java support for the web browser, as well as excellent audio quality are among the strong points of the C6-01.

The Bad

The worse things about the C6-01 is the low battery life, as well as the ‘unattractive’ mobile platform. Fixed-focus for camera and the lack of a document viewer are other downsides of the phone.

Blackberry Torch 9810 Review

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In the fall of 2010, AT&T stores nationwide installed a mysterious shroud housing some sort of exhibit. Even employees didn’t even know what was inside, and anyone caught tampering with the makeshift wall in order to find out was terminated. What was this strange hype-building marketing ploy? A new iPad? Perhaps it was some secret Android device that nobody had heard of? The atmosphere was thick with suspense. When the curtain was finally lifted, it turned out to be… a BlackBerry Torch 9800.

This curious marketing attempt must’ve worked at least to some extent, since Research in Motion decided to tempt fate a second time with the Torch 9810. Known in its early days as the “Torch 2,” the new version of the portrait QWERTY slider was released to much less pomp and circumstance. This time it was unveiled alongside two new BlackBerry BFFs: the Bold Touch 9900 / 9930 and the Torch 9850 / 9860. The 9810 in particular wasn’t a surprise because we’d been given the opportunity to preview the device in May. Though it’s nearly identical to the original, it packs a processor that nearly doubles the speed — a behind-the-scenes upgrade culminating in a night-and-day contrast. But how does it fare against the blooming market of superphones that are flooding the market? And is this the best BlackBerry you can buy today? Let’s find out.
BlackBerry Torch 9810 Gallery

Hardware

Phone sequels have a habit of improving upon their predecessors in several ways — after all, that is the point of coming out with a new model, right? The whole idea of blessing the world with a follow-up is to make it sleeker, faster and more feature-rich. Research in Motion nailed almost all of those points in the Torch 9810, with the exception of one crucial element — the phone’s size. In fact, the 9810 has identical dimensions to its predecessor: 111 x 62 x 14.6mm (4.37 x 2.44 x 0.57 inches). The lack of variance in its overall mass is somewhat disappointing, given that we’re now seeing QWERTY sliders on the market as thin as 13mm.

That’s not to say the new Torch is entirely the same. Even though the design, buttons, ports and everything in between are identical, it’s at least available in different colors to help you spot one on the street. Our unit had a gunmetal grey finish with a checkerboard pattern on the back cover that does a good job of masking fingerprints. As an additional flourish, it’s also topped off with a nominal black trim that stretches around front bezel, onto the camera and around the upper back side. Just below the extra-hardened glass display on the front lie the navigation keys: phone, menu, trackpad, back and home / power. These buttons (aside from the trackpad, of course) are as much a staple of the BlackBerry lineup as BrickBreaker is. On the left side resides a lone micro-USB port, while the right side houses the volume rocker and Convenience Key, a shortcut button that’s also no stranger to RIM. The top, meanwhile, is home to the mute and lock buttons.

The slider mechanism runs on an invisible metal track and doesn’t feel loose at all; on the contrary, with the difficulty we had pushing up the phone to expose the keyboard, it felt a little too firm. All told, it feels like it’s a solid enough phone, but it’s not actually made of solid parts, so we’d be afraid of dropping it too often.

The Torch series thus far has done an appropriate job of endowing its phones with the “BlackBerry look” while still attempting to go modern. Unfortunately, the company’s idea of modern is — shall we say — different. Even last year, we were saddened by the 9800’s plain, outdated digs. It was sturdy and solid, yes, but it just doesn’t have the same gusto when held up next to other touchscreen phones.

Much to our dismay, the Torch hasn’t changed a bit. Why is this? BlackBerry devices are generally well-crafted and the result of a lot of TLC, so perhaps RIM felt it too risky to experiment with “fresh” designs at this stage in the game. That, or the company considered the original Torch a raging success and decided not to change what it thought was golden. It was more worthwhile to dwell on the thing that earned its phones the most complaints: those pesky internals. And that’s exactly where the new Torch sequel shines.

A major feature present in every device running BlackBerry 7 is an accelerated graphics UI called “Liquid Graphics.” Essentially, it allows for the best touch sensitivity that we’ve experienced on any BlackBerry to date. We weren’t too crazy about the original Torch’s touchscreen, and gone are the days of the SurePress debacle on the Storms. RIM has finally figured out how to make its phones as responsive as the likes of Android, iOS and WP7, and we found our experience with the 9810 to be up to par with other flagship handsets.

Though the 9810’s display is the same size at 3.2 inches, it glows at a 640 x 480 resolution, up from 480 x 360. That’s still not quite HD resolution, sadly, but it’s significantly more up-to-date than the 9800 and is much more satisfying to view. It’s also larger than the Bold Touch 99xx by a considerable .4-inch margin. What’s more, the bigger screen offers a better media playback experience and makes it easier to take full advantage of the phone’s new touch-optimized OS.

Internals

One of our major beefs with the original Torch was its lack of oomph. While the OS was a significant improvement, its paltry 624MHz CPU and 512MB of RAM were subpar compared with the specs belonging to other flagship devices on the market at the time. To boot, we were further disappointed by the lackluster circa-2008 display and the 5 megapixel shooter with no HD video recording capabilities. Even more unfortunate, these ho-hum specs still represented a decisive boost over the previous generation of BlackBerrys.

With the 9810, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. RIM kicked up the phone’s engines respectably, throwing in a 1.2GHz single-core CPU accompanied by a dedicated Adreno 205 GPU — the same one, interestingly enough, found in the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. RIM also increased the RAM to 768 MB — a decent jump from 512MB. That’s right, Waterloo is brandishing some big guns and the Torch is finally starting to look like the kind of BlackBerry we’ve been awaiting for years.

And there are other welcome refinements under the hood as well. Internet connectivity has been remarkably improved over last year’s model, pushing forward with an HSPA+ radio capable of achieving speeds of 14.4Mbps down and 2Mbps up; this slots the phone in the middle of the proverbial pack, though the latest flagship devices are typically able to hit much higher 4G speeds.

The 9810 also packs more internal storage, offering 8GB of space compared to the OG’s 4GB capacity. Like the last-gen iteration, this one has a microSD slot, with support for cards as large as 32GB. But be forewarned: there’s a ceiling on application storage on the device, held at 189MB. Bigger apps are required to stay under 7MB when initially downloaded, but the remainder of each program or game can be downloaded via WiFi once you’ve launched them for the first time. The aforementioned microSD storage can assuage some of these concerns, but the catch is that each app has to be explicitly written to allow this opportunity — and even then, the app’s core executable storage still needs to reside within the device itself. Why there’s a limit at all when the phone has plenty of room for apps is beyond us, but it doesn’t give developers any more incentive to publish anything for the BlackBerry platform.

Curiously, one component in particular was actually downgraded, and it’s the most surprising of them all for RIM — its battery. While the Torch 2 was the victim of a downgrade in battery capacity from 1,300mAh to 1,270, it actually has better longevity. The change here is likely due to a more efficient OS and its next-gen CPU. We’ll dive into more detail on the battery later, but here’s a spoiler: it’s a BlackBerry, and it’s the company’s biggest strength for a reason.

Keyboard

Just like the rest of the phone’s cosmetic appearance, the keyboard remains unchanged from the previous version. Again, it’s a matter of determining whether or not RIM should make an adjustment to something that’s already proven. One of the few staples that keeps customers coming back to the BlackBerry brand is its keyboard, and it continues to set the bar for traditional QWERTYs. It’s thinner than any ‘board you’d find in the Bold series, lending to scrunched-up keys, and the buttons have more of a give when you press them. Yet, by taking advantage of ridges on each individual key, it possesses a more natural feel.

The Torch 9810 also has a virtual keyboard available for anyone that doesn’t feel like pushing up the slider — we understand, it’s a lot of work. The BlackBerry platform offers excellent shortcuts when typing as a way to drastically cut down on typing times. And while it works best on the hard keyboard, it’s also pretty easy to use whilst tapping away on the virtual equivalent. Portrait mode can still be rather smushed, whereas landscape mode adds much more breathing room to your virtual typing experience.

Camera

At first blush, it may seem as though the camera was another stale aspect of the phone – after all, RIM once again opted for a five megapixel shooter, just as it did with the other two members of the Torch family. There’s a lot more to it than just megapixel count, however. The digital zoom was extended from 2X to 4X, and geotagging and Face Detection were also added to the 9810’s still camera. The continuous autofocus on the Torch 9810 gives us the opportunity to enjoy little to no lag when snapping image — a boon when trying to take pictures of moving objects or smiling babies. If it doesn’t fit your needs, though, there are options for single-shot and zero autofocus for your choosing. Macro shots turned out much better than those taken on the 9930’s EDoF lens. The camera took respectable photos at all times of day — a cloudy morning, high noon and low-light evenings all offered the right amounts of exposure. It’s not going to replace your DSLR, folks, or even compete with the Nokia N8 or T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide, but it’s on the high-end for a BlackBerry.

The largest feature improvement in the camera was the inclusion of 720p HD video capture, a welcome addition to one of the brand’s most neglected features in the past. Finding a BlackBerry with any decent camcorder has been somewhat of a pipe dream, but the faster processor now gives the phone a good chance to keep up with the increased demand necessary to process an HD movie. We noticed a slight amount of occasional choppiness and distortion when capturing items in motion, but otherwise reflected its high-def status fine.

Unfortunately missing from the Torch family altogether is a front-facing camera, which means video chatting and taking silly self-portraits are both out.

Software

The 9800, a device running BlackBerry 6, proffered one of the most radical overhauls to the brand’s user interface in its history. Taking full advantage of the Torch’s capacitive (and non-SurePress) screen, its user experience echoed something we’d more or less expect to see on… well, just about any other smooth and fluid OS. If you’re expecting a similarly overwhelming reconstruction this time around, you’re not going to find it. In fact, BlackBerry 6.1 7’s UI is true to the original Torch in almost every way. With that said, the seventh version of RIM’s platform does bring some massive improvements to the table — they’re just mostly running behind the scenes.

Sadly, the eerily similar UI also means a couple hefty irritations from version 6 carried through to the new update. For one, the notification menu’s only accessible from the main screen; we can be knee-deep in another app when the red LED light begins flashing, indicating a new notification awaits us. Instead of being able to access our notifications directly from that app, however, we have to back all the way out to the main page and enter the proper menu from there. This method is entirely unfriendly to users and forces us to put our current projects on pause, just in case an important message is coming through. It’s just a smidgeon more convenient to have the ability to peek at what notifications await us without having to leave the application we’re currently in. Again, not the end of the world, but it is a minor frustration.

The other annoyance with the user interface is the absence of a true home page in which we can put widgets, folders, and other shortcuts on. There is a home page, but the app tray can be minimalized to reveal a large display full of… nothing. No customization options are available for this space whatsoever, so it’s essentially a great way to admire your wallpaper. This is a waste of a perfect opportunity for the user to make BlackBerry devices their own.

We dove head-first into the software and features of OS 7 in our review of the 9930, so we won’t get too deep into the details here; feel free to check out the review to get the full scoop. One feature we do want to cover, though, is the HTML5-capable browser finally introduced in the new update. Pages loaded significantly faster (RIM claims a 45 percent speed boost), the pinch-to-zoom felt incredibly smooth and each adjustment rendered rapidly, and the phone managed to score 2,935ms on SunSpider — which, oddly enough, doesn’t match up with the browser performance on the Torch 9850 or Bold 9930, both of which are running the same internals.

Aside from the browser’s performance, our time with the Torch 9810 passed relatively bug-free. We were only forced to hard reboot our phone once as a result of our tendency to push the device’s multitasking capabilities to the limits, but otherwise the experience was flawless. Our loathing for the infamous ticking clock that appeared in so many BlackBerry phones before rarely reared its ugly face; when it did show up, it was only for a brief moment and was gone before we even realized it was there.

Call quality is about what you’d expect from the brand — loud and clear, very few dropped calls and all-around easy on the ears. Similarly, our experience with battery life was just as good. True to form, the 9810’s juice pack is so refreshing when we’re used to dealing with rapid battery drains on both Android and iOS; it took a full seven hours and ten minutes to go from full to empty in our classic video rundown test, and the device was easily able to run through the entire day with power to spare when we pushed the phone to the edge of insanity with our constant emailing, media playback, web browsing and other battery-sucking activities.

Of course, another underlying issue in all of this is the fact that BlackBerry’s App World is getting further and further behind its biggest competitors, and the app storage ceiling — paired with the lackluster selection — aren’t helping the latest lineup one bit, regardless of the phone’s powerful GPU.

Wrap-up

The Torch 9810 almost sparks our interest as a relevant device… almost. RIM’s definitely aiming for the sky by making a leap in the internal components of its phones, turning it (and the Bold Touch 9930) into the most powerful handsets Research in Motion has ever sold. With the upcoming QNX platform, however, it may be too little too late. Sure, the device is solid and smooth and has great internal specs, but is it one that we’d feel comfortable using on a regular basis? Especially when we have an inkling as to what’s around the corner for the BlackBerry lineup?

It’s hard to justify plunking down hard-earned cash and committing to a two-year contract for a device that’ll likely be obsolete a few months from now, but BlackBerry enthusiasts will enjoy using the Torch 9810 because it’s a much more powerful phone than what they’ve been used to in the past. Newcomers? Probably not so much, given the large number of choices out there with a fresher user experience. It’s a notch above any BlackBerry that’s been released already, but it seems to be a victim of its own design and circumstance. The 9810, alongside the Torch 9850 and Bold Touch 9900, is as good an indication as any that RIM isn’t close to giving up. But first it must do a better job of catching up. The Torch 9810 may very well be at the end of the road, but we’ll see if RIM can switch back onto the right path.

(taken from: http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/16/blackberry-torch-9810-review/)

Blackberry Curve 9380 Review

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Nostalgia is a funny thing. Though last year I left my BlackBerry behind for the shinier, app-centric shores of iOS and Android, I still recall my experiences fondly. There are times I miss the great keyboard, push email and how easy it is to compose lengthy soliloquies like it’s nothing at all. I retain a closeted affection for BBM and the friendships I clung to so dearly through PIN. But mostly I miss that flashing red light, hounding me to check my phone, check my phone, check my phone.

Since the arrival of BlackBerry 7, RIM has emphasized that they too can play the smartphone game in 2011. And in many ways they have succeeded, at least in retaining their current user base; I see a lot of Bold 9900′s when I’m out in public. And while others, like me, have left for greener pastures, we’re always willing to come back for a visit.

The Curve 9380 is the first all-touch Curve device, and is intended to bridge that small gap between entry-level and high-end consumer devices. To its credit the Curve feels great in the hand: it is well-constructed, and employs many of the same technologies, like NFC, that are available in RIM’s most expensive models. It also aims to convince users that there doesn’t need to be a hardware keyboard for it to be called a BlackBerry.

Will the masses listen, and is the Curve 9380 worth buying? Read on to find out.

Specs:

– 800Mhz Marvell processor
– 3.2″ 360×480 capacitive touch display
– 512MB RAM / 512MB ROM
– 5MP EDoF camera w/ LED flash
– VGA video capture
– WiFi (b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP, A-GPS, NFC
– 1230mAh battery
– 109 x 60 x 11.2 mm
– 98g

The Phone

The Curve 9380 hues closely to the keyboard-adorned 9360 in its design, which means it’s very light, thin and fluid. At 11.2mm thick, the body barely registers in the hand; at 98g, it disappears in a pocket or bag. RIM has honed down the right-side convenience and volume buttons to such an extent they now flit out like little nubs, barely perceptible unless your fingers brush upon them. This is by no means a negative trait: the phone’s design is about as simple as it gets.

While the 9380 forgoes the weighty aluminum battery cover of its big brother, the Torch 9860, in other places it is constructed with premium plastic and a high-quality glass. The four buttons below the screen are actually housed within the glass which lends a sense of continuity to the form. It’s clear RIM wanted very little to distract from the main event: the 3.2″ screen. At 360×480 its resolution is quite low on paper but I didn’t find myself wanting for smaller text or sharper images. But for the browser, which would have benefited from more zoom, the Curve’s size relative to its resolution felt well matched.

As with all recent BlackBerry devices there is a standard-issue trackpad for text selection and other “legacy” functions. That the BlackBerry ecosystem still requires four buttons and a trackpad reasserts the issue that the OS needs doing away with — text selection and secondary context functions are finicky and unreliable via touchscreen alone — but neither are they intrusive. Around the left side, centred, is a microUSB charging port, while on top of the device is a headphone jack. The lock button has been built into the top, too, again contiguous with the front glass. Instead of being a separate button like on most phones, RIM has integrated the function without disturbing the form: more OEMs would benefit from such design edification.

The battery cover is made of plastic that, while relatively secure while attached, seems immediately like it’s going to break into a thousand pieces when removed. The company has done a great job unifying its battery line, though: both the new Bold 9790 and the Curve 9380 use the same JM1 battery found in the Bold 9900. Whether this translates into sufficient longevity we’ll talk about later.

I must say that one thing RIM is doing quite well is the continuing honing and simplifying of their designs. There isn’t another mobile company in the world that has honed a single design element to such an extent as to be instantly recognizable and yet modern and thoughtful. To compare the Curve 9380 to, say, the original Curve 8100 would be a lesson in refinement and careful, mindful planning.

The Display & Keyboard

While sufficient resolution for the size, the quality of the LCD is another matter. Low-quality, with noticeable gradient banding and a distracting, visible digitizer layer, I’ve seen better from RIM. Compared to the high-density display on the Bold 9900 or the fantastic, crisp LCD in the Torch 9860, this is clearly the Curve’s weakest trait.

Couple that with a stubborn digitizer that wouldn’t always register our key taps, we were loathe to try to type on this Curve. My frustration abates, however, when I keep in mind this device is meant for entry-level smartphone users, many of whom will have never used a touchscreen before. Comparing the quality to, say, that of entry level Android or Nokia device the Curve’s display is unequivocally better, even if $100 more expensive.

Colour reproduction is a strength, with solid contrast and accurate whites. Text, while large, is crisp and readable, which is a good thing because as a BlackBerry user you’ll undoubtedly doing a lot of reading and scrolling. Viewing angles are great, as is maximum brightness.

My main concern with the display is its responsiveness. Occasionally I would be scrolling down the BB7 home screen only to have a touch register as a press when it should have registered as a fluid scrolling motion. Similarly, when typing, the cursor would move randomly as if being roused by a phantom. Rarely could I get through an entire sentence without the cursor finding its way magically back to the beginning of the text input box. I could type quickly or slowly, it did not matter; the keyboard would register my presses incorrectly more often than not.

This is a problem for a BlackBerry device. As I’d come to learn with the mostly-excellent Torch 9860, RIM’s virtual keyboard is a different beast altogether than the one I was used to on iOS and Android. Key placement aside, it just feels strange, as if you need to be more deliberate, more evenly-paced. With the Torch, however, once I found a rhythm I was fine; the Curve, in portrait or landscape, full QWERTY or reduced, I continued to have recognition issues.

Granted, I did have a pre-production model, and RIM emphasized that hardware was not yet final. Let’s hope that this batch I got mine from was not fit for public consumption.

Camera

The 5MP camera on the Curve 9380 is decidedly better than that of the previous Curve generation. Anyone upgrading from the 8520 or 9300 will be delighted at being able to make out actual details in images. Such things I take for granted, certainly, but it always astounds me the number of friends I have happily snapping portrait and lanscape shots on their entry-level BlackBerry devices.

This isn’t to say the Curve 9380′s camera is good by any means, just significantly improved. Its EDoF nature makes actual focusing impossible; the idea is that the camera, past a certain point, is always in focus. As a result, taking photos is much faster because there is no focusing motor getting in the way of a quick photo. The upshot is that macro photography is impossible: shots closer than, say, five inches, are fuzzy and out of focus.

The flash does an excellent job in close proximity, wisely under- instead of over-compensating. It suffices for nearby portrait photos or in a dimly-lit room. There is a good amount of detail in each 5MP photo, though a fair amount of grain to go along with it.

Video is taken at a maximum of 640×480, likely due to the limitations of the 800Mhz processor than the optical sensor. While chugging along at a smooth 30fps, the quality is poor and appropriate for base YouTube fare or sending an email of your cat around the office.

In its default state, the phone comes with space for fewer than 30 photos and no video. It is incumbent on you, or your carrier, to provide a modestly-sized microSD card so that you may enjoy your music, video and photos to their fullest extent. Because we received our demo unit straight from RIM itself, I can’t comment on individual carrier phone bundles but it is more than likely the Curve 9380 will come with a 2GB card.

Software & Performance

This is BlackBerry 7. An improved, touch-friendly, Liquid Graphics-filled operating system, with most of the same elements that made BB OS either indelibly attractive or untenable repulsive to the masses over the past few years. For BlackBerry Lovers, the new experience is a necessary and functional refresh; to BlackBerry Haters, it’s too little, too late. Leaving behind the love it/hate it debate, however, how has BlackBerry 7 iterated since its release?

Quite well, to be honest. In spite of this particular model’s touch issues, BlackBerry 7 is responsive and attractive, with a modular framework that allows you to see exactly what you want to, and hide what you don’t. Since the first wave of BB7 devices, RIM has released numerous bug fix and performance improving updates to its first-party apps: BBM, BlackBerry Protect, News, Traffic, Podcasts, as well as BBM Music, its newest foray into social music. There really is a lot to like here, and out of the box it covers most of the “primary needs” of a mobile OS: phone, email, SMS, news, music, media.

If you’ve ever used BlackBerry OS, things are going to be pretty similar and much, much faster. If you are upgrading from a previous Curve, say an 8520 or 9300, either the Curve 9360 or this phone will seem like a huge upgrade. Both in terms of speed and fluidity, RIM has done an excellent job with overall performance. Rarely will you see that dreaded BlackBerry “spinning clock” and we noticed few, if any, app crashes. Since this is the last version of BlackBerry OS — next year RIM is moving over its entire fleet of phones to the BBX platform — it’s about time the Java-based framework reached a modicum of maturity. As I touched on in our Curve 9360 review, BlackBerry 7 is not a cure-all, rectifying all problems from previous versions. Rather it completes the shaky cycle of iterative software and hardware improvements, and we can happily say the BB7 line didn’t let us down as it neared its sunset.

In many ways the interface is still touch unfriendly. All those keyboard shortcuts — “T” to the top, “B” to the bottom, “C” to compose, etc. — are missing here. You will do a lot thumb flicking when scrolling long web pages or through email threads. Indeed, the entire text-and-selection procedure is more frustrating than it should be. Companies like Apple and HTC have implemented them rather well, but RIM seems to hold onto the “peck-and-hope” technique. Sure, there is a blue line that appears underneath next, but getting it to go where you want and copy what you want is entirely unintuitive.

Despite the niggling issues with text input and selection, the email, browsing and BBM experience remain as robust as ever, and that’s really why you’re buying a BlackBerry, right? With the unified BlackBerry ID you can transfer BIS data including email accounts (and therefore synchronized Gmail contacts and calendars) from device to device without issue. With remote restore you can retain your BBM list. With BlackBerry Protect you can backup all that data to the cloud, and locate your phone in case it is lost or stolen.

Browsing is also much, much better on the all-touch Curve 9380. Unlike the 9360 with its 2.2″ screen and lack of touch, even BlackBerry 7′s Liquid Graphics couldn’t save it from a disastrous browsing fate. Thankfully, the Curve 9380 has the chops to render web pages accurately — even high-bandwidth HTML5-heavy ones — and relatively quickly. The 800Mhz processor does, at times, show a modicum of checkerboarding, but nothing like in previous generations.

One of the biggest advantages to having a larger screen is when looking at photos and watching video clips. While it’s not recommended to catch up on your favourite movies on such a small screen, the experience is far better than a traditional QWERTY BlackBerry device. Flipping through pictures in the Gallery or reading through long emails is less exhausting with a bigger screen.

Call Quality & NFC

We used our trust Bell SIM to power the Curve 9380′s 3G network connection — which maxes out at 7.2Mbps — and call quality was, as expected, excellent. Though the network is theoretically slower than RIM’s flagship devices, because data is so highly compressed through BIS, we hardly noticed the difference.

Maximum call volume also exceeded our expectations, as did the tiny speaker on the back of the device. While aimed at consumers, the Curve is a great business device: making phone calls has always been a strength of BlackBerry.

RIM’s continued inclusion of NFC in their entry-level devices is meant to solidify its place in the mainstream. While use is limited at the moment, once BlackBerry 7.1 arrives, and with it BlackBerry Tags (which we showed off the other day) it will become really useful.

Battery Life

Because the 9380 uses the same battery as the Bold 9900, we tempered our expectations and as a result were pleasantly surprised. The 1230mAh battery is plenty to power the device through the day, and then some. We looped a video clip for 7 hours and 15 minutes before the battery finally gave out. In real-world usage, the Curve lasted us nearly 26 hours based on stats in the usage menu.

If you are looking to repeat the multiple-day battery life of non-touch BlackBerry devices, you’re out of luck, and you might as well get used to the new modus operandi. As RIM incorporates touchscreens into their phones, battery life will continue to go down. And considering this generation may be the last of the non-touch BlackBerries, I’d get used to it.

Final Thoughts
Considering Telus is launching the Curve 9380 for $49.99 on a 3-year term and $369.99 outright, which is presumably the same price the other carriers will launch at, RIM is positioning it as a high-tier entry-level device. We have no doubt it will quickly hit $0 on a 3-year term, but it’s hard to imagine the swaths of teens currently using keyboarded Curves primarily for BBM trading them in for an all-touch BlackBerry, just for a little extra screen real estate. As we’ve learned with the tepid response of the Torch 9860, selling an all-touch BlackBerry is a difficult proposition.

Insofar as RIM has built an excellent device, the Curve 9380 does everything right: it’s premium-feeling, fast and stable, with a nice big screen and sleek design. But it’s the little things that suffer: the keyboard is awkward and unreliable, and the resolution is low. The camera is a big step up from previous Curves but doesn’t compete with the industry-standard results we see in the iPhone 4 or Galaxy Nexus.

In short, you already know if this is the phone for you, or for your daughter. If you can master the virtual keyboard, it’s a great device. If not, you’ll long for that Curve 8100. I know I’m still nostalgic.
Rating: 6.5/10

Pros:

– Excellent design, well-built
– Good battery life for a BlackBerry 7 device
– Solid screen quality
– Good performance for the price
– BlackBerry 7 is fast and stable (compared to previous versions)
– Camera takes decent shots
– Great call quality
– Good sound from the speaker
– NFC a nice inclusion

Cons:

– Video quality subpar
– Low-resolution screen makes for a lot of scrolling
– Keyboard is awkward and unreliable
– High outright price
– Disappointing battery life compared to previous Curves

(taken from: http://mobilesyrup.com/2011/11/25/blackberry-curve-9380-review/)

Blackberry Curve 9360 Review

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With the BlackBerry Curve 9360, BlackBerry returns to its roots with a QWERTY keypad. The device sports the new BlackBerry OS 7, a pixel-packed screen, and a relatively faster CPU than its predecessors. The phone seems like a good upgrade for existing BB users, but let’s find out how it fares against the competition.

Design:

BlackBerry phones these days look a lot better than they used to. Gone are the boxy designs of the past. The Curve 9360, true to its name has curved edges that taper towards the top and bottom on the front and on the left and right side at the back. The curves on the back make the phone fit perfectly in your hand and also make it feel a lot thinner than it actually is. And it’s already pretty thin!

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Front RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 ReviewBlackBerry Curve 9360 Back 165×300 RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 Review

The Curve 9360 uses a full-plastic body, with materials such as glass and metal left to more expensive phones such as the Bold 9900. And while this does make the phone incredibly light, it also gives it a slightly cheap, toy-like feel. The glossiness of the plastic also makes it look a bit cheap. To make things worse, the build quality is also not particularly great. All of this does detract from the overall quality of the device and makes it feel cheaper than what it actually costs.

The Curve 9360 has a 2.44-inch, 480 x 360 resolution display. The display quality is good, with vibrant colors, good contrast and sharp text. The sunlight visibility is acceptable but under very bright light it can be hard to see. The plastic covering the display is not scratch-resistant,

Keypad

The Curve 9360 has a typical Curve style keyboard, where, unlike on the Bold series, the individual keys have gap between them, which makes them slightly smaller. This results in a keypad that is not as comfortable as what you may find on the Bold series of smartphones but if you’re coming from a previous Curve device then you’ll be right at home.

Features:

A lot of what sets the Curve 9360 apart from its predecessors is BlackBerry 7 OS. The user interface hasn’t changed much from BlackBerry 6 OS, with its directory-based home screens and collapsible notification trays. What has really improved are the graphics processor, a full Web browser with a just-in-time JavaScript compiler and full HTML 5 support, augmented-reality application support, and voice-activated universal search.

Another nice feature addition courtesy of BlackBerry 7 OS is that NFC (near-field communication) is now supported on the Curve. Theoretically, NFC allows you to purchase goods or services by swiping your phone over a compatible payment system, or to transfer files by touching phones thanks to apps like BlackBerry Tag.

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 has an immediate advantage over its predecessor in that it runs BlackBerry OS 7 – as do all of the RIM crops that have just been released from harvest.

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Home Screen 300×225 RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 ReviewBlackBerry Curve 9360 Menu 300×225 RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 Review

The icons on OS 7 are all very much individual. In fact, it looks like a little bit of a mishmash. There’s no kind of uniformity here and, while we’re big fans of the clarity of icons, we have to admit that we think this is where it all looks a bit cheap.

OS 7 was promised as a faster operating system. And to be fair to RIM, it has delivered on this. That’s because this baby whizzes along, leading you to believe that there’s more in there than just an 800MHz processor.

Contacts

Contacts are listed with thumbnails. If you have a photo of the person, it looks great. If, like us, some have pictures and some don’t, then you’ll just have what looks like an untidy phonebook with lots of missing images in your list.

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Contacts 300×225 RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 ReviewBlackBerry Curve 9360 Keyboard 300×225 RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 Review

Message:

Typing on the BlackBerry Curve 9360 is an easy enough affair. The physical keyboard lacks the size of the Bold 9900 and is of the typical Curve variety, which is more spaced out and clicks a lot more.

Camera:

The onboard 5 MP fixed-focus camera is accompanied by a single LED flash. While outdoors, it reproduces good colours, but

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Camera Sample 300×224 RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 Review

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Camera Sample

jagged edges and excessive noise play spoilsport. What’s more, the camera cannot handle close-ups or low-light shots properly. The device is also capable of 480p video recording, but the results aren’t pleasant. Clips are saved in the 3GP format, which again is a downer due to its lack of quality.

Music:

The audio/video performance on the Curve 9360 is much better in comparison. First of all, the loudspeaker is really loud, with nice bass, despite there being just one of them. The audio quality through the earphones is also pretty good.

Battery:

The 1000 mAh battery’s performance is good; expect it to last an entire day under normal use. Heavy use will keep it powered on for at least 8 hours.

BlackBerry Services:

The BlackBerry services are a major part of the BlackBerry user experience. The BlackBerry Messenger allows BlackBerry users to send each other messages over the Internet and the BlackBerry Internet Service is what allows BlackBerry devices to connect to the Internet. Without the latter, the former is useless. In fact, without BIS, the entire device gets reduced to a basic phone with multimedia ability.

Performance:

Call quality was good. We enjoyed great clarity and volume on our end. There wasn’t much distortion or background noise asBlackBerry Curve 9360 Performance RIM BlackBerry Curve 9360 Review well.

On their end, callers too reported loud and clear call quality. However, they did say our voice sounded a little lower than usual. Still, there wasn’t a lot of crackling or static, so that was a minor nitpick. Speakerphone calls sounded great too.

Conclusion:

Bottom line, the BlackBerry Curve 9360 meant to be a higher specced device then previous Curve generations wrapped into a sleek and ultimately cost-effective form factor and it does that superbly. It’s nice, it feels like a device that will last you a while and get the job done and make you look good while doing it.

PRO:

Slimmer design
Responsive platform performance
Long lasting battery life

CON:

Stiff feeling keyboard
Outdated platform experience
No auto-focus camera
Poor calling quality

(taken from: http://cellphonequick.com/rim-blackberry-curve-9360-review/)