We Tested The 8520 BlackBerry Messaging in Its Purest Form

For a few days we have had the opportunity to try out the new BlackBerry 8520, the newest member of the family Curve that leaves the characteristic trackball for an optical trackpad.

If we look for the origin of the smartphones from different brands can see that the iPhone cannot deny its “ pedigree ” multimedia as well as Palm genetics linked to what is referred to as PIM: calendar, contacts, and tasks management. Following the analogy with devices BlackBerry they have “ mark ” messaging devices, that are basically in its origin and it is mostly your users are demanding.

Traditionally the devices of RIM they have always built around a full keyboard and a mechanism able to move around the screen. The full keyboard has had its exceptions with the Pearl and the Storm but the purists always will think that you a BlackBerry without full keyboard is not a BlackBerry.

In terms of scrolling across the screen devices RIM used for many years side wheel, in the days in which the BlackBerries were almost more like paging to smartphones. The wheel was replaced by the ball or trackball that appeared in the range with the first edition of the Pearl.

And it is here where we find the differentiating element of the new 8520, the ball disappeared and has been replaced by a trackpad which we will discuss later.


Just see the 8520 We cannot deny that we are faced with an Curve, front series 8300 we are faced with a more stylized and lighter device and front of the 8900 has lost the characteristic metallic edge, now being rubber. We are not looking at a high-end device but it has a solid finish and a perfect size for holding and used with one hand.

About connections we have in our view one of lime and sand, lime is the use of a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the sand is that load and sync connector is not a regular USB but a microUSB with the disadvantages of compatibility that it represents. We reconsider this last thanks to the comments, this connector is indeed the standard future and which brings the Storm2, Nokia N97, Palm Pre. It will be a “ problem ” while co-exist with the previous USB and our cables accumulated over years.

And the big news already commented, the trackpad. It was the truly “ unknown ” and we have to say without a doubt that has pleasantly surprised us, in our opinion, it is much more effective than the traditional “ ball ”, navigation is much more fluid in writing both displacement.

Our experience has the use of models 8100, 8300 and Bold, they are many cumulative hours of trackball and we believe that the change to trackpad has been a success both in use and the expected lower rate of failure in the absence of mechanical elements.

This short video shows how the offset with the trackpad.

And on the other there is nothing exceptional, a two megapixel camera, without flash, that fulfills its mission and a screen resolution 320 × 240 pixels that meets equally but has nothing to deal with the 480 × 320 on the bold or the spectacular 480 × 360 the 8900 Javelin.

And do not forget us comment on the inclusion in the upper part of buttons for management of media playback that act as direct access to images or music.

The device is available (depending on operator) in black or a light blue, which was that of the tested unit. We personally prefer black but in a quick survey in a mostly female environment we find that blue is more than attractive, the response has been unanimous, perhaps this editor is so conservative in their color preferences. Blue has linked a drawback not aesthetic but real, the engraving of the keys is not very well in some circumstances of lighting and viewing angle, there is no sufficient contrast with the color of the phone.

The battery is 1150 Mah and the 8520 We return to the happy days of the BlackBerries with endless batteries, the lack of 3 G support to that. We can work a couple of days without problems with a load. It is again a very particular view but we do not believe the presence of 3 G in one essential BlackBerry with the approach of the 8520, more now that some operators are deploying EDGE in their networks. For moments when we need quick-connect the device has WiFi connection.

For insiders know that it is not a high-end device and finish in 20 serial number means that bring Wi-Fi does not carry GPS. This is the policy of RIM, It is expected then a 8510 future that includes GPS but no WiFi. He so choose, in my case I would go for a 8510 with GPS, we believe it more useful to the long given the advance of geolocation applications.

See complete gallery» BlackBerry 8520 (10 photos)


The equipment comes with OS version (Platform and in that no different from any other current BlackBerry. It was a happy coincidence that, during our test, left the final version of BlackBerry Messenger 5.0. We have been testing it with direct transfer of configuration from a Bold and all programs have operated correctly: Qik, Gmail, Evernote, Twitter for BlackBerry®, etc..

Since a couple of weeks ago BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac is also available which makes to broaden the field of potential users.

User experience

Perhaps this author has a very limited vision but for me BlackBerry is almost synonymous with curve. And what means Curve? As a device that can hold and operate with one hand, light, you can work on the fly without stopping. Yes, the Pearl is BlackBerry, Bold is BlackBerry and so is the Storm but the paradigm of BlackBerry is Curve family.

The handling is a pleasure, light, all accessible with one hand and we confirm the pointed above, we don’t have the ball of glass (and never better) but we wish you a great future to the new trackpad. We managed to get used to it in a couple of days, it’s more fast and accurate to traditional ball and when we return to this with other BlackBerries we handle is noticeable.

As “ limited ” and perhaps conditioned because my regular computer is a Bold, we would put the screen resolution, as I say to a user who does not come from another BlackBerry of higher resolution would represent no problem, read the texts perfectly and the photographs are displayed very well but is not at the height of the Bold, perhaps in this case the comparison is not fair We talk about equipment ranges and targets very different customers.


We are not before the last smartphone that will delight the masses but we have before us an input device in range that fulfills its function more than amply, messaging to 100 percent with the BlackBerry, BlackBerry Messaging mail (one more than useful feature, very unknown and that with the new version 5.0 has won many integers). With native applications for Google Talk, Microsoft Messenger, Yahho Messenger or Facebook and a full keyboard that don’t have to do spelling tricks to writing.

Help your positive adjusted prices, is not that they give the team but free slope around 220 euros and if we enjoyed the stays you can get at a better price points (149 euros and 250 points at Vodafone) programs or almost certainly free or very close to free with portability and high.

And discard that image that the BlackBerries are for “ executives ”, this is a team that can be seen in the hands of a commercial or a teenager “ addicted ” messaging and social networks. The BlackBerry service rates are being increasingly more reasonable and IM (which allows you to share images even) is an excellent alternative to the SMS limited.