BlackBerry Curve 8310
- Style and design, trackball and keyboard, ease of use, built-in GPS, Vodafone Compass software
- No 3G, no Wi-Fi, GPS data sometimes sluggish over GSM network
The BlackBerry Curve 8310 adds GPS to an already enticing unit. Its only real drawbacks are the lack of Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.
Price$ 749.00 (AUD)
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An upgrade to the Blackberry Curve 8300, the 8310 adds built-in GPS to an already excellent smartphone. Exclusively available on the Vodafone network in Australia, the Curve 8310 also comes packaged with Vodafone's own GPS solution, Vodafone Compass.
The Curve 8310 is RIM's second unit to feature built-in GPS in Australia -- the first was the BlackBerry 8800. The 8310 offers virtually the same functions as the 8800, but in a smaller, and far more stylish handset.
Despite its design and entertainment functions, the 8310 is foremost an e-mail device. It allows access of up to 10 e-mail accounts simultaneously and supports many popular ISP e-mail accounts as well as Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino. Unfortunately, e-mails are still date stamped with the time they are downloaded to your handset, rather than the time they were actually sent. For personal e-mail such as POP3 accounts, setup is a simple process of entering your e-mail address and password and letting the handset do the rest.
As a phone, the 8310 is a well equipped device, offering voice dialling, conference calling, speed dialling and call forwarding. Voice calls are clear, though not as crisp or loud as regular mobile phones. The biggest drawback is a common theme amongst BlackBerry units -- no support for 3G, and no Wi-Fi.
The combination of the intuitive trackball and tactile keyboard makes the 8310 a joy to use. E-mail can be typed at fast speeds, while the general usability of the unit is great thanks to the user-friendly interface and practical trackball.
The 8310 includes a SiRF Star III GPS receiver and Vodafone's Compass software is simple to download through the handset. The software offers full turn-by-turn navigation both on foot and in-car and also allows you to search for a number of POIs (Points of Interest) including restaurants, cinemas, parking and petrol. Although the lack of a touch screen does count against its use as a GPS, the software is quite simple to use and is fairly intuitive. The biggest complaint is speed; over a non-3G network data rates are sluggish, and this can become frustrating. Pricing for Vodafone Compass is $2.50 per day, $8 per month or $79 for a full year subscription.
The 8810 includes a media player that supports most common file formats and a 3.5mm headphone jack is a welcome addition. Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP means you can wirelessly stream your music to a compatible pair of Bluetooth headphones. The 8310 also includes a 2-megapixel camera. It's fine for a few happy snaps but the flash isn't strong enough for adequate night-time photography.
Content is stored on either the 64MB of flash memory, or a microSD card (not included). The latter is easily accessible underneath the rear cover and conveniently users don't have to remove the battery to swap the microSD card.
Battery life is average according to RIM figures of up to 408 hours standby time and up to four hours talk time. New customers signing up to Vodafone before December 1st 2007 will receive Vodafone Compass free for the first 12 months.
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