BlackBerry 8900 test drive

The nice people at RIM have loaned me a 8900 (also known as the Javelin, but also as the new Curve) to take a look, and here’s a quick overview. Is it the replacement of the 8300 series (the original Curve) or is it the baby brother of the 9000 (the Bold)? The answer… yes. Even though you can still buy the original Curve which remains a damn fine device.

BlackBerry 8900Given the the 8900 is effectively the new Curve, it seems right to compare it to the 8300. The screen is the same size but at a resolution of 480 x 360 it’s display is crisper, and boasting the version 4.6 operating system (like the Bold) the home page and background image look dazzling. The dimensions are almost identical – the 8900 is 2 millimeters less deep, 2 grams lighter and 2 millimeters taller. The 8900’s camera weighs in at 3.2 megapixels, compared to 2 megapixels for the 8300.

Unlike the Bold the 8900 doesn’t boast 3G, but does have both Wi-Fi and GPS (which is an either / or situation on the 8300 series)… so the Bold remains the one Big Daddy with everything. The keyboard is pretty much the same, although if you put the two together this might be the only point on which the 8300 wins – the 8300’s keys are just a bit better defined (maybe because the 8900 as the all-black look). However the typing experience is absolutely fine.

One aspect on which the 8900 does win is the speaker – both hands-free calls and playing music are greatly improved. The overall styling of the 8900 in black and chrome is very another selling point – it looks slick and sits very well in your hand. One other interesting thing I noticed… the inside is laid out differently. A decidely chunky feeling battery sits across the top and doesn’t cover the SIM and micro SD cards. According to RIM’s specs, the 8900’s talk time is better (5.5 hours versus 4) but the standby time is less (15 days versus 17). Mind you, when have I ever gone three days without needing to charge?

Conclusion: if you like the styling of the Bold, but think it may be a tad too big, the 8900 is the baby for you. If you have anything pre-8300, I’m sorry to say it’s going to look a bit sad by comparison.

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