BlackBerry Curve 8520 hands-on photos!

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 has only been official for a few short hours, but already we’ve got to grips with the budget blower. Is it RIM’s most accessible smartphone yet? And what’s that new fangled trackpad like? Read on and find out!

HTC, Apple and Palm have been waging such a heavy, high-end war of late that BlackBerry’s barely got a look in, but those with a taste for smartphones but not the wallet to fork out hundreds of pounds upfront should take note of the BlackBerry Curve 8520.

We’ve been playing with RIM’s latest powerhouse push emailer today, and while it’s not the smartest specced fruity phone from the company, it’s poised to be one of the cheapest. And yet, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 still manages to look and feel the part. The ace rubber casing’s creeped out to cover much more of the phone this time, and it’s the first BlackBerry to use an optical trackpad instead of crusty dust magnetising scroll wheel. It takes a bit of getting used, and some adjusting for sensitivity in the settings menu, but within minutes you’re swooshing around on the homescreen as quick as always.

Another nice touch are the media keys on top of the BlackBerry Curve 8520. You’ve always been able to control music with the mute and volume buttons, but this makes things much easier, especially if you’ve got the phone stashed in your pocket. They’re a little bit tough, but a definite improvement.

Speaking of buttons, the QWERTY keypad is a joy. The Curve 8900′s keyboard slid around all over the place, but the BlackBerry Curve 8520′s is ultra firm and easy to blitz out messages on. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is no replacement for the 8900 though: despite the new control pad, it takes a hit on the camera and screen resolution, although it still handles all the same multimedia. Net connection’s by no means nippy either, it but will let you hit those super fast surfing speeds in Wi-Fi hotspots, even if it doesn’t pack 3G.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is out next month – we’re still chasing RIM for network details and pricing, but even with the monthly BlackBerry email tax included, it should cost you around £25 a month on contract on O2 or Vodafone, and it’ll be on PAYG too. Have a peek at our hands-on gallery while we wait for the networks to ‘fess up.

Out August | £TBC | BlackBerry

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