RIM has spent most of 2008 bigging up the power of its slick, leather-clad BlackBerry Bold and the all–new multitouch stylings of the BlackBerry Storm.
But beyond its latest specced–up devices, aimed very much at regular mobile fanatics, it's easy to forget that middle managers and harried City types want a BlackBerry for one thing only – email. Which is where the new Curve 8900 comes in.
Swatting aside the original Curve 8300 model, this latest member of the BlackBerry family is its slimmest to date, measuring just 13.5mm.
The interface has been given a real overhaul too, bringing it in line with that seen on the Bold and the Storm. This means you can move widgets about easily with the trackball and access content nice and fast.
It's easy to forget that RIM's first stab at the Curve was its first foray into the world of media savvy mobiles. But with the Bold and the Storm finally giving the BlackBerry some crossover potential, the Curve's credentials look somewhat compromised.
Once again, 3G is lacking, RIM covering its ears to the cries from users about the previous edition.
Still, Wi–Fi is at least present, and incredibly easy to use. We were up and running in no time down at the local McDonald's, checking out the Stuff news feed while tucking into a Big Mac.
Below par snapper
The camera has been given a bump, from 2MP to 3.2MP, but it remains disappointing. The flash is average, meaning pics in low light are barely an improvement on the shonky efforts seen on the last Curve.
But it’s the screen where the Curve comes into its own. Watching the odd episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm on the 2.4in, 480x360 screen is a treat and compares favourably to the likes of the iPod Classic and Nokia N96. With support for up to 16GB of storage, there's plenty of space for TV shows and a couple of thousand tunes to boot.
Sound could be better, but with a 3.5mm jack, at least you can bump it up with your own decent buds.
Review continues after the break
GPS has also been included, but did take a while to fire up, perhaps proving that RIM is trying a bit too hard to shoehorn in as many new features into their now standard BlackBerry.
It goes without saying that this is a fantastic phone for staying in touch with the world, with emails coming through in smart fashion, as you'd expect. The Curve may not be as cool as the Storm, or give you as much work–related gumph as the Bold, but as a slimline work phone with some media slung in, it's a treat.