Blackberry Bold 9000 vs Curve 8900

Phones aren’t something I’ve been into, and not something I ever wrote about (or ever planned to), but I feel this post will be helpful to many people choosing between these two devices, and out of all my sites, I feel this is the most relevant one I can throw this post up on. I’ll  primarily stick to the main points I noticed, and on practical use, rather than on the specific technical differences between each Blackberry.

Hard choice, but comes down to two points. Do you really need 3G? and are you willing to switch carriers or do you want to stick with your current one?

The Blackberry Curve 8900

Build / Form Factor

It might not be noticeable in the pics, but the 8900 has a much better build than the Bold. The  device is physically smaller and more comfortable to carry with one hand (the Bold must feel like a classic Gameboy to people with small hands), letting you type with one hand comfortably.
blackberry curve 8900 1 Blackberry Bold 9000 vs Curve 8900
The trackball is solid and much more accurate than the Bold’s, which feels flimsy and feels worn out after a few days. If you have a bold and hold it up to your ear and keep tapping the trackball without actually pressing it down, you’ll notice it makes a sound kind of like the sound your keyboard makes when you tap it without actually pressing it down. This isn’t much of a problem and not something I notice in practice, but it does feel cheap. The 8900s also feels perfect at the default sensitivity (70).

The keyboard buttons are raised higher than the bold and are physically separated. The keys aren’t as slippery and it’s much harder to mistype. They also feel ‘heavier’ and nicer to push overall. Having the numbers in red on the 8900 (all white on the Bold) is also a nice touch, but while I prefer the 8900’s keyboard, I have absolutely no problems with the Bold’s after getting used to it.

RIM definitely took issues present in the Bold into account when designing the 8900. The right convenience button (camera by default) on the 8900 must be pressed down harder and held down longer before the camera application is invoked. This gets rid of the annoying “could not start camera” error or pitch black pictures of your pocket that occur when the camera shortcut key is pressed down accidently on the Bold.

This might just be me, but on the Bold, my index finger tends to naturally get in the way of the camera when I’m taking pics. I need to be aware of it and intentionally keep it out of the way. This doesn’t happen on the 8900. Speaking of cameras…

Camera

The camera on the 8900 has 3.2 megapixels (compared to the Bold’s 2 MP) and autofocus. It doesn’t sound like a big improvement, but it’s huge when you see pictures side by side. Pictures taken on the 9000 look grainy, like a traditional camera phone pic, and the color temperature is off even with the white balance set to auto.

If you don’t use your phone for snapping pics, apps like Flickr for Blackberry and the Facebook Blackberry app, might change that habit. You’d be glad you chose the 8900 vs the 9000 anytime you’re stuck without your SLR and need to capture a moment.

Screen

The screen on the 8900 is slightly smaller than the Bold. It also has a longer ratio compared to the Bold’s wide screen. It’s hard to say which is better, but using bothdevices,  I prefer looking at the 8900, especially when reading. The resolution is higher (480×360 vs 480×320) and the screen color temperature is richer. Text is sharper on the 8900, and colors look more natural than on the 9000. Overall, both screens are amazing, and some may opt for a slightly larger screen than a smaller one at a higher resolution.

Battery

The battery on the 8900 lasts a few hours longer than the Bold, but it may last significantly more depending on how you use your BB. I like having a lot of apps open and I use the blackberry a lot, for IRC, browsing, email, AIM, etc. The Bold’s 3G antenna (which cannot be turned off)  saps a lot of power, as does its slightly faster processor.

Battery Cover

The 8900 doesn’t have the leather plate on the back (though eventually we might see 3rd party battery covers featuring this). The chrome battery cover on the 8900 looks good and feels sturdy, and many people prefer this to the leather. I personally prefer the leather battery cover on the 9000. It has a more CEO-of-a-fortune-500-company vibe to it.

Other

The 8900 comes with 256 megs of RAM compared to the 9000. This might result in better performance in some apps against the Bold’s 128 megs of RAM and faster processor.

Both are small as hell for storing media and you’ll wanna upgrade ASAP.

Never buy the memory card from the phone retailer. Tmobile here charges $40 for a 2 gig micro SD card. AT&T charges $25. My bro got his from Radioshack for$8 (probably with a friend’s discount).

The Blackberry Bold 9000

Carriers

First and most important in your decision on which BB to get: carriers. Here in New York, the 8900 is only available at T-Mobile (and soon Verizon), and the Bold is only available with AT&T. YMMV here, but AT&T has significantly better coverage and a higher voice quality. As a consumer, AT&T just feels more mature and better to do business with. It’ s the small things like offering insurance for $2 cheaper and giving you twice as long to opt-in for it as T-Mobile (30 days vs 14 days), more competent tech support and less time on hold, etc.blackberry bold 9000 Blackberry Bold 9000 vs Curve 8900

A big reason I migrated over from T-Mobile was because T-Mobile’s website sucks. I avoided T-Mobile’s site so often I missed payments. The site reminds me of GoDaddy. Promos and prominent colors (pink?!) all over the place competing for my attention.

In T-Mobile’s defence, their prices are usually much cheaper than AT&T. Also, T-Mobile has excellent coverage, be it as good as AT&T or not, and the 8900 supports UMA.

In regard to carriers, you might want to go with a carrier that has a lot of authorized branches in your area. This can make service/repair/upgrades less of a hassle later on.

Processor

The bold has a faster processor. This might be something to consider if you use your BB like you use your laptop (having lots of stuff open), though having twice as much RAM (8900 has 256, bold 128) would be better in some cases, I didn’t notice much of a difference in performance in practice.

I did notice AIM and MSN crash (raised exceptions) a few times when there were too many things open on the 8900. “Too many things” included far more than you would practically have open in a real life setting. We’re talking a few games, the browser, a video etc open simultanously. I can’t confirm that this is what caused AIM or MSN to halt for a bit and then crash, but it’s just a pattern I’m beginning to notice. It doesn’t always happen and will probably be addressed in the next OS patch/release. I’m going to migrate away from the official AIM client and into BeeJive when I find a torrent $20.

3G support

3G support is great, but it’s something I noticed I can live without because I usually do most of my major web browsing when I’m close to wifi anyway. The only time I really wish I had 3G when I’m on the Curve is when I’m using Google Maps. It takes a little longer to load, but this con doesn’t outweigh the other pros the 8900 offers. If you plan on tethering Internet to your laptop, 3G should definitely be something to look into.

Also note that the 3G antenna cannot be turned off. This means a much lower battery life than the 8900. Not much of a problem if you have a car charger though, and you’ll use the blackberry much less over time compared to when you first bought it, so don’t be shocked if you notice 1/2 the battery is drained after  2 hours of continous usage.

Other

The 9000 looks leet. I don’t know what’s so attractive about the 9000, but it’s probably just the fact that it doesn’t look like the older Blackberrys. The 8900 looks nice, but it grew on me;  Not something I found particularly eye catching at first. The 8900 being numerically less than 9000, and the fact that the 8900 has a smaller form factor, sort of make the 8900 seem like a watered down Bold, or a step backwards, but it really isn’t. From what I noticed, this is the #1 reason people choose the Bold over the Curve, only using  ‘carrier’ or ‘3G support’ as logical reasons for justification on their choice/purchase after the fact.

The Bold came with a slick leather bolt holster, and the 8900 came with a little girly pouch. The pouch is actually pretty nice; It fits snuggly and does a good job of protecting the phone when I’m carrying it around directly in my pocket. Only problem is it’s one more step taking it out of the pouch. It’s also harder to show off than having it visible on your RIM belt holster. Fortunately, the holster made by Speck is pretty good.

Both devices are great. If you can’t make up your mind, pick names out of a hat, or go strictly by carriers and the plans each carrier has.

37 thoughts on “Blackberry Bold 9000 vs Curve 8900”

  1. Thank you so much for the reviews of bold 9000 and curve 8900. i think it made a lot easier for me to choose one. I think i will be choosing curve 8900 over bold 9000 bcz it fits my requirements.

    Thank you so much. keep up the good work. :)

  2. i personally have a curve, and i agree that the bold looks like old BB, CUZ it’s like quad, but the curve is nice designed and very easy to use!
    if you want to buy BB, than i recommend curve! ;)

  3. is the BB bold 8900 and BB curve 8330 is compatible? because the LCD of my BB bold 8900 is broke can i use the LCD of BB curve 8330?

  4. Phones are more than the specifications. Hold both in your hands. Play with it a bit. And objectively ask how each make you feel. The Bold is a man’s man phone. If your hands are small, don’t consider it, you won’t feel comfortable. If taking it out makes you proud, get it. If camera is such a big deal, get a samsung with 8megapix.

    Admit that blackberry is alot about image, and get one that fits the image that you want.

  5. this unlocked blackberry phone is much better than the others. not as flaky as the 9550 and better than the other qwerty’s. faster, smaller, bigger screen, better games. me and the girlfriend got two at gsmauthority.com and were pretty happy about our decision. looking forward to the next one. 2 thumbs up.

  6. Hi,

    I have just recently purchased both Bold 9000 and Curve 8900 one for me and one for my mum. I am thinking of giving the curve to my mum this July ’10 because she’s in Thailand and I am in the UK and wont get to see her by then.

    I am quite new to BB and now I am wondering whether I can use the BB messenging with her across countries??? Is that possible? Many thanks! :)

  7. this helped me alot my dad told me he wanted to get me a BB like him when he is travelling i can BBM him now I know which one i will buy
    thnx

  8. Hi,
    That was really helpful… I was surfing the internet looking for someone who might thought of placing such a comparison for such deicision.
    Thanks a lot… appreciated.

  9. The bold most definately is easier to text on! The 8900 however is easier to carry around..its much slimmer and easier hold onto without dropping it! I’m still a bit lost, but I’m leaning towards the bold.

  10. same as dana… i like the curve 8900 becuase i like the keyboards and the 3.2 megapixel camera. but for the bold i like how its so big and leather back. ughhh im having a real hard time deciding

    also what exactly is 3g?

  11. dana i just wanted to say i had the same problem with u i convinced my parents to get me the bold and i got and i so hate it now, now i really want the curve all my friends have it and when i try typing with it and holding it, it felt soo light and comftorable and besides the covers for the curve are better than bold so go for the curve!

  12. Hi,

    I really like the curve 8900 but torn to purchase because of its lack of 3G.

    What’s the downside of not having 3G other than the speed? Does it really matter that much??

    thanks

  13. Hey, I’ve been trying to convince my parents for like a month to get the blackberry bold 9000 and now when they said yes all my friends are telling me that the curve 8900 is better than the bold so right now I’m confused after reading this because I’ve always thought that the bold 9000 is the best ’cause it looks really nice and I like the way it looks more than the way the curve 8900 looks but after reading this review, which btw was really useful and smart. I saw that the Curve 8900 is way better by the battery lasting long cause like i use my mobile alot and like the memory is more…
    So i dunno wut to get, please help me cause then my parents will change their mind if i dont figure out soon…
    Thanks

  14. Thanks for the information. I am also face with the task of upgrading my phone. I wanted something that I can sync with some of my work information and have all the cool features that are available. I have done a lot of research and it came down to these two phones. I believe this information has helped me to make up my mind.

    Thanks

  15. Thanks a lot…i really wanted to know the difference and i had been searching all over but found everything here…

  16. I have the bold and had to switch because of some issues it had after 1 week. It shuts down and the screen gets stuck. I am still in my 30 days so I will be switching to the curve 8900.

  17. oh cool you can compare on the bb site, http://na.blackberry.com/eng/devices/compare/product-attr-compare.jsp?products=946&products=1528

    so the 8900 is definitely thinner and lighter, stereo bluetooth, hearing aid capable, has hi-res 480×360 vs “helf vga” 320 for bold screen, 29-day (!) battery standy and 5.5 talk (vs 13 and 4.5 for bold), supports [hot-swappable!] micro SDHC (bold does not), has sleep mode (?)

    the bold can read just a few more obscurer audio/video formats, can also support wifi “a” (as if anyone even has that?) and some other network HSDPA ??

    so basically despite the bold being the 9000, sounds like the 8900 kicks @!

  18. good writeup on the 2 units, i recently got an 8900 and it seems shexy enough, esp since i popped for an 8G SDHC card to capture more video too – but was still wondering what the diff from bold was given that themes and software out there seem to be different for the 2 phones.

    having had an 8100, it’s nice to have enough memory (and power) to do things. and as for your points about IMs, i used beejive well enough on my old unit but found freeware palringo does the job good enough (and supports F*ceback IM too), but I still sprung for the $10 license conversion on beejive since they have a shexier widescreen version for the 8900.

    1. I suggest going into the stores and physically trying out both keypads. I find it uncomfortable to text with one hand on the 9000 compared to the slimmer Curve 9800, but I rarely text with one hand so it’s not a problem. Also, in the beginning I made more typos trying to type fast on the 9000, but have since gotten used to it.

      The keys on the Curve are spaced apart and – in my opinion – are an upgrade from the keys on the Bold.

      Here are pics of the keypads, bold: http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/09/16/rh_blackberry_keypad.jpg
      (in the US, at least here in NY, AT&T, the keys are all white. #s aren’t red)

      and Curve: http://www.logictv.com/UserFiles/blackberry9300.jpg

      Again, it’s best to feel both for yourself and see what you’re comfortable with.

  19. I am battering with a choice. I was looking to get the Bold without even considering the Curve but after see in one is hard to just pass it by. So I am still comparison in the face.

  20. The main reason why I choosed 8900 was I’ts small size, 3.2 mp camera with flash and autofocus, and 256 mbs ram… Because I like to use it on bus, sometimes you didn’t get a seat so you have standing up and only able to use it with one hand. And I like to upload picture on facebook, and faster processor make it easier for me to check my bus schedule… And also last longer batery, because I have a long day outside my home, and didn’t have car to charge my BB

    Be

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