BlackBerry Curve fans got good news earlier this year when they learned that RIM would release a 3G version of the device. The Curve has always been a second-tier device in terms of power and display, and on GSM it had the further handicap of an EDGE radio. From the Bold on up, GSM BlackBerry devices have had a 3G radio. That didn’t change when RIM introduced the Curve 8520 last summer. About a year later we finally got the 3G GSM Curve, the 9300. But we also heard rumors of a 9330 for CDMA carriers. Since then I’ve wondered what it would bring to the table. CDMA BlackBerry devices, of course, are all 3G, so that doesn’t bring much of a change. I’ve asked for input, but have yet to hear from anyone. So today I’ll take a look at the differences between the 8530 and the 9330.
Both the 9330 and the 8530 have 320 x 240 pixel displays. This is actually the same as the 8330. Apparently keeping the lower-res screen is a way of keeping the Curve series under $100 on contract.
Size and weight
The two Curves measure exactly the same, too: 4.29″ x 2.36″ x 0.55″. They both weigh 3.7 ounces. They are marginally lighter than the 8330.
Once again the Curve camera has not been upgraded since the 8330. All CDMA Curve models feature a 2 megapixel camera with 5X digital zoom and video recording.
The upgrades: Processor and memory
It does appear that the 9330 improve on the 8530 in two ways. First is the processor speed. The 8530 featured a 528MHz processor, which was an upgrade to the 312MHz processor in the 8330. The 9330 makes a further upgrade to 624MHz. This is the same processor used in the 9300. I’m not sure what kind of difference that makes, but any additional speed is welcome. The 9330 also has more on-board memory than the 8530. At first this came as a surprise. The 9300 comes with 256MB of on-board memory, the same as the 8520 and 8530, so I assumed that the 9330 would have the same. Apparently RIM decided to give that one a boost, though, as the 9330 has 512MB of on-board memory. That does mean that it has a leg up on its predecessor.
Worth the upgrade?
If you got an 8530, you probably have to wait a while for an upgrade. Sure, Verizon sometimes will offer customers an upgrade after one year of service, so you could conceivably upgrade to the 9330. It will cost just $30 on contract, so it’s not that big an outlay. If you do get the early upgrade then you will essentially be paying $30 and committing to one extra year for a slightly better processor and a little more RAM. I’d personally hold off for a better device, but each user has different needs and wants in a smartphone. Sprint will also get the device, though they will release theirs on October 10. It will cost $20 more than the Verizon version. I’m not sure how Sprint handles early upgrades, but if they do it’s the same deal as Verizon. It’s not exactly a bad deal, but I’d like to see more of an upgrade on the new offering.