There is a whole new raft of Blackberries out there today. All of the new units use the full qwerty layout design. One of the questions that I have been pondering is which would I purchase if I were to buy a new unit. As it stands there are three choices.

  1. Blackberry 8800 – AT&T Wireless
  2. Blackberry 8300 aka Curve – AT&T Wireless
  3. Blackberry 8830 – Verizon

Rather than describing each separately, I thought that I would create a simple decision tree to decide between the units.

The most important question you should think about before deciding on anything is which carrier has the best coverage in your area. Remember, for the device to be useful you have to have coverage. The newest and coolest phone is no good if you don’t have coverage. The decision on carrier should proceed any device decision. Hence the decision tree:

Which carrier has the best coverage in your area?

Verizon – Go with the 8830

AT&T

In this case, you can choose either the curve or the 8800. Here are some key differentiators

  • GPS – 8800 Yes/Curve No
  • Longer battery life – 8800 Yes/Curve No
  • Arguably better keyboard – Curve
  • Camera – 8800 No/Curve Yes
  • Better media player ability – 8800 No/Curve Yes*
  • Smaller form factor – Curve
  • Lower cost – Curve
  • Standard headphone jack – 8800 No/Curve Yes
  • Built-in email spell checker – 8800 No/Curve Yes*

* Should be remedied with a future software upgrade on the 8800

It looks like the Curve comes out ahead in the chart above with the only issue being the lack of GPS and shorter battery life. I would suggest that any potential purchaser review both options; however, the most recent reviews I have seen favor the Curve.

Both are equally good
This is where it gets more complex because now you can choose from all three phones. This is the situation where I would find myself if I were purchase a new phone. One of the interesting things about the 8830 is that it is world phone as described in a previous post. This is a new feature for Verizon since previous phones were North America only. AT&T has been shipping world phones for years.

Here are the pros and cons of the 8830 versus the two Verizon phone mentioned above.

  • Download speed – The 8830 uses Verizon’s 3G network, the AT&T phones use 2G – Advantage 8830
  • Proven world phone ability – This is new for the 8830 and it is unclear how well it works. This has worked for years with AT&T – Advantage AT&T
  • Battery life – The specs suggest that the 8830 has worse battery life than the 8800, not sure about the Curve – Advantage AT&T/8800
  • GPS – The 8830 supposedly comes with GPS, but it is not enabled by Verizon – Advantage AT&T/8800
  • Small form factor – The 8830 is the same size as the AT&T 8800 – Advantage AT&T which also offers the smaller Curve
  • Keyboard choice – There is none with Verizon, the only option is the 8830 – Advantage AT&T, can choose between 8800 and Curve
  • Price – The 8830 and 8800 are priced similarly the Curve is less – Advantage AT&T because it offers more choice.
  • Ringer volume – This is a weird one. The latest reviews suggest that the 8830 has a weak ringer volume and vibrate feature – Advantage AT&T since neither the 8800 nor the Curve exhibit this problem.*

* Hopefully this will be fixed with a future software upgrade

In weighing all these differences, I come away thinking that Cingular/AT&T is the better option if you are indifferent to network. They offer more choices of Blackberry devices and provide all the features of the Verizon 8830 except for 3G. However, if you choose the Cingular approach then you should carefully compare the Curve and the 8800 since both are similar, but slightly different.

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