The guys at PhoneArena put up a pretty lengthy review of the BlackBerry Gemini 8520. I’ll break down their review by section but if you want to read the full review, just head over to their site.
While the 8520 Gemini is one of the newest devices to be released by RIM, the only thing truly new about it is the design. The 8520 is slated as an introductory Curve model and comes with a 3.4” screen which sits above a full QWERTY keyboard. Two convenience keys adorn either side and a simplistic back with the 2 megapixel camera at the top. The unofficial size is 4.25”x2.3”x0.5”, which makes it even smaller than the Curve 8900, and perhaps a touch lighter.
The above pic gives you a good idea of how the Curve 8520 matches up with the other BlackBerry devices.
The new Curve apparently has a plastic feel to it and it doesn’t have that solid metal feeling you get with a device like the Storm 9500. The sides, top and bottom are all finished in soft touch paint which gives it just a bit of grip and a good feel. The side keys (convenience keys on each side, volume rocker on the right) are all merely bumps as opposed to individual keys with the housing “stretching” to accommodate them instead of breaking.
The biggest change to the Curve series is RIM has now implemented an optical trackpad. Some Curve owners have complained that the trackball is the first thing to wear and it often gets debris lodged in it. The new optical trackpad will solve many of the issues people have had with the trackball, and we’re going to see fewer people requiring replacements. Way to go RIM! (I think PhoneArena missed this potential advantage in their review)
The back of the device houses a 2.0MP camera in the soft touch area. Sadly, there is no flash with this device. I found it odd considering that the top of the phone has media keys, which suggest the device is more consumer friendly. It seems RIM didn’t go all out when trying to appease the consumer with this one. Like the Pre and iPhone, the shiny black plastic is a fingerprint magnet but looks awfully pretty when clean.
The review goes on to take a look at the user interface (OS 4.6), phonebook, organizer, messaging, multimedia and software. While I enjoyed reading about these topics, there really isn’t anything new. The 8520 won’t have anything you haven’t seen, software-wise, in the 8900. The major difference comes in the design, as articulated above.
Overall the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a fine device for what it is. It may not be the finest in fit and finish, but it brings the best Blackberry features to a low-end device. The size and weight are good, the display is ample and the optical trackpad brings a bit of innovation. RIM has some work to do on the Curve’s performance, but if they fix that we don’t see why this device won’t be very popular.