Review: Blackberry Curve 8530 and Virgin Mobile

Today marks a month that I have since dropped Sprint and picked up no contract Virgin Mobile.  I have to say, that I sincerely doubt I will ever go back to a contract phone again.  I owned the Blackberry Style 9670, and I was on the $79.99 a month plan with Sprint.  The phone was pretty good.  The camera was excellent, and I am one of those people that uses their cell phone camera alot.  Using the new browser on the phone was awesome too.  I also liked that it was a flip and so no accidental dialing like with a traditional Blackberry.  The keyboard was not to my liking… it was too flat, and it didn’t seem like I was that accurate since the flatness had me accidentally hitting the neighboring key.  Also, the Style had a terrible battery life.  I had the GPS off, the wifi off, as few apps as possible not running in the background, the lighting/power settings on the lowest, and if I had it fully charged by the end of the night and took it off the charger, there would be a good chance that it would be at the lowest battery, or even shut off due to the battery dying by morning.  My Sprint plan is normally advertised as $69.99, but what they don’t tell you is that if you have a smartphone, there is an additional $10 charge.  The plan was 450 anytime minutes, unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes, free anytime minutes after 7pm, unlimited texting and unlimited data.  My bill would total up to about $80 with tax and other fees that Sprint would tack on.  Since I work at Starbucks, I got an 18% monthly discount on my bill, which knocked it back down to about $70 something a month.  It’s a great plan, I would recommend Sprint over any other contract carrier out there.  It was just too high for me…

So I did some research, and decided upon Virgin Mobile.  I had to buy my phone, since even though Virgin Mobile is owned by Sprint, I couldn’t use my Style on the Virgin Mobile plan.  Bummer.  So I bought the Blackberry Curve 8530 at $180.  I had to buy it off of the Virgin Mobile website, because I searched every single store that carried Virgin Mobile, and NO Blackberries.  I got it within days.  I initially chose the $35 a month plan, which was 300 minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited data.  I was able to port my number to Virgin Mobile, which I also thought was pretty cool, since I have had the same number for quite a few years and didn’t want to give it up.  The $35 plan did not last long.  After two weeks, I was dangerously close to almost using up all of my minutes.  The cool thing about Virgin Mobile is, I can change my plan anytime.  So, it sorta sucked that I had to change plans and start all over again after only two weeks, but lesson learned.  I bumped myself up to the $45 plan, which is the best plan (though they also offer an unlimited everything plan for $55, which compared to Sprint’s $100 for the same thing, is pretty damn appealing) for me right now.  It is 1200 minutes, and unlimited text and unlimited data.  I LOVE this plan.  I am STILL paying $25+ LESS a month and I can say, oh I am short this month, I will just do the $35 plan this month… Doesn’t matter…  With no contract I can switch back and forth every month.  Now about the phone.  At first, I was unsure of how this Blackberry would function compared to my newer one that I had on Sprint.  After a month, I don’t know what I was worried about… this phone is GREAT.  I have always like the Curve’s keyboard more anyway, and the battery life on this phone is AWESOME.  I no longer have to worry that it is going to die on me and then I am stuck with a dead phone… I can have everything on, stuff running in the background… doesn’t matter.  It will run twice as long as my Style did.  The only downside is that it has a fixed focus camera, as opposed to an auto focus, and that limits me, but the picture quality is good enough so I can live with it.

Bottom line… No contract is the way to go.  Unless you want an iphone.  That’s about the only reason.

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