I have now been upgraded to a Blackberry 9300 as a contract phone after having a 8520 curve for two years on an orange contract. I have only had the phone a few days so am going to upgrade this review as I go along but thought I would start now while the comparrison is fresh in the mind.
The layout of the phone feels more sturdy and has bigger buttons that makes typing using the blackberry ABC keyboard layout easier to use compared to my previous model. There are simple little things that make this phone easier to live with such as the sms that lists the conversation above so you can keep track of what has been said before without leaving the message and back tracking through all the messages from that particular contact.
The internet actually seams to work whereas the older models never seamed to load or get you very far even with your wifi hooked into your home hub although for a phone of this generation it is no iphone in comparrison at all and when at home I would and always will use a laptop instead.. The BBM (Blackberry messenger) messenger is the main decent point about this phone and all Blackberries which is in other words a free text message service to any other blackberry which is setup by entering a BBM pin number which links your phones and works in the same was as MSN (Microsoft network) does but considering text bundles and contract phone options availible nowadays it is highly likely that a free text service like BBM is really needed.
The camera is only two megapixels which again considering phones can have over double that easily nowadays it is nothing to shout about and yet there is still no flash either which is ridiculous.
The battery life seams good although it can be a good idea to charge it up at nights depending on usage that day although around five hours talk time is listed with a massive standby life depending on how much you use messenger or games and phone applications will determine this.
The layout of the phone is quite easy to pick up but that was the same for when I first used any Blackberry which is a case of using sub menus to find what you need which you select with a scroll pad. The scroll pads can be liable over time to have issues which renders the phone a nightmare to live but my last one did last nearly two years so it was more than likely user error and plus having a manual labour style job dust and dirt is part of every day life.
My main complaint about the upgrade I had for my contract is that you have to phone orange up or use your internet to register the sim card which is unnessarcary hassle as you used to be able to insert a sim card and just get on with learning the new phone. This model came with a mains charger but that can also be swapped over to double up as a usb charger from a laptop ect making charging easier if like me you use a computer a lot of the time and also gives you another option incase of issues/problems with your plug charger.
All in all I am happy with this phone as I cannot warrant paying out £35 plus a month to have an iphone as for me personally all I need for a phone is to be able to check my textx/Ring people/Check my email's and maybe have a quick nose on Facebook or something likewise.