The classic dilemna. The Bold 9700 is nearly £200 more expensive than the cheap and cheerful 8520 but has an inferior keyboard. Some however find the Bold keyboard to be superior so it could just be me. I actually prefer the look and feel of the less blingy all-black 8520, there’s something basic but satisfying about its appearance over the Bold and I find the keyboard much easier to use and more accurate. One thing that is better on the Bold are the menu keys either side of the trackpad, those on the 8520 have little feel to them and I am often pressing them with no outcome whereas on the Bold they are very clicky and nicely defined.
However the Bold has a bigger screen with a higher resolution which makes stuff like viewing pics and text a nicer experience, unsurprisingly. It also has a higher specced camera with a useful and reasonably effective flash so if you take a whole load of camera snaps you’d be better off with the 9700. When you get used to a nice, hi res screen it is difficult to go back to something not quite so hi-res in comparison. Mind you, the screen on the 8520 is still a cut above that on the Nokia E72 I had recently.
Text on the cheaper Curve can look a bit grainy, smaller text almost fades away in places and looks, quite literally, washed out. This is most apparent when hovering over app icons. You’ll also lose the faux leather battery cover which some may see as a blessing. Oddly I find the cheaper 8520 less creaky than the Bold, I also prefer the slightly squarer profile sported by the former over the slightly more curvier Bold. Hmmmm… strange that, the Curve feels less curvier than the Bold. Both feel speedy, I’m sure the Bold has more memory but it’s not so hugely noticeable between the two and the 8520 speeds along quite nicely.
In an ideal world I would take the keyboard and look and feel of the Curve 8520 and mesh it with the better specs of the Bold, for a price in between the two.. Perhaps there is a BB out there or about to be out there soon that will fit the bill. If not then the 8520 makes for a very affordable and useable way into the world of smartphones and at £200, unlocked is a bit of a good snip if you must have a BB.