The Blackberry 8530 is what some call the "baby Blackberry". It's not quite as sturdy or feature rich as the more expensive Blackberries, but still runs the 5.0 operating system with the same basic menu layout that all but the newest models have. You have your standard 5000+ contact list, GPS capability, calendar functions, and note taking abilities that Blackberry users love. A newly revamped app store isn't nearly as elaborate as Apple or Droid, but still offers the basics. The keyboard is small but easy enough to type on for most with normal sized hands. The screen is very bright and text shows up clearly. Battery life is pretty low, and with moderate use you will only just barely make it through a day - heavy users will want to invest in a $60 extended battery found online. Call quality is dencently clear via the earpiece, though the speakerphone isn't quite as loud as it could be. The biggest issue with this 8530 isn't the actual phone - it's the provider. Virgin Mobile experiences frequent text and picture message "outages" that can sometimes last for several days at a time, and during these outages their automated customer service system simply tells you to call later and then hangs up on you. While the $35-and-up price for using the Blackberry through them sounds nice, you get what you pay for, and in this case, you're getting extremely poor service through Virgin Mobile. My ratings are based on this phone when used with Virgin Mobile. The Blackberry 8530 is available however, through most of the other major carriers, so while I'd recommend avoiding Virgin Mobile, I'd say it's a "decent" version of the Blackberry for those on a budget, provided you use it with a real cell carrier.
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