I had been using a Blackberry 8707v on my own when my company installed Blackberry Enterprise Server software on our mail server and issued blackberries to our managers. Being in an oil and gas company meant that some managers were not in the office all the time and had to keep abreast of what was happening in the office and communicate with each other while in the field. I ditched the 8707v (still have it, but left in a drawer at home) in favor of the 8310 (Curve) they gave me. Since I was already used to the 8707, it didn't take me long to get used to the 8310. The modus operandi and look and feel were very similar, with the 8310 being much thinner and smaller than the 8707.
There were several differences though. The main difference in physical terms was that the Curve came with a trackball while the 8700 series had a thumb wheel for navigation. This meant that the Curve was easier to navigate up and down, left and right, while with the 8707, it was mainly up and down. You had to hold the "Alt" key to get it to move left and right with the 8700s. Also, putting the trackball on the front face of the Curve makes it a whole lot easier to handle navigation.
Another big difference is that the 8310 came with a GPS module inside. You could use GPS with the 8700s, but you would have to get a seperate bluetooth gps receiver and connect to the 8700s via bluetooth. The 8310 gps took a relatively short time to fix to satellites compared to some of the gps phones I had used before. In fact, even if you're not totally out in the open, say sitting on a veranda, it manages to fix to satellites pretty well and I was impressed. Unfortunately, I had to give a relatively low rating for this function as it did not come with a navigation software that you could use in a car, i.e. with voice navigation. I have downloaded Nav4All and AmazeGPS, which are freeware, but they did either not have Malaysian maps or were very slow to use over EDGE, which is the fastest data service on the Curve. Google Maps was the only alternative and was very good except it did not offer turn-by-turn voice navigation. However, it was fast and amazingly recognised even small streets in Malaysia! Software, especially freeware or shareware is not abundantly available like for Windows mobile or the Symbian platform, but is sufficient as there is only 64MB for applications to be installed (see next paragraph)
Another major difference is that the Curve had storage card capability, meaning you could slot in a micro SD card for extra storage capability. I noticed, though, that any software you install was installed in the 64MB RAM and you could not install on the storage card. You can store photos, music, videos and some other data files used by certain software on it, but not applications files. The storage card can be accessed from a PC by connecting a USB cable to the Curve. This means that it can be used as external storage and it appears on the PC as that, similar to a USB drive or thumbdrive. I use a 4GB micro SD card and carry important work documents in it. If I need to access the files at home or at a client's office, I just plug it into a PC with a normal USB cable and use the file like I would with a thumbdrive. Saves lugging a heavy notebook or a thumbdrive which I can easiy lose. With the Blackberry, I can be sure I'll take it everywhere.I've tried an 8GB micro SD card, but it doesn't seem to recognize the card, which is strange, as some sites say that it will take SDHC cards up to 8GB. It could be that the card wasn't reliable but I'm only confident of saying that it will take up to 4GB cards with no problems. I wonder if anyone with a Bold or Storm have managed to break the 4GB barrier. One downside is that the card is placed behind the battery, very frustrating when you want to quickly change to another one. Perhaps it was a design decision made due to the fact that "hotswapping"cards are not allowed.
The camera was a feature that was nothing to shout about. A lot of smartphone cameras have resolutions of 3.2 megapixel and more nowdays and the Curve's 2.0 megapixel look positively antiquated. In addition, the picture quality is not exemplary. I don't use this function much anyway, preferring the compact point and shoot I find necessary to carry for my job.
One interesting thing to note with the Curve they gave me is that it is not a new unit and had the AT&T logo engraved on the front which led me to make some enqueries with our IT department which distributed the blackberry units. They said the units they received from the local Malaysian distributor were new but had either the AT&T or Vodafone logos on it. I suspect these are actually units made in the far east specifically for AT&T and Vodafone, but somehow made their way in bulk as enterprise mail workstations for our local companies at knockoff price!