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Blackberry Curve 9320 Review

By Simon Thomas on 20th May 2012


3G Total Score

Pros :
Comprehensive universal inbox, well integrated BBM app, excellent social integration, very usable QWERTY keyboard, more than a day’s worth of battery life in full use


Cons :
Occasional lags during heavy-duty multitasking, very average camera, uninspiring design and average capabilities compared with other handsets and operating systems

 

Verdict :

A neat, user-friendly handset with the kind of social networking, email and productivity offerings you’d expect from a pricier phone.

Full Review and Specification for the Blackberry Curve 9320

BlackBerry has come up with the lowest-priced entry level Curve yet in the shape of the Curve 9320 – and it’s even got a dedicated button for BlackBerry Messenger for serious messaging fans. RIM has brought together its two most attractive features for mainstream users – a lower price and BBM – but is it enough to persuade consumers to go for a BlackBerry over similarly priced handsets from other makers?

 

 Get social

 

Social networking fans will appreciate the focus of the BlackBerry 7 OS, which features a Social Feeds app that runs both Twitter and Facebook feeds together. As well as that dedicated BlackBerry Messenger button, there’s also a free IM app, which brings together a number of BBM-connected apps (these include Twitter and Facebook) and lets you post updates to BBM from these. There’s an impressively comprehensive inbox – just as there is on the pricier BlackBerry models – which shows all your social updates, emails and alerts.

 

The operating system is the latest BlackBerry 7.1 version, which offers five home screens, and can be populated with media apps, favourite apps, downloads, all apps and a frequently used apps group, which is updated automatically. When you fire up the phone for the first time you’ll be asked to set up webmail accounts, which will link your BlackBerry ID so that you can download your choice of apps from BlackBerry ID. However, if you’re used to an Android phone, don’t expect the same vast number of apps to choose from. 

 

Average looks

 

Don’t expect anything innovative in the way of design – the Curve 9320 looks pretty much like many of its predecessors – its candybar shape has rounded corners and the usual BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. The chassis is plastic and shiny, but also surprisingly sturdy and lightweight. Its small 2.44in QVGA display is quite low-res but surprises by being brighter than one might expect. It’s not a touchscreen, but there is an optical trackpad, which can be used rather like a small mouse.

 

There are some keys along the side, which speed up the phone’s use – there’s a dedicated BBM button, which connects automatically to the free messaging facility, a volume key and a ‘convenience key’, which can be allocated to any feature you want.

 

On the back of the handset is a 3.2-megapixel snapper, which has an LED flash.

 

The Curve 9320 even has voice control, which is quite the thing at the moment – it has voice activated universal search, which is powered by Bing Auto Suggest – this means by default results appear as web addresses rather than contacts. The voice search can also be used to search any apps you are using, but it doesn’t work so well, and in practice it’s harder to use than the keyboard.

 

BlackBerry maps is the onboard offering, but it’s likely you’ll want to swap it for the Google version. GPS works reasonably accurately and the location search is powered by Google. However, there are only directions for driving, not walking. If you want Google Maps, though, you’ll have to download it via the Maps website, rather than going through BlackBerry App World.

 

For net surfing there is a full HTML browser, which offers the benefits of tabbed browsing and bookmarks. However, the display is too small to let you view image-heavy websites, but it is possible to zoom in should you want to see any details. The browser also automatically resizes web pages.

 

Slow performance

 

The Curve 9320 runs on a 600MHz chip (slow when compared with the quad-core 1.5Ghz processors on the latest high-end phones), and while it runs reasonably well most of the time, there is some lag when any heavy-duty work is in progress – such as trying to download an app in the background. The snapper is very mediocre too – even though we don’t expect much from BlackBerry’s cameras – and produced faded, somewhat blurry snaps.

 

On the upside though, you get about 30 hours of battery life, even when watching YouTube clips, surfing the net and running GPS.

 

Our conclusion

 

The Curve 9320 is a great phone for social networking and has that dedicated BlackBerry Messenger button too. It does all you would expect of it, and messaging-wise it is up there with some of its more expensive rivals. While its snapper is mediocre and performance could be quicker, at this price and with all its good features, it’s still a good choice.

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Blackberry Curve 9320 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Blackberry Curve 9320 Phone Specification

Type of device

Smartphone

Operating System

BlackBerry

Dimensions

109x60x12.7mm

Weight

102g

Form factor

Candy bar

Input

QWERTY

Processor speed

806MHz

CPU

N/A

Graphic chipset

 

Announced

May 2012

Status

Available

DISPLAY

Screen size

2.44 inches

Screen type

TFT-LCD

Resolution

320x240

Display type

N/A

Memory

RAM

512MB

Internal storage

512MB

Memory card slot

 

Camera

Camera

3.2 megapixels

Secondary camera

N/A

Special camera features

4x digital zoom, geotagging, extended depth of field and image stabilisation

Sound

3.5mm Jack

 

Music player

MP4, M4A, 3GP, 3GP2, M4V, AVI, ASF, WMV, WMA, MP3, FLAC, OGG, AAC, AMR, WAV, MID

Audio recording

 

Radio

 

FM Radio description

 

Video

Video recording

 

Video player

M4V, AVI, MP4, WMV

Video calling

 

Video streaming

 

Additional Features

Browser

BlackBerry web browser

Games

Yes

Voice control

 

Voice dialling

 

Other

Dedicated BlackBerry Messenger button, optical trackpad, BlackBerry Media Sync

Messaging

SMS

 

MMS

 

Email

 

IM

 

Connectivity

Band

Quad-band

Wi-Fi

 

Bluetooth

 

USB

 

NFC

 

GPS

Yes

Network

EDGE

 

GPRS

 

HSDPA

 

4G/LTE

No

Other

Colours (Standard)

Black

Handsfree speaker phone

 

Customisable ringtones

 

What's in the box

Battery, headset and manual

Website

www.uk.blackberry.com

Battery

Standby

18 days

Talktime

7 hours

Battery life multimedia

30 hours

 


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