BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

We review the BlackBerry Curve 9320, RIM’s latest budget-conscious smartphone that’s aimed squarely at teenagers, BBM addicts and first-time smartphone users

Rating: 
3.5
Pros: 
Well designed, lightweight, easy-to-use, tons of features, physical BBM key, great value for money
Cons: 
Build quality isn't great, low-res display, not many applications on BlackBerry App World,
Verdict: 
This isn’t the best smartphone out there but it’s a very attractive proposition for any user on a budget or for someone that’s looking to make the jump from feature phone to smartphone

RIM’s Curve line of smartphones have been doing the rounds for quite some time now, bringing advanced messaging capabilities, push email, mobile internet and a robust operating system to millions of people for not much money.

That’s what RIM’s Curve-brand is all about: smartphone performance at a reasonable price point. But does the BlackBerry Curve 9320 carry on the tradition? Does it do enough to warrant an upgrade? Or would you be better off going with a similarly priced Android handset? We find out following a week-long period with the handset.

Design

With its quintessential BlackBerry styling and Qwerty keyboard, the Curve 9320 is obviously all about one thing: email, social networking, and BBM. Measuring in at 109x60x12.7mm and weighing just 103g means the device is also pretty lightweight too, which, again, makes it an ideal choice for any users that don’t want/like a hulking slab-like device with a 4-inch display.

RIM’s decision to construct the device almost entirely out of low-grade plastics does mean build quality isn’t great but when you consider the £150 price-point it’s difficult to be too harsh, especially given how lightweight and neatly presented the Curve 9230 is.

The faux-metal bezel ties everything up rather nicely, adding a premium-feel to a handset that is essentially devoid of any real premium materials. There’s also a BBM key on the left hand side for quick access to the network and a physical camera shutter key for accessing the camera application.

Taking centre stage is the Curve 9320’s excellent Qwerty keyboard. Being used to a slightly large keyboard did mean that it took us a while to get used to typing on the device. But it wasn’t long before we were hammering out messages, email, tweets and BBMs. So while there is a learning curve it’s hardly one that could be considered steep.

Display

At 2.4-inches the Curve 9320’s 320x240 pixel display is small, even by RIM’s usual standards. Quality isn’t great either, unfortunately, with lots of pixelation and a distinct lack of clarity, especially when trying to view text on web pages and applet icons.

Having said that, the Curve 9320 isn’t a flagship handset so you can’t really expect Super AMOLED HD-like visuals from a device that costs £150. The point of the Curve 9320 is messaging and social networking, giving you quick and easy access to Facebook, Twitter and BBM. Video and gaming, unfortunately, takes second place but that much should be obvious from the size of the device’s display.

Internals

RIM’s never been one for using bleeding-edge hardware on its handsets, especially the lower-tier ones like this. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing thanks to BlackBerry OS 7, which keeps everything ticking along very smoothly. Core apps like BBM, Twitter and Facebook load quickly and we never had any issues with software crashes or glitches during the entire testing period.

Specifications

Typical Price £139 (Three)
UK Launch May 2012
Network Networks
Frequency Quad
Phone Style Candybar
Thickness 13 mm
Length 109
Width 60
Weight 103g
Built-in Memory 512MB
Additional Memory 32GB via microSD
High-speed Data HSDPA,Wi-Fi,EDGE,GPRS
Connectivity Bluetooth
Screen Size 2.4-inches
Screen Colours 65K
Camera Yes
Designer Lens No
Camera Resolution 3.5-megapixel
Zoom Yes
Flash Yes
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV/Flac player
Radio Yes
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games Yes
Battery Standby Up to 432 h

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