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BlackBerry Curve 9320 Review

 

BlackBerry Curve 9320 Review

 
Page 1 of 3

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 is very much the baby of the BlackBerry family, both physically and in terms of specs. Fortunately, that also means that entry-level Curve models can be had for very little cash, but provide you with a range of smartphone features that take you beyond your typical feature phone.

Design & keyboard

With diminutive dimensions, the BlackBerry Curve 9320 does little to differentiate itself from previous devices of the same family. It replaces the popular 9300, advancing the body detailing slightly to make this a more attractive device.  Of course the Curve 9320 isn't the only Curve in the 93xx family. It doesn't hit the high points of the Curve 9360, which remains the slimmer and sexier device, while walking away with better headline specs. The Curve 9320 measures 109 x 60 x 12.7mm which makes it relatively fat in modern terms, with many devices slipping in under 10mm thick. In reality, it makes little difference, because this size of device is easily pocketable.

The curved back nestles down nicely in your hand and, at this size, using one or two thumbs to work the keyboard is possible. The keyboard is naturally smaller than the Bold family, but we didn't have a problem rampantly bashing out BBM messages, even with man-sized hands.  And that says something for RIM's keyboard design. We prefer the Bold's flat keyboard with flush keys, but find that the Curve's keyboard is good enough. It is a clicky keyboard though, so hardcore messagers will have to get used to the constant clickety-click of the button presses. One downside of this keyboard design is that debris and finger grease will collect between the keys over time, so cleaning with a cotton wool bud and a dab of alcohol might be in order to keep things clean.

The back of the Curve, unlike the 9300, is now glossy. It attracts fingerprints to some extent, although they're easily removed with a wipe on your jeans. Despite the smooth finish, we didn't find it slippery like some phones: the size makes it easy to grip. In terms of controls the waistband across the middle of the phone sees a central navi-key, as you'll find on all other BlackBerry models. This is flanked by the common arrangement of calling keys, menu and back. Unlike other models, on the Curve 9320 these are physical buttons although in practice that makes little difference to their operation.

Down the left-hand side of the Curve 9320 is the Micro-USB port for charging, along with a convenience key. This is labelled as "BBM", so you can dive straight into RIM's instant-messaging service. There is a second convenience key on the right-hand side too which defaults to the camera; both can be reassigned to different functions if you prefer.  One change towards the conventional is the positioning of the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the handset. This is much more convenient than previous side positioning, which always left the headphone plug sticking out awkwardly in your pocket.

There is perhaps little remarkable about the Curve 9320 when it comes to design, but if you follow the tried and tested route, then arguably there was little to modify on a device at the bottom of the pile.

Hardware & Camera

RIM isn't as forthcoming with the full hardware specs on its lesser models, but that perhaps doesn't matter, as each device fits fairly well into a hierarchy. In the Curve 9320 you get 512MB RAM and 512MB of internal memory, but the 800MHz processor isn't formally disclosed. Numbers alone mean nothing but, naturally, as RIM's entry-level device, the performance isn't the snappiest. It does perform most tasks in isolation fast enough to feel like you are getting things done, but it is no match for better devices like the Bold.

The lack of internal memory means a microSD card is essential essential for any content you want to carry around with you like photos or music. You might find yourself limited in terms of app space, although to be fair, most of the core apps come preinstalled and BlackBerry App World isn't as appealing as Google Play or Apple App Store when it comes to exciting new apps.

The camera sees itself settle at 3.2-megapixels, which might not sound like a lot in modern terms, but in reality the results are well suited for mobile sharing. Unfortunately the camera is fixed focus, so you can't achieve the same results as you can with autofocus models, but they're good enough.

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