Blackberry Curve 9320

Feature set summary for BlackBerry Curve 9320 review
The Curve 9320 offers plenty for its £149 SIM-free pricetag. There are very decent social networking, email and productivity facilities, in line with what you’d expect on a pricier handset. The onboard 3.2-megapixel snapper is pretty average though, and there’s no support for walking directions on BlackBerry maps.

Blackberry Curve 9320

Style and handling summary for BlackBerry Curve 9320 review
The Curve 9320 looks like the many BlackBerrys before it so it won’t wow you with its innovative design, but it is lightweight, yet sturdy, and as always the QWERTY keyboard is a joy to use.

Battery power summary for BlackBerry Curve 9320 review
There’s no AMOLED touchscreen to drain the juice but even so we were impressed with the 30 hours we got out of a fully charged battery – even when we did lots of net surfing, watching TouTube clips and using GPS. In light use you should get two days out of the battery.

Performance summary for BlackBerry Curve 9320 review
The Curve 9320 is run by an 806MHz chip, so performs at a decent speed and there was little in the way of lag apart from when doing heavy-duty jobs – for instance when downloading an app and trying to do another task at the same time. The universal inbox for email, texts, social messages and alerts is impressively comprehensive.

User friendliness summary for BlackBerry Curve 9320 review
Once you realise that everything revolves around the central menu button, it’s easy to find your way round the phone. The operating system is BlackBerry 7.1, which offers five panels where you can arrange your apps – there’s also a BlackBerry Messenger button for serious message fans.

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.