Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: BlackBerry Curve 9320

Patrick Stafford /

Research In Motion hasn’t had a great year or two. It continues to fall behind Google and Apple, and its latest reveal for the newest BlackBerry OS, while promising, didn’t blow analysts away.

But can its latest budget offer, the Curve 9320, offer any sort of relief? Early reviewers suggest it’s worth a look if you’re already a BlackBerry owner – the real question is whether it can win over new users.

Hardware and features

  • The Curve 9320 has a 2.44-inch screen, the traditional physical QWERTY keyboard and, of course, the touch-sensitive optical trackpad.
  • The device itself has a resolution of 320×240 pixels, a microSD slot with up to 32GB of possible storage, and 512MB of RAM. The curve is Wi-Fi enabled, along with a microUSB port.
  • The camera is a 3.15 megapixel lens, with an LED flash, with image stabilisation features as well.
  • The battery is a standard Li-Ion battery, with up to 432 hours of standby time, and seven hours of talk time.

What’s the consensus?

First thing’s first – the design. The Curve features a plastic body with a silver trim, which is nothing special. But as TrustedReviews points out, it’s still a nice looking handset, if a little on the clunky side.

This is actually slightly slimmer than the likes of the 9300, which stands at 109 x 60 x 13.9 mm and, at only 103g, the 9320 is pretty light too.

The publication also noted some good changes, including the repositioning of the headphone jack: “Finally RIM has seen sense and put it on the top edge, rather than the side, making it much easier to pocket the phone with headphones attached.”

There’s also a new dedicated button for the BlackBerry Messenger app, which joins the convenience button on the right side of the phone.

“Also improved are the navigation buttons under the screen, which are now proper individual units rather than ones formed out of a single piece of plastic, making them much easier to feel you way around without having to look.”

The Curve is using BlackBerry 7.1, so previous users will be comfortable with how everything works. But as TechRadar points out, some of the icons look confusing given they’re the same shape and of similar design.

However, it also said the phone itself is quite fast with an 806Mhz processor.

“We wouldn’t have expected a quad-core chip in here or even a dual-core, come to think of it. But the 806MHz puts in a stellar effort. Maybe it’s the extra 6MHz in there, but we were impressed to see very little lag even when multitasking.”

“Maybe, just maybe, that spinning clock of death we used to dread on RIM’s devices has all but been laid to rest. We certainly didn’t see it very often except when browsing the web, which we’ll go into later.”

And over at Inquirer, the publication noted the web browser – even though it looks dated – and said the trackpad does a good job of navigating web pages, which loud “surprisingly fast”.

Back at TechRadar, the publication noted the keyboard gave “satisfying” clicks when pushed in – RIM is well known for its quality keyboards and this is no exception.

However, it also said it wouldn’t recommend the Curve as a “major” browsing device.

“Yes, it is a lot better when we compare it to the Curve range of BB4 and BB5, but that’s not saying much, because they were truly awful. The experience you get on the BlackBerry Curve 9320 is what you would have expected on a top-end phone maybe four years ago.”

However, it reserved some praise for the battery, which lasts for several hours and can even rival the iPhone.

“We have to take our hat off to the Canadians here. This is one of the best batteries we have ever used on a smartphone. Nothing will come close to the monochrome BlackBerry phones of old that lasted a week per charge with medium use, but this is the nearest you’ll get with a 3G device.”

Who’s it for?

The latest Curve isn’t going to change the smartphone market, and it’s not going to convince anyone who already has a BlackBerry that they like.

But for anyone looking at upgrading, this is a decent replacement. If you’re after something that won’t break the bank and can get the job done, this is a suitable replacement for a lower-cost smartphone.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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