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BlackBerry Curve 9320 expert review

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 is a basic yet capable smartphone that combines powerful BlackBerry 0S7 software with affordable hardware. This is a solid entry-level device for fans of BBM, push email and QWERTY keys.

I like the one-press button that takes you straight to BlackBerry Messenger, it lets you instantly start quick-fire chats with your BlackBerry contacts. I definitely don't like the clicky keys though. This phone won't perform like a BlackBerry Bold device, but it is a good little device for the price and would be a suitable introduction to BlackBerry services for those new to the platform.

Pros

  • Slimmer and lighter than its predecessors, fast boot time, Blackberry OS7 software

Cons

  • Poor quality camera, clicky buttons, not many apps available to download compared to the Apple iPhone and Android-powered smartphones

Design

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 is slimmer and lighter than previous Curve handsets, weighing in at 103g. The more rectangular shape doesn't stop it from looking like a 'classic' BlackBerry device, although the traditional faceplate of buttons associated with the Curve smartphone series has been replaced with four square keys surrounding the trackpad. I think these look a little out of place, but they do feel sturdier and more reliable than the more flimsy plastic fascia. In general the phone is more comfortable to use than previous models in the series.

An updated, sturdier battery cover and a more defined QWERTY keyboard bring the phone more in line with the Bold and Torch series, and make the Curve feel far less like the ‘budget’ handset in the Blackberry lineup, although the QWERTY keys are too clicky for my taste.

Hardware

The baby of the 2012 BlackBerry smartphone line up, the Curve 9320 packs a surprising amount of punch for its price tag. With 512mb of RAM for improved multitasking, 3G connectivity for better internet connections, and a clearer LCD screen than the previous Curve models, it feels like a solid update to the series. However, some may be put off by the poor quality camera. At only 3.15MP, the lens is of below average quality for smartphones, despite having an LED flash for low light images. If photography is important to you, consider opting for the BlackBerry Curve 9360 instead as this has a better 5MP camera. The added BBM button on the left hand side of the phone is a fantastic idea. It offers one-touch access to BBM conversations in an instant.

Software

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 smartphone runs on BlackBerry OS7 - Research in Motion’s latest version of the software. It is faster, smoother and offers wider app compatibility with Blackberry App World. The faster boot time is a small but significant improvement, bringing the time from inserting the battery to accessing the homescreen down to around a minute.

Unfortunately, the Blackberry OS still suffers with a lack of apps and games compared to the iPhone and Android devices, and web browsing is not as easy as on some other handsets. However, the great email support, exclusive Blackberry Messenger service and integrated Office To Go features remain fantastic reasons to purchase a Blackberry.

Managing your mobile - top tips

  • Consider purchasing a portable charger or a second battery pack to swap out when you're on the move, to improve the battery life
  • When you don't need to be connected (for instance if you're on the train or in a meeting), turn off your connections by going to Manage connections > turn off connections in settings, this will disable 3G and location-based services to give you more battery life
  • Download Skype for BlackBerry and use it over Wi-Fi to make free voice calls to your family and friends (this will conserve your call allowance)
  • Download What's App for BlackBerry and use it to send text-like messages to your contacts without using up your SMS allowance

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 smartphone is available now from Carphone Warehouse.

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