I recently received the Blackberry Curve 9320 to have a play with and take it out for a test spin.
As usual, I look at the phone from the perspective of its intended target audience. In this case, it aimed at the first-time smartphone users or those who have their first Blackberry phone that now needs an upgrade but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new handset. This is where RIM is still playing a strong game and of course the every popular BBM is a reason NOT to leave the Blackberry stable.
So what do you get this with the Curve 9320 ?
You get a decent screen size screen (a bit low res for my liking but an acceptable 320 x 240 pixels screen) and 3.1MP camera with LED flash which actually takes very decent photos.
The operating system is BlackBerry OS 7.1 and it has great messaging as we have come to expect from Blackberry. Facebook, Twitter, BBM and all my various email accounts are handled with ease. With OS7.1 BBM can integrate into other apps – especially useful is integration into Facebook for updates.
Design: Leaving it on the desk next to my Blackberry Curve 8900 you can see that Blackberry has kept the styling consistent. Once major improvement is that headphone jack has move from the side to the top of the 9320. Now the headphone doesn’t get caught on the side of my pocket whilst listening to the built in FM radio or my MP3.
The Curve 9320 has a dedicated BBM button on the left hand side of the phone. I was surprised just useful that is. I hear that “you have a new BBM message” beep and I instinctively press that button to land up in the BBM app. Yes, I know in other models you can assign the right hand side button (which is defaulted to camera) to BBM however here you don’t have to choose. You have access to both BBM and Camera instantly.
Keyboard: The keyboard is still tops. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing that “click click” as you type on a the Curve’s keyboard. It is neatly laid out and can be used by either one hand or two handed typing.
Screen: The phone’s screen is decent enough for this type of phone. I watched Mr Bean at the Olympics whilst waiting in traffic and it was perfectly fine. Both the sound and clarity didn’t let the phone down or leave me frustrated that I cant make out what is being said. If you need to quickly catch up on news or check out a funny YouTube clip your mate sent you – there is nothing wrong with this phone.
MicroSD: With previous models (and other phone manufacturers), the MicroSD is usually hidden under the battery so you have to reboot the entire phone if you just want to use the MicroSD card. The curve has Micro SD facility that it accessible without taking out the battery. I found it useful when I wanted to transfer files from my laptop to the phone.
Call Clarity: When making or receiving a call the quality on the Curve 9320 is decent. I didn’t get any crackling or feedback as you get on other budget devices. The speaker isn’t very loud so it can’t be used it as a makeshift handsfree kit.
Performance: The performance is really impressive for what is “an entry level smartphone” It clocks in at an amazing 802MHz and has 512MB ram so this means you can have multiple apps open and the phone is happy to churn away as you bounce from app to app with no lag.
Hot Spot: The built in hotspot was also particularly useful when I found myself at a conference where there was no signal. I enabled the phone’s hotspot, placed the phone by a window away from where I was sitting and connected my laptop to it – perfect signal.
Battery: The phone just keeps going. It has a 1450 mAh battery and it gave me over three days of intensive usage. This is a big plus over the high-end phones
So in summary:
The Blackberry Curve 9320 is not meant to have any frills and it suppose to be just basic, but I disagree. I think this is funky little phone that puts up a decent fight. It put up with everything I threw at it and didn’t leave me hanging. The battery life alone is worth its weight in gold as I often landed up reverting back to it at the end of a long day as my other phone just doesn’t last.
According to Arthur Goldstuck’s latest Mobility 2012 s research that shows how BBM users in the past 18 months increased from 3% to 17% of adult cellphone users. A clear sign that Blackberry isn’t going anywhere and being connected with BBM is extremely important to the South African community.
The Curve 9320 is a great phone that is understated and over delivers.