BlackBerry Curve 9320 – hands on review

Want to see how our date with RIM's shiny new entry-level BlackBerry smartphone went? Click on through...

BlackBerry Curve 9320 – overview

RIM's BlackBerry 10 devices are due to hit later this year and look set to impress, at least if our BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha handset hands on review is anything to go by. RIM is still sticking with its BlackBerry 7 line of handsets in the time being however, and we got up close and personal with its latest budget social-centric model, the BlackBerry Curve 9320. Click on through to see how it fared in our gadget-weathered hands...

BlackBerry Curve 9320 – design and build

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 doesn't scream out 'budget' at first glance, and this first impression holds true when handling it. It feels extremely light thanks to its 103g weight and the matte rubber-feel sides and black plastic cover feel pleasant in the hands, though you'll be frequently polishing fingerprints off of its rear.

We're also glad to see the headphone port has slid around from the side to the top for easier access – wave goodbye to bent headphone connecters at long last.

The standard volume and camera buttons grace the BlackBerry Curve 9320's right side, but there's also a new BBM hotkey on the left, firing up RIM's immensely popular messaging service quicker than the time it takes to type out a hasty 'lol'.

The BlackBerry Curve 9320's 2.44in screen falls squarely in line with its entry-level status – no touchscreen tech here, though RIM's Track Pad remains as fluid as ever. The 320x240 resolution pales greatly to the pin-sharp screens of the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple iPhone 4S, but those handsets are many hundreds of pounds more expensive and it does still produces decent colours.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 – screen

3.2 megapixels are the order of the day imaging-wise and we're slightly disappointed that RIM didn't bump up the sensor by another couple of megapixels. Still, the shots we took are decent enough for sharing with friends over BBM, Facebook and Twitter while on the go.

There's also a flash for low-light conditions, positioned fairly far away from the lens, though we didn't get chance to test out low-light performance.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 – camera

An 806Mhz single-core processor coupled with 512MB RAM manages to keep the BB 7.1 OS running smoothly from what we saw, though we'll need more time to properly put it through its paces. BB 7.1 OS's new browser is also fluid and fast, and navigating through menus and apps is a stutter-free experience. You'll be wanting to nab yourself an micro-SD card to load up on media however, as there's only 512MB of internal storage.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 – power

The BlackBerry Curve 9320's keyboard follows RIM's tradition of excellent typing hardware. Although the keys are slightly smaller than those found on the Bold models, seasoned CrackBerry addicts should have no trouble whipping out messages on the Curve 9320's keys, which are satisfyingly clicky and spaced apart.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 – keyboard

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 looks set to be a solid budget handset for social butterflies toting a packed BBM, Twitter and Facebook friends list. Features like a dedicated BBM button and a large 1,450mAh battery offering seven hours of talk time and 30 minutes of music playback will also appeal to users looking for decent features at a low price.

With a SIM-free price of £140 (undercutting fellow budget contender the HTC One V), the BlackBerry Curve's solid hardware and familiar software should appeal to the RIM faithful as well as gadgeteers on a budget.

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