BlackBerry Curve 9380 review

A touchscreen BlackBerry Curve at last

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BlackBerry curve 9380 review

The BlackBerry Curve 9380 is very much a product of a union between the BlackBerry Curve 9360 and the BlackBerry Torch 9860. It's the pared-back specs of the former with the touch-focused ethos of the latter.

The handset is light without feeling too cheap, and can be perfectly slick and responsive. The idea is spot-on.

But the BlackBerry Curve 9380 is forever hamstrung by the fact that RIM is simply a couple of steps behind the likes of the iPhone 4S, HTC Sensation XE or Samsung Galaxy Nexus when it comes to the more thoughtful, intricate parts of being a touchscreen device.

Where Android has been ruthless in cutting out the less touch-friendly parts of the OS that we saw in it years ago, RIM has just tried to fit touchscreen capabilities into what it already had, to avoid rocking the boat. The BlackBerry Curve 9380 is stuck with one hand tied behind its back.

We liked

The BlackBerry Curve 9380 is gloriously comfortable, and you wouldn't worry about dropping it - it seems like it'd bounce and get a bit of a nick, rather than shatter on the floor. It looks good, too - like a modern smartphone, but undeniably BlackBerry.

For a handset lacking horsepower (relatively), it can be quite slick and pleasant to use. We like BlackBerry OS 7's Home screen system, and the social networking integration is well thought out and appealing.

The media functions are good for a mid-range mobile phone, as well. They're easy to use, and videos look good, despite the screen's low resolution.

We disliked

When it comes to interfaces that are intended to be all-touch, BlackBerry OS just isn't there yet.

Old interface elements bleed through every so often - there's that ridiculous autocorrect issue with the password field, social integration that's great in places but seemingly pointless in others, the touch responsiveness went completely nuts for a day for us… there are both small and big issues all over the place.

We still don't like RIM's touchscreen keyboard, either, although we found it marginally easier here than in the Torch 9860.

And while we don't blame RIM for putting a lower-end CPU in the BlackBerry Curve 9380, and we can forgive the occasional performance lags that that causes, the low-resolution screen is a little disappointing. Surely RIM could have used the 480 x 640 screen from the Torch 9810 here?

Verdict

There's definitely the potential within the BlackBerry Curve 9380 for it to be a good smartphone, and for many BlackBerry addicts on a budget, hungry for some touchscreen action, it could serve well.

Frankly, we'd rather have the BlackBerry Curve 9360 within the BlackBerry range, but if it's a touchscreen phone you want in this price bracket, we'd go for the iPhone 3GS, thanks to its slicker operating system.

If you can stretch to a few more pounds per month on a contract, though, you'll find all manner of Android phones with vastly improved specs over the Curve, and a more mature operating system.

Although the BlackBerry Curve 9380 has much to commend it, we don't think it's the best option in its price range, and for only a little more money, you could get much more handset.

Tags

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.23 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyCurve
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time5.50 Hour
Product Model9380
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 360
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)98 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Processor ManufacturerMarvell
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 7.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density188 ppi
Height109 mm
Width60 mm
Depth11.2 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time360 Hour
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameCurve 9380 Smartphone
Processor Speed806 MHz
Processor TypeTavor
Product LineCurve
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor, Accelerometer, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-39091-029
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

First-ever all-touch BlackBerry Curve display

All-touch display

The 3.2" all-touch screen is packed with pixels for a crisp, clear display and responds quickly whether you're tapping, swiping or zooming. So it's easy to quickly skim and scroll through your apps and icons, or zoom in on your friends' newest Facebook pics.

Stylish and sleek

The curved, all-touch design creates a smartphone that's not only great to look at, but also feels just right in your hand.