BlackBerry Curve 9380 review

A touchscreen BlackBerry Curve at last

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BlackBerry curve 9380 review

BlackBerry OS 7 is on board in the BlackBerry Curve 9380, with is iterative improvements from OS 6. It's friendlier and more colourful than the default interface of previous BlackBerry OS versions, and retains the larger focus on touch interaction that OS 6 introduced.

On the Home screen, this is manifested in numerous areas that can be interacted with. The status bar at the top can be tapped to open several quick settings, while below is a notifications area that you touch to open your full notifications list.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

By tapping the speaker symbol in the top left, you can switch profiles quickly, while the magnifying glass brings up a screen that enables you to search the phone for certain terms, or send the terms to the browser for an internet search. You can also perform voice searches, although the speech recognition is rather hit and miss, and is a long way from the accuracy of Siri on the Apple iPhone 4S.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

The app tray at the bottom of the Home screen can be pulled up to reveal one, two, three or three-and-a-bit rows of apps at a time, or hidden completely. You'll have to open it all the way to be able to scroll through all your apps, however.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

This is all presented pretty much identically to the BlackBerry Torch 9860, except that the different dimensions of the screen mean that you can't fit the full fourth row of apps on, as you can on the 9860.

You can swipe left and right on the app trays to access different arrangement of apps, such as Frequent, Downloads, Media and Favourites.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

Overall, it's a system that sits somewhere in the middle of Google's Android and Apple's iOS when it comes to intuitive simplicity and customisability, and we like it. The only shame is that there are no widgets for those who like the have the app trays closed - it's just wasted space at the moment.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

Alas, despite our fondness for the touch-optimised Home screen, there are many aspects of the BlackBerry OS that haven't had such care. Many apps still use small lists in their interfaces that were clearly designed for use with the trackpad on non-touch devices, with entries that are too small for fingers to select.

There is a trackpad on the BlackBerry Curve 9380 to get around this problem, but having to switch between using touch controls and the trackpad to control a phone isn't what we'd call intuitive.

There are also still irritating niggles such as text boxes or password entry fields appearing without automatically bringing up the keyboard. They're not dealbreakers, but show a lack of polish compared to Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7 devices.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

Though generally we found the BlackBerry Curve 9380's responsiveness across the operating system to be acceptable, if hardly super-zippy (which is to be expected for a lower-end phone, to a degree), we did find that it flaked out on us really badly at one point.

It became impossible for us to scroll through any lists or web pages without accidentally selecting things in them. It caused us to accidentally follow people on Twitter, it made it a nightmare to reflow text in the browser, and just browsing through our list of apps became a Herculean chore.

It persisted overnight, but a restart of the phone eventually sorted it out. Though it was undoubtedly an unusual incident, the fact that such a glitch made the phone nearly unusable just during our review period, let alone the two years you might have this phone on contract, is pretty unnerving.

And we have to finish with a final major problem - one that we picked up on in our Torch 9860 review but that persists here. In one app's password field, the autocorrect function is active, not only causing your passwords to go wrong if they aren't normal words, but also overriding the asterisks and revealing your password to the world until it's dismissed.

BlackBerry curve 9380 review

(Disclaimer: The above picture is from the Torch 9860, due to problems getting a screengrab on the Curve 9380, but the problem is identical.)

RIM is a company obsessed with security, so we're amazed that such an obvious security issue is allowed by the operating system.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
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
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
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 Address
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.