BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

RIM's latest attempt at a cheap-as-chips smartphone

BlackBerry Curve 9320 review
The definitive BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

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If you've used a BlackBerry smartphone in the last couple of years, then you'll be in familiar territory. The Curve 9320 comes with BlackBerry's latest OS 7.1 preinstalled out of the box.

We've commented on the look of BB7 before and how it appears to take its cues from the BlackBerry PlayBook - RIM's tablet. The icons are of the same design and look like a kind of mishmash. Whereas on some devices (namely the iPhone) icons all have a similar shape and design, there's none of that here, so screens end up looking a bit cluttered.

This could be excused on handsets such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Curve 9360 with higher resolutions that give the icons real clarity, but they're not afforded the same luxury here on the BlackBerry Curve 9320.

Not that that will put off the teenagers or those taking their first foray into the smartphone world - the target audience for this affordable handset.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

The processor is 806MHz, which we were fairly surprised at. We wouldn't have expected a quad-core chip in here or even a dual-core, come to think of it. But the 806MHz puts in a stellar effort. Maybe it's the extra 6MHz in there, but we were impressed to see very little lag even when multitasking.

Maybe, just maybe, that spinning clock of death we used to dread on RIM's devices has all but been laid to rest. We certainly didn't see it very often except when browsing the web, which we'll go into later.

This could also be down to how BB7 (actually, BB 7.1 out of the box) works compared to previous operating systems BB5 and BB6.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

A signature feature of BlackBerry handsets is the fact that you get numerous app drawers to swipe through (favourites, recent, downloaded and so on), although you can now manage which ones you want to see via the menu. We find them a bit pointless and distracting, so are glad we can do this, since there's no option to rename or customise them in any way.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

As before, you can search anywhere within the phone using the keyboard, which is kind of like smart dialling, but searches through more than just your phone book.

BlackBerry Curve 9320 review

There's also the Nuance-powered voice search, but it's not the best thing since sliced bread, or even mouldy bread. In fact, it's rubbish when you compare it to offerings such as Vlingo, Siri or Samsung's new S-Voice.

Partly because you have to actually use your fingers to select it and again to tell it you've finished searching, partly because it's just not that well integrated into the full experience of the phone and partly because it's just an add-on that RIM has licensed.

We imagine few will be buying the BlackBerry Curve 9320 solely for the voice features, and if you are, we suggest a radical rethink and perhaps a trip to the doctor.