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BlackBerry Curve 9320 Review

on August 6, 2012 – 12:43 pmNo Comment

RIM (Research in Motion) announced the BlackBerry Curve 9320 in early May that launched in India at the end of May. This is the 3G version of the Curve 9220 that we reviewed in April. It has similar features as the Curve 9220, in addition it comes with 3G support and a better 3.2MP camera with flash. Let’s get into the detailed review.

Hardware


The phone 2.44-inch TFT display with 320×240 pixel resolution with 164 ppi. It is good but not impressive, they could have provided at least a 480 x 360 pixel resolution display with 246 ppi in the Curve 9360, that costs around 18k in the market. The display is prone to scratches, so better get a screen protector as soon as you get the device. The earpiece is at the top with notification LED next to it and a BlackBerry branding next to it.


There are keys for Dialer, Menu, Back and End / Power with the Trackpad in the middle. The 35 – key QWERTY keyboard is comfortable to type and it is backlit. There is a microphone and a loud speaker at the bottom.


On the right, there is a micro USB port and a dedicated BlackBerry key. There is also a lanyard slot at the top.


The Volume rocker is at the right with Mute / pause key in the middle. There is a camera button at the bottom which also acts as a convenience key that you can set to launch an app as you wish.


The lock / unlock button is at the top and the 3.5mm audio jack is next to it.


The 3.2MP camera is at the back with Curve branding in the middle and an LED flash next to it.


When you open the back cover you can see the 1450 mAh battery . When you remove the battery, you can see the SIM card slot. The microSD card slot is at the top that lets you expand the memory up to 32GB.

Software


The BlackBerry Curve 9320 runs on the latest BlackBerry OS 7.1 similar to 9220. This brings the most expected Wi-Fi Hotspot feature. The home screen looks the same with the shortcuts at the bottom and a navigation bar above that which you can swipe to access frequent apps, downloads, Media and Favorites.

There are notification icons at the top for battery and wireless indicators. The notification icon is below that notifies e-mails, twitter, Facebook or other notifications. You can press and hold the BlackBerry key to access recent apps or just press it to manage panels, add a folder, change home screen preferences which has options to change the wallpaper, set number of icon rows (max 2), or change downloads folder.

You can change the sound alerts with the audio icon at the left and there is a universal search at the right. You can click the top bar to manage connections such as Mobile network, Wi-Fi, Mobile hotspot and Bluetooth.

Apps


There are the usual utility apps such as Calendar, MemoPad note taking app,Tasks, Calculator,  Documents to Go to view documents, Files (file manager), Voice dialing, Voice Notes, Voice Notes recorder, Password Keeper and BlackBerry protect.

Other apps include, Facebook, Twitter, Social Feeds with both twitter and Facebook, Maps, YouTube and Games like BrickBreaker and Word Mole. There are IM apps such as Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and GTalk. You can always download more apps from the BlackBerry World App.

Camera


There is a 3.2MP EDOF ( Extended Depth of Field) camera at the back, better than the 9220. It shoots decent shots and also includes LED flash that lets you shoot in low light, but it is too bright. Some close up objects also end up blurry even if you change the mode to close up. It also has geo tagging and different scene modes. The video recorder lets you record videos at VGA (640 x 480 pixels) and has image stabilization. You can also reduce the Video resolution to MMS Mode (176 x 144).

Here are some sample images for you check out.

Music Player and FM Radio


The Music Player can play WMA, MP3, FLAC, OGG, AAC, AMR, WAV, MID formats and video formats such as MP4, M4A, 3GP, 3GP2, M4V, AVI, ASF, WMV. There are several music player options such as shuffle, repeat etc. You can use the button between the volume rocker to pause / resume the song. There is equalizer and bass booster to enhance the audio. The loud speaker is quite loud and offers optimal audio output. The FM Radio has RDS and auto scan option.

Browser, Messaging


The browser scored 275 points in the HTML5 test with 3 bonus points., which is slightly better than the browser in the OS 7.0. Looks like RIM has improved the browser in the BB OS 7.1. The browser start page shows your bookmarks and history.


The messaging part include the universal message box for text messages, notifications and e-mail. You can press and hold the trackpad to view more options in a message. There is the BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) which is easily accessible using the hardware BBM button on the right side of the device. The new BBM integrated apps feature lets you connect the Apps to BBM so that you can share the Twitter status, Foursquare checks etc. with your friends on BBM and also let others view your apps and download them from you BBM profile.


There is a setup page that lets you configure new accounts and personalize ringtones, wallpaper etc.

Connectivity

The connectivity features include, 3G (HSDPA: 7.2 Mbps HSUPA: 5.76 Mbps), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot feature that lets you share you data with up to 5 devices, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP. You can switch between 2G and 3G modes from the settings easily. There is also GPS assisted GPS that was absent in the Curve 9220.

Conclusion

This tiny device is definitely powerful with the 806 MHz processor. The 512MB RAM makes you multitask easily with quite a number of apps running in the background. 512MB internal memory with an optional micro SD card expansion slot is a plus. The 1450 mAh battery lasts for 2 complete days, with Always on Push email on EDGE, few hours of Music, FM Radio, few calls and messaging. If you are on 3G, then it should last more than a day. The camera is better than the one in 9220 but the LED flash could have been better.  The only problem with the device is the low resolution qVGA display at 164 ppi. At a price of about Rs. 15500, this is definitely a good entry level 3G BlackBerry phone.

Pros

  • 3G and FM Radio
  • Good battery life
  • Good loud speaker
  • Dedicated BBM key

Cons

  • Low resolution display
  • No touchscreen
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Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+