• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

BlackBerrys used to be the preserve of the business user, but with the success of BBM, RIM has found itself appealing more and more to the younger market. So it has upped its focus on social networking and introduced touchscreens to keep up.

With that in mind, RIM has just launched its first all-touch device in the lower price bracket – the Curve 9380. Reminiscent of the company's flagship device the Torch 9860, and running the same Blackberry 7.0 OS, we wonder if it is possible to successfully bring the latest OS to a lower-spec device.

When you first pick it up, the 9380 feels light at 98g, and the shiny plastic body feels rather flimsy and cheap. It sits nicely in the hand though, as it has the benefit of that nicely curved reverse side.

Surprise surprise?

So, under the plastic cover, are there any surprises? For power, the Curve relies on an 806Mhz chip, which means its runs pretty smoothly for web browsing and navigating, but don’t expect to be enjoying a lot of intense gaming. The five-megapixel  snapper is pretty good and simple to use – plus Rim has included a dedicated key under the volume rocker on the side of the device. For anyone who wants to join the touchscreen revolution on a familiar BlackBerry handset, it is a good choice, as it benefits from media players and basic social networking features.

Keep in touch

The major difference from the Curve 9360, is the ditching of the traditional QWERTY keyboard in favour of a touchscreen – this one measures 3.2 inches and is of the HVGA capacitive type. The onscreen keyboard proved responsive in use and the keys are well spaced, offering a speedy typing experience, even if you’re only using one hand. RIM has kept to the QWERTY layout rather than choosing an alphanumeric layout.

As the phone operates on the existing BlackBerry 7 OS, there’s little new to report on this front. There’s a trackpad if you want it and we like the drop-down notifications menu, which reminds us of that on the HTC Sense overlay for Android. You’ll also find four more BlackBerry keys at the base of the screen – Menu, Return and a pair of dial keys.

Web and Wi-Fi

We tried surfing the net using Wi-Fi and it was not all that fast – it took a while to catch up with us if we tried to pinch to zoom, and the touchscreen can be hypersensitive, making scrolling frustrating – we opted to use the trackpad instead. On the plus side, text reflows automatically, and the screen offers good colour saturation and is bright. Video was also good to watch on this display. The only drawback is that because the screen only measures 60mm wide, everything gets a bit squashed – but with such a small light handset there has to be some payback somewhere.

There's also a decent media player, and you can up your storage from the rather feeble on-board 512Mb to a good 32GB using a microSD card. It's a pity, though that there aren't some more good entertainment apps to choose from.

Our conclusion

Anyone looking to update their Curve for a touchscreen device will find the 9380 offers a comfortable and familiar option. It may not be as durable as some devices, but it is small and light. However, there's not much in the way of entertainment or gaming apps to be had, so it still feels like a phone for those who want it as a means to stay in contact rather than as a media device. This mid-range phone has a decent range of specs, but BlackBerry fans may baulk at the fact that it has no physical QWERTY keyboard.

Specifications

Specifications

Type of phone:

N/A

Style:

candy bar

Size:

109x60x11.2mm

Weight:

98g

Display:

16 million colours

Resolution:

N/A

Camera:

5 megapixels

Special Camera features:

LED flash, auto focus

Video recording:

Yes

Video playback:

Yes

Video calling:

No

Video streaming:

Yes

Music formats played:

WMA, eAAC+, WAV, MP3

3.5mm jack port:

Yes

Handsfree speakerphone:

Yes

Voice Control:

No

Voice Dialling:

Yes

Call records:

Practically unlimited

Phonebook:

Practically unlimited

Ringtones customization:

Yes

Display description:

TFT capacitive touch-screen

Website:

www.blackberry.com

SAR:

N/A

Portfolio:

N/A

Standard color:

Black

Launch Status:

Coming Soon

Ringtones:

Polyphonic, MP3

Radio:

No

Operating system:

N/A

Connectivity:

MicroUSB, A2DP, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Announced date:

November 2011

What's in the Box:

N/A

RAM:

512MB

International launch date:

November 2011

Battery life when playing multimedia:

30 hours

CPU:

806MHz

FM Radio Description:

N/A

Internal memory:

512MB

Memory Card Slot:

microSD

Messaging:

IM, SMS, Email

Internet Browser:

HTML

E-mail client:

SMTP, IMAP4, Push email, POP3

GPS:

A-GPS

Java:

Yes

Games:

Yes

Data speed:

3G, HSDPA, EDGE, GPRS

Frequency:

N/A

Talktime:

340 minutes

Standby:

360 hours

Display size:

3.2 inches

Keypad:

N/A

Audio recording:

Yes

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