BlackBerry Curve 9380 review
|Review: January 2012|
Last updated September 2012
In a nutshell: This mid-priced BlackBerry with a full touchscreen is perfect for social media & messaging. But watch out for the underpowered processor and poor battery life.
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The 9380 is the first of the Curve series to go all touchscreen. It's rather like a cut-price version of the BlackBerry Torch 9860. It's smaller in size too and much lighter in weight. In fact, it feels just right in the palm.
This is a nicely styled, compact smartphone with a shiny metallic strip around the edge giving it a premium look and feel. The BlackBerry logo on the front adds to this impression. And while not a cheap phone, it's certainly more affordable than the high-end Torch and Bold series models. Yet it shares the high-quality build of these more expensive phones.
The design is very much like the Torch 9860, with a full touchscreen positioned above 4 navigation keys and an optical trackpad. It's a good combination and it works efficiently. The touchscreen responds quite well when prodded, and the virtual QWERTY keyboard switches between a portrait SureType keyboard and a full width landscape one when rotated. Both options are easy to use, with well-sized keys.
The screen is smaller than competitors like the Nokia Lumia 710 or HTC One S. 3.2 inches is just sufficient for a lower-end touchscreen phone, and the resolution of 360 x 480 pixels is adequate. It does gives you a lot more space than a traditional BlackBerry with a normal keyboard.
The Curve 9380 runs the latest BlackBerry 7 software, bringing a host of improvements to the way you use your phone. It's a very easy-to-use interface. There are excellent core apps pre-installed such as a security app and a document editor, and a growing number of downloadable apps.
Communications are great on the 9380. It's a BlackBerry, after all. As well as being hot on email, modern BlackBerries like the 9380 come fully equipped with facebook and twitter apps, and the touchscreen design is ideal for viewing your conversations. Conversations combine messages from multiple sources such as email, social media and BBM in one place, for ease of access.
Photography isn't the Curve's number-one priority, yet it matches the quality of rival camera phones in this price bracket. The still camera uses a 5 megapixel sensor with an LED flash, and has features like face detection and image stabilisation to help turn those quick snapshots into something decent. Don't expect this camera to replace a dedicated one, but for casual shots to upload to the internet, it works well enough. Video recording at VGA resolution isn't impressive, but it's available for recording short clips. You can upload photos and videos with a single click.
When it comes to connectivity, there are no problems at all. As well as fast HSDPA 3G, there's Wi-Fi for fast data access. A 3.5mm stereo headset port is there for when you want to listen to some music, and there's even NFC for connecting to other NFC-enabled devices. Bluetooth is there too, of course.
The memory is understandably less than in the Torch 9860, with 512MB of built-in memory plus 512MB RAM, as well as support for microSD cards up to 32GB.
The processor is quite a lot less powerful than that of the Torch 9860. 806MHz is enough to power the phone most of the time, but there are moments when the processor struggles to keep up. The phone can become a bit of a dog to use when that happens.
Web browsing on the Curve 9380 performs well. The touchscreen design is a much better option than the traditional BlackBerry Curve layout with cramped screen for web browsing. Web pages render reasonably quickly, and you can easily zoom into pages with multitap finger control. HTML5 is fully supported.
There are a few extra "fun" features here too. 3D games like Roller Coaster Rush can help while away a few spare minutes. Wikitude’s augmented reality browser uses the camera display to present information about what's around you. And it's a good phone for playing music or watching video clips too. The new BBM Music feature lets you share playlists with your friends.
What's most annoying about the 9380 is that RIM have once again used the underpowered JM1 battery that appears in the Torch 9860 and Bold 9900 models. Forget the 15 days of standby that RIM laughably quote for this phone. With only 1230 mAh of juice, it's a struggle to make it through the day if you're a heavy user. Light users will get 2 days between charges.
Overall, the Curve 9380 is a good touchscreen alternative to a traditional BlackBerry like the Curve 9320. Brilliant for messaging, and good at most other things you'd expect from a modern smartphone, the 9380 does the lot and does most of it very well. But it's let down by an underpowered processor and battery. There are better smartphones available now for less than £200. Alternatives to the 9380 would be the Android HTC One S or the Windows-based Nokia Lumia 710 . Or you could stump up some more money and go for the BlackBerry Torch 9860 or BlackBerry Bold 9790, although these share the same battery problems as the Curve.
BlackBerry Curve 9380 features include:
- 5 megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, image stabilisation, face detection and 4x digital zoom
- VGA video recording (640 x 480 pixels)
- Display: Capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 360 pixels, 3.2 inches, user selectable font size
- Media player (3GP2, M4V, AVI, WMV, WMA, MP3, FLAC, OGG, AAC, AMR, WAV, MID audio & MP4, M4A, 3GP, AVI, ASF video formats supported)
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, instant messaging, push email with attachment viewer
- Built-in speakerphone
- Voice-activated search
- A-GPS with BlackBerry Maps
- Personal organiser functions
- Processor: Marvel Tavor MG1 806MHz
- Memory: 512MB in-built memory, 512 MB RAM with support for microSD card up to 32GB
- Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, USB, 3.5mm stereo headset port, NFC
- Internet: Web browser, social media
- Size: 109 x 60 x 11.2 mm
- Weight: 98g
- Quadband GSM plus 3G HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE
- Battery: 1230 mAh
- Talktime: 5.5 hours
- Battery standby: up to 15 days
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BlackBerry Curve 9380 user reviews
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Average rating from 7 reviews:
Reviewed by Holly from England on 22nd Jul 2012
This is the worst blackberry you can get...
The battery doesnt even last a day so i cant even listen to music on it because it runs out the quick and freezes all the time it freezes for Ages so I have to take the battery out and restart it..
Every minutes mine freezes
The touch screen is Okaii but can brake easy
The keyboard is small
The phone memory is rubbish
The phone is easy to use,smart..
The camera is great has a flash which is good
the game graphics are great
Good apps available for it
It also comes with the lasted bb software.
Reviewed by Sophie Louise from Wakefield on 27th
Got this phone for christmas smashed the screen within a month, touch screen then wouldn't work and have just paid £70 to get it repaired hAd to look round for ages to get it repaired as no one can get parts for it, when it was working battery rarely lasted half a day, and got very slow, used to crash all the time, then had to take the battery out an it would take ages to turn on. Wouldn't recommend this phone it's a nice looking phone but really is rubbish
Reply by Bob from Marley on 12th Jul
How can you say its a rubbish phone just because u broke it??????
Reviewed by Harry from UK on 3rd May 2012
Great phone, not that good battery but the features more than make up with this! looks great, buy this phone!!
Reviewed by ffff from ffff on 12th Apr 2012
there is a lot of ram
Reviewed by Peter Lobendhan from United Kingdom on
11th Apr 2012
I own this phone on o2 uk since Christmas 2011 the Battery is its shortfall in just standby mode it looses at least 23% power dispite on an all night re-charge so on a train journey of almost 2 hours when I arrive at work it goes back on the charger!
also the screen is far too sensitive and answering the phone involves alot of fiddling they should have incorperated two simple end and send keys this is a problem alot of Androids suffer from having owned the Samsung Ace the HTC Wildfire & HTC DesireS the HTC ChaCHa.
I now own a SonyEricsson Ray Xperia and it beats the pants off the Blackberry 9380
The Tunin radio app on the 9380 works a treat but kills the battery lets compare that to my sony ericsson Ray it will go-on and on and on just after one hourand a half charge
Reviewed by jan bro from uk on 30th Mar 2012
i had this phone for a week now and the battery is horrible sometimes i have to charge it twice BLACKBERRY needs to make a phone with out the useless battery life !
Reviewed by ace from jamaica on 28th Feb 2012
just one problem the lower powered battery....its a blackberry and live up to the name.....for me a give it a four star ...because of the battery