BlackBerry Curve 9380 Review
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.
Features of the BlackBerry Curve 9380 include:
BlackBerry Curve 9380 User Reviews
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Average rating from 7 reviews:
Reviewed by Holly from England on 22nd Jul 2012
Reviewed by Sophie Louise from Wakefield on 27th
Reply by Bob from Marley on 12th Jul
Reviewed by Harry from UK on 3rd May 2012
Reviewed by ffff from ffff on 12th Apr 2012
Reviewed by Peter Lobendhan from United Kingdom on
11th Apr 2012
Reviewed by jan bro from uk on 30th Mar 2012
Reviewed by ace from jamaica on 28th Feb 2012
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