With the Curve 9320, the BlackBerry brand has gone back to its roots with a simple QWERTY keyboard, a squat and chunky design, no touchscreen and a focus on BlackBerry Messenger. The Curve 9320 is also retro in specification, having a 2.4in display, 512MB of RAM and 512MB of storage space for your apps. This specification is probably why the Curve 9320 is colloquially known as the Kiddie Curve, because it’s perfect for young people with great eyesight and no need for a more powerful phone.
The Curve 9320 also comes in four different colours and it feels light yet tough. Its 2.4in display does take some getting used to, especially if you’re accustomed to newer touchscreen phones. Its lack of a touchscreen means you use the optical trackpad below it to traverse the various menus, but we had no problem with this. It felt natural and the cursor moves quickly, but in a controlled manner so you don’t overshoot the icon or option you want to choose. Sadly, the small screen size does mean that you can’t see as much on screen as you can with other smartphones, and it’s especially grating because of our familiarity with widescreen designs. Although you can increase the font size on the Curve 9320, you can’t increase icon size, which means you do strain your eyes when looking at it for extended periods of time.
The Curve 9320 comes with BlackBerry OS 7.1, which is a great mobile OS. It’s mostly icon-based, with list-driven context menus. This does give it an old-school feel, but it also means you can quickly find or alter the menu setting you need quickly, which is vitally important given the lack of a touchscreen.
We’re less impressed by its keyboard. It’s great for smaller hands or those with long nails, but we found ourselves repeatedly hitting the wrong key when trying to type at a decent speed. We often hit the wrong key when typing on a touchscreen keyboard, but we can type quicker on a touchscreen than the Curve 9320’s keyboard.
The Curve 9320’s browser reminded us of web-browsing on the Nintendo Wii. You have an onscreen cursor that you move around using the optical trackpad. You can zoom in and out of the webpage and click to go through to another page. We found text hard to read, and when we zoomed in we couldn’t see the text in context. This ruined our web-browsing experience. The Curve 9320’s great if you want to look up some general information, but not if you browse the internet regularly.
Its basic 3.2-megapixel camera pales in comparison to that of more expensive phones such as the Sony Xperia P, but it’s great for taking quick snaps for Facebook, and it even has a flash. It also has a geo-tagging facility, and you can use it as a video camera if you have a micro SD card in it. Considering the price of the Curve 9320, that’s not bad.
The Curve makes a great first smartphone for younger users,