Week one with the BlackBerry Curve 9320 - Initial thoughts

BlackBerry Curve 9320
By James Richardson on 16 May 2012 11:27 am EDT
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In preparation for the full review of the new BlackBerry Curve 9320 here at CrackBerry, we thought we would give you a little teaser of what's to come. Although I am not doing the full review myself, I felt that a UK perspective on RIM's latest creation wouldn't do any harm.

Let's face it, here in Great Britain the BlackBerry has been the country's best selling smartphone for the last two consecutive years, and a big part of those sales are due to the Curve lineup of the 8520 and 9300. The 8520 is pretty ancient now and although the 9300 was upgradable to BlackBerry 6 that too is now running an out of date operating system.

So that's where the new guy steps in. No, not me ... I meant the Curve 9320.

With some improvements in hardware over its predecessors -- such as a bigger battery, more ROM and RAM -- and along with a better camera, it is a welcomed addition to the BlackBerry lineup. However, it is the OS where things have really stepped up.

The Curve 9320 is running BlackBerry 7.1, the same version of software as on the new Bold, Torch and Curve 9350/60/70, whoop!

What this gives the consumer is a smooth and efficient BlackBerry experience without breaking the bank.

Here in the UK the Curve 9320 is priced at a real sweet spot. SIM free you can pick up the device for only £130, and for free on a two year contract from as little as £10.50 per month. On pay as you go the BlackBerry Internet Service is still only £5 per month offering great value for money.

BlackBerry Curve 9320

When it comes to a BlackBerry a big part of the ‘addiction' is the hardware QWERTY keyboard. The same keyboard as previous Curve's has been retained so accurate power typing is still a big selling point.

An extra added feature with the new Curve is the dedicated BBM key. This is really just the left side convenience key but RIM have not only set it by default to open BBM, but in addition have added the letters BBM next to the key. A nice touch in my opinion.

Research in Motion are quite clearly aiming to not only retain current Curve users but to also sweep up those people buying their ‘first smartphone' .

After spending a week with the device I am in no doubt that RIM stand every chance of achieving both of these aims but this will also be reliable on some marketing. The marketing has kicked off in the last week or so. You have seen RIM's new TV advert here on CrackBerry.com and although it doesn't mention the Curve, or an other specific device, RIM are going to push the whole BlackBerry 7 thing rather than handsets themselves. What the carriers do is up to them I suppose and we may well see billboard posters etc trying to sell the 9320.

So am I impressed with the Curve 9320? I sure am. It may not be the best BlackBerry, but it isn't meant to be. What is does do is give those people on a budget the perfect BlackBerry experience allowing them to be productive and social with ease of use.

Nice one RIM, good job.

Watch out for the full review here on CrackBerry coming up soon!

Discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums

34 comments

Taz.

What are you impressed about James ?

Same old camera, same old processor, same old memory, same old convenience key. What's so impressing ? A BBM key ? "ouhh, I am going to buy this BlackBerry because it has a BBM key.. Yey........" Come on RIM...

The worst part is that RIM shows advertisements of a "new" phone. With "new" features. But there is NOTHING new in this phone.

guerllamo7

I think what is new on this device is:

1. runs OS7
2. BBM convenience key
3. faster processor

I also really like that you can play FM radio without using up your data.

Is this phone for everyone? probably not. But is it for smart, value focused users? Absolutely.

Choice is good.

Keep in mind that the device was created to keep the entry-level or just cost-conscious user with a device that makes sense.

It is not meant to have a dual-core or quad core (battery sucking TV that happens to make calls), 12 megapixel camera. Frankly, that stuff is more gimmick than value in my view.

RIM99

Great reply guerllamo7.
(I never post, but your response/post just brought a smile to my face - well done)
Kids today think their smart phones should run the space shuttle. Give me a break, I use my BB constantly, all day long, email, bbm, book meetings, accept meetings, book travel,constantly on the phone, etc, etc, oh yea, I work for a living and don't have time to play games all day. I don't really understand the negative Nancy's... I think half of them are Android or Apple disciples with way to much time on their hands. Cheers everyone and don't take yourself so seriously because at the end of the day 99.9% of us think we know, but we don't. :)

masqueofhastur

A Nokia 1208 could probably run the space shuttle.

James Richardson

But it isn't 'same old'. It is a much nicer experiance than the 8520/9300 now it has BlackBerry 7.
Just my opinion.

G-bone

Well, Yeah!!
This isn't meant to be BlackBerry 10!
It's a nice budget smartphone!
And it's much better than previous budget models.
If I were getting one for my kid, if I'm buying my first smartphone, if I'm on a budget...this is awesome.
Don't judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree!

alexkinsella

Hi @G-bone,

Alex from RIM here. You’re right – there are users around the world who haven’t made the leap to a smartphone yet, and the BlackBerry Curve 9320 makes a great first smartphone. The Curve 9320 also features mobile hotspot capabilities, Parental Controls to help parents keep their kids safe online, and is available in cool colors.

For a deeper dive into the capabilities and features of the Curve 9320, check out this “Things you should know” post on our Inside BlackBerry Blog: http://bbry.lv/JcgwUI

Cheers,

Alex, RIM Social Media Team

spiculated

Alex, when is the release date in Canada? I haven't heard of any news regarding the release dates across Canadian Carriers.

AleksanVuk

Not to mention that BBM could reduce costs. Free BBM means taht your kid or you can save money on SMS.
Good choice for developing countries.

TheStoof

I'm trying to convince my girlfriend to wait and use her upgrade for the BB10. She'll most likely get this Curve or the 9900, but after showing her the BB10, she gawked. However, when I asked her to pleaaaase wait until October/December, she was not keen on the idea -- her bold 9700 is busted to hell.

guerllamo7

BB10 is six months away. I think this phone is pretty nice right now. I can't say that I blame her.
Good luck either way.

dkonigs

I think the purpose behind these devices is really just to move their entire product line up to OS 7.1, both low-end and high-end.

BaconMunch

If everyone that was still on OS5 and OS6 moved up to OS 7.1, BlackBerry would lose the outdated stigma that it carries.

More than 50% of BlackBerry users are on pre-OS7.0 devices because these things don't quit (although they may lag a lot), but as a result it makes the perception of RIM as dinosaurs, this is a good entry point to where RIM currently is.

hispanola

But don't they already have the Curves 9350/60/70 for that?

hispanola

On one hand I see the point of this, on the other I don't. It seems to be a VERY slightly improved upon Curve 9350/60/70. If so, why wasn't this released instead of the other three? Why was the 50 released with only 512mb of RAM instead of the 1gb of the 70? Why was the 50 even made? This confusion and lack of direction/focus is one of the things that infuriates me about RIM!

belfastdispatcher

This is half the price of the 9360, isn't that a good reason? Lol

kupfernigk

Gateway drug, to compete with the cheap Android phones now coming on the market.

3Dee

It is a bit odd isn't it? A fair comparison would be RIM releasing a very slighly enhanced 9900, which just wouldn't make sense.

belfastdispatcher

It's very very cheap, that's not to be ignored. £130 with £5 permonth bis is very afordable for anybody.

koool1

My daughter has a curve, she loves it.

With OS7 I think she would like even more.

erodz

Even thought BB OS 7 is aging I prefer it over any other OS is so simple. I had tried numerous Androids and yes they are far superior to the BB but they became monotonous after a couple months. Not to mention they have a ''new'' and improved coming every week. I gave up and switched to IOS, lasted about a month the phone does everything well but still became monotonous, maybe because I don't like wasting time on the flying birds. I am glad to be back to my Torch 9810 and when BB10 comes out im getting the bold 9900 .

andy957

"The same keyboard as previous Curve's has been retained so accurate power typing is still a big selling point."

Isn't "Curves" the plural of "Curve"? Just saying.

James Richardson

Spelling never was my strong point! My bad.

robluck82

I would LOVE to have one of these here in the States to have as a backup, or even to switch between it and my Bold 9900. I'm so partial to my bold, half of the time I'm freaked out I'll get a scratch on the chrome bezel or something, so I won't take it jogging, etc.

And more to the point - this is a PERFECT device for a "first smartphone" and for emerging markets around the world. Not everyone demands the latest and greatest devices; some simply require value and efficiency.

zdn1042

Can't wait to get one.

iseeblackberry

A happy BlackBerry user since my Curve 8510.....great review James.... This is a good targeted budget BlackBerry... Not meant to compete with the Bolds...great first phone for my kids

Rootbrian

Great mini review, I cannot wait for the full on review!! :)

Keep the UK feeling strong!! :)

DavidsonLee

I'd get mad at people who can't accept the fact that this phone is for the younger audiences. It clearly is a cheaper phone so why do people have to keep complaining about how underpowered it is? It's clearly something for emerging markets and kids. Cmon. Don't expect too much out of this phone because RIM doesn't expect you to pay a lot of money. Hats off to RIM for making an affordable phone that can impress and attract new customers. Well done.

darth1sbw

Those keys on both sides of the track-pad are still DISGUSTING!

webmann

Torch 9810
damn stop complaining!