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BlackBerry Curve 9380 Review

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The 9380 is the first of the Blackberry Curve handsets to go all touchscreen and lose the traditional Blackberry physical keyboard. It's a compact smartphone with a premium look and feel with a nice metallic strip around the edge and the BlackBerry logo adds to this high quality first impression. The 9380 falls in the middle range of Blackberry devices in terms of price and features. It's not a cheap phone, but it's more affordable than the high-end Torch and Bold series Blackberry models, yet it appears to share  the same high-quality build.

The design is very similar to the Torch 9860, with the same large touchscreen above 4 navigation keys and the optical trackpad. It's a popular combination amongst Blackbery users as it works well. The touchscreen is responsive and the virtual QWERTY keyboard is easy to use too with well-sized keys even for chubby fingers. However the display is smaller than the top of the range models, there is no getting around that, but it compares well with the likes of the HTC Wildfire S and Samsung Galaxy Ace. The 3.2 inch screen and the resolution of 360 x 480 pixels is pretty decent for a touchscreen phone in this price range. Running the latest BlackBerry 7 software, the Curve 9380 offers a host of improvements with this very intuitive interface. There core apps pre-installed are excellent and there are a growing number of downloadable apps available, though nowhere near the number of Android apps yet.

As you would expect on a Blackberry, communication is excellent, in addition to the fantastic Blackberry email, the 9380 is well integrated with social networking web sites like facebook and twitter, the touchscreen is also ideal for viewing conversations from multiple sources such as email, social media and BlackBerry Messenger all in one place. The 5 megapixel camera on board features an LED flash and features like face detection and image stabilisation, it matches the rival camera phones in this price bracket but nothing more. Video recording is less impressive with VGA resolution, but it's fine for recording short clips.

A wide range of connectivity options include fast HSDPA 3G, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication and Wi-Fi. The memory capacity is generous for this price range, with 512MB of built-in memory plus 512MB RAM, plus microSD card support up to 32GB. The processor is a feeble sounding 806MHz, but in reality that’s enough to power the phone the vast majority of the time, but there is some lag when the processor struggles if you try and overdo things. Web browsing is slick and looks good on the touchscreen. The pages render reasonably quickly and it's easy to zoom with multitap finger control.

In summary, the Curve 9380 is a good touchscreen alternative to traditional BlackBerry devices. Great for messaging, and it does a pretty good job at most other smartphone tasks. Both the processor and battery could are a bit underpowered however. But all mid-range smartphones inevitably feature some sort of compromise, that's why they are mid-range and not top of the range! Alternative handsets you may also consider in the same price range would be the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray or the HTC Radar. Underpowered processor and poor battery life aside, the Curve 9380 is perfect for social media & messaging. With a decent web browser, media player and a good range of essential apps.

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