Expanding the BlackBerry Curve line of devices, RIM now brings to us the all new & all touch BlackBerry Curve 9380. As with the latest devices, this baby comes loaded with BlackBerry 7 OS and Augmented Reality. Something that sets it apart is its 806Mhz processor and armed with NFC capabilities.
BlackBerry Curve 9380 Features and Specifications at a glance
Size: 109 x 60 x 11.2 mm, approximately 98g
Display: 3.2″ capacitive touch screen display, 480×360 resolution
CPU: 806 MHz processor
Memory: 512 MB RAM; 512MB on-board memory, MicroSD slot
Camera: 5.0 MP camera (NO AUTOFOCUS), VGA video recording (640×480)
Connection: wifi (b/g/n support), NFC, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz), Tri-Band UMTS networks (800 / 850) / 1900 / 2100 MHz or 900 / 1700 / 2100 MHz), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Battery: 1230 mAh removable standard J-M1 battery
What we expect to be in the retail pack:
- The BlackBerry Curve 9380 device
- Battery J-M1
- USB Wall Charger
- Micro USB cable for charging and sync
- Stereo earphones (the straight plug – similar to Curve 9360)
Yes, the notable omission of the leather pouch once again!
As we know it, the BlackBerry Curve 9380 will be and is the first model in the popular Curve line to feature a touchscreen display. Now, instead of the touch+keyboard combination we have seen on the Bold, RIM decided to base this on perhaps, the BlackBerry Torch 9850/60 and the BlackBerry Storm 95xx.
The Curve is marketed mainly as a entry level lineup of smartphones offered by BlackBerry. Definitely, the BlackBerry Curve delivers the same basic BlackBerry experience as other BlackBerry 7 Smartphones, its experience delivered should be uncompromised for its value as well.
The BlackBerry Curve lineup for OS7 features 2 prominent devices – the BlackBerry 9360 and now the BlackBerry 9380. Compared side-by-side facing down, the phones are almost identical. Now, take a closer look! The actual difference, is almost invisible – location of the microUSB port. The front of this Touch screen device is essentially like a Curve 9360 that has no keyboard, but an enlarged screen. As much as the Curve 9360 is loved and noted for is sexy design, the Curve 9380 also follows this line of sexiness. Overall, we can say it is indeed one clean looking phone.
Both devices are identical in its internal specifications though this Curve uses the larger 1230mAh JM1 battery found in the Bold 9900 and Torch 9860, away from the Curve 9360’s smaller 1000mAh EM1 battery.
Now if we compare the Torch 9860 and this Curve 9380, it makes the curve’s look more inclined towards the Storm series (though the colour scheme of the buttons are not the same…)
Also, for a BlackBerry FULL touch screen device, this IS very light, similar to that of the BlackBerry Curve 9360. However, unlike the latter, there seems to be more focus on the design of this device, making it seem and of course feel of very solid quality. While the smaller screen as compared to the Torch might look not as nice on the paper, it is pretty good for an average joe.
As usual, besides the 3.2″ touchscreen display of course, our (in)famous BlackBerry 4-control buttons and trackpad is on this device. The first full touchscreen from RIM (BlackBerry Storm) didn’t feature a trackpad or trackball for navigation which personally I found pretty irritating. Fortunately, RIM’s newer touchscreen devices do include this which as mentioned earlier. made the whole navigation and user interface much more easy to use.
Perhaps, the one reason i would say this is such a clean and sleek device is simply because the 4-control buttons on device is built into the display (similar to the Storms) with the trackpad slightly raised. However, this meant that pressing these buttons might be a little hard for starters. Of course, the lovely LED light still sits on the right top corner.
The top of the BlackBerry Curve 9380 is identical to that of the BlackBerry Curve 9360 – the central button used for locking the screen as well as the 3.5mm headset port.
The back the Curve 9380 is (as mentioned earlier), similar to that of the Curve 9360, very sexy and smooth. At the top are the camera and flash with Curve branding in the middle. Below the battery door is the speaker. Also, on a new device, there us the “definition” of the media buttons buttons (on the left) as well as the place to yank open the battery door (on the right).
That said, we move on to the sides, where the left (from the back) has your convenience key and the media controls, whilst on the other end, is a lone microUSB port.
Under the battery door lies the 1230mAh JM1 battery which is used in the higher end devices as well as its cousin, Torch 9860. Between the battery and the Curve icon is the microSD slot which is at an angle that allows for the card to be pulled out even when a battery is still there, unlike the Bold 9900. Under the battery, we can find the usual labels and the SIM card slot. Similar to the other NFC enabled BlackBerry devices, the battery door features the NFC antenna for NFC.
The BlackBerry Curve 9380’s 3.2″ display is not bad for its resolution on paper. With only 360×480 pixels, it’s essentially the identical to the original Torch 9800 which i pretty much loved (after the .5xx OS..). However, if we compare the later models which has the same OS as, the BlackBerry Torch 9860 (3.7″ display and 480×800 pixels resolution) the results are obvious… Looking at my photos from the 9860 and 9380, the colours seem less vibrant and sharp. Hence, whatever graphics available on this Curve, it is still no match for its larger counterpart – the Torch 9860.
Using for the first few days, the experience has thus far been quite of ease. Just like the BlackBerry 7 devices, the navigation is really very similar, especially with the help of the ever helpful trackpad. Speed wise, in loading web pages, however, the Curve 9380 does feel tad slower than the Torch 9860 (well, its processor is indeed slower) even when WiFi is used. Furthermore, the network chip set is much slower than the Torch 9860, hence, the speed is slower than the rest of the OS7 devices, but, compared to the other curves, hey, this is one mean beast to beat!
As a physical keyboard user for years, only recently have felt the iphone 3gs, iphone 4/4s, ipad, Samsung Galaxy 2, Samsung Galaxy Note, Torch 9860 and PlayBook, I must say, with these practices, I am feeling the hang of it. Frankly I actually love typing in landscape on the Torch 9860 and this Curve 9360 brings that memory back (really easy to use!). For many, portrait mode might be too small to use, hence making it tough. The Torch 9860 was just nice for me though the Curve 9380 made it easier to type. I don’t really like auto-correct, hence, it is usually disabled whenever possible.
The memory provided on board is really just too little for media, and you’ll really probably be better with a microSD (which is hot-swappable) residing in it.
Now, the sound of the loud speaker is LOUD, yes. However, the headset is a little too soft.
Now, the catch with Curve on OS 7, it seems, is the lack of HD video recording on the Curve 9380. Like the Curve 9360, this records in VGA (640×480 pixels only). Without auto-focus, the five megapixel camera is only able to hit semi-decent photos like the Bold 9900 and videos do not come with focus. Now, this would make the Torch 9860 a much better device.
Now as you can see the quality, it isnt really that good or bad..
One feature that we clearly did not expect to appear was NFC which was included in this device, because considering that it was omitted in Torch 9860, making its way to Curve was just weird.
The battery life, even though it was just for the first few days, was pretty good- approx 2days did it last on a full charge.
Even though this IS RIM’s entry level touchscreen BlackBerry, the fact is it delivers most of the experience of the bigger and higher end BlackBerry Torch 9860. Performance in media has been pretty compromised but the weight does make it feel so attractive. I would still opt for the Torch 9860 if I had the budget, but as an entry level phone (we are expecting similar price point as the curve 9360), this could be a good and value-for-money device. With this device expecting to reach our shores soon, do expect it to be something solid.