Aside from its plasticky build this phone’s most obviously budget feature is its screen. At 2.44in across it’s actually 0.02in smaller than that of the 9300, though it still sports the same 320 x 240 pixel resolution. It’s this latter figure that’s the important one as it means this phone’s screen isn’t exactly what you’d call sharp. It’s just about adequate for all your basic phone duties such as emailing, texting and calling but trying to view full size websites can be a bit of a chore and watching video is a pretty crummy experience. Viewing angles aren’t all that clever either but we didn’t find them to be an issue in day to day use.
The key thing to bear in mind here is that no phone of this form factor (small landscape screen atop a keyboard) is going to have all that great a multimedia experience so the quality of the screen, over a certain point, is of limited benefit – even the Bold 9900 struggles to convince as a video player. Nonetheless, it feels pretty backward to be looking at such a low resolution screen in this day and age. Stepping up to a Curve 9360, for instance, does bring a marked improvement that is noticeable in most day to day activities, and particularly the web browser.
Where the 9320 makes up for its poor quality screen is in the excellence of its keyboard. BlackBerry has long made excellent keyboards, even at the budget end of the scale but here it has excelled itself. Each and every key has a really defined action, with next to no wobble, and a near perfect layout. The only downside is the slightly smaller size of the phone compared to the premium Bold 9900 and Bold P9881 models, which means that each key is that bit smaller, making it difficult to pinpoint. Nonetheless, we were able to type at a decent pace.
There is a big but, however, and this is that the BlackBerry word prediction is still miles behind iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. Only the most basic of typos will be picked up, so depending on how accurately you type you could find yourself constantly going back for corrections.
All told we still found ourselves typing faster on onscreen keyboards, though we understand some people simply prefer the tactile approach.
As ever with BlackBerrys, the call quality on the Curve 9320 is more than acceptable. We weren’t blown away by the clarity on offer but you’ll get by. The speaker isn’t as loud as we’ve come to expect of BlackBerrys but it’s at least on par with any other budget handset.