BlackBerry Curve 9380 review: Not what you’d expect

GSMArena team, 29 December 2011.
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A 5 megapixel fixed-focus camera

The BlackBerry Curve 9380 comes with a 5 fixed-focus camera which is still the highest resolution you can get in a RIM smartphone. There is a single LED flash too.

The camera comes with the same unattractive interface and relatively low number of customizable settings. A shortcut bar at the bottom of the viewfinder is standing in the way of proper framing.

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The Curve 9380 camera interface

The shutter (the convenience) key is unusually shaped but actually quite comfortable. If nothing else, it's the quicker and easier way, and you can shoot with a single press of the trackpad, shutter key or the virtual shutter key.

Geotagging, flash and scenes can be accessed straight in the viewfinder and those are just about the only options you get with the Curve 9380. The only other thing you can customize is image resolution, which is located in the advanced settings menu.

There are no settings for exposure compensation, white balance, ISO or anything like that. There is face detection, but that is a dedicated scene, rather than a separate setting.

The image quality of the BlackBerry Curve 9380 is about average - there is a good amount of resolved detail, although it could have been much better, the colors are pleasing. Contrast is fine, too, but the noise levels are way above average.

Here go several samples so you can judge the image quality yourselves.

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BlackBerry Curve 9380 camera sample photos

Photo quality comparison

We’ve also added the BlackBerry Curve 9380 to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. Here you can see the Curve 9380 is a decent performer, but you can still notice the high noise levels and the pink spot at the center.

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BlackBerry Curve 9380 in the Photo Compare Tool

Very good VGA video recording

The BlackBerry Curve 9380 is incapable of capturing HD videos, most probably because of its lower processor clock. The best it can do is VGA clips at 30 fps. The LED can be used as video light, no surprises here.

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Camcorder UI

The video quality is up to scratch – the frame rate is good, the resolved detail is adequate, the noise levels tolerable, the colors accurate and the contrast is fine too. Overall, it's thumbs up for the BlackBerry Curve 9380 videos.

Here’s a VGA video sample from the Curve 9380 camera.

Connectivity welcomes NFC

The BlackBerry Curve 9380 is giving you a broad range of connectivity options, as you would expect from a modern day smartphone.

The quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support secures global roaming and the quad-band 3G with 14.4Mbps HSDPA and 5.76Mbps HSUPA gives you the extra speed. The dual-band Wi-Fi is also a nice addition with an easily customizable Wi-Fi manager taking care of all the connections. Wi-Fi hotspot is also supported. Stereo Bluetooth rounds off the list of wireless connectivity options.

The BlackBerry Curve 9380 has a standard microUSB port that is enabled for both data connections and charging. Once connected, you can sync your data with the BlackBerry Desktop Software. It allows you to sync your iTunes collection, save for the files that have DRM.

The Curve 9380 is NFC capable too. You can pair it with other NFC-enabled devices and NFC accessories as well as read NFC tags.

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