RIM BlackBerry Curve 9300 review

Price when reviewed

The BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 is RIM’s latest attempt to create a low-cost mass-market smartphone. The company splits its non-touchscreen phone range into Bold for the business market and Curve for consumers, although the operating system and basic setup is actually the same across both ranges. The key differences lie in the specification of the individual components.

It’s an upgrade to the popular Curve 8520, adding 3G mobile connectivity, a GPS receiver, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The size and weight haven’t changed much (the 9300 is a couple of grams lighter), although the new handset does look and feel a lot less plasticky.

The inclusion of 3G in the 9300 is particularly useful, and it’s not just about speed: because the 2G and 3G networks are separate, and they work at different frequencies, you’ll often find places that have no signal on the 2G network but lots of bars of 3G, making it a useful upgrade.

The keyboard-below-screen form factor is perfect for people into text-based activities such as social media, SMS, and email. But the keyboard doesn’t have the quality of that found on the more expensive Bold models, so typing accuracy can suffer.

RIM BlackBerry Curve 9300

Other corners that have been cut in order to keep the costs down are a low screen resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, a fixed focus and flashless two-megapixel camera, and a smaller battery than you’ll find in more upmarket BlackBerrys.

Having said that, in our standard battery test, where we subject a phone to 24 hours of heavy use, the battery meter still showed 60% remaining – frugal power usage has always been a key attribute of the BlackBerry platform.

Out test phone ran BlackBerry OS5, which although functional and usable, lacks the wow factor of iOS 4 or the latest versions of Android. Its browser isn’t that impressive either, failing to complete the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, loading the BBC homepage over Wi-Fi in an average of 48 seconds (compared to the eight seconds of the iPhone 4), and scoring a slightly disappointing 91 in the Acid3 standards test. Some of this should be addressed in OS6, which will be a free download for the 9300 later this year.

Even without that, however, the Curve 3G 9300 is a good introduction to what BlackBerry can offer. Right now, because it’s new, it’s slightly more expensive than the outgoing 8520, typically free on £25 per month contracts – we’d expect that to drop to £20 within a month or two. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is a budget BlackBerry, but if your pennies won’t stretch to the Bold 9700, the Curve 3G 9300 is a good option.


Cheapest price on contract Free
Contract monthly charge £25.00
Contract period 24 months

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 6hrs
Standby, quoted 19 days


Dimensions 60 x 13.9 x 109mm (WDH)
Weight 104g
Touchscreen no
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 256MB
ROM size 256MB
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes


Screen size 2.4in
Resolution 320 x 240

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes


OS family BlackBerry OS

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