The BlackBerry Curve 9360 is a smart phone with a full Qwerty keyboard, 5-megapixel camera and the loaded with the latest version of RIM’s BlackBerry operating system.
Some specifications at a glance:
Dimensions: 109 x 60 x 11 mm
Weight: 99 g
Display Type: TFT
Size: 480 x 360 pixels, 2.44 inches (~246 ppi pixel density)
Full QWERTY keyboard
Touch-sensitive optical trackpad
512 MB storage, 512 MB RAM
5 MP back camera, LED flash, up to VGA video recording support
Li-Ion 1000 mAh, E-M1 battery
Rated Stand-by time: Up to 336 h (2G) / Up to 288 h (3G)
Rated Talk time time: Up to 5 h (2G) / Up to 5 h (3G)
Rated Music play time: Up to 25 h
Items in the box (small size, like the standard curve  series):
- The BlackBerry Curve 9360 device
- Battery E-M1
- USB Wall Charger
- Micro USB cable for charging and sync
- Stereo earphones
BlackBerry’s Curve range has always been targeted at providing the full Qwerty keyboard experience for those on a budget, and that aim hasn’t changed with the Curve 9360.
What is different is that the Curve 9360 managed to pack in a surprising amount of RIM’s best gear. From 3G (notably making its first presence on the 9300), super sleek profile and the LED Flash light (disappearing from the latest Curve series; 8520 and 9300).
On board this device is the latest BlackBerry OS 7, as well as near field communication (NFC) technology, which allows you to make contact-less payments using your phone or even get short bursts of data (see videos). You’ll also find a nifty 800Mhz processor (by among the Curve series at least), and a 5-megapixel camera together with 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the device.
Things missing from the latest Curve series that made its appearance on its “premium” counter parts is the touchscreen and HD video recording. The lower battery capacity might be a draw back, but from our daily usage, it is able to last approximately 2 days (for the record, doing the same tasks lasts 3days on the BlackBerry Bold 9780) which I think is not bad for the latest line up of devices. Furthermore, the lack of auto-focus might very well put one off.
The Curve 9360, loaded with RIM’s latest OS, OS7, give it the new graphical feel to it. Already seen on the likes of the Bold 9900, Torch 9810 and Torch 9860, OS 7 is one of the most visually appealing iterations of the software with the help of the liquid graphics technology.
Navigating around the phone is very easy, especially if you have been using the BlackBerry smartphones, but after using the touch screen, there are many times when you really wish you had a touchscreen. It feels odd not to be able to use OS 7 to its full potential on the Curve 9360 because it was built supports touchscreens.
The BlackBerry Curve 9360 is one seriously sexy device.
While the Curve line may be aimed at the lower end of the market, the Curve 9360 feels surprisingly luxurious. It’s still built on plastic, but the looks of it and its build quality is impressive, as always for BlackBerry devices. There’s no creaking parts or unsightly joins. This is even more striking when you consider that the device weighs less than 100g! With thickness at 11mm, it’s a massive improvement over previous Curve designs, which tended to be somewhat bulky.
The plastic build results in the device to be somewhat glossy. Yeap, it is a fingerprint magnet unfortunately.
Despite the change to the real sexy outlook, there’s still plenty here that will be instantly familiar to BlackBerry users. The traditional row of action buttons – including the twin call commands, BlackBerry menu and the all-important Back button – remains there, largely unchanged. They surround the optical track-pad, which is another RIM traditional design.
The top of the device features the lock button and a 3.5mm headphone socket. While it may seem to be touch-sensitive, it’s actually a physical button residing under a plastic cover that flexes slightly when pressed. I find it rather weird that the 3.5mm socket is placed there which will require us some time to get used to pressing it accurately (as opposed to just pressing the top), it does give many of us convenience especially for those into sport to plug in their earpieces whilst in holster or in the wristbands.
The right-hand side of the Curve 9360 has the standard volume controls and the handy Convenience Key (which is usually preset to Camera), the latter of which can be customized as a shortcut to various apps or functions. Also, unlike most other models, the BlackBerry Curve 9360 features the super thin and small buttons which might pose as a problem for users with larger hands.
The left-hand side of the phone features only the micro-USB port, where data transfer and charging is done.
The back of the phone features a glossy plastic back panel and that instantly-recognisable BlackBerry logo. To open the battery door is much easier said than done. There’s a small, almost invisible groove on the sides of the phone that allows you to slide your nail in and Pris off the battery cover. Glossy as it is, it is also pretty scratch resistant, considering that it was in my bag with my keys and no protection, it survived without a nick.
Sporting only a small 2.44inch screen, it makes the curve look like a dwarf especially in the wake of larger screen competitors, including Samsung Galaxy S2, Note or Sony Erricson Arc S.
On the bright side, with a resolution back to 480×360 pixels (was on 8900 but went missing when 8520 was introduced later), and boasting a pixel density of 246ppi, it ensures a pin-sharp image quality. The TFT LCD panel also provides a bold and colourful image. It makes viewing photos and browsing the web much more pleasing.
There is a 512MB of storage on the Curve 9360, which will hold a little data, maybe some photos and videos, but means the phone can’t be relied upon as a music player or digital camera replacement (besides, its camera was never meant to such an replacement).
Thankfully the Curve 9360 comes built with a microSD card slot, which is located under the battery cover. The unit we received didn’t come with a microSD card, but some carriers will give one for free alongst with the phone. The phone accepts media cards up to 32GB in capacity (MicroSD HC). Another bonus is that microSD card is hot-swappable – you don’t have to power-down the handset and remove the battery to get to the card slot.
From 3.2 Megapixels with auto focus plus LED light on 8900, we have had just 2 megapixels without the LED flash on 8520 and 9300. On the Curve 9360, we have the LED light back. However, the omission of the auto focus might be an issue for some people. The LED flash is actually pretty decent and doesn’t totally over-expose shots in darkened environments. However, with the flash turned off, the picture quality was the worse than any of the OS7 devices.
The keyboard will remain as a key selling point for the time to come, and on the 9360, love it or hate it, the keyboard still retains the typical curve keyboard, with its excellent tactile feel. The buttons on 9360, however, feels a little too hard to press as opposed to all the predecessors, and the click sound seems to be the loudest to date as well.
When ranked alongside the latest competition, the BlackBerry Curve 9360 comes across as a disappointment. There’s no touchscreen, dual-core processor or HD video recording.
However, when compared to previous generation Curve phones, the 9360 cannot be seen as anything other than a massive improvement. The super-thin design is beautiful and BlackBerry OS 7 runs as smoothly as silk — despite the humble nature of the 800Hz CPU.
Even such, RIM should be still looking to match that of the competition, notably from Samsung, but in the field of keyboards and reliability, this phone should be given a serious consideration.
Having said that, the 9360 is unquestionably the best Curve yet. This is going to appeal to ladies out there with its sexy profile and BlackBerry enthusiast with its full qwerty and battery life.