One range that can be greatly credited to RIM’s success in India is the Curve series. The series is a stepping stone for first time BlackBerry users that gives a taste of what the BlackBerry service is like and that too at an affordable price. For instance, the Curve 8520. However, RIM is trying to take things further with the introduction of Curve 9360, which is a mid-range device with features comparable to that of a high-end BlackBerry.
Design and Looks
Having reviewed high-end BlackBerry devices like 9900 and 9860, I was a little apprehensive about the build quality of the Curve 9360. But thankfuly, it was put to rest as soon as I opened the box. The Curve 9360 sports a nice look and oozes in build quality as well. The phone is just 11mm thick which makes It different from the current range of Curve series devices.
Although the screen is not as large as other Bold phones, the 2.4-inch TFT display is decent enough to do regular tasks with ease. The display has a resolution of (480×360) and even boasts a good visibility even under direct sunlight.
Beneath the screen is the ubiquitous BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. Despite the keys being small, the keys now are much more comfortable to type on. This ain’t a touch and type phone, however, the presence of the optical track pad makes it easy to navigate the icons. On the right hand side, there is a volume control button and a dedicated camera button. However, unlike the buttons found in the previous Curve devices, these are now made of rubber and are a bit hard to press. The left hand side features only the micro USB port that can be used for charging or data transfer with the PC. The software phone lock, a dedicated phone lock/unlock button along with the 3.5mm audio connectivity jack are located at the top.
On the rear there is a blackish chrome border that runs along the sides. The battery door is very thin and flimsy, we fear that opening it frequently might ruin the door in the long run. At the top along a rubbery material lies the 5-megapixel camera and a flash.
Hardware and Software
We are not looking at a high-end BlackBerry but RIM has managed to stuff in decent innards that guarantees at par performance. Curve 9360 comes with a 800MHz processor is adequate enough to handle 2-3 applications download simultaneously and browsing your inbox. The Curve 9360 features 512MB of RAM and has an additional 512MB of on-board memory for media storage. You can increase the media storage via the expansion slot up to 32GB that is hot swappable.
Just like the new BlackBerry devices, Curve 9360 too is powered by BlackBerry OS 7, which is significantly faster and smooth than the older BlackBerry OS. Few other good things about the OS 7 are its tabbed HTML5 browser, new BBM and Social Feeds.
Multimedia and Camera
This phone is not a multimedia power house, however it supports decent video playback capabilities. Also the screen size does not do good to the video playbacks. The device supports Divx and Xvid video playback along with other conventional audio files. However, you cannot record the videos in HD format. Although the device plays 720p videos pretty smoothly. The presence of the 5-megapixel camera makes it a good shooter but could have been better if RIM supported autofocus instead of fixed focus.
A phone is as good as nothing if there are no good apps or games to complement it. The Blackberry App World has many apps that your phone can be loaded with; however, it still lags way behind Android and iOS market. Blackberry Messenger is an app that has been boosting the sales of Blackberry. Also, if you remember the outage of the Blackberry services sometime back, RIM as a thank you service, is providing some paid apps absolutely free that can be downloaded on the phone. All the apps can be downloaded directly on the phone or via the Blackberry App World desktop application. However, please note that to use some of the phone features and to access the App World, you require a Blackberry user account.
In terms of data connectivity, the Curve 9360 features WiFi, 3G and Bluetooth. The phone can also act as a tethered modem to share the internet connection from the phone to laptop or a PC. A gripe that we have with this is that it can only be used with the USB cable, this means there is no wireless WiFi sharing support that are to be found even in entry level sub 10k Android phones. Besides this, there is also inclusion of Near Field Communication. NFC is yet to catch up but it’s a good gesture by RIM to include it.
The price of the phone is Rs.19,250 which I reckon to be on the higher side as compared to the features that it offers as a smartphone. However, if you are a Blackberry lover or are looking to buy a sub-20k Blackberry phone, the Curve 9360 definitely is the best buy.
Pros: BlackBerry OS 7, Build quality, Looks
Cons: Fixed Focus camera, No HD video recording