Introduction, Features and Specifications
The latest in the Curve range of Blackberry devices is the Curve 9360 which runs on Blackberry OS 7 (earlier codenamed ‘Apollo’). I love the nomenclature of this range.
Featuring a size zero body, NFC capabilities and a sturdy processor under the hood, the Curve 9360 is a smartphone which promises to offer a lot. Read the entire review to find whether the Curve holds fort amidst the the sea of smartphones (in the same price range) in the garb of robots (android), human beings (‘i’ OS) and Windows (Windows 7) in the retail market.
The Curve 9360 is your quintessential Bollywood heroine – size zero, curvaceous and a little short of gorgeous.
Features and Specs
The Curve 9360 has the traditional Blackberry keyboard and is devoid of a touchscreen. The 2.44-inch screen has a resolution of 480x360 and has 16m colours.
Under the hood is an 800 MHz processor. Despite a paltry 512MB internal storage, you can use increase the storage space up to 32GB using microSD memory cards. The connectivity needs are taken care by Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS. However, the most interesting aspect is the addition of the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. A decision I appreciate.
The Curve 9360 has a fixed-focus 5MP camera and can record 720p videos at 25fps albeit in 3gp format. The phone can handle MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV audio formats and MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV/XVID video formats. Out of the box XVID playback is a big plus.
The pre-installed apps include your chat clients Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Gtalk. Social networking clients Twitter and Facebook are also bundled. Once again please make sure that you download the updates for each of these apps for OS 7. The bundled games include Brickbreaker and Wordmole. However, since I am new to the world of Blackberry I noticed that people using OS 5 have themes and some other customisation options which look pretty neat. Keep in mind that OS 7 doesn’t offer these fun customisation options just as yet.
With a Blackberry phone you can never go wrong with the email and productivity. The Curve 9360 is no different. Setting up emails was a breeze as usual. No problems there. However, please note that support for the Gmail app for Blackberry has been discontinued so you won’t get quite a few features available for your gmail account like starred mails and the likes on your regular Blackberry mail.
The Curve also has the superb full-version of Documents-to-go app which takes care of all your document apps. The app is really good for creating/editing documents on the go.
I couldn’t test the NFC capabilities because the technology has not flourished in India as fast as manufacturers are making phones with these chips inside them.
Design & Usability
As I said earlier the Curve 9360 is your quintessential Bollywood heroine – size zero, curvaceous and a little short of gorgeous. The Curve 9360 is slightly thicker than the Bold 9900 with dimensions of 109 x 60 x 11 mm. However, it is much lighter at just 99 grams. In fact it is so light that most of the times I would conveniently forget that the phone was lodged in the pocket of my jeans despite being uncomfortably tight. The phone is very comfortable to hold and fits perfectly in my palm.
As far as the design goes, the rear side of the phone has the camera and the flash flanking the sides of the Curve branding. The speaker grill lies below the cover of cover. The left side has the micro-usb slot and the right has the volume rocker and the camera button. The lock button and the 3.5mm earphone jack is on the top.
Coming to the QWERTY keypad. I am slightly dissapointed because it is very hard. My fingers started swelling in pain after prolonged use. Also the keys are small, at least for my huge thumbs. No touchscreen is not exactly a letdown but I personally believe that OS 7 is meant for touch response as a result I inadvertently ended up touching the screen on quite a few occasions.
The new Blackberry OS 7 looks very similar to OS 6 except for the fact that RIM has done away with the transparent icons which were present on the previous iteration of the OS. Once again the OS didn’t disappoint because it was fluid most of the time and had absolutely no stability issues.
Browsing, Multimedia, Bottomline
The great experience of the default browser doesn’t continue with the Curve 9360 plainly because of the lack of touchscreen. It is just good. However, pages still load extremely fast and the single column view is a treat for readers. The various keyboard shortcuts that existed persist with the new browser. Only if the Curve had a touchscreen. Sigh.
The 5MP fixed focus camera is fair to say the least. The images look incredibly good on the screen of the phone. However, when checked on a bigger screen the images show purple fringing and the burnt look of the white areas in the image is distracting. Chromatic aberration is clearly visible. The captured images are not as bad the ones captured by the Bold 9900. The quality of the captured video is downright terrible and not usable. Enough said.
It looks like RIM took the ‘loud’ in loudspeaker very seriously and made a speaker grill on the Curve 9360 emits volume comparable to a mini-boombox. The best part was that there was absolutely no jarring. Also the music quality over a dedicated earphone is really good and once again this Blackberry device comes on top with music quality. The phone played all videos we threw at it except the 1080p ones which is good.
The battery life of the phone is downright terrible. I mean I had to charge the phone thrice a day. Very disappointing.
The Curve 9360 retails for Rs. 19,990 and it is expensive for what it offers. You can get a plethora of Android devices with bigger screens and better features at this price. And if you are looking for QWERTY keypad, the Nokia E6 is a great option. Not to say that the Curve 9360 is not worth spending your money on but despite a decent performance the phone is plagued by terrible battery performance.