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BlackBerry Curve 9360 expert review

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone is the first member of the popular Curve family to sport Blackberry’s latest OS7 Operating System and, in comparison to its older brothers the 8520 and 9300, it’s quite a step up in terms of specification.

The simple design, familiar features and secure email make this handset a solid option for both the traditional business market and younger mobile users who are looking to take advantage of the free BlackBerry Messenger service and the new BlackBerry Music service.

Pros

  • Slim, light and smart design
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Instant and secure email through BlackBerry servers
  • Latest Blackberry Operating System (7.0, upgradeable to 7.1)

Cons

  • Relatively small screen compared to the latest smartphones
  • No touchscreen interface
  • Slow web browser
  • No Adobe Flash video support in the web browser
  • Limited Applications available in App World

Design

Compared to older BlackBerry Curve models the 9360 looks incredibly smart with its jet black finish (or white if you prefer) and chrome detailing. It’s thin, although not super slim, at 11mm and is light without feeling cheap. The keyboard is more responsive and a lot nicer to type on than keyboard on previous BlackBerry Curve devices, although the trackpad doesn’t seem to have been updated and there is no touchscreen control option like on the new BlackBerry Bold 9790.

Hardware

Under the bonnet there’s a faster 800 MHz processor that allows the 9360 to handle multiple tasks better than previous Curve devices, and you should see less of the spinning progress wheel that anybody who has owned a blackberry before will be familiar with. The extra power means that you’ll be getting less battery life than you would with a BlackBerry Curve 9300 (288 hours 3G standby rather than 348 hours) but in my opinion this trade-off is worth it for a faster phone, and you should still get around 5 hours of continuous use from one full charge – check out our suggestions below for improving this by managing your mobile use.

The 5MP camera has an LED flash but no autofocus, which can leave snaps of text or moving subjects looking a little blurry. The pictures you take should at least look better on the screen as this has also been improved since the last BlackBerry Curve – the resolution has been upped to 430x360 pixels, which is relatively sharp for a 2.44” panel. The internal storage is still only small (512MB) but there is support for a MicroSD card, up to 32GB. The phone also has NFC support which might not mean much at the minute, but could see you using your smartphone for mobile payments in the future.

Software

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 is the first Curve to come with the latest version of Blackberry’s operating system – OS7. You can upgrade it to 7.1 over-the-air. Other than the look and feel nothing much has really changed since OS6, the BlackBerry App World, Twitter and Facebook apps are all the same as before for the most part, except with integration to BBM which just means your latest updates will be broadcast to your BBM contacts if you allow it. The BBM app now integrates with Alternative Reality apps like Wikitude which is cool, although the web browser can still be disappointingly sluggish.

OS7 is not a huge jump in terms of Operating System features and capability, unless you’re using a touchscreen BlackBerry device that utilises the new Liquid Graphics engine for transitions, like the BlackBerry Bold 9900. But OS 7 does have a re-styled interface and higher quality icons which, combined with the Curve 9360’s new lease of power, better screen and slim but solid design, all give the impression of a well-made smartphone that would feel at home in the hand of a casual user or business consumer.

Managing your mobile - top tips to help you stop wasting money on calls, texts and data

  • When not using things such as GPS or NFC, turn these off to extend your battery life
  • If your friends have BlackBerry devices, send them pictures for free through BBM rather than paying to send them via MMS
  • If you friends don’t use BBM download WhatsApp as this is available on many devices and also allows you to send messages and pictures for free through your mobile data connection

Agent verdict

If you’ve had an older Blackberry in the past then the improvements that have been made here make it a worthwhile upgrade, especially if you’re coming from a previous Curve model. Similarly, if you are looking for a phone that handles emails efficiently and securely then this would also suit you. However if you’re looking for a smartphone to browse the web, watch videos and download lots of interesting apps then this isn’t the phone I would recommend. Even if you feel committed to Blackberry as you use BBM a lot, there are free alternatives on most other smartphones out there such as Whatsapp that should help ease the transition to another smartphone.

You can purchase the BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone now from Carphone Warehouse

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