Straightaway, the Curve 9360 impresses with its extremely sleek form factor and the new OS7, which offers some features and performance updates. However, visually, there is really no difference between the OS6 and the OS7. The performance doesn't seem too different either, from the OS6 we have experienced on the Bold 3. The NFC functionality and a further improved web browser are the only real different things. Consider this, or check out the Bold 9780.
What we have on the table is a Curve smartphone that actually has some curves to show off! The 9360 does look the part, and is a certain step up from the quality of smartphones we have seen in the Curve range till now.
Look & Feel
At 11-mm, the Curve 9360 is on the same platform as the Bold 9900 in terms of thickness. However, carrying on with the usual trend, this Curve also has a largely plastic body with the typical spaced out Curve keys. The micro USB slot is on the left side, while the right side gets the volume rocker and a convenience key, nicely integrated into the design. The battery cover is extremely glossy plastic. The side opening mechanism isn't as hard as we have seen on some other phones.
Over and above the extremely slim design is the sheer weightlessness – at 99 grams, we aren’t very sure if this will even work as a paperweight! Kudos to RIM for a excellent design package. Overall, we are quite impressed by the looks of this new Curve, and it does offer a premium feel to the package, something missing from most Curve phones till now. Slide it into the trouser pocket, and chances are you will forget it is there!
The new OS is the biggest talking point – the OS7. How time flies can be judged by the fact that the OS6 was released just about a year back, and now we have the successor. Disappointingly, the visual appearance of the OS7 isn't very different from the OS6. And that isn't a good thing considering that the OS6 wasn’t an iOS or Android beater, at least in terms of UI.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]The new web browser is a huge step forward, carrying on from the excellent progress we saw with the previous OS. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a completely new feature, allowing data transfer and transactions between two smartphones, and has been implemented on the Curve. However, OS7 does have its limitations at the moment. A lot of apps from OS6 and earlier aren’t going to work on OS7. Also, OS7 update won’t arrive on any of the OS6 devices. It’s a pity if you got a Bold 9780 a few months back, and had hoped the OS7 update would arrive soon. The 2.44-inch display has a resolution of 480x360 pixels, and we were quite impressed by the brightness levels and the colour depth. Even in bright sunlight, it was very comfortable to read text on.
An 800MHz Qualcomm processor powers the Curve 9360, and is helped along by 512MB of RAM. The boost in processor power is something most BlackBerry phones needed, and OS7 does need that. Why we can say that with conviction is after having used a Bold 9780 with OS6 over a long period of time, the OS7 on the 9360 doesn’t feel that much faster. That is not to say that the performance is bad, because it isn't. However, for a phone that is costing almost as much as the Bold 3, we ideally expected a better power package. If RIM wants to distinguish between the two phones purely on the basis of the OS, then am afraid to say – it is not going to work!
The keypad looks typically Curve-ish, but is immensely better to type on. The slightly bigger key size and a flatter design just makes typing more precise, even at speed. However, the problem we faced was that the keypad and the menu key are slightly on the harder side, making typing with the same hand holding the phone a bit difficult. However, having done that with the Bold 9780 all the time, this seems like a big drawback for habitual offenders!
The tiny display does well overall – crisp, bright and vivid. With BlackBerry smartphones being the best with the font size management feature, setting it to a level comfortable for you wont be a problem. However, while it is okay for the occasional multimedia use, regular video watching on a 2.44-inch display will not be the best thing.
The 5MP camera is by the far the best in the entire Curve smartphone range. Images are crisp, have depth and aren’t noisy, as long as the lighting is good. Battery life is quite disappointing. We feared the worst when we saw the battery capacity – 1000 mAh. And those fears unfolded in front of our eyes (and right next to our ears!) as the phone, fully charged in the morning, completely discharged as the day ended. Compare this to the 1500 mAh battery on the Bold 9780 that lasts 2 full days with the same (sometimes even heavier) usage.
What we get with the Curve 9360 is a combination of a sleek form factor, a classy finish, good display and a new OS. However, what disappoint are the hard keypad, bad battery life and the price. Price because this is retailing at almost the price of the Bold 9780. From my humble understanding, expecting to distinguish between two phones just on the basis of the OS (and a couple of extra features, at the max) is mostly not going to turn out well. However, for the consumer, we would recommend this simply for its extremely classy looks. Just makes the money spent all worthwhile, well somewhat!
Price: Rs. 19,990
Platform: BlackBerry OS7; Processor: Qualcomm 800MHz single core, 512MB RAM; Display: 2.44-inch, 480x360 pixel resolution; Storage: microSD slot up to 32GB; Camera: 5MP Battery: 1000 mAh
Test Scores Log Sheet
|Street Prices (Rs)|
|Price (MRP, Rs)||19,990|
|2G Network Bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900|
|3G Network Bands||HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 360 pixels|
|Screen Size (inches)||2.44 inches|
|Maximum Screen colours||16M|
|Touchscreen / Dual Screen (Y/N)||Touchscreen|
|Battery Rating||1000 mAh|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||109 x 60 x 11 mm|
|Expandable Memory Type||microSD|
|RAM (in MB)||512 MB|
|SoC (CPU, GPU)||N.A.|
|CPU Clock speed||800 MHz|
|No. of CPU cores||1|
|Hot Swappable (Y/N)||N|
|Operating System (Tested with)||BlackBerry OS7|
|Charging via USB (Y/N)||Y|
|Hardware Keypad (Regular/QWERTY)||None|
|Accelerometer (For auto rotate)||Y|
|Address Book Capacity||Unlimited|
|No of calls in register||Unlimited|
|Talk Time / Standby Time (3G) *||N.A.|
|No of Profiles # / Customisable||6 / Y|
|Offline Opearability (Y/N)||Y|
|Inbuilt GPS / A-GPS support (Y / N)||Y / Y|
|Browsing (GPRS/EDGE/3G)||Y / Y / Y|
|EDGE max speed (in kbps)||237 kbps|
|3G max speed (in mbps)||7.2 mbps (HSDPA)|
|Connectivity (WiFi/Bluetooth/IR/USB)||Y / Y / N / Y|
|Bluetooth Version/A2DP support||2.1 / Y|
|Camera Resolution (Mega Pixels)||5|
|Video Capture Resolution||VGA|
|Auto focus / flash||Y / Y|
|Type of flash||single LED|
|Secondary camera for video chat||N|
|Mirror for self portrait (Y / N)||N|
|Camera Settings (So 10)||6|
|Music Formats supported||MP3/eAAC /WMA/WAV|
|Video formats supported||MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV|
|FM Radio / RDS (Y/N)||Y / Y|
|Bundled Accessories||Charger, data cable, memory card|
|Size of memory card provided||2 GB|
|Build and Ergonomics (So 10)|
|Surface materials used||7.5|
|Overall build and in-hand feel||7.2 mbps (HSDPA)|
|Quality of moving parts||7|
|Design and ergonomics||7.5|
|Keypad design (on-screen or hardware)||6.5|
|Menu and interface||6.5|
|Settings and ease of navigating menus||7|
|Camera menu options||6|
|Signal Reception and Voice Clarity (So 10)|
|Bluetooth Transfer Speed (in KBps)||161|
|Imaging and multimedia tests|
|Captured Photo Colour||7.25|
|Captured Photo Crispness||7.25|
|Captuted Photo Detail||7|
|Captured Video Quality||6|
|Effectiveness of integrated flash||6|
|Music Quality (loudspeaker)||5|
|Music Quality (handsfree)||8|
|Volume levels (loudspeaker)||4.5|
|Volume levels (handsfree)||7.5|
|Display (So 10)|
|Legibility in bright sunlight||6|
|* Manufacturer Rated|
Contact: Research In Motion