BlackBerry Curve 9360 3 Stars

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This was not the best timed review – just as we took possession of the fourth BlackBerry to run on OS 7 – the Curve 9360 – the world was hit by the great BlackBerry server meltdown, which saw BlackBerry addicts tearing their hair out as they lost their messaging functions, but we will not hold that against the Curve throughout the rest of the review.

The Curves are the less pricey models available from Research in Motion (RIM). Still, this one has the benefit of a good-looking screen. But hang on a minute, while it measures a reasonable 2.44 inches, and is a Liquid Graphics display, with a good resolution of 480x360, it is NOT a touchscreen. Fair enough, the 9360 is at the budget end of the market, but we reckon the omission of a touchscreen is a pretty major thing. After all, there are plenty of basic handsets available that manage to include a touchscreen, even though they cost far less. And it’s just odd having to navigate around the phone without a touchscreen – it feels clumsy and out of date.

Key points

You’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack on the top of the handset, along with a touch-sensitive locking key. On the right of the phone sit the mute button, volume rocker and what is called the ‘convenience’ key. This key can be set up to do whatever you like, whether it takes you to voice dialling or opens BlackBerry Messenger. In default mode it acts as a hard camera key. The micro USB port sits on the left hand side of the phone.

The back of the phone is slightly curved – which explains the name. The handset is a pretty neat size – it weighs just 99g and measures 109x60x11mm. That’s 0.5mm thicker than the thinnest Blackberry of them all, the Bold 9900.

BlackBerry 7

The BlackBerry 7 operating system has some interesting traits, which you will already have read about in reviews. There are five panels of icons to choose from, including Favourites, Media, All, Downloads and Frequents, plus a really handy notification bar at the top of the screen, where you’ll see all your Twitter, BlackBerry Messenger 6 and Facebook alerts.

We’re big fans of the WhatsApp, a download that acts as an open messenger platform – it’s rather like BBM, but you can use it on any phone, you’re not restricted to chatting with other BlackBerry owners.

The trackpad sits beneath the keyboard, along with functions keys for Menu, Answer, Black and End. The trackpad is what you use to navigate the OS, instead of using a touchscreen. As we’ve come to expect on BlackBerrys, the QWERTY keyboard is excellent.

There are quite a few similarities between the 9360 and the Bold 9900, despite the lower pricetag – as well as the same OS, there is NFC for contactless payments, good connectivity in the shape of Wi-Fi, HSPDA and A-GPS, and a five megapixel snapper.

But that is where the similarities end – the 9360 has a disappointing 800MHz chip (instead of the 9900’s 1.2GHz model), and RAM is just 512MB, which means the phone’s performance is more sluggish.

At the end of the day, the 9360’s price is just too high – SIM-free it will cost more than £300 and even on contract you’ll be paying 20 quid–plus. And besides, you can choose an Android handset with a good keyboard and touchscreen (the Samsung Galaxy Pro, for instance) and have hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from.

Our conclusion

We don’t like having to revert to using a trackpad rather than a touchscreen – and the handset is just too costly. If you’re set on buying a Blackberry, spend a little more and get the Bold 9900 instead.

Pros:
Great keyboard; cheaper than other BlackBerrys; usual BlackBerry functionality
Cons:
No touchscreen; disappointing choice of apps
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 3 Stars
  • Ease of use 3 Stars
  • Features 3 Stars
  • Performance 3 Stars
  • Battery life 2 Stars

Final verdict: 3 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice