2011 was a tough year for RIM. From missed deadlines, outages, angry shareholders, stampedes and drunken executives one thingís for sure: Someoneís going to require a lot of therapy. Between all the negative stories, RIM managed to update their entire smartphone lineup with new devices and a new version of the Blackberry OS. First came the Bold 9900/9930, followed by the Torch 9810/9860. Hereís the updated Curve: the 9360.
The Curve 9360 is a very light phone. I wouldnít say itís feels cheap though because it doesnít really creak or flex. The battery cover is very thin plastic - but it clips on and fits quite tightly so it feels fine once you attach it. While the cover doesnít feel it, it certainly doesnít feel expensive because itís just hard shiny plastic
I like that the Curve is a pretty small phone. Phones these days have been getting bigger and bigger so itís nice to use something thatís so easy to use with one hand.
The display measures 2.45Ē with a resolution of 480x360. After getting used to the 9900 and 9790, I canít help but be a little disappointed and confused because the 9360 doesnít have a touchscreen. If youíre used to not having a touchscreen then youíll do fine with the Curve. Iím not, so I found myself constantly touching the screen and wondering why nothing was happening.
Besides the touchscreen, the big difference between a Bold and a Curve is its keyboard. Boldís have a fretted keyboards whose keys are angled sideways. Curve keyboards keys are shaped slightly differently and are more separate. Really, both keyboards are fantastic. The 9360ís key have a very positive feel when you press them. I also like how they click, though this can be a problem if you use it in bed since it may wake your partner.
The menu keys are all connected to each other. While they look cool, I prefer the menu keys on the 9790 because they require less force to press.
There is built in NFC support. The NFC antenna is located on the battery cover.
Volume buttons, camera button
3.5mm headphone jack
The 9360 runs Blackberry OS 7.0. Itís actually very similar to OS 6.0 but the browser is a bit faster with more features, the OS itself looks more sleek and there is NFC support.
Iíve already tested a couple of Blackberry OS 7.0 devices so I wonít be covering it too much. I will say that the Blackberry OS is fantastic for messaging. The entire OS is designed around it. In my 9790 review, I complained that the screen felt cramped at times. While the 9360 has the same sized display and resolution, it doesnít feel quite as cramped because itís not a touch screen devices. The only time it feels me feel a little claustrophobic is when Iím using the browser.
The camera has a resolution of 5mp with a LED flash. Thereís no autofocus so it doesnít really work if youíre closer than around a 1 ft from your subject. While it does have very good shot-to-shot speeds it doesnít take very good pictures. Pictures are noisy and theyíre usually pretty soft looking unless youíre pretty far away. If a good camera is important to you take a look at the Bold 9790.
Video is capture at 640x480. Itís not very good either.
Inside the 9360 youíll find a 800Mhz processor with 512MB of RAM.
I used SunSpider to test the Curveís browser performance - lower numbers are better. At 6222.5 The 9360 scores low in SunSpider. When you browse over the network, browser data goes through RIMís datacenters. The data is compressed and optimized (images are shrunk). This has 2 advantages; first you use less data and more importantly, the 9360 has to juggle less data which should help it feel faster. When you browse via WiFi, data from the website youíre looking at goes straight to the device. My seat-of-the-pants assessment is that the 9360 browser speed is acceptable when you browse via the network. Over WiFi it feels really slow.
What annoys me is that when you browse via WiFiI usually have to wait a while before I can zoom in and read. Then, the page goes blank if I scroll too quickly because the Curveís processor canít keep up.
If you spend a lot of time surfing the web over WiFi and want a Blackberry with a keyboard you should consider the Bold 9900.
Blackberry Bold 9900 2681.6
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray 3169.4
Apple iPhone 4 3549.9
Apple iPhone 3Gs 4618.9
Blackberry Bold 9790 5299.4
Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant 5792.8
Blackberry Curve 9360 6222.5
Blackberry Bold 9700 10557.9
One of the first things you have to do when you get a new Blackberry is update some other the built-in applications. Whether itís BBM, Facebook, Google Talk or something else. If youíve never used a Blackberry before updating these programs is excruciating because it takes forever. First off, the 9360 downloads programs very slowly. Blackberry programs tend to be very small. Generally, theyíre only 1 or 2 MB in size but the 9360 downloads them in 40kb chunks, after each chunk it pauses for a few seconds.
After itís done download it takes a while to install. When itís done you have to reboot which also takes a long time.
Now imagine doing this for 4 or 5 apps. I looked around the Blackberry app world app but I canít find an option to queue up multiple updates. You can try to run all the updates at once but the 9360 will become so slow you canít use it for anything else. Doing this will drain a significant amount of battery life too so be careful if youíre not near a charger.
RF performance is very good. Incoming sound quality is excellent as is outgoing.
I tested the battery using a 7hr long 720x480 mp4 video file. The 9360 lasted 245 mins while the 9790 gets 303 and the 9900, 367 mins. Just to compare the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray (another single core phone with a bigger display, faster processor and bigger battery) lasted 349 mins. Traditionally, Blackberries have been known for their superior battery life. While the latest generation of Blackberries are still better than the competition the margin is much smaller now. The main culprit for the 9360ís lackluster battery life is itís small 1000mAh battery.
Blackberry Bold 9900 367
Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray 349
Blackberry Bold 9790 303
Blackberry Curve 9360 245
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 222
LG Optimus LTE 242
The Curve 9360 feels like a lighter 9790 with a smaller battery, no touchscreen and a slower processor. While itís true the Curve sits lower on the Blackberry food chain, competition is extremely fierce and RIM needs to stick beefier hardware in their devices.
In the end, while the 9360 ships with Blackberryís newest Operating system it feels dated because thereís no touchscreen and because sometimes it feels really slow. Itís true that itís way better than any previous Curve but the market is moving so quickly I was expecting more.
short battery life
The Curve 9360 has NFC while the more expensive Torch 9810 and 9860 donít.
just to add one thing, i have shrunken my os and now my 9360 flys like a g6, booting time, battery life, signal locking and responsiveness of the device is very snappy, i dont see myself moving to any other device for another year if any really really mind blowing deal strikes.