BlackBerry Curve 9360 review, rating and latest UK deals and offers
2.44 inch landscape screen
5 megapixel camera
Memory card slot
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by Mike Leader
BlackBerry have always made top quality handsets despite being all but swallowed up in the battle for supremacy between Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms.
However BlackBerry were never cheap to buy so their fall from overall popularity has led them to develop more affordable handsets to claw back a share of the market.
Enter the BlackBerry Curve 9360. We find this to be a likeable offering from Canadian manufacturers Research In Motion who bring us a smartphone that as always is top notch quality but without the price tag we have come to expect of premium smartphones.
The casing incorporates the renowned BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard with a pristine quality 2.44 inch landscape screen sitting above it. This has a pixel density of 246 pixels per inch which combined with the screen size makes it one of the sharpest you will ever see.
The usual BlackBerry call and end, back and home keys centrally placed between keyboard and screen with the optical trackpad in the middle which controls the screen, which isn't touch sensitive.
You might think that the four BlackBerry keys beneath the screen are touch sensitive but you will find that they do actually click when pressed.
That casing is an eclectic mix of black with chrome trim, being curved with a rubberised border it is easy to grip and feels robust and solid as has always been the case with BlackBerry handsets.
5 megapixel camera
You won't buy a BlackBerry 9360 to replace your DSLR camera and no doubt the manufacturers had this in mind when developing the handset.
The 5 megapixel offering takes decent pictures outdoors and because the flash is on the opposite side of the camera lens it does not suffer the usual problems of glare suffered by many in-phone cameras.
The camera is not the phone's strong point as there is no autofocus present, but it is only really an issue for close-ups and you will find that otherwise your pictures will be generally bright and clear.
They are perfect for emailing to friends or displaying on your phone or computer which, let's be honest, is what most of us use the camera function for on our smartphones. You do get a raft of scene modes an image enhancement options which is more than can be said of the iPhone.
BB7 Operating system
BlackBerry's operating system, BB7, is also present on the Curve 9360 and now looks a lot more user friendly with more colourful icons not unlike those seen on - dare we say it - Android devices and Apple's iPhones so you will not feel out of place using a BlackBerry even if you have never used one before.
The 800MHz processor may not seem world beating but BlackBerry's BB7 OS doesn't use masses of power so you will be happy to discover that this smartphone runs as smooth as silk and we have seen many Android devices in the past that cannot hope to match the BlackBerry's speed.
Where the BlackBerry Curve 9360 excels is the famous QWERTY keyboard which is perfect for firing off emails, text messages and utilising BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), RIM's instant messaging service which works just like a web-based chat function.
BBM has been further enhanced and is better than ever on this smartphone. For entering text there simply is no better way of doing it and BlackBerry recognise this. you can now even send instant messages from within apps such as Facebook or Twitter.
It is a much better experience than trying to type on a touchscreen device and one which you will definitely enjoy.
All the connectivity options you would get with any premium smartphone are present and correct, with 3G, stereo Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
NFC - Near Field Communication - is also included which is a newer technology which enables you to make contactless payments or perform other tasks such as transferring photos or files between phones with similar functionality by simply holding them close to each other or touching them together.
On board storage is limited at 512Mb but you can add a MicroSD memory card up to 32Gb which is as much storage as most of us will ever need on a mobile phone and an added bonus is that the memory card is hot-swappable.
BlackBerry Market is always vaunted by most critics for it's "poor" selection of apps but you will find all your favourites there like Facebook and Twitter for example and there are more than 100,000 to choose from, the majority of which are free - just how many do you need?
The BlackBerry Curve 9360 will delight all BlackBerry fans and those who wish to try something a little different from the usual fodder might just be pleasantly surprised at what is on offer here.
This is a very good smartphone which can be snapped up for an excellent price. In their heyday Research In Motion might have commanded a much higher premium for this enjoyable handset