Sleek, smart, impressive.
Starting up the Curve 9360, Twitter, Facebook and Maps are one of the first things you’ll notice aren’t available with the BIS plan from your telecom operator of choice. After spending a quick AED49 for the Etisalat Social Package everything was open to me.
The other irritating thing that I faced after my initial startup was the number of updates the Curve 9360 had; with each update, no matter how small, taking ages to load. A good example would be the Facebook update which was a mere 1.7mb; it took just under 4 minutes to download and install. I was connected to WiFi (8MB connection with no downloads going on) so this was clearly an issue on BlackBerry’s end.
Apart from these startup issues, the rest of my trip was fairly smooth with the Curve 9360. I was fairly surprised at how good the screen looked, the BB OS7 looking just as nice on the small 2.44 inches screen of the Curve 9360 as it does on the Torch 9810 and Bold 9900. Menu navigation was fairly easy and at no point during normal usage did I feel the need for a touchscreen, except when browsing the internet.
The internet browsing experience on the Curve 9360 leaves a lot to be desired. First of all the 2.44 inches screen which felt nice and compact suddenly feels very small the first time I went online. Even the basic Google search page doesn’t fit in the display. And when browsing any website, the reading experience is very cumbersome. If you’re zoomed out to fit the content on the screen exactly, the text is too small and blurry to read. When you zoom in the text doesn’t realign itself to the margins, which means I constantly have to scroll left and right to be able to read anything. The whole experience just reminded me of the dark ages of mobile web browsing where content wasn’t optimized for phones and everything was a jumbled up mess viewed through a magnifying glass.
Using Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, was a very easy experience, thanks to the specially developed apps for BB OS7. Scrolling through the different posts, clicking on links and pictures was a seamless experience. Interestingly, YouTube seems to open up in a new tab in the browser.
Another point I’d like to bring to attention once again is how disappointing the camera is. At 5MP I thought it would at least have auto focus, but not only is ‘focus’ missing, but so is HD video recording. I would say that low light recording is abysmal, but that goes without saying. The pictures are mostly blurry and the colors ever so slightly desaturated. It’s a pity how bad the camera is on the Curve 9360, but a smartphone this cheap, I guess some concessions had to be made.
Apart from the irritating browsing experience and poor camera, the rest of Blackberry Curve 9360 is a very impressive smartphone. It’s built to look sleek, feels very light and is one of the easiest smartphones to carry around. Using it is a blast with the navigation keys, with menu transitions appearing smooth and apps starting instantaneously. The screen itself is very good, but it’s handicapped by the browser and screen size. At its price point, though, there’s hardly any smartphone on the market that outperforms the Curve 9360 in every category. As such, this is one of the best entry-level smartphones if you can live with the caveats.