Hands On: BlackBerry Curve 9350/9360
The latest version of the BlackBerry Curve is the smallest yet, but offers many of the same features found on its bigger BlackBerry brothers.
The latest version of the BlackBerry Curve is noticeably slimmer and smaller than its predecessors. It has shed weight and size, and is a very compact smartphone.
Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.
As with other Curves, it is smaller the the Bold or Torch series, and that means a more pocketable BlackBerry. It has steeply rounded edges and rests in the hand comfortably. Materials are definitely on the cheaper side, and it lacks the spit and polish of the Bold models.
The latest Curve has a central button on top that acts to silence it and lock the screen. Since it is in the middle, it is easy to find. The volume controls are on the left side and worked well.
The navigation cluster includes the now-standard trackpad (which worked well) and the usual set of send/end, and BlackBerry/Back keys. These are all you need to access most of the Curve's features and functions. They all had good travel and feedback, and I found them to be easy to find and use.
The QWERTY keyboard, while decent, is nowhere near as good as that of the Bold 9900/9930. The keys are smaller, separated more, and have less travel and feedback. I'm not saying the keyboard is bad, it's just not as good as the excellent keyboard on the newest Bolds.
The Curve runs the latest BlackBerry 7 operating system. It felt just as snappy on the Curve as it does on the Bold and Torch, but it definitely loses something without having the touch screen. After using a handful of touch-based Blackberries in recent weeks, I found my thumb wandering up to the screen to perform different actions -- all to no avail. The screen is also much smaller, which means less room for reading emails and browsing the web.
The latest BlackBerry Curve is certainly a decent little smartphone, but I see it more as a stepped-up messaging device more than I do a smartphone. Power users may want to stick with the Bold or Torch.
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