The Blackberry Curve 9360 is the budget member of the BB OS 7 range and a good entry-level RIM handset
RIM's BlackBerry Curve 9360 is the latest model running OS 7 along with the BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Torch 9810 and Torch 9860, from the Canadian company. With a sleek body, sharp screen and a decent camera plus a lower price to boot - will the new Curve still appeal to the budget brigade?
BlackBerry Curve 9360: Screen
The Curve 9360 features an impressive screen for its size, with the HVGA resolution packed into a 2.44-inch space. It's not massive, and it's sadly not a touchscreen - although we're sure that won't bother people that prefer to use the highly impressive and well-spaced keyboard.
The colour reproduction is excellent though, making the screen really pop for media and internet, and while the resolution means it's a little harder to use the browser for in-depth site-surfing, it's perfectly acceptable considering the cost of the phone.
BlackBerry Curve 9360: Camera
The Curve 9360 has been massively improved over its predecessors, with a 5MP offering plus LED flash a world way from the blurry 2MP efforts stuck on in the past.
The downside is the lack of auto-focus, meaning that while most snaps come out adequately there is a distinct amount of blurriness on a number of your pics. The flash, however, is quite useful though, with a decent throw for a smaller unit.
Video is a little disappointing if you forget about the price - the VGA effort is nothing to write home about, but for the lower amount of cash you'll have to splash every month it's more than adequate for the odd hilarious home movie.
BlackBerry Curve 9360: Interface
The BB OS 7 interface is will be disappointing for those familiar with the previous iteration - there's not a lot of difference here from OS 6, with the drawers of different applications still the main method of navigating around.
It's a system that's OK to use with a touchscreen, but on this smaller offering and only a trackpad to navigate with, it's a little messy to use at times in our opinion.
However, we are fans of the simplicity of other areas of the system - those that have used a BlackBerry regularly before will be right at home here, and extras like a comprehensive notifications bar are also a nice touch for checking to see what's going on in your world.
BlackBerry Curve 9360: Battery
RIM has always been famed for its long battery life on the BlackBerry range, and while the Curve 9360 doesn't have a terribly poor power drain, it's miles away from the multi-day use we remember.
The cause seems to be the much smaller power pack: RIM is weirdly downgrading its battery size with recent handsets, and while the 1000mAh unit used here might be just enough to last to the later evening for most, it's miles smaller than many other smartphones on the market.
If you don't play reams of music, hammer the NFC chip or spend hours getting lost and using the GPS, you'll probably find enough power on offer here - but it can drain rather quickly under harder use.
BlackBerry Curve 9360 Verdict
The Curve 9360 might have a few foibles here and there, but on the whole it's a top quality smartphone with sumptuous lines, a feather-light chassis and some future-proofing thanks to the inclusion of the beepy NFC technology.
It lacks the power and prowess of its bigger brother, the Bold 9900 - but given that costs twice as much with roughly the same functionality, you can see why we really rate this budget blower.
Blackberry Curve 9360 availability: Out now on all networks
Blackberry Curve 9360 price: From £20 per month and £225 SIM-free unlocked