BlackBerry Curve 9350


RIM has announced three new variations in the BlackBerry Curve 9350 series that will run the latest version of BlackBerry OS 7. These will be mid-range smartphones with average feature sets, and are designed to appeal to consumers. At first glance the Curve 9350 seems similar to the outgoing Curve 9330, but once you pick it up you realize just how much smaller it is.  Thanks to inward tapering on the edges and outward tapering on the top and bottom the Curve 9350 feels paper-thin at 11mm.  The familiar 2.4” display is now 480x360 with 16.7 million colors and is very crisp and vibrant, though small.  We didn’t have much issue reading it except in direct sunlight. The hard plastic keys feel very similar to past Curve iterations, perhaps a bit smaller.  For the most part we felt at home typing on them but the keypad can be cramped at times and we found ourselves pressing two keys at once on more than one occasion.  This keyboard is a far cry from the Bold, which is a standard of sorts in the mobile industry. The BlackBerry 7 OS is fluid, familiar and still clunky.  RIM has tried to keep pace with iOS and Android and OS 6 made some nice speed and visual improvements, but usability still suffers.  The same thing can be said about OS 7.  The fatal flaw with BlackBerry OS is that it is still menu-driven in an app and gesture based mobile world.  BlackBerry diehards will appreciate the improvements, but for the average user it is just too much work to use.   To give credit where credit is due, OS 7 runs quickly and smoothly on the Curve 9350, thanks in part to the 800MHz Marvell processor and half a gig of RAM. The software is what we’ve seen from Sprint BlackBerry devices for a long time now.  In addition to the standard RIM apps you also have some social media apps like Facebook, Twitter YouTube.  Sprint’s standard apps are also virtually installed, such as SprintTV, Football and Telenav navigation.  Vlingo is also a nice addition to the virtual installs, but it won’t work unless you set your convenience key to it. As with any BlackBerry the Curve 9350 makes its name with strong messaging, email and calendar options especially when paired with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server.  There is nothing new to say about these services other than that they are just as good as always. The 5 megapixel camera didn’t perform particularly well, but was good enough for casual photos.  Viewed at full resolution details were muddled, and in low light situations images were very grainy.  When it was announced the Curve 9350 was touted as having HD video capture, but in reality it maxes out at VGA.  Videos were still pretty smooth and plenty good for YouTube.  As usual, settings are very limited. There isn’t anything new with the music and video players.  It was able to handle DivX, Xvid, H.264 and MPEG-4 formats, but could only play videos at a max resolution of 640x480.  We don’t imagine too many people will be wanting to watch movies on the tiny 2.4” display so this isn’t a big hit against the Curve 9350. The Curve 9350 runs on Sprint’s 3G EVDO Rev. A network and uses Wi-Fi b/g/n for local connections.  The tweaked WebKit browser runs decently quick over Wi-Fi but wasn’t all that great over 3G.  While it rendered complex pages like phoneArena just fine, but no matter how you spin it the web just isn’t the same with a trackpad and not a touchscreen.  Other connectivity options include GPS, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR and semi-surprisingly NFC. Callers were not thrilled by the voice quality of the curve, complaining that we sounded hollow and “not like ourselves”.  On our end it sounded like the mic and earpiece were connected because we could hear ourselves talking, only it was muffled and as if we were in a tunnel.  All in all this is not one of the better phones we’ve tested for call quality, with callers rating us a 7/10.   The tiny 1040mAh battery is only rated for 5.5 hours of talk time, which may not be enough to get the heaviest users though a day. The BlackBerry Curve 9350 is the entry level device in RIM’s new lineup, but it serves to point out what is wrong with RIM.  In the midst of bleeding market share to Android and iOS on the strength of the operating system, RIM has chosen hardware as their new rallying cry.  The Curve 9350 is a good entry level phone, but it unfortunately still runs the same basic OS.



Price in USA $176

Price in UK £100

Price in EURO €130

Price in PAK Rs.19,500

Price in INDIA Rs.12,000