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The BlackBerry continues to feel like the Little Cellphone That Could. In a world once dominated by the device, it has been battled onto the ropes many times, but still manages to keep holding on and churning out new versions. While it skirts the very definition of the word "smartphone" with a mere mini-QWERTY keyboard, users who love their Berrys and need one to work with their company IT departments will appreciate the sexy and the savvy that the Curve 9350 brings.
The Curve 9350 is sleek, sexy, and compact. More than once people stopped us to ask what model the phone was, remarking on the exterior design. While it won't stop traffic, it does pack a lot of horsepower (an 800 MHz processor, to be exact) under the hood, and the fact that it's able to do that in such a small, svelte package is impressive.
RIM has gone a long way to make sure that this doesn't just feel like an enterprise/exchange phone, and the built-in Social Feeds app, along with pre-installed Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social platforms make it easy to start sharing the personal parts of your life, as well as the business portions, right out of the box.
In fact, the Curve 9350 has so much going for it out of the box, that the only thing we added to it was a free screenshot app. BlackBerry Desktop Software that was an optional download was one of the best phone/computer pieces of interface software that we've ever seen.
When you introduce a phone today without a touchscreen, 4G connectivity, a sizeable HD display or a double-digit megapixel camera, it had better blow you away elsewhere. While the Curve 9350 does perform as expected, it never exceeded what we wanted or provided us with a single "wow!" moment. For a phone that retails off-contract for $359.99, it really needs something extra to add a slap in the face from the palm of your hand that will make you want to buy it.
While the BlackBerry OS 7.1 is definitely the best version of the BlackBerry OS that we've used, it still feels like there is room for improvement. You still have to dial deep into several menus on the BlackBerry to perform easy tasks, and it is beginning to feel downright antiquated here in 2012.
RIM proves that you don't have to have an Android or iOS phone in your pocket to go the smart route, but you'll definitely be on the lower end of the coolness scale among your hipster friends. But if your work requires that you be on a BlackBerry, or you need an inexpensive but robust little phone to get the job done, the Curve 9350 is worth investigating. While the camera and connection options don't put it on the cutting edge, it should serve you very well as a business and personal device.
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