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Media is one of the feathers RIM has in its virtual cap, and one that is often overlooked by people looking to buy a multimedia smartphone.
Although BlackBerries are primarily messaging devices and that's what buyers associate them with, in recent years RIM has upped its media capabilities. We assume this is in response to the iPhone, and with RIM trying to target the teen market, this becomes ripe fighting ground.
It's especially true of the BlackBerry Curve range now these affordable smartphones are being pitched towards the younger users as well as others.
We love the fact that RIM no longer provides us with just a bog standard music player, but has dedicated sections such as a podcast area that even enables you to search and subscribe directly from your handset.
Amazon MP3 is built in directly, and it provides a credible alternative to the iTunes store. In fact, in some ways it's better, because it includes things you wouldn't necessarily find on iTunes (we even dug out the old Red Dwarf theme tune and used it as a ring tone - sad, eh?).
Music is purchased and downloaded and you can sync it straight back to your PC or Mac using the excellent software that RIM provides, which even syncs iTunes playlists perfectly (that's no mean feat - just ask Android smartphone users).
There's no FM radio, sadly, although RIM has never included an FM radio on its mobile phones, so it's hardly a surprise. We used the TuneIn Radio app for our radio needs.
(Update: RIM has said the new BlackBerry OS 7.1 will enable the FM Radio for the first time ever. Apparently it's in there, but has never been activated... no, we don't know why either.)
The loudspeaker is just that - LOUD. There's no hint of tinniness, and although bass is a little on the meagre side, it's not enough to notice when you play music through the back. It does muffle if you put the BlackBerry Curve 9360 down on a soft surface, but that's hardly anything to be concerned about.
We can see a lot of bus passengers getting angry with school kids when they start piping out various tunes to each other on this handset. Oh dear.
Videos are kept in their own sections, as are music and photos, and you're even given options to search BlackBerry AppWorld for apps that will work with them. It's all really well integrated, and we're sold on this.
We can confidently say that, media-wise at least, we think the BlackBerry Curve 9360 is a worthy (and cheaper) competitor to the iPhone, even if it falls down in certain other comparable aspects.
Watching video is adequate. The BlackBerry Curve 9360 doesn't struggle to play clips, but you won't really want to watch all 200 seasons of The Wire on it unless you're pint-sized, because you'll be squinting your way to the opticians.
For watching a couple of YouTube clips or even a short episode of something on the train, though, it's more than capable.
Make sure you invest in a memory card, because you won't be able to fit much on the 512MB internal storage available out of the box.
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