BlackBerry Curve 9360 review

High-end specs in a budget BlackBerry shell

BlackBerry Curve 9360
Ultra-thin, flash, voice recognition, but it's not an iPhone

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Now here's what's really odd. RIM's handsets seem to be getting more and more adventurous. But bucking the trend set by other manufacturers, its batteries are getting smaller and smaller.

BlackBerry curve 9360

The Bold 9780 gave users a good old 1500mAh power pack, but the hootin' tootin' Bold 9900 maxes out at a meagre 1230mAh. Similarly, the Curve 9300 battery was 1150mAh, and now the BlackBerry Curve 9360 is even smaller, at just 1000mAh. That has to be one of the smallest batteries we've seen in years.

Weird, huh?

RIM has presumably taken this step for two reasons: firstly, because it wants to keep the Curve 9360's dimensions down to make it appear sexier, and secondly, because OS 7 is just better at managing power - especially with a handset where the processor maxes out at 800MHz.

BlackBerry curve 9360

But really, guys? 1000mAh? Are you mad?

To be fair to RIM, it will get you through a day - but you'll have to be sensible. We hate to break it to you that the era of BlackBerrys having the best battery lives out there is long gone now. A BlackBerry in 2011 is no better than any other average smartphone when it comes to battery life.

We took our review unit off charge at 7am and spent an hour catching up with emails, Tweets, Facebook messages and browsing the web. At about 10am, we went for a 10 mile run using the Adidas MiCoach app and listening to the radio streaming through TuneIn.

Over the course of the afternoon, we played Jamie Woon's album from start to finish (streaming it over Bluetooth to our stereo), made about 40 minutes worth of calls and sent about 30 emails. We also sent the odd text message. We managed to eke out the power until just after 7pm, when the handset shut down the radio and told us it was off to bed.

We class that as pretty intense usage, so if you're more of an average punter, you'll easily make it through until bedtime.

BlackBerry curve 9360

Connectivity-wise, GPS (with A-GPS), Bluetooth (with A2DP), HSDPA/HSUPA (plus EDGE if you really want to go retro) and Wi-Fi are all there.

NFC is also here. First introduced in the Bold 9900 and still as useless as a chocolate teapot until the technology gets major buy in, we're really shocked to see it here.

Not because it shouldn't be, but because this is a cheaper, more cheerful handset than the premium Bold 9900 so we wouldn't expect treats like that to find their way onto the spec sheet.

Still, it just goes to show how much RIM thinks NFC will be part of our lives in the months and years to come - and will probably come into its own if the Curve 9360 and BlackBerry Tag become as popular as RIM hopes.