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BlackBerry Curve 9360: Hands-on shots and first impressions

Alongside this morning’s announcement, BlackBerry held a press event in London showing off the new Curve 9360. We’ve had a quick play around with it and thought we’d share our thoughts.

Running on BlackBerry OS 7, the overall user experience (on the software side of things) is generally consistent with the Bold 9900. We were told that the 9360 will be “competitively priced” when it goes on sale next month so it should prove a hit with those after a smartphone-esque phone but don’t want to shell out for a smartphone price tag.

BBM 6 is all present and correct and works in tandem with Foursquare, so that your check ins and badge earns can be cross-posted to BBM convos. We were told that BlackBerry it working on bringing BBM cross-posting to the Facebook and Twitter apps too.

Hardware, you get a 5-megapixel camera supported by an LED flash, a microSD card slot that can save cards up to 32GB in size and (yes!) an NFC chip. So when contactless payments finally comes to the UK properly in the next year or so, your Curve 9360 will be future-proofed and ready for this.

Powered by a 800MHz processor, the BlackBerry Curve 9360 measures up at 60 x 109 x 11mm, so its pretty slim as well, featuring that trademarked Curve ergonomic design and a full four row Qwerty. Have a flick through out gallery for a closer look and our thoughts.

The Curve 9360 is fairly lightweight in the hand, yet feels solid and substantial. It’s not as lightweight at Samsung’s Galaxy S2, but is less weighty than the Bold 9900. Its body is made from a combination of matt and reflective plastics.

The 5-megapixel camera unit sits up on the top right of the phone (when you’re holding it in portrait to take a pic) with the LED flash over on the left.

The 3.5mm audio jack sits up top, a first for Curve phones, BlackBerry told us, next to a lock control.

Over on the right hand side there’s two shaped controls; a volume rocker and a dedicated shutter key for the camera. When you load up the camera app, you can use an on-screen control or this physical key. Tapping the physical key from the main screen also loads up the camera.

Over on the other side sits the microUSB connection.

Another look at the volume rocker and camera key.

We like that you get two shift keys on either side of the spacebar. This’ll avoid any unnecessary thumb gymnastics when you need to captialise a certain letter and there’s just one button for caps or shift.

You can open multiple tab in the browser and quickly jump to a different page when you need to. We got the Curve 9360 running fine with ten pages open at once.

The camera app. Geotagging can be enabled by tapping the little crosshair/red pin icon here on the left. As you can see, flash control and other options are over on the right.

The usual resume of BlackBerry camera effects that we’ve seen since OS 6.

And finally a quick look at the innards; microSD card that can be removed without having to take out the battery, jolly good… and the NFC chip. See that little black square on the other side of the battery cover? That’s the NFC. Makes us wish we could start buying things properly with our phones right now.

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