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.
Camera and Multimedia:
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.
RIM BlackBerry Curve 9350 Sample Video:
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.