RIM BlackBerry Curve 9350 Review

Introduction and Design

Amidst a slew of new, touch-based hardware it may have been easy to miss the Curve 9350.  The little brother to the Torch and Bold, this latest Curve is the smallest and slimmest yet.  Some new features include an updated display, 5 megapixel camera, BlackBerry 7 OS and NFC. The 9350 is available with Sprint, while the identical 9360 is offered by T-Mobile. Included with the Curve 9350 you’ll get a 2GB memory card and microUSB data cable with AC adapter. 


At first glance the Curve 9350 seems similar to the outgoing Curve 9330, but once you pick it up you realize just how much smaller it is.  Thanks to inward tapering on the edges and outward tapering on the top and bottom the Curve 9350 feels paper-thin at 11mm.  The familiar 2.4” display is now 480x360 with 16.7 million colors and is very crisp and vibrant, though small.  We didn’t have much issue reading it except in direct sunlight. 
The hard plastic keys feel very similar to past Curve iterations, perhaps a bit smaller.  For the most part we felt at home typing on them but the keypad can be cramped at times and we found ourselves pressing two keys at once on more than one occasion.  This keyboard is a far cry from the Bold, which is a standard of sorts in the mobile industry.

You can compare the BlackBerry Curve 9350 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Thanks to the tapered edges your hands easily wrap around the Curve 9350, which almost gets lost in our medium-sized hands.  It also feels tiny against your face, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.  The phone is very plastic which means it is very light.

On previous BlackBerry devices the side buttons were noticeable bumps along the rubberized edges, but this time around they are merely flaps of rubber.  They stick out, but it took us a second to figure out what they were due to the odd and unexpected size.  They do offer decent feedback when pressed, but are somewhat awkward to press because of the tapering and their placement.  There is only one programmable convenience key, which lies along the right side with the volume rocker.

The overall feel of the Curve 9350 is good, but a bit chintzy.  The plastic keys and housing don’t quite make the device feel cheap, but at the same time we wouldn’t exactly call the phone solid.  The phone almost feels like a toy, and as one person who picked up the Curve 9350 put it, “this doesn’t feel real.”  Those with smaller hands will appreciate the minute dimensions, but for those with large hands the phone will feel miniscule and the keys are probably too close for comfortable typing.

RIM BlackBerry Curve 9350 360-degrees View:

Interface, Software:

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.

Recommended Stories


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. 


Callers were not thrilled by the voice quality of the curve, complaining that we sounded hollow and “not like ourselves”.  On our end it sounded like the mic and earpiece were connected because we could hear ourselves talking, only it was muffled and as if we were in a tunnel.  All in all this is not one of the better phones we’ve tested for call quality, with callers rating us a 7/10.  

The tiny 1040mAh battery is only rated for 5.5 hours of talk time, which may not be enough to get the heaviest users though a day.


The BlackBerry Curve 9350 is the entry level device in RIM’s new lineup, but it serves to point out what is wrong with RIM.  In the midst of bleeding market share to Android and iOS on the strength of the operating system, RIM has chosen hardware as their new rallying cry.  The Curve 9350 is a good entry level phone, but it unfortunately still runs the same basic OS that the Curve 8330 did three years ago, and at $79.99 on contract the phone is well overpriced.  This new Curve is fine, but when you strip it down essentially it’s like most BlackBerry devices before it.  RIM continues to release the same device time and time again with some hardware and ultimately minor software revisions, while largely ignoring the very culprit for their continued market share plunge.

Software version: 7.0.0 Bundle 1346

RIM BlackBerry Curve 9350 Video Review:


  • Crisp display is easy to read
  • BlackBerry OS 7 runs very smoothly


  • Below average call quality
  • Poor battery life
  • BlackBerry 7 is more of the same

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

1 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless