I have been using a Verizon Wireless BlackBerry Curve 9370 as a second phone for the last month or so and I have to admit I really am surprised by this device. It is the first Curve model that hasn’t felt like sacrifices were made to hit a low price point. In the past all the Curves have had those obvious sacrifices,  such as a low resolution screen and the absences of a flash.  With the Curve 9370 they upped the quality to the point where it doesn’t really feel or perform like a Curve. Read on for my full review.

Hardware

The first thing I noticed after picking up my review unit BlackBerry Curve 9370 was how not cheap it felt. The Curve line is intended as the entry-level option for BlackBerry smartphones and in the past that has meant some what cheap feeling devices. This Curve changes that completely. It is super thin at only 11mm thick and it’s also very light, weighing in at only 3.5 ounces. Although it is thin and light, it still manages to feel sturdy and well built. This is also a very good looking Curve, made of a combination of black plastic and brushed metal. It isn’t as luxurious as Verizon’s BlackBerry Bold 9930, but it isn’t too far behind either. It is without question the best looking and feeling Curve to date.

Along the top, the 9370 offers a 3.5mm headset jack and a screen/keyboard lock button. The user-assignable action key, volume rocker and mute button are all on the right side of the device. They are really thin buttons that just barely poke out of the side of the phone. However, they are easy to locate and use. The micro USB port is located on the left side of the phone and for whatever reason it is upside down when compared to what is found on all of the other BlackBerry devices I’ve owned.  Under the battery cover you will find the Micro SD card slot and the GSM SIM card, which enables this Curve to be used while overseas. The Battery itself is 1000mAh and it easily lasted a full two days per charge, with moderate use during my testing.

The BlackBerry Curve 9370 features a 2.4-inch 480 x 360-pixel display which produces 246ppi. The display is bright and vibrant and the improved resolution is a nice upgrade from the Curve 9330’s 2.4-inch 320 x 240p screen. Text is sharp and colors are reproduced well. Sadly there is no touch screen on this device, which is kind of disappointing.

The screen itself is made of one large piece of plastic that runs from the top of the phone and goes down far enough to include the call, menu, back and end buttons. Having these buttons built into the screen took a bit of getting used. Coming from the Bold line It feels like I am applying too much pressure to get a press to register. I had this same complaint with the 9330, but the buttons on the 9370 seem stiffer than what were on previous Curves I have used. The Curve 9370, like all Curves before it has rather small keys. However, the 9370’s keys are shaped differently than previous models. The new keys are more rounded and provide a good feel for identifying key placement. I found typing on this newly designed keyboard to be fast and responsive.

Audio from the BlackBerry Curve 9370’s rear speaker was crisp and clear without much noticeable distortion at any volume level. The ear piece speaker gave equally satisfying results. Call quality sounded as good as any other Verizon Wireless phone I have used and reception was great, In the month and a half I have used the device I haven’t experienced a single drop call.

A 800-MHz processor and 512MB of ram provides a fast and mostly lag free experience. Launching apps usually takes about a second. Scrolling through long lists of messages or a bunch of pictures is as smooth as can be while using a track pad. The camera opens and is ready to snap a photo within two seconds. For storing those photos, the Curve 9370 comes with 1GB of internal storage and an included 2GB Micro SD card (expandable up to 32GB)

Software

The BlackBerry Curve 9370 is the third BlackBerry launched on Verizon Wireless to come with BlackBerry OS 7. Notable improvements found in OS7 include the ability to use augmented reality applications, a HTML 5 enabled browser and NFC, which allows the BlackBerry Curve 9370 to interact with other NFC devices and tags.

Perhaps the most important improvement added with OS 7 is what RIM calls Liquid Graphics, which provides fluid animations and all around smooth rendering. Apps on all the OS 7 devices seem to launch nearly instantly and scrolling through apps and the entire OS itself is very fluid and responsive. This holds true for the Curve also, While using it I found myself almost forgetting that this device only has a 800Mhz processor.

People who are looking for the full BlackBerry experience will not be disappointed with this Curve. All of the BlackBerry branded apps are on it and they all run great. BlackBerry Messenger, with all of it’s new features and the ability to use connected apps is included, as well as BlackBerry Protect, Maps, Social Feeds and news. Besides those, the Curve comes with Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, Twitter, Facebook and Verizon’s software bundle pre-installed.

Conclusion

Although the BlackBerry Curve 9370 is an entry level smartphone meant to be as cost effective as possible it is still a much better performing device than any of the OS 6 Blackberry phones were. This is easily the best Curve yet. It is quick, built well and it has a sleek and sexy design.  If you are a fan of the Curve series of BlackBerry Smartphones or just new to BlackBerry Smartphones in general you will love the 9370.

Price: $99.99 – With 2 year contract and instant $50 online discount

Avalible from Verizon Wireless Here

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