From Bold to Curve: My Thoughts. (9900 to 9360)
I know this might be ultimately redundant and pointless, but I have recently made a switch to a Curve as my daily driver, and thought I would like to share my thoughts about the differences between them. Hoping that if anyone were to be torn between these 2 devices, my write-up here might help you weigh your options better. This is rather long, thus will be spread across multiple posts. I will try to be as detailed as I can regarding my personal experience with both phones.
(A little background about my BlackBerry history. This is actually my first time ever, using a Curve device as my daily driver. My two previous BlackBerry phones were both Bold. A 9000 and a 9900. Both spent roughly half a year with me as my daily driver. But I have decided to give the Curve 9360 a go as I really like the design, and small size of it.)
Both devices are designed for different target audiences, and at different price point as well. So rating how good a design is, based on how much metal or glass is used is just not fair. Both phones' design is fantastic in its individual right.
The Bold has an elegant and classy design, with a rich use of materials like metal and glass. Fantastically designed, and just downright sexy. You want to lick the device and hug it to sleep, protect it with your life (Okay, I may have exaggerated slightly). The keyboard on the 9900, has a chrome line dividing each rows of keys. On each row, the keys are placed side by side with no room in-between the keys, making an entire row of keys look as if they are just one long stretched piece of plastic, making it look like just one element. This helps to simplify the design of the phone visually, making it look more elegant and sophisticated. The carbon weave design on the battery door is a nice touch, even though it is not really carbon fibre. My only complain would probably be that the battery door is not particularly scratch resistant.
The Curve is no slouch either. It may not have been endowed with metal and glass, but it has made fantastic use of what it has, plastic. Slim and beautifully designed. Making use a single piece of plastic cascading across the lock button at the top, the screen, and all the way until the keyboard. Flowing lines that never seems to end, stretching on and on. The keyboard, typical of the Curve series, are individual keys, separated with a small margin. In daylight, the design of the keyboard might be quite outstanding. It is definitely something that you would notice. However, when things get dark, this is where i think the Curve is truly magnificent to behold. Since the keys are individual, the fit and finish of individual keys can be of a tighter margin, meaning that you only see the letters on the keys, but not much light coming out from the sides of the keys. In the dark, it seems as though the front of the Curve was just carved out of a single piece of material, flowing from top to bottom. You only see the screen, the navigation buttons and trackpad, and the letters on the keyboard. You can barely see that they are actually protruding buttons. That, is a brilliant touch. Unlike the Bold, which keys are placed side by side, you can see light coming out from the sides of the keys. Plus the chrome line is rather outstanding even in the dark as well. The only let down would be the super glossy back cover, it does look slightly out of place due the fact that most parts on the back of the phone is with a matte finish (camera area and the silver band that flows to the side of the phone as well). I cannot help but think that a matte finish would have been a nicer touch. The super glossy is simply a huge fingerprint and scratch magnet.
But overall for their individual price point, their design are both equally fantastic in their own way.
Some of the points may not be relevant to everyone as the size of hands differs from person to person. A lot of these points are my personal opinion, and preference.
The Bold is a wide device when compared to other models in the range, people with smaller hands may find one-handed use a little problematic especially when typing and you have to reach all the way across the keyboard. Other than that, most will find the Bold comfortable enough to hold and use for long periods of time. The thinner rubber-like band behind the phone provide a slight curve that fits relatively nicely in the palm. Providing a little more grip as well. The keyboard is well positioned to allow the thumbs to reach all keys without straining much. The "chin" at the bottom on the keyboard is not merely just for carrier branding, but it is placed there intentionally so the keyboard is positioned higher up. This is probably so that you do not have to strain your thumb just to reach the bottom of the keyboard to hit space every single time when using one handed. Also, the position of the keys means that the balance of the phone is kept as high as possible to prevent accidentally drops, and also provide better grip on the device when typing. When your thumbs has to strain to almost the bottom of the phone to hit a key, a slight push on the top of the device, or a slight bump into someone/something may very well simply tip the phone over and cause you to drop your device. The buttons on the side of the Bold are nicely positioned and easy to hit without looking.
The Curve is a slim device compared to the Bold, but it does fit extremely nicely in one's hand. Being a slimmer device, there was almost no strain trying to reach the other end of the keyboard. Your thumbs will most likely be able to reach all keys on the keyboard with ease. The points about keyboard is pretty much the same for the Curve. But one thing that I found to be outstanding was the Curvature of the device at the 2 sides. The curve as the sides fits very nicely in one's palms. Following the curve of the hand almost perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the device fitted in my hand. The name "Curve" fits the phone perfectly. Similarly, the buttons on the side of the Curve are nicely positioned and easy to hit without looking as well. Though my only complain would be that the "Lock", "Call" and "End Call" buttons are hard to press.
I found myself preferring the Curve to the Bold overall. It just feels so good to hold in the hand. Like how a blanket snugly covers your body on a cold rainy day. It is just awesome. Also the petite size of the devices and how it is designed with curves makes it slides into my pocket with extreme ease.
The Bold of course is the undisputed King of the Physical Keyboards. Described as many as the best physical keyboard ever put on a mobile phone, and I completely agree. The spacing between the keys and the size of the keys itself is just brilliant. So is the feedback that one gets from pressing the keys. To steal a line from Kevin, it feels like typing on puffy clouds. Like plunging one's head into a soft cotton pillow after a long day's work. Its just great to type on. Period.
The Curve however is still surprisingly good. For the size of the device, RIM has managed to make the keys well spaced and well sized. Individual buttons are still easy to hit, and one can be pretty precise as well. Taking into consideration that despite only having the device for a day, I was still able to type pretty quickly and accurately. My only complain is that the keys do require a bit more strength to be depressed, slightly slowing down typing speeds. But hopefully with more use, they might become a little more seasoned and softened? But still, typing on the Curve is almost as pleasurable as typing on the Bold. I still immensely enjoy the physical keyboard on both phones.
This might be a few years too early to call but I do have some initial comments about the Curve 9360, good ones. My comments are basically about the construction of it. It looks to be a very nicely build device with as little gaps as possible. The keys on the keyboard are fitted snugly on the device, with very little or no margin. The screen and navigation keys are one piece of plastic that extends all the way to the top, and that piece of plastic has almost no gap on both sides as well. The side volume controls and convenience key are one piece of rubber as well, and curves nicely along the phone with no rough edges as all.
Whereas compared to the Bold 9900, between the touch screen display and the metal band surrounding the phone, there is a visible gap. Dust are able to get trap within that. I am a cigarette smoker as well, thus tiny bits and pieces of the stray ash do sometimes fall in between the gaps. The navigation panel (menu, back, call and end call buttons) are a thin piece of plastic. Held together by what I am guessing to be adhesive tape. A piece of tape once accidentally sticked itself onto that panel and when i pulled it out, I saw the entire panel being lifted up. Yeah, I know. Almost got a heart attack. Then the keyboard is designed in a way that I feel like plenty of dust is going to get trapped in there after sometime. Also the volume controls and convenience key has a pretty rough edge, and is protruding out quite a bit. I can't help but wonder if i were to jam my phone into my pocket quickly, would the buttons get caught by the pants and gets completely yanked out.
But that said, the Bold 9900 is still of exceptional quality. I have yet to have anything failed or broken by me in the past 6 months, but i can't help but feel that the Curve is a better phone to be abused. A phone that you can just toss or leave around and it will still be working after years.
But one HUGE thing i have concerned about the Curve is the slightly loose trackpad. I have seen a few thread with users having this issue as well. So far it has been good, but it does worries me slightly. All the buttons on the Curve are firm, from the keyboard to the volume controls and convenience key, and to the navigation buttons. All except the trackpad??? My Bold 9900 has a very firm trackpad thats stays firmly in its position. I would prefer that over what the Curve has. I just pray that if something does goes wrong, it will be within the warranty period.
Well, I might be wrong, but these are just my opinions at the moment.
I probably would not go too much into the specs, performance and battery life. Since the specs are pretty much what it is and the performance is basically expected from a device with less processing power and RAM. I am not saying that the Curve has poor performance. What I am saying is that it is slightly slower than the Bold. It is still pretty brisk in my opinion. You would probably only notice the difference when doing something that demands more from the processor. Like rendering webpages, installing applications, using graphic intensive apps (playing videos, editing photos, games)…etc. But overall, it is still a very nice BlackBerry experience. Battery life I still can't comment much as I have just loaded the latest official 7.1 OS, and have yet to use the phone in my normal usage. It also depends a lot on personal usage patterns. For example my Bold 9900 would last typically almost 2 days on the latest 7.1 OS. Slightly more or less depending on usage. I would be happy with the Curve's battery life if is can offer something similar to that.
This probably is the longest post I've written. hahaha. Mostly because I am having problems sleeping, and partly hoping to breath more life into the Curve forums. Something different that the usual Q & A style threads. Perhaps most of you have already given up reading after the first few points, but for those that finished reading everything, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for tolerating my incessantly long post. Browsing through the forums, it seems that out of all the current OS 7 range of devices, the Curve series is one of the less populated ones. Perhaps most users would have gone for the Bold series instead, since it really is a very good device. But the Torch and Curve series of devices are pretty awesome as well. Though with its cheaper price tag, i expected that it would be a pretty popular device as well, since it offers a pretty awesome BlackBerry experience as well.
Have a good day everyone!!!
- 05-26-2012, 03:43 AM #8
Thinking about the same switch. Bought my gf a pink 9360 and I am pretty impressed by the design and built quality. In my opinion it is superior to the 9900 which I had to change three times to get a properly built model.
Typing on the 9360 is nearly as good as on 9900. No big deal for me even though I am typing really a lot on the 9900. The biggest advantage is the battery life. When my 9900 is empty my gf still has 40% left.
Like always it all depends on your needs. I need mail, bbm, whatsapp, bebuzz, beweather and the hotspot. Thats pretty much it. And to be honest it feels a lot faster than the 9900 when browsing in menus and scrolling. Oh and btw the hotspot works also faster. I was really impressed so I am going to buy myself one today. Will let u know how it works out.
Its brilliant. Not missing the touch screen after a while. I bought the cover from the verizon 9370 to replace the fingerprint magnet glossy cover and it looks great too. Fantastic to type too. But nowadays I jumping between various BB to try out different models.
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