Completing the BlackBerry 7 picture is the new BlackBerry Curve 9360, announced today and joining the new Torch and Bold models announced earlier in the month. It will be joined by the Curve 9350 and 9370 variants in other territories.

The first thing that strikes you about the new Curve is just how slim and curvy it is. From the front there isn’t a huge amount to separate the Curve from previous models, but pick it up and you’ll instantly feel the difference.

RIM has gone all out to make the new Curve 9360 feel sensational in the hand. Measuring 109 x 60 x 11mm, the curved back nestles into your hand; it’s slim and sexy and very lightweight, making the new Bold 9900 feel somewhat boxy by comparison.

Of course the real difference between the Bold and the Curve now is the screen and the keyboard. The 2.44-inch 480x360 pixel display is vibrant and sharp, but lacks the touch functions you’ll find on higher models.

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Sticking to the keyboard layout of former Curves, the 9360 offers up the same experience, one we’ve found a pleasure to use in the past. Although we were quickly up to speed bashing in text, we found it less comfortable on the thumbs than the larger model, being noticeably smaller.

BlackBerry 7 finds its way into the Curve 9360 too, so there is consistency across RIM’s BlackBerry portfolio when it comes to the OS. This is the first time we’ve used BB7 without a touchscreen and so you’ll be back to that menu key and optical navigation controller in the centre.

It works, but it isn’t as slick or fast to navigate as the Bold, where a flying thumb will help make selections and move things along. In our brief time with the handset everything opened and closed quickly, but any performance assessment will obviously have to wait until we get our hands on the phone for a full review.

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Around the back you’ll find a 5-megapixel camera and unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be autofocus, so like the bigger brother, your snaps probably won’t be as sharp as some affordable smartphone rivals. Video, likewise, tops out at 640 x 480, distinctly standard definition, although affordability needs to be considered.

But despite the lack of HD video capture, this doesn’t feel like a cheap phone. The build quality isn’t the premium metals that you’ll find on the Bold, but it feels solid in the hand. The glossy plastic back cover was quickly smeared with fingerprints, but we can live with that. 

On the hardware front you don’t lose out either: although it has a slower 800MHz processor, you still get Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC.

We know this is going to be a hot seller, RIM telling us today that the Curve was their best selling BlackBerry handset globally. Of course, we’ll be bringing you a full review in the not too distant future - while you're waiting, why not read our BlackBerry Bold 9900 review?