BlackBerry Torch (9800) review

I’ve had the BlackBerry Torch for about a month now and I have to say – it’s a keeper. It’s now my main day-to-day phone. I get about 2 days between charges which is good considering the large touch screen.
The phone is in my preferred form factor: touch screen slider with a full qwerty keyboard (much like the palm pre I love so much). (9/10)
The keyboard isn’t as good as the one I’m familiar with to on the BB 8900 but still it’s a pleasure to type emails/messages on it.  (9/10).
The trackball has been replaced with a trackpad which works really well for navigation and scrolling. (9/10)

The touch screen is responsive and quick. It still doesn’t handle ‘pinch-zoom’ in the browser as well as Apple devices which is disappointing but all in all the screen is good compared to the terrible BB Surepress Storm attempt. I was expecting the resolution to be higher but it’s okays for the job. (7/10)

The call quality is very good, the headset works really well – so well that most people don’t realise I’m driving which is nice.

The phones charges off USB (most of nokia’s phone still fail here!) and nice and quickly (8/10) the camera is okay to take daytime photos. The flash isn’t great and a lot of photos I took in poorly lit areas didn’t come out too well. (7/10)

The top 3 things I like about the phone – (1) the single message inbox which shows all my emails and social network messages. (2) The universal search i.e. just start typing to find what you’re looking for (app/contact/email etc.) (3) The voice command feature is just fantastic. Spending a lot of time in the car, with a press of the button the phone asks for a command like ‘Call Ian, mobile 1’ and it will dial @ricei in and instant. The voice dialing just worked straight out of the box with no training  at all. (9/10)


The app store is okay but not great. (8/10). Apps are easily found and installed.
BlackBerry has most _but_ not all the regular apps. Here is a flavour of what I’ve installed: Facebook, Twitter, 4Sq, Opera, Rove Mobile SSH (handy for checking our cloud instance), Google Maps, Gmail, Gist, Linkedin, HulloMail, DropBox, and QR Scanner.

I keep my phone on silent for new emails/text/SN updates etc. so I rely on the LED notification. RIM doesn’t allow you to customize it but BeBuzz is a small app that allows you to customize the LED colour to suit your needs. It’s really handy with one quick look I can see if it’s a Cauwill mail (blue),Google Mail(red), @twitter/facebook (orange), text message (green) etc.

Just a quick mention to which reads your emails and SMS out loud to you while driving makes things a lot safer. (9/10)

The native social network apps integrate nicely with your existing contacts by updating them with photo’s, email, phone numbers etc. from all the networks into one comprehensive address book. (9/10). Sweet.

BlackBerry Travel is terrific for keeping all travel related info in one place.  It automatically picks up email confirmations from hotels, airlines and creates a new ‘Trip’. It pulls information like weather etc. about your destination, who in your Linkedin network is there and things around your hotel destination. It also pulls flight information too.. just awesome!

So that’s a round up of BlackBerry apps I’ve got installed – however BlackBerry is missing some key apps like: skype, spotify, plendi, xero 🙁 .. Get on it developers and get them released!!

No angry birds 🙁 to be honest I haven’t found any games worth playing on it. (1/10)


BlackBerry Torch 9800 Specifications

Size (LxWxD) Closed: 4.4″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″  /  111mm x 62mm x 14.6mm
Open: 5.8″ x 2.4″ x 0.57″ / 148mm  x 62mm x 14.6mm
161.59 g / 5.7 oz (includes battery)
Operating System BlackBerry 6
CPU Speed 624 MHz
– 512 MB internal flash memory
– 4GB built-in storage memory
Expandable Memory
– 4GB microSD card included
– Supports up to 32GB microSD card
1270 mAhr removable/rechargeable cryptographic lithium cell
Battery Life
GSM Talk Time: 5.5 hours; GSM Standby Time: 17 days
UMTS Talk Time: 5.8 hours; UMTS Standby Time: 13 days
Audio Playback: 29.8 hrs
Video Playback: 6 hrs
Physical keyboard: 35 key backlit QWERTY
Touchscreen keyboards: portrait/landscape full qwerty, condensed portrait
High resolution touch scree
Half-VGA+ display (360 x 480 at 188ppi)
3.2″ (diagonally measured)
Navigation – Capacitive traditional touch screen (no SurePress)
– Optical trackpad
5.0 MP camera, flash, auto focus, face detection, image stabilization, scene modes, 2X zoom, video recording
Video Camera
Normal Mode: 640 x 480 pixels
MMS Mode: 176 x 144 pixels
Voice Input/Output
Integrated speaker and microphone, hands-free headset
capable, Bluetooth headset capable, integrated hands-free speakerphone
Integrated GPS with A-GPS (assisted GPS) ready
Media Player
Video format support: MPEG4, H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile H.264, WMV
Audio format support: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, FLAC, OGG
Ringtone format support: 32 polyphonic – MIDI, SP-MDI, MP3, WAV
WiFi Wi-Fi Band: 802.11b/g/n, support for UMA (carrier-dependent)
Bluetooth v2.1; Mono/Stereo Headset, Hands-free, Serial Port Profile, Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP) and Bluetooth SIM Access Profile supported
3.5mm stereo headset capable
SKU1 UMTS: 2100/1900/850/800 MHz (Bands 1,2,5/6)
SKU2 UMTS: 2100/1900/900 MHz (Bands 1,2,8)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS networks


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