Home Features IMPRESSIONS: BlackBerry Torch

IMPRESSIONS: BlackBerry Torch

 

Our friends at Rogers Wireless were nice enough to lend us a BlackBerry Torch so we can give our take on the new device.

The BlackBerry Torch (9800) was just recently released from Rogers and is the latest offering from Research in Motion (RIM).

Operating System (OS)

The BlackBerry Torch is sporting the new OS6, which provides a much cleaner look then the previous OS and allows for touch integration, much like the iPhone, when switching through pages.

While the OS seemed faster than my previous Bold 9000, it still feels slow as I noticed frames dropping when I moved through different icon pages.

Also new to OS6 is the Social Feeds application. It allows you to keep track of all your social networking updates in one view.  This includes integration with BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, MySpace, Twitter, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the review…

Web Browser

The browser feels similar to any other BlackBerry phone; however a multi-touch screen is utilized for an easier browsing experience. 

The browser also allows you to create tabs that let you swap between multiple pages, which is an improvement to the previous OS. You can also utilize multi-touch by pinching your fingers together, which allows you to zoom out, and moving your fingers apart which allows you to zoom in.  Very similar to the iPhone.

I do have to say though, that browsing is probably one of the weak points in the phone.  It made it very difficult to see the font on some web pages and I had to zoom in just to read text.  Seeing how this is a next generation phone, they should at least upped the resolution for a better browsing experience. 

Design

The BlackBerry Torch has a new slider design which combines a multi touch screen and the legendary QWERTY keyboard that BlackBerry is famous for.

I really like BlackBerry’s keyboard as compared to a touch pad.  It makes it easier to send messages to people while not looking at the phone.  I owned a BlackBerry Bold 9000 before I switched over to the iPhone 4, and I can easily say that it is much more comfortable and easier to type using the BlackBerry keyboard.

I liked the design of this phone.  It reminded me of the Curves design when it is not “slid” open, and also reminded me of the Bold’s awesome keyboard when revealed.

App World

OS 6 also allows you to download App World, which is similar to the App Store for the iPhone. App World allows you to download apps for free or for a certain price.  While they may not have that many apps as compared to the iPhone’s library, it is good to see this program can be installed in the BlackBerry Torch.

All the apps in App World can be viewed by categories, along with reviews, recommendations and screenshots of the app before the purchase. Categories for apps include business, education, entertainment, finance, games, and much more.

Battery Life

One of the strong points I found when using the phone was the long battery life.  We received this phone on October 27 and it is now October 31st and I have yet to charge the phone even with moderate use.  Even without charging, it looks as though it is at about 40% after a couple days of use.

According to the technical specs, the Torch allows for up to 6 hours of talk time and up to a whopping 17 days of standby time.  This phone also allows music playback for up to 30 hours.

Camera

The phone also comes equipped with a 5 megapixel camera along with a LED flash, which is good as it provides above average pictures compared to the previous BlackBerry phones.

Shooting video on this phone outputs at 640 x 480 resolution and is still not competitive to other phones out in the market as the standard is quickly becoming 720p.

Calls

It’s very easy to make calls on this phone, and the sound seems about par with other BlackBerry phones, which is a good thing.  I also tested the speaker phone and it sounds loud and clear as compared to other phones I’ve used.

I didn’t experience any reception issues; however, I didn’t experience any issues with my iPhone 4 despite all the hate regarding the signal loss on the device.  I guess it shows that we are in good range of cell phone towers in Winnipeg.

Technical Specs

Here are some of the technical specs of the BlackBerry Torch:

– Battery:
Talk Time – Up to 6 hours
Standby Time – Up to 17 days
Music Playback – Up to 30 hours

– Display:
Size – 3.18”
Number of Colours – 65k
Resolution – 480 x360 pixels
Screen Type – TFT

– Camera & Video
Camera Resolution – 5.0 MP
Zoom – 2X
Video Capture – Yes

– Memory
Internal – 4 GB
Expandable – Up to 32 GB
Format – MicroSD

Pricing

The BlackBerry Torch is available at Rogers for $199.99 on a 3 year contract and $609.99 without a contract.

 

 

Conclusion

While the technical specs of this phone seem to be lacking and behind the competition, the design and keyboard provide an upgrade compared to other BlackBerry phones.  If you are still looking to stick with BlackBerry because you cannot let go of BBM, I would recommend this phone.

If you’re looking for a full multimedia smartphone, I would not get this as Rogers offers other alternatives such as the iPhone 4.  However, if you use social networking, as well as business integrations such as BBM and email, this phone is easily recommended due to BIS and the keyboards ease of use.

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