RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800
Review BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has been struggling to keep up with the main innovators at the head of the smart phone pack. So far, it's been keeping pace rather than edging in front. It appears that's unlikely to change with the Torch 9800, which has some very good features, including the latest BlackBerry OS 6, but has a few drawbacks too.
Burnt offering: RIM’s BlackBerry Torch 9800
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is essentially two phones in one; combining the big touch screen of the Storm 2 and the physical Qwerty keyboard of the 9700 Bold. It does without the Storm's love-it-or-hate-it clicky SurePress screen though, replacing it with a 3.2in multi-touch, capacitive touchscreen with a 360 x 480 resolution and 16m colours. The slide out Qwerty keyboard is a good size – just a smidgeon smaller than the Bold's.
The slide-out Qwerty keyboard will seem superfluous to hardened touch-screen users, especially since there's a perfectly fine on-screen virtual version too, which, in both the portrait and landscape modes, is very good, with well-spaced keys, highlight flags and intelligent, editable AutoText.
Anyone buying the Torch 9800 is likely to prefer a physical keyboard though. It’s a good one too, with 35 well-spaced keys, angled in RIM's uniquely thumb-caressing way. There's a nice degree of feedback and it's easy to get up a head of typing steam with one or two thumbs.
A physical keyboard slides out when needed
The handset is big, but not outrageously so at 111 x 62 x 15mm and 161g and beneath the display is a row of clickable buttons for call start and stop, back and menu, with the same adjustable optical trackpad featured on all recent BlackBerrys in the middle. On the sides are a micro USB power/sync slot, camera shutter button, volume rocker and 3.5mm headphone jack. On top are touch sensitive mute and screen lock buttons while the rear casing boasts a nicely tactile rubberised plastic back.
Next page: OS update
Headphones? Not in the US
In the US (at least through AT&T) the 9800 does not come with a headphone. It comes with a microfibre cloth, though...
Amazon offered (still offers?) the phone for $100 with a 2 year plan. But still using AT&T as the provider. Not sure if Amazon.co.uk will carry this phone.
And yeah, useful apps like Google Maps, Kindle for Blackberry, ScoreMobile, Yelp, Kayak, Weatherbug, Bloomberg Mobile, Radio Companion. Most of them downloaded through the App Store.
Not doing anything with the 'social media' stuff -- so simply hide it, or uninstall these from your phone altogether. Frees up space on the internal memory of the phone too.
I'm using the 9800 since the day of release, here in the US. Granted, quality of the release-day phones was a bit below par (slider wiggles, my speaker on the phone conked out after 1.5 months), but the phone itself is my business heaven.
All the inboxes i need, within one press of a key to monitor when getting off planes, or keeping up to speed right before boarding. Texting easier than ever before. Browser is amazing, finally up to par with current technologies.
The release-day firmware / rom contained a number of bugs. But thanks to sites the likes of crackberry, new roms were leaked and made public days after launch. It fixed most of the gripes, such as a tinny buzz over the earphones while speaking, volume level of the phone in general, and some other issues.
Battery life is excellent -- almost two days of intensive calling / browsing / emailing.
Of course, AT&T as the only provider for me is not a good thing. Being on the West Coast a lot does mean poor reception / data speeds. Dropped calls galore, close to Los Angeles.
Pry it from my dead cold hands, is all I have to say. And you know what else? No fart apps.
...way too frikkin' heavy!