The Torch 9800 is the first device to market with BlackBerry OS 6, which offers a few updates on the previous version, and all for the better. The user interface is familiar… but different. It still displays the standard BlackBerry icons and the full menu can be pulled upwards from a bar at the bottom.
Changes to the OS are subtle and useful overall
You can choose how many rows of icons you show (one, like HTC Sense, through to four), then you can brush to left or right to arrange them across five separate screens: All, Favourites, Media, Downloads and Frequent use. It's easy to rearrange the order they appear in too.
The toolbar at the very top of the screen displays connectivity info and, when you touch it, you have instant control of your network, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. The message bar at the top flags up the number of messages you have waiting from various sources, including mail, text messages, Facebook and Twitter. Press on the bar and you'll get a drop down menu of all your pending messages, sorted by source.
It's an intuitive and easy way to keep up with your social obligations but, unfortunately, it doesn't highlight your latest messages – you'll have to open the menu each time to view them. This section also contains the Universal Search icon, which lets you search both phone and web for whatever you're after.
App World has much more on offer to expand the handset's functionality
BlackBerry App World is still far behind Apple in terms of numbers of course, but there is a good range of useful productivity apps available now, including the free Social Feeds app, which organises your social networking feeds and Snaptü, which pulls together a range of online services including news and sport updates, social networks, TV, film and restaurant details.
Next page: Need for speed
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!
Would be great
But in the US, RIM screwed up any chance of making this the next popular BlackBerry when they went with AT&T as the only carrier for this next paperweight.
Have had a quick fiddle with one of these and the web browser experience is in a different league from any previous BB device. Nice review.