Need for speed
Web access is fast with HSDPA or Wi-Fi and the Webkit-based browser incorporates automatic search and pinch to zoom. Responsiveness was good and pages generally rendered well, with text reflowing smoothly when you zoom. However, unlike smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Desire or Apple iPhone 4 that pack 1GHz processors, the Torch 9800 makes do with a 624MHz CPU. Consequently, there are occasional signs of lag, when you're pinching to zoom on pics or web pages, for example, or opening new apps. It's not disastrously slow, but it's not ideal.
The camera is a 5Mp model with autofocus and LED flash. There's a basic 2x digital zoom, image stabilisation and face detection, as well as macro and night modes and geotagging. Yet despite these nifty features, you'll need to be mindful of lighting and not rely too much on the image stabilisation. It's certainly not a bad effort, but there are better 5Mp camphones out there. The video recording shows significant loss of quality with its VGA resolution though. Fine for emergencies, but hardly sufficient as a holiday movie camera.
Next page: In the picture
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.