RIM BlackBerry Torch 9860 smartphone
All touch and no type
Review RIM's efforts to create a purely touchscreen device haven't exactly been the most successful departure for the BlackBerry maker. Yes, the Storm handsets had their fans but they were simply not good enough to halt RIM's market share migration to Android and iOS.
Touching experience: RIM's BlackBerry Torch 9860
The new Torch 9860 is tasked with reversing that situation, while at the same time going head-to-head with the likes of the iPhone 4S, Galaxy Nexus (Prime) and Nokia Lumia 800. That’s quite some hill to climb no matter which way you look at it.
Thankfully the headline spec gives cause for optimism. Up front there is a 3.7in 480 x 800 screen and inside a 1.2GHz single-core CPU with 768MB of RAM. On-board storage is a reasonable 4GB and there is a hot-swappable SD card slot to add a further 32GB.
Homescreen in landscape mode
Physically, what separates the BlackBerry Torch 9860 from the competition is the row of physical buttons below the screen. In the middle is an optical trackpad which is flanked by call-end, menu, back step and call-answer/off buttons. The back button didn’t work on my review handset, but I’ll put that down to a one-off failing.
The sides are comparatively devoid of controls. The standby button is built into the top of the handset while the volume and convenience buttons reside on the right along with the 3.5mm audio socket. An open micro USB socket for charging and sync sits mid-way up the left hand side.
5Mp camera with 720p HD video shooting
To my eyes, it’s pretty a handsome beast with the polished black fascia surrounded by a smart chrome band that loops around the back at the top and bottom. Although it uses a plain TFT LCD rather than AMOLED panel the screen is bright and crisp enough to satisfy most users and is no more susceptible to fingerprints than the iPhone4S.
Next page: RIM fingers
BB Missing The Point?
I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this, but aren't RIM missing their USP here? They make good handsets with good keyboards and that's what differentiates them - only the Nokia qwerty range ever seemed to come close to the BB keyboards.
They lose the keyboard and go touchscreen....what do they have? My Android (and my old iPhone) all do email just as well (for consumers, anyway) as BB ever did. They have a wider range of (cheaper and better) apps, and with things like MSN and LiveProfile, who really needs BBM now (except kids who want it to work when they have run out of credit).
BB cannot catch-up with iOS/Android in the app market, so they must concentrate on what they do better than anyone else. And that ISN'T making touchscreen phones with no redeeming qualities.
"The large screen does have an impact on battery life but a full charge should still see you through two full days, which is more than you will get from many an Android handset"
"I can’t get too bent out of shape about the lack of text reflow and Flash support"
"because you don’t get either with iOS 5 or WinPho 7.5"
And you do on Android and Symbian. What are we aiming for here, the lowest common denominator?