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BlackBerry Torch review

A slider, a touchscreen, a new approach. But can the Torch keep RIMs fire burning?

BlackBerry Torch review: Messaging

Of course, messaging has been the staple function of BlackBerry devices ever since they were first launched and, as you'd expect, this is one area the Torch excels in.

Multiple email accounts can be set up using BIS, which users can seamlessly switch between. Want your texts, emails and BBM's altogether? As always, it can be done easily and the Torch helps cement BlackBerry's position as the leading portable email product. Everything just works and works easily, which makes RIM's offerings attractive to those who use email on the move.

BlackBerry torch

Nowadays, RIM really pushes it's BlackBerry Messenger software, which allows users to chat and send attachments to other BB users for free. It's a crucial selling point to younger users – especially those on pay as you go plans who don't have to worry about using credit up on texts and MMS. It's present here, and runs seamlessly.

Texting also works like a dream and the newer OS groups conversations together on SMS and email in the same way Gmail does for desktop email users.

In fact, the only problem is when it comes to inputting the text. RIM has equipped the Torch with a hard QWERTY keyboard that slides out, and a software keyboard that can also be used, but it takes time to get used to. You can't help feeling that the Torch tries to be a jack-of-all-trades, but ends up being a master of none.

BlackBerry torch

The software keyboard in portrait lacks the polish of, say, the iPhone keyboard and, as a result, we found ourselves typing a lot slower, because we were constantly checking for spelling mistakes. Keys are too small and close together, so are hard to hit unless you have very precise fingers. You can turn the phone on its side and use it in landscape mode, which makes it a little better, but it's still a steep learning curve.

The alternative is to slide up the screen and use the hard keyboard instead, which looks almost identical to the Bold 9780. It's actually marginally smaller, though, and the keys on the Torch don't have the same satisfying press as they do on their Bold brother.

BlackBerry torch

The back of the phone that the buttons sink into is thinner, and it all feels a little too cramped – most likely because RIM has had to accommodate the slider tracks. It does get better as you get used to the handset, but it's not ideal.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Service Provider3
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.86 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Product FamilyTorch
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time5.50 Hour
Product Model9800
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 360
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)161.1 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 6.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height111 mm
Width62 mm
Depth14.6 mm
Battery Standby Time408 Hour
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameTorch 9800 Smartphone
Processor Speed624 MHz
Product LineTorch
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberTHRTORCH9800BLK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

Maximized Multimedia

Memory

With 8 GB of memory, expandable up to 32 GB with a microSD card, feel free to immerse yourself in all that inspires you.

Pinch and zoom

Use your fingers to pinch a screen for a zoomed out effect and expand two fingers to zoom in.

Enhanced music player

Thanks to BlackBerry 6 and a large screen, you can experience a full-featured music player that allows you to see full album art and track listings in portrait or landscape.