BlackBerry Torch 9860 review

Does RIM's first proper all-touch smartphone shine?

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Although the BlackBerry Torch 9860 comes with the usual array of pre-loaded apps (which we'll come to), the App World is the place to top up your collection.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

It hasn't had much of an update for BlackBerry OS 7, but we should point out that it does quite a good job of making your old apps available for easy download.

The selection is still rather paltry compared to the Apple's App Store and the Android Market, and the quality of many apps is lower, but there are still lots of gems, including A+ Picture Editor and cross-platform classics such as TuneIn Radio.

Downloaded apps can be organised into folders, or you can leave them in the main apps list.

Pre-loaded you'll find the usual communication suspects we've talked about in the other sections – dedicated Twitter and Facebook apps that tie into the Social Feeds and Messaging apps, apps for each instant messaging and a range of organisation tools.

The Twitter app is pretty typical, offering a long stream of tweets and tabs at the top to see your mentions, messages, lists, trending topics, search and your profile.

It responds quickly and smoothly, and is easy to get around, although some interface elements still have the problem of being a bit small for tapping.

The Facebook is also pretty much the standard RIM Facebook app you might remember from such smartphones as the BlackBerry Bold 9900, but taller.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

The main view is your news feed, and you can quickly Like or comment on an update using the plus buttons at the side. At the top are shortcuts to write your own status update, add a new friend and check into Facebook Places.

It seems odd that there's no obvious photo upload button, even though you can do it straight from the Pictures app.

The usual range of organisation tools are is here, including the colourful and slick Calendar app, which can integrate with Facebook. The interface for adding events is still much as it was for trackpad-focused phones, which means lots of tapping on drop-down menus and selecting what looks like plain text to change the time and date.

The Clock app hasn't changed a bit, and still comes on when you charge the phone.

Documents to Go is included for viewing files, and will quickly dig up any that you've downloaded or are lurking on your microSD card. BlackBerry Protect is standard, for backing everything up to RIM's servers and tracking the phone remotely.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

And there are a couple of included games: BrickBreaker and Word Mole. They are mildly diverting, at best.


Mapping on the BlackBerry Torch 9860 was something of a disaster.

For a start, although BlackBerry Maps is there somewhere, it wasn't accessible from the main apps list on our handset. Searching for it turned it up, but RIM stashes it away deep within the OS.

It quickly becomes clear why it might be hidden though: we couldn't get it to work at all. It just didn't want to know. At all. It just said: "Unknown Error".

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

There's definitely a GPS on board, so we delved into the App World and picked up Ultimate Maps, which we'd run without incident on a Bold 9780 in the past.

This at least ran, but had its own problem. When it couldn't get a GPS lock, it started loading the map images fine. As soon as the GPS fixed, it stopped loading the map and just showed our position.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

Now, the dot looked roughly accurate judging by its position relative to the small chunk of map that had successfully loaded, but the whole thing was pretty unsatisfactory.

You could either see the map or know where you were. Not both. Bonkers.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Built-in FlashNo
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.12 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyTorch
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time4.70 Hour
Product Model9860
Screen Size9.4 cm (3.7")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 7.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height120 mm
Width62 mm
Depth11.5 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time333.60 Hour
Product NameTorch 9860 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Product LineTorch
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-33124-020
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Multimedia marvel

Powered by the new BlackBerry 7 OS and Liquid Graphics, your photos, videos, games and apps come to life in incredible detail on the large screen.

Picture perfect

Capture life's little surprises with 720p HD video so you can relive them over and over again. Or pull off amazing photos with face detection, 4X zoom and image stabilization.

All-touch, refined

A spectacular 3.7" touch screen is the largest on a BlackBerry smartphone yet. It boasts millions of colors for a stunning viewing experience, and provides a smooth, accurate and fast typing experience.