BlackBerry Torch 9860 review

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

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BlackBerry torch 9860 review

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 marks RIM's first foray into pure touchscreen control, without any of the SurePress shenanigans of the Storm 2 or the slide-out keyboard of the Torch 9800 and 9810.

With the improvements of BlackBerry OS 7 and better specs across the board, the result is largely a success. Certainly, it looks like RIM has laid the groundwork for a strong touchscreen operating system.

The problem is that everyone else was laying this groundwork two or three years ago, and they've since ironed out the sort of little issues that plague the Torch 9860.

We liked

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is a really nice bit of hardware. It feels well made, the screen is detailed and vibrant, and it's got a decent spec list.

The Liquid Graphics technology lives up to its name, making most of the interface quite fluid, and the continuing integration of social networks and IM services make messaging on the device as slick to use as it is to look at.

Videos look great on the screen, and this is a good showing as a media phone.

We disliked

Whereas its competitors seem to be releasing something close to the finished article these days, the BlackBerry Torch 9860 feels in need of a raft of updates.

It's got interfaces lurking that clearly weren't designed for touchscreen phones, great internet integration in some areas that's marred by poor integration in others, a browser that's improved but still inconsistent and many more little niggles.

In particular, we found the keyboard to be just horrible in portrait, with nearly every other tap going astray.

The GPS problem was really galling, and the issue with apps being able to use autocorrect in the password field seems downright bizarre.

The price is too high, as well. We know RIM considers this a premium phone, but better phones are available for much cheaper, and much better phones are around for the same price.

Final verdict

It's a slick package from afar, but using the BlackBerry Torch 9860 after the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation and iPhone 4 feels like going back to 2009.

There's lots to boast about on this phone, no doubt, but we just can't recommend it over the rest out there for anyone other than those desperately tied into RIM's services who want a slick new all-touch experience.

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.