BlackBerry Torch review

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

The definitive BlackBerry Torch 9800 review
The definitive BlackBerry Torch 9800 review

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

BlackBerry Torch review: Internet

Browsing is where old-school BlackBerry users will notice a huge leap forward on OS 6 and the Torch. For years, it was the Achilles heel – the part of the OS that you felt RIM had forgotten about or couldn't be bothered with. But no more. The Torch gives BlackBerry users their best web-browsing experience yet.

Like Apple, Android and Nokia, it uses the WebKit engine to process pages, and the experience is fluid. Pages load incredibly quickly and mostly without error or formatting issues.

BlackBerry torch

It's still not as quick as Safari on the iPhone – and you do find yourself looking at the blue loading bar at the bottom as sites render (loading the TechRadar site, for example took an extra four seconds over Wi-Fi alongside the iPhone) – but it is a valiant effort.

Navigating pages is simple and there are two new icons – bookmarks and tabs. Tabbed browsing makes a real difference – especially when you're engrossed in one site but just want to check something else quickly.

BlackBerry torch

This isn't a phone where you need to worry about speeds when you're away from Wi-Fi either – in fact, loading over 3G was almost as quick. At times, we actually thought that we were still on Wi-Fi because pages loaded so quickly.

The processor may not be the beefiest at 624MHz, but it works well and zips along, happily loading sites. Very rarely did the ticking clock screen make an appearance to show that the phone was struggling to keep up.

BlackBerry torch

If you're looking for Flash though, you'll not find it here, which is disappointing. While Steve Jobs has made a point of highlighting why you'll not find it on Apple devices, Android's implementation on newer devices has shown that it can be done – and done well. You can't help wondering why RIM hasn't bothered to put it in here.

In fact, after the initial 'wow' factor of using the browser, you realise that, while this experience is revolutionary compared to older RIM models, it's no different to other smartphones already out there. RIM hasn't created something magical, special or new here. It's merely caught up with what other phones have been doing well for a couple of years now.

Adding Flash would have given it an extra selling point as it has with Android. Instead, it appears to have been forgotten about, or ignored.