BlackBerry Torch 9810 review

Touchscreen, keyboard, 5MP snaps and a new OS - sound familiar?

BlackBerry Torch 9810
BB OS 7 and a touchscreen are big selling points of the BlackBerry Torch 9810

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BlackBerry torch 9810 review

This section of the review could really write itself. It's a no-brainer. Is the BlackBerry Torch 9810 a good messaging device? Is the Pope Catholic? Is Justin Bieber annoying? You know the answer.

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 is a truly fantastic communications device. It is, ultimately, what these phones are known for.

Multiple email accounts? Tick.

BIS and BES? Tick.

Easy to set up. Tick tick tick.

This is more down to the operating system than the handset so, as a result, you're getting standard BlackBerry fare here. It's the best messaging on a handset, bar none.

BlackBerry torch 9810 review

Your inbox very much is in your control. You can have everything fall into one box – not just email, but also SMS, MMS, BBM plus social feeds.

Or you can keep everything separate and, in theory, have six separate email boxes should you wish. It's all incredibly intuitive and you can tell RIM has been in this game a long time.

BlackBerry Messenger – one of RIM's big selling points – is present and accounted for and trundles along nicely. It's useful for everyone, but is targeted more at younger users who'll use it as a free alternative to texting.

These younger people aren't so much the target market for this handset, but if you know anyone with a BB and you're in regular contact with them, chances are that you'll be giving BBM a try.

BlackBerry torch 9810 review

If you use your BlackBerry for social networking, you'll be pleased to see there's a new Facebook client (well, new to OS 7 anyway).

The old client was starting to look tired, and this one gives us some new welcome additions, including Facebook Chat and Places. It also uses the grid formation that iPhone/Android users will be familiar with and that Facebook is pushing with its new Java app too.

A word of warning though – you do have to download the app, because the one pre-installed on our BlackBerry Torch 9810 handset was the old version. It's available for free in BlackBerry AppWorld.

BlackBerry torch 9810 review

The Twitter app has been given a lick of paint too. And it looks great on that screen because, set to small text with that large screen, you can fit loads of feeds onto it. Add in third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Google Talk, Windows Live and Foursquare and you have, in your mitts, a communications powerhouse!

Of course, you need to type for these communication methods to be any good, and that's one area where we're slightly divided.

You see, on the Torch 9800, we couldn't help feeling that the handset tried to do it all but failed a bit. The on-screen keyboard was fiddly and the hard keyboard wasn't 100% there. It's still tricky on the Torch 9810, but at least it's a bit better.

BlackBerry torch 9810 review

That's because the on-screen keyboard has been drastically improved. It still looks the same, but we found it a much easier to type on than the Torch 9810.

The keys are still tiny and you constantly miss what you're aiming for in portrait mode, but the operating system seems to expect this and corrects it. We made far fewer mistakes than we had in the past on our first go. Within days, we were bashing away like JK Rowling on her ninth espresso.

BlackBerry torch 9810 review

As for the physical keyboard, we're still not convinced.

It just isn't good enough. We know it's a personal thing and some will be fine with it, but the problem for us is that although it looks like the Bold 9700 /9780 keyboard, it is actually a little smaller and tricky for many digits to hit buttons comfortably.

Also, because the keys sit on a secondary slide-out plate, there's no real depth so the keys don't feel like they go too far in like they do on those older handsets.

It all feels a bit flimsy. Some people will get on with it with no problems. But we'd urge you to tap out a good few sentences on a display model first before you purchase a Torch 9810, to see if it works (tip: use a real handset, not a dummy, because they often feel different when it comes to the typing experience and if you've signed away two years of your life on a contract that you can't then cancel, that could be a big mistake.)