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

Fancy indulging in a little home movie making? (Not that kind!) Then you're in luck. The BlackBerry Torch 9810 comes with HD video recording on board (1280 x 720).

It's a nice addition, and makes us shudder when we think about how we used to get by with blocky old VGA on the previous model.

And it makes us feel ever so slightly smug when you read what we said about this in the original Torch 9800 review:

"With blocky pictures and tinny audio, it once again makes you feel in some ways that [RIM] hasn't thought this through. It's not awful, it's just not mind-blowing.The Torch could be very well capable of HD video recording, but this has been left out because of the smaller processor. We'll see what happens when the Torch 2 is released."

Well, it is here and it is much better. Fluid and crisp, we were really impressed. Of course, we are talking in a BlackBerry context, since it's no match for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S2 and its HD video recording. But it's not a bad effort at all.

When you first fire up the Torch 9810's video camera app, you'll notice it quickly focuses. This is because it has a built in autofocus for the video recorder too (something we don't always see). And it continues to refocus as you move about, provided lighting conditions are good.

BlackBerry torch 9810

Not only that, but the image stabilisation is here too, along with more scene modes to pick from. It isn't as effective here, for the simple reason that it's not easy to keep an image stable when you're constantly on the move. We found it to be ineffective and couldn't work out why it's here, if truth be told.

The light, as with the stills camera app, is incredibly bright – less a Torch, more a floodlight.

We're not exaggerating – you don't want to shine this in anybody's eyes. We honourably tested it out on ourselves so you wouldn't have to worry, and it almost blinded us.

But that is, of course, once you get the light to come on. RIM doesn't make this task easy.

If you're filming something in the dark and decide to flick the light on quickly to illuminate your video, you're in for a nasty surprise because, goodness only knows why, RIM has buried the option to turn the light on and off way down in the menus.

BlackBerry torch 9810 review

By the time you've gone through them all and saved your choice, you'll have clicked six times. It's hardly an option that's easily at hand and we think RIM really has taken its eye off the ball here, which is a shame.

To add insult to injury, there's an icon there notifying you if the light is on or off, but you can't click it on the camera screen.

To transfer your videos, you can only really get them via Bluetooth, email or YouTube. HD videos are way too large for MMS, with a minute-long clip clocking in at 80MB.

Of course, you can set your BlackBerry Torch 9810's camera to VGA just in case, but you'll then have to go through all the menus to change it. Again, there are no on-screen toggles here to do that.

There is a rather useless one for changing the name of your video file though. We don't know who was responsible for these interface brainwaves, but RIM should probably hold back on their bonus this year.