BlackBerry Torch 9860 review

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

BlackBerry Torch 9860
Blackberry OS 7 comes to phones for the first time on the BlackBerry Torch 9860

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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.

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.