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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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.

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.