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

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.

The BlackBerry OS media functions all had an upgrade in version 6, and with the introduction of Liquid Graphics in OS 7, the apps should run more smoothly than ever on the Torch 9860.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

There's 2.5GB of built-in storage for media, and you can expand that with a microSD card.

The media apps are all cunningly grouped into an app folder called Media, and you'll find separate apps for different things: Music, Pictures, Videos, Podcasts and Music Store.


The Music app is still fairly simple, although it comes with an intriguing option to "Explore Music Apps", which takes you to the music section of App World to add features such as internet radio.

You can add your own music in a fair old range of formats, but the important ones are all supported: M4A, MP3, WMA, FLAC, OGG, AAC, AMR, WAV and more.

You've got the expected options of browsing by artist, album, song, genre and so on. These are all just long lists, with thumbnails for album artwork. Some can come up a bit small for tapping – particularly when viewing tracks on an album in portrait mode. We found ourselves hitting the wrong track a lot.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

The Now Playing screen lets you see the artwork of the next few songs coming and flick between them.

You've got the music controls at the bottom, and you can tap the artist or album name to see the other songs in that list.

It's all slick and smooth – the lists scroll quickly, the album art animates nicely when you're flicking it around on the Now Playing screen, and it's simple to navigate.

You can also create playlists on the phone, which is always a nice option.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

The audio quality is very good. It doesn't crush the high end too much – no more than most other phones – and it gives the bass plenty of kick. There's lots of detail overall, as well.

You can buy more music with the Music Store app, which is just a BlackBerry-fied front for Amazon's MP3 store, and so has a good selection and lots of special offers.


The Videos app is comparable to the Music app, but with fewer options – it's just one big list of videos you've loaded on yourself and those recorded on the phone. It'll support MP4, AVI, WMV, 3GP and ASF.

Since the BlackBerry Torch 9860's screen is RIM's largest phone screen ever – and highest resolution – we had high hopes for it. And video does indeed look great. Everything looks really natural, and colours are totally crisp.

Motion is perfectly smooth, and it does a really good job of upscaling any lower-quality videos.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

It can play video up to 720p, and does so perfectly smoothly. It's nothing too unusual these days, what with the dual-core 1080p, HDMI-outputting wonderphones appearing, but it's a step forward for BlackBerry, and all works really well.


The pictures app on the Blackberry Torch 9860 is nothing unusual for a gallery app.

You can view your photos as thumbnails or as a list. You can go straight into slideshows (which has a really poorly applied Ken Burns Effect, so we wouldn't recommend it), scroll through one by one with a swipe or upload to various services, including Facebook.

BlackBerry torch 9860 review

Photos look great on the screen, and colours really pop, but most impressive again is that it's really smooth going between them. It's obvious this is the sort of area where RIM's new Liquid Graphics technology is designed to shine, and we were suitably impressed with the speed and slickness of the animations.

There's a YouTube app on the device, although all it does is load the mobile YouTube site, so it's a bit of a cheat. Still, when you open it, it also offers you the opportunity to upload to YouTube, which is always handy to have.

There's no FM radio, but having the "Explore Music Apps" option is designed to point you in the direction of the likes of TuneIn Radio, so there are great substitutes.

Alas, media output isn't an option here. There's no external video port, and no DLNA functionality for streaming wirelessly.

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.