Review : Blackberry Torch 9800 (more on spec)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012, 13:31 | Product Reviews | 1 Comment | Read 601 Times
by BB Boy

Blackberry Torch 9800 Unlocked Phone with 5 MP Camera, Full QWERTY Keyboard and 4 GB Internal Storage - Unlocked Phone - No Warranty - Black


  • Carrier: AT&T
  • OS: BlackBerry 6
  • Processor: 624 MHz
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 4 GB built-in + 4 GB microSD (expandable to 32GB)
  • Display: 3.2-inch 360×480 capacitive touchscreen
  • Battery: Lithium Ion 1270mAh
  • Ports: Micro-USB
  • Weight: 5.68 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.37(h) x 2.44(w) x 0.57(d) inches (the height is 5.83 inches when open)
  • Camera: 5.0 megapixels, autofocus, 2x zoom, image stabilization, face detection
  • Sensors: GPS, accelerometer
  • Keyboard: 35-key QWERTY backlit slide-out keyboard; and both portrait and landscape virtual keyboards
  • Networks: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz; UMTS 2100/1900/850/800 MHz
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1
  • Tethering: USB
  • Price: $199 (with 2-year contract)

Who is it for?

BlackBerry has the reputation for being a corporate device, which has as much to do with its backend BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) as the smartphones themselves. With its focus on security and full synchronization with Microsoft Exchange email, calendar, contacts, and tasks, BES makes devices such as the BlackBerry Torch 9800 a business communications powerhouse.

However, in recent years, BlackBerry has also made inroads with consumers who primarily want a smartphone for text messaging and/or instant messaging. BlackBerry excels at those tasks because of its legacy for developing excellent smartphone keyboards for professionals who wanted mobile email. BlackBerry has also created its own IM platform called BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) that is arguably the best IM service/software for mobile devices.

What problems does it solve?

BlackBerry has been virtually synonymous with the smartphone industry itself for over a decade. However, while its sales have continued to grow in recent years, it has been under a massive innovation attack from iPhone and Android, both of which infused smartphones with touchscreens, usable Web browsers, and tons of third party apps. BlackBerry 6 is RIM’s answer to the iPhone/Android challenge, and the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the first BlackBerry 6 device.

Standout features

  • Touch + hardware interface - The unique value proposition of the BlackBerry Torch is that it combines a full touchscreen with a hardware keyboard. Other devices have tried this — most recently the Palm Pre and the Motorola Droid — but the Torch is the first one to truly pull it off. BlackBerry knows how to make great keyboards and the one on the Torch has a great feel to it, unlike the Pre or the Droid. The difference is that on the Torch, I found myself naturally moving between the touchscreen, the keyboard, and the touchpad, depending on which one was most effective for a given action.
  • Email and IM prowess - The high quality hardware keyboard makes the Torch a great device for email, text messaging, and IM because it gives most users a lower error rate for typing than a touchscreen keyboard. BlackBerry’s built-in BBM is an awesome mobile IM client and service. And, BlackBerry 6 does some excellent unified inbox tricks — it can even bring IMs, Twitter DMs, and Facebook mail.
  • Excellent build quality - When it comes to smartphones, some devices just feel solid in your hand while others feel cheap or plasticy. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is one of the best devices I’ve had in my hand in 2010. I’d rank it right up there with the iPhone 4 and the Motorola Droid X as the current smartphones with the best build quality.

What’s wrong?

  • Web inferiority - One of the biggest things that needed to be fixed in the BlackBerry platform was the abysmal Web experience. Up through BlackBerry OS 5, the buit-in Web browser was cumbersome to navigate and painfully slow to use. That’s why RIM bought Torch Mobile and then integrated its Webkit browser into BlackBerry 6. The result is a much more usable Web experience on the BlackBerry Torch, but it’s still not as good as iPhone or Android. Pages don’t load as fast (that could be partially due to the Torch’s underpowered CPU) and a lot of Web pages still recognize this as the old BlackBerry Web browser and so they display (crippled) text versions of their sites optimized for the legacy BlackBerry experience.
  • Underpowered hardware - The biggest disappointment with the Torch is the underpowered 624 MHz CPU. Since it’s in the same price bracket as devices that almost all have a 1.0 GHz processor of one flavor or another, the Torch simply doesn’t match up in this department and it shows in the sluggishness of several apps and menus. The same goes for the Torch’s LCD display. It is solid, but not nearly as spectacular as the displays on the iPhone 4, HTC EVO 4G, or the Samsung Galaxy S — all smartphones in the same price bracket
  • Minimal apps - BlackBerry has a long history of friendly relations with third party developers, which have built tens of thousands of business-specific apps over the past decade. Unfortunately, the platform itself and its development tools have a reputation for being less friendly for the actual coders. RIM is trying to change that — it recently released a new Java SDK to support BlackBerry 6 and is launching App World 2.0 to compete with the Apple App Store and Android Market — but it’s got a lot of catching up to do. Some popular services (Evernote, Kindle, Yahoo Messenger, for example) have released BlackBerry apps but for many of the most popular and useful mobile apps, the BlackBerry platform is still an afterthought.

Bottom line for business

If I had gotten the BlackBerry Torch 9800 in my hands 12 months ago, I would have been dazzled by it. In fact, I probably would have made it my primary business device. However, that was before Android 2.0. It was before iOS 4. It was before the iPhone 4 and its impressive screen. It was before the Nexus One and the HTC EVO and the Samsung Galaxy S all raised the bar on Android devices. A lot has happened in the smartphone market in the past year.

Today, the Torch is pretty great, for a BlackBerry. It can rightly be called the best BlackBerry yet, but its best still doesn’t quite measure up to iPhone or Android devices, especially in the critical areas of Web browsing and third party apps. The Torch is the best messaging (email, texting, and IM) device on the market. And, it’s the best business smartphone for those companies that are still tied to BES for security and IT reasons.

So, in that sense, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and the BlackBerry 6 OS should offer enough of a step forward to keep a lot of BlackBerry fans loyal to the platform, at a time when many of them have been considering whether they should jump to iPhone or Android. And, for those attracted to the Torch who don’t want to use AT&T, you should expect to hear about more next-generation BlackBerry devices like the Torch on other wireless carriers in the near future.

The new Blackberry Torch Bring your sources of inspiration together. Gather and filter all your social network and RSS feeds in one view. Or spread your own inspiration – update multiple social networks with a single postWith a 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto-focus and image stabilization, plus 11 photo modes and video recording, it’s easy to capture those spontaneous moments. With a 5 MP camera with flash, continuous auto-focus and image stabilization, plus 11 photo modes and video reco

List Price: $ 699.99

Price: $ 104.99

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1 response to "Review : Blackberry Torch 9800 (more on spec)"

  1. A. Dent "Aragorn" says:
    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Intelligent design, August 13, 2011
    A. Dent “Aragorn” (Minas Anor, GD) –

    This review is from: Blackberry Torch 9800 Unlocked Phone with 5 MP Camera, Full QWERTY Keyboard and 4 GB Internal Storage – Unlocked Phone – No Warranty – Black (Electronics)

    Blackberries may no longer be the top ‘smart phones’ because they don’t do everything well but for what I consider their ‘core’ features – email and phone, in that order – they are still up there at the top. And the Torch is the current top Blackberry at the time I’m writing this. As a ‘business phone’, it combines the best features of ‘traditional’ blackberries with the best a highly graphical, ‘touch’ interface can provide. For a ‘phone and entertainment’ device, there may be better alternatives.

    My review is not going to discuss the Torch long list of features and capabilities. They are all listed at RIM’s and 100 other different sites. I will only talk about why I currently prefer the Torch vs. anything else as a ‘business’ phone even now when my employer would allow me to use other brands if I wanted to.


    - Physical keyboard – The most visible Torch feature is the sliding keyboard. This allows for a larger display when compared to, let’s say, the Bold, without resulting into a larger phone. The illuminated keyboard seems to be the exact same size of a Bold’s, only it becomes available when needed. This is not the only phone with a sliding keyboard but this is probably the best engineered one. Sliding the keyboard in and out is quick, near-effortless and it quickly becomes second nature.
    - Touch screen – Not the first Blackberry with the feature but this seems to be the best on a BB so far. Yes, it’s not as good as iPhone’s but, for what I’m using it, it’s just right. There is an on-screen keyboard which adapts itself to portrait/landscape but that’s the least advantage the touch screen offers. The new Blackberry OS allows me to ‘touch’ just about anything on the screen and trigger… something. Gestures are also supported including ‘pinch-zoom’ in and out. And, related…
    - Buttons – Maybe this should have been at the top of the list. This Blackberry does not force me to do everything by touching the screen. Just about everything can be done by either pushing/clicking a button and controlling the cursor with the little trackpad or by interacting directly with the screen (tap virtual buttons) or a combination. Most of the time it’s ‘a combination’ for me and it’s always the way I feel most comfortable about doing things. I appreciate the ability to use physical buttons when I want it.
    - Email integration – This is a ‘soft’ feature. The Torch can integrate several email accounts, including the ‘enterprise’ email into one ‘consolidated’ mailbox while still giving me the ability to view them separately if I chose to do so.
    - Wi-Fi – The Wi-Fi ability saves money. My employer encouraged me to pick a plan that charges by the call. Unless it’s a VoIP. Therefore, while at home or in the office, the Torch makes calls the Wi-Fi way at no cost to my employer.


    [Some of the comments below may or may not apply, depending on the carrier you're using. Mine is AT&T.]

    - The App Store – Not so good, not too many selections and a lot of ‘premium’ apps doing things that lots of free apps or significantly less expensive apps would do in an Android or Apple environment.
    - Paid GPS and other services – AT&T would like us to ‘subscribe’ to the GPS service. GPS does not need 3G or any connection to the phone company to do what GPS does. My in-car GPS takes me from here to there, updates its maps (for free) whenever I connect it to my laptop and it gives me real-time traffic updates. And I don’t pay one dime in subscriptions. GPS should be free.
    - Many More ‘premium’ Services – I understand that phone companies want to make as much money as they possibly can but competition is tough and I found no incentive to take advance of paid ‘radio’ or similar offers.
    - The Battery – Without watching movies, just a little bit of Web browsing and regular phone and mail, the Torch would need daily recharges. It would go for 2-3 days with phone and email (no browsing) only. A longer battery life would have been nice.

    MY RATING (4.5 stars)

    I will round this up to 5 stars because I am really happy with my Torch. There are some real issues when it comes to ‘apps’ and services other than phone and mail but, from my point of view, they don’t matter to me much. Yes, the battery is a concern and at time I worried about running out of juice in a place where a recharge was no possible, but all the other ‘weak’ features I don’t miss because I don’t use. The Torch is my ‘business’ phone and just about everything that impacts my business is done well.

    >> Brush your teeth, it’s the law! <<

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