BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review – A Refreshing Smartphone From RIM

In a word or two

RIM brings the BlackBerry Torch 9800 more inline with other smartphones as the model debuts a touchscreen, slide-out keyboard and the new BlackBerry OS 6.


The Design

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 has the same professional design that you’d expect from RIM – with a modern edge thanks to its touch-sensitive screen and slide-out QWERTY combination. You can use this smartphone as a touchscreen device or as a full QWERTY phone; the choice is yours. And thanks to the smooth corners and chrome edges, the handset feels good and is comfortable to use in one hand, when the keyboard is open and closed.


The first BlackBerry to feature a “proper” touchscreen – the Storm and Storm 2 have “clickable” touchscreens – the Torch has navigation support from a touch-sensitive trackpad and keys for making/ending calls, launching the menu and going back onscreen. The trackpad is especially useful when you’re typing on the QWERTY keyboard and just want to quickly get somewhere without swiping on the capacitive screen. In terms of navigation, the user interface is friendly and there is a bar at the bottom of the home screen which reveals the various icons for Media, Favourites and more, when you drag it upwards.


When it comes to typing, you naturally have the choice of the 3.2 inch screen or the slide-down keyboard. Both provide a comfortable experience. The keys on the physical one are raised, even though this is the thinnest keyboard on a BlackBerry, so you can locate keys quickly and accurately. And the virtual keyboard can be changed to suit your typing preferences – including QWERTY and narrow QWERTY.


The handset itself looks and feels premium. There are those chrome touches mentioned previously and the back cover is made from lined rubberised material that feels good in your hand. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the boardroom or next to your friend’s iPhone 4 smartphone, for example.


BlackBerry Torch 9800 Specifications

Not only is the Torch 9800 the first BlackBerry to feature a touch-sensitive screen and slide-down QWERTY keyboard, it is the first to run on the BB OS 6. This platform makes for a smoother experience and helps to bring the device into the realm of social networking and media-touting handsets like the Nokia N8 phone. There are apps for sites like Twitter and Facebook; customisable home screens; and improved multi-tasking. So you can enjoy the Torch to manage your manic workload as well as keep your social life ticking along nicely.


The Torch comes with a Social Feeds function for displaying all your communications in the one place. And the support for multiple email accounts is complemented by the one inbox, letting you check your messages quickly and conveniently. Even the Contacts list has been enhanced for this model, and each friend is linked to their individual activity, whether calls or texts, Twitter or MMS.


One of the nicest features on the BlackBerry Torch 9800, if you’re a fan of being online when on the move, is the WebKit browser. This is the same browser technology behind other major smartphone brands including Nokia, and loads web pages more quickly. As the screen is capacitive, moving around is that bit easier and the Torch supports pinch-to-zoom motions too.



Another highlight of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is its media abilities. The camera has been improved to 5-megapixels and comes with a flash and continuous autofocus for taking high-quality pictures. However, it’s a shame the video is only capable of VGA resolution – the same as on the lower-end BlackBerry, Pearl 3G – and the screen, while good, is not in the same league as the Galaxy S’s Super AMOLED screen or the iPhone 4’s Retina display, and lacks that “wow factor” when viewing videos.



The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is a refreshing smartphone from RIM. It brings you all that makes the BlackBerry so desirable – including BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry Desktop Software 6 with integrated media sync – and adds the new BlackBerry 6 OS, a touchscreen and slide-down QWERTY on top. Whether you want this phone for business use or to replace your current social networking-enabled handset, the Torch looks set to be a popular choice.


You can buy this from our UK partner, Best Mobile Contracts

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