Tech Review: Blackberry Torch 9800

Blackberry has finally joined the smartphone party. That’s the best way to put the arrival of their newest smartphone, the Blackberry Torch 9800. Having had the Blackberry Bold 9000 previously, 3 of them in fact, since I’m really bad with phones, the Torch is a huge upgrade. Honestly, having the Bold 9000 was like being in the Stone Age. Having a touchscreen phone is really that big of a difference. As well, the Torch is more compact, slick, and comes in a nicer form factor (slider) than the Bold, which allows great functionality for both the touchscreen and the iconic Blackberry keyboard.  So thats a little preview. I suggest you take a look at what GSM Arena (top phone review site) had to say about the Torch here. Now onto my review, on what I like, what I don’t so much, and final conclusion.

What I like

The phone is sexy. How about starting there. With a curved shaped body the Torch is stylish, leaving the simple rectangle of the Iphone 4 way behind. In fact if I didnt have this Outter box case on my Torch, you would always be able to notice the smooth lines on this pretty device in all seasons. However phone protection is key. Smartphones don’t come cheap.

Moving on from the looks, the Torch really is a great meld of  keyboard/touch capabilities all in one device. Starting with the keyboard, for longer messaging it is a must. Trying to type really long messages by touch and with T9 prediction can be a disaster. But when you start to look at web browsing, that  is where you really see the advantages of touch.  Simply put, touch was made for web browsing. Being able to minimize or maximize images on your favourite websites gets you really involved on the web on such a tiny device. It’s cool and browsing on the Torch is an enjoyable experience because of touch.

Before phones were made to surf or text, they were made to answer calls. Reception is clear, probably due to the Rogers network but nonetheless no concerns when calls are placed, local or longdistance (best friend in TO remember?).

Finally, the new Blackberry operating system (OS) is a welcome addition. All the top smartphones, the Iphone 4 and Androids for example have their distinctive OS’s. Now Blackberry is no different with Blackberry 6 OS. It does a good job and makes the OS on the Bold 9000 look extremely dated. Probably the best and biggest improvement for Blackberry were changes in the OS. I know owners of Iphones and Androids who rave about their respective OS’s, as they should, but with Blackberry starting from such a behind position, you gotta give them two thumbs up for this improvement in this area with Blackberry 6.

What I don’t like

Things can get a little sluggy. What I mean is when you are navagating through your apps, menus, or going through playlists things can tend to get a bit slow. These are the types of concerns I had with the Bold 9000 as well. Since I have a lot of music and apps on the Torch this is probably why this is the case. Hope things are a little smoother in the next Blackberry.

Lack of apps. Some of the apps that I was able to get on my Bold 9000 , Yahoo Finance and RBC mobile, crucial for a guy like me, aren’t available on the Torch. Sent a tweet to @Blackberry about that. Got no response. I had to use the alternative Bloomberg Finance to track my stocks instead as a replacement. Still awaiting to get RBC mobile on the Torch. Developers get on it!

The charger can get fairly hot when you leave your phone charging for a long time.

Conclusions

The Blackberry Torch 9800 is an improvement over the Bold 9000 or any other Blackberry available. This alone should make you want it and having the touch incorporated with it seals it. It measures out great in all the things that are important: text messaging, browsing, and calling, while still having everyone’s favourite feature and probably the reason they get a Blackberry, BBM. Its slick, compact and stylish so no complaints there. Even different colours such as white and red are available. Overall, grab it if you need a dramatic upgrade and are a lover of the Blackberry brand. You’re missing out if you don’t!

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