A Look At The BlackBerry Torch 9800
The BlackBerry Torch 9800, from RIM, is a touch screen and slider phone but one of its key features is its all new BlackBerry 6 OS within which the BlackBerry App World sits very nicely.
I currently use a BlackBerry 8820, although not on a regular basis, and so the step up up to the all new BlackBerry Torch 9800 felt somewhat how I imagine Captain Kirk might have felt if he had stepped aboard the Galaxy Class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D from his Constitution class NCC-1701. Ok, that example possibly exposes me for the geek I am but hopefully you get the general idea.
First off, you can get the detailed specs from the official BlackBerry Torch 9800 site but the key things I want to point out include the capacitive 3.2” touch screen display with a resolution of 360×480 (which feels a bit small given the sized of displays these days). On-board memory is 512 MB although this can expanded up to 32 GB through using a microSD card (a 4GB card is included). The on-board camera is a 5 mega pixel camera (though – an 8 megapixel or higher would have been more fitting) supported by an LED flash. The weight is a little over 161g which makes it feel quite substantial in the hand. The battery is a 1300 mAHr battery and battery life was ok but you may find yourself charging it daily.
On the top of the Torch is the lock key and mute key. One side of the phone houses the headphone socket, volume buttons, and a customisable button (the default action activates the camera), whilst the other side has a micro USB socket. Just below the base of the screen is a green call/send button, the menu button, the optical track pad, a back (or escape) button, and the end/power button. Slide the screen and you get the QWERTY keyboard which is very nice and a step up from the one on the Palm Pre.
The optical track pad is novel but the thumb control is a little too responsive for my liking though the addition of the touch screen interface will probably lean the user towards navigating the phone using the onscreen features which are a major step up from the earlier SurePress technology.
My first impression of the physical aspect of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 was that it feels, in many ways, similar to the Palm Pre. This is, I imagine, mostly because it has a similar style sliding keyboard but the Torch does feel far more substantial in the hand than the Palm Pre and its literally oozing with features whereas the Pre seemed to prefer a more minimalist approach.
You can see the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and the Palm Pre side by side in the image (the BlackBerry is on the left).
Not traditionally known, in my world at least, as a great provider of multimedia devices it looks like RIM are going all out to prove they can exist beyond the enterprise.
One of the big areas of focus in the latest version of the BlackBerry operating system, if not most of the mobile operating systems available, is bringing all your social networking activities together – from Facebook to Twitter the idea is to have one place to go and one place to update.
I can’t help thinking though that if you are going to bring everything together and consolidate the applications then do it – but the Torch seems to offer a range of different mechanisms so, for example, there are different places to go for Twitter which just adds unnecessary complexity.
The contact list shows how much work has gone into the new operating system as each name shows you useful information about your communications back and forth. The BlackBerry is well know for its email and messaging technology and of course this is one of the strengths of this device.
Universal Search is another area where the new operating system is concentrating its efforts – although this does feel more of a catch-up activity than anything new.
One of the more difficult areas was figuring out just where things are. The various menus and interfaces seem all over the place and a little less than intuitive. However, with some perseverance I just about managed to navigate the device. One example was the Twitter application. The phone I reviewed was already setup with a Twitter account and every time I tried to change the login details it just told me “Sorry, the Twitter account has already been setup”. I couldn’t find where you actually change the account details and soon got lost in the various configuration menus.
The Torch feels responsive in use and snappy when navigating menus and its good to see an increasing number of applications available in the BlackBerry App World. Overall the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is an attractive phone that is packed full of features. A little streamlining may be required on the user interface but all in all its a big step in the right direction.
To learn more and get some pricing visit EXPANSYS: BlackBerry Torch 9800.