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BlackBerry Torch review

A slider, a touchscreen, a new approach. But can the Torch keep RIMs fire burning?

Our Verdict

For a phone that's supposed to be the poster child of the new BlackBerry 6 OS, we hoped for a lot more. If you're a BlackBerry stalwart then you might find some joy here, but otherwise the Torch is unlikely to convert many of the Android and iPhone brigade.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 512 MB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 5.50 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 360

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For

  • Smooth touchscreen control
  • Great camera with scene selectors
  • Slide-out keyboard is a good compromise
  • Bright and crisp 3.2-inch screen
  • Good enterprise asset-tracking options

Against

  • Too slow for serious smartphone use
  • Keyboard is too small
  • App selection too practical
  • Not great for media
  • A bit on the bulky side

BlackBerry Torch review: Camera

BlackBerry torch

The Torch comes with a five-megapixel camera – that's about mid range these days but, with autofocus and LED flash, it is effective for most situations.

Startup time from cold was just over a second, trumping the iPhone which can often take three to four seconds to get going.

BlackBerry torch

Images were good, though the flash under 'normal' settings was a little too eager sometimes – coming on when it didn't really need to, and it made the images look a little more yellow than they needed to be.

You really notice the change between what you see when you're focusing and the processed image. After the shutter click, the image changes to something richer and bolder in front of your eyes – as though an autofix has been performed.

There are multiple scene modes – but while you should commend RIM for giving so many options, it felt like there were too many. This is not the quality of a standalone camera and you'd still take your proper camera on holiday so does it really need 11 different scene options? Most users will just leave it on Automatic, which does the job well.

BlackBerry torch

Even in pitch-black conditions, that very setting managed to pick out and autofocus on items, bathing them in a flash of light.

In low light, the shutter was too slow to capture the shot – it failed to get the dog wagging its tail and gave us a blur instead – and similarly in bright light, there is a little bleed from the sky. But this is a camera on a phone, not a camera on its own, and is definitely RIM's best effort so far. The big screen sets it a little bit higher up the bar than the Bold 9780 when it comes to taking pictures.

BlackBerry torch

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BlackBerry torch

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BlackBerry torch

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BlackBerry torch

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BlackBerry torch

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BlackBerry torch

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Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Service Provider3
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.86 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Product FamilyTorch
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourBlack
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time5.50 Hour
Product Model9800
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 360
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)161.1 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Memory Card Size Included4 GB
Memory Card Type IncludedmicroSD
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 6.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log
Height111 mm
Width62 mm
Depth14.6 mm
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameTorch 9800 Smartphone
Processor Speed624 MHz
Product LineTorch
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeProximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberTHRTORCH9800BLK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

Maximized Multimedia

Memory

With 8 GB of memory, expandable up to 32 GB with a microSD card, feel free to immerse yourself in all that inspires you.

Pinch and zoom

Use your fingers to pinch a screen for a zoomed out effect and expand two fingers to zoom in.

Enhanced music player

Thanks to BlackBerry 6 and a large screen, you can experience a full-featured music player that allows you to see full album art and track listings in portrait or landscape.