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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

View full specification

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: Battery life

Users have always claimed BlackBerry devices have the best batteries, but we were expecting this one to not be very good – especially because of that large screen.

In practice, however, we were blown away by just how good it was.

BlackBerry torch

We took it off charge with a full battery at 11pm on a Tuesday evening. By 6am, it had gone down just one per cent. Over the coming day, we streamed music over Bluetooth for two hours, watched a 20-minute video, made about 80 minutes of calls, used Google Maps (with GPS on – traditionally, a battery hogger) for 15 minutes, sent eight SMS and 16 emails and received around 10 Facebook/Twitter messages.

Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G were on continuously. Despite this hammering of the battery, it was late Thursday morning before it finally gave up. That's almost 36 hours of heavy use. This really is a workhorse.

BlackBerry torch

Blackberry claims the Torch will give 5.5 hours of talk time and up to 27 hours of music playback. It sounds a lot but – based on our experience – not beyond the realms of possibility. What's interesting is the fact that this phone only has a 1300mAh battery.

Anything less than 1400mAh on a smartphone would usually get a sneer and an upturned nose, but it's clear here that RIM has put a lot of effort into making sure that it doesn't guzzle juice like it could have.

If we had to pick one gripe about the battery, it's that you have to delve all the way into the menu to get an accurate reading of how much juice is left.

BlackBerry torch

It would be much easier to be able to get a percentage reading by tapping the battery icon on the Home screen in the way that tapping other icons brings up their respective options (eg. Tapping the profiles icon brings up a list of profile options.)

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.