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BlackBerry Torch 9810 review

Touchscreen, keyboard, 5MP snaps and a new OS - sound familiar?

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 8 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 6.50 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 640 x 480

View full specification

For

  • Admirable battery life
  • Great screen
  • Improved onscreen keyboard
  • Unrivalled contacts management
  • Great still camera with effective image stabilisation

Against

  • No Flash internet
  • Video is fiddly to turn the light on
  • Poor music loudspeaker compared to Bold 9900
  • Not much difference to Torch 9800
  • No NFC and only 5MP camera mean it's not massively future-proof

This time last year, BlackBerry fans were salivating at the imminent release of the Torch 9800.

For the first time, those who'd been demanding a touchscreen smartphone from RIM (without SurePress, which we'll just gloss over) were getting their way with the safety net of a keyboard below that slid out. On top of that was 3G, a 5MP camera and the brand spanking new OS. What wasn't to love?

If you're stuck deciding between this and the two other recently released BlackBerry phones, never fear - we've got an enlightening group test to pit the Torch 9860, Torch 9810 and Bold 9900 against each other to see which takes your fancy:

And 12 months on we feel like we're experiencing a bit of deja-vu, because the Torch 9810 is now hitting shelves. And to look at it, not much has changed.

BlackBerry torch 9810

The only thing that you'll notice as being really different on the exterior is the material it's made from. The BlackBerry Torch 9810 has been given less a makeover and more a new jacket.

Gone is the black and dark chrome fascia, which looked serious but a little plain, and in its place is a brushed metal and black effect that looks slightly more demure.

The rear is no longer a stripy patterned affair, but is made up of a silver pseudo-mesh. It's just a pattern, but it catches the light well and makes the handset look a lot shinier than it was before.

BlackBerry torch 9810

The weight hasn't changed in the slightest – it's still 161g and feels like a bit of a beast in the hand. That's not necessarily a bad thing – the kind of person who'll buy this probably wants to look like they mean business anyway.

But as we said about the original Torch 9800, drop this on the floor and you'll know about it. As well as a few scuffs, we get the impression you could end up with your phone in pieces (two to be precise).

The size is exactly the same too, and the screen is still 3.2 inches. But when you turn it on, you'll notice the Torch 9810's resolution has been upped from HVGA 480 x 360 to VGA 640 x 480, giving us a crisper experience.

It feels closer to things you'll find with the 'retina' branding (probably because it's smaller than the iPhone 4), and as we mentioned in our recent Bold 9900 review of the new OS 7, black text on white now looks much sharper. Icons of the new operating system seem to almost float on the screen.

It's one of those things we can't get across via JPEGs, but you'll know exactly what we mean when you see it in person.

BlackBerry torch 9810

The buttons on the side are the same as before – a rubberised volume rocker is on the right, along with a convenience key further down and the Micro USB charging port on the left (but no left convenience key like we used to get from RIM).

Up top are both the mute and lock buttons and a rather impressive and dynamic speaker.

Again, as before, the buttons on the front are standard BlackBerry fare (no surprise there), and sliding the top up reveals the keyboard. This perhaps provides a safety net for those who want a touchscreen phone but are still just a little too nervous to go all out and get a touchscreen-only handset.

BlackBerry torch 9810

Inside, you'll find 8GB of internal storage (doubled from 4GB originally) and room for a MicroSD memory card. It's hot-swappable (yay!), but if you're planning on shoving a 32GB card in, you may not need to swap it too often, since you'll have 40GB on your person. Still, it's nice to have the option, and it's something we've hated not having in the past.

The BlackBerry Torch 9810's processor has also been given a turbo charge and now clocks in at 1.2GHz, which is double that of the previous model. And it really shows with a much zippier performance.

OK, so it's not dual core, which some people may feel a little short-changed by. Having said that, the tasks you'll be putting this handset through don't require a dual-core handset, and you won't miss that technology anywhere here.

BlackBerry torch 9810

RIM describes this as perfect for those "who require both form and function."

That's PR-speak for "those who want it to do the job but with a smile on its face." And that's something the BlackBerry Torch 9810 does offer, because the large screen lends itself well to consuming media as well as bashing out messages.

But the real competition for the Torch 9810 comes from within its own ranks. It'll probably be snapped up by those who think they're a little too grown up for the BlackBerry Curve 9360 but don't necessarily want to pay Bold 9900 prices.

Or by those upgrading from the original Torch, but – considering the 9800 only came out a year ago – most of those consumers will still be locked into lengthy contracts.

BlackBerry torch 9810

The Torch 9810 is still to be released and, as such, is only listed as 'Coming Soon' on SIM-free sites, with a late September estimated shipping date.

Offline, you'll be expected to pay around about £475, which puts it below the new flagship phone, the Bold 9900. But only just.

This is a top-end handset that falls between the statesman-like Bold and the salesman-like Curve ranges.

And as such, you'll be expected to pay a premium by the networks. In fact, we can't see you getting this for free on a contract below £35 a month – and probably on a 24 month deal too.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory8 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.44 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyTorch
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourWhite
Operating SystemBlackBerry
Brand NameBlackBerry
Battery Talk Time6.50 Hour
Product Model9810
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution640 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)161 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionBlackBerry OS 7.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height111 mm
Width62 mm
Depth14.6 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time307.20 Hour
ManufacturerBlackBerry
Product NameTorch 9810 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Product LineTorch
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeDigital Compass, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberPRD-40596-004
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.uk.blackberry.com
Marketing Information

All-in-one design

A fluid all-touch display plus slide-out QWERTY keyboard provide an incredible multimedia experience, while never compromising efficient typing with the classic BlackBerry keyboard.

Power packed

Ample memory

With 8 GB of memory, expandable up to 32 GB with a microSD card, feel free to take more pictures, capture more videos and download more apps.

Speedy processing

Thanks to a 1.2GHz processor on the BlackBerry Torch 9810, you can experience browsing, socializing and gaming at blazing fast speeds.

Convenient connectivity

Connect the way you want with HSPA+ high speeds and Wi-Fi connectivity.