BlackBerry Torch 9800 review: Living the Olympic creed

GSMArena team, 24 September 2010.
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Introduction

The BlackBerry Torch is not the first phone to give you both a full hardware QWERTY keyboard and an ample touchscreen in a smartphone setting. But itís a debut for BlackBerry and one that will probably shape the future for the next generation of RIM phones. The supplied 6th version of the BlackBerry OS is looking to balance user-friendliness and performance, tradition and creativity in the latest BlackBerry touch products..

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the usual impressively built gadget, the ultimate email machine.

One would think RIM is among the lucky few phone makers that couldíve for ever pretended the iPhone didnít exist. When your devices are in a class of their own and youíre a household name in corporate services, itís easy to believe youíre special.

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BlackBerry Torch 9800 official photos

But RIM is not looking for safety in habit. Weíve seen enough proof that complacency is not on the companyís agenda. And they deserve credit for that. RIM still put business users first but the game has changed and they know it. So, a first-ever slider and a new OS are the torchbearer for RIM looking to revise their whole strategy.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • 3G with HSPA support
  • 3.2" 16M-color multi-touch capacitive touchscreen of 360 x 480 pixel resolution
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and VGA video recording
  • BlackBerry OS 6
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Built-in GPS with BlackBerry maps preloaded
  • 4 GB internal storage and a hot-swappable microSD card slot
  • Nice design and build quality
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • Accelerometer sensor for screen auto-rotate
  • Bluetooth v2.1 and microUSB v2.0
  • Document viewer
  • Optical trackpad
  • Good audio quality
  • DivX and XviD support

Main disadvantages:

  • Comes pricey
  • No document editing without a paid upgrade
  • Interface needs more polishing
  • No FM radio
  • No web browser Flash support
  • No dedicated video-call camera
  • No email support or BlackBerry maps without BlackBerry Internet Service account
  • Loudspeaker way too quiet

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is meant to appeal to the average Joe while making sure the typical corporate user receives the usual high quality service. Wait a minute. Since when are they even remotely interested in the average Joe? Now, thatís what this whole thing is all about. With touchscreen, app stores and the growing smartphone market share, the typical mobile phone user is not what they used to be.

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The BlackBerry Torch 9800 at ours

RIM not only makes phones Ė itís a service provider. But that has changed too. People are no longer simply offered a piece of hardware Ė they get online services by others too Ė Ovi, Google or else.

Thatís the new reality RIM know they need to adjust to. Keeping up with an evolving market without losing their identity is not an easy thing to do. At least the Torch 9800 isnít their first try. The clickable SurePress touchscreen didnít quite make the splash it was supposed to. But they stood by it and tried to make it better.

Itís now up to the Torch to show to the world that RIM can make touchscreen and QWERTY work together in a BlackBerry set and in BlackBerry fashion.

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