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 BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

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PostSubject: BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review   Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:42 pm

When Reasearch-in-Motion (makers of BlackBerry) tried making a
touchscreen phone the first time with the BlackBerry Storm, it was
plagued with lots of complaints from people. The OS was slow, the
execution of the touchscreen was half hearted and the entire experience
was crappy. Will their latest attempt with the touchscreen phone, the BB Torch 9800, be any better?




Iíll start off this review by admitting that Iím a touchscreen phone
guy. Iíve been using touchscreen phones since Sony Ericsson P900. Iíve
owned and used all iPhone models including the iPhone 4 now. I find the
touchscreen UIs very natural to use regardless of the OS. The only
problem that I encountered with touchscreen phones is the text input. If
itís good, then the entire experience will most probably be great for
me too.

The flagship phone of BlackBerry feels like youíre holding a high end
phone. Itís a bit heavy and the built is rock solid. The entire phone
looks elegant and very modern. The metallic-painted bezel of the phone
makes this baby a bit more luxurious. The rubbery back gives the user a
good grip to the phone.

Did I say that this is a slider phone too? When you slide up the
3.2Ē capacitive touchscreen, youíll be presented with almost identical
keyboard as with the BlackBerry Bold. The sliding mechanism is awesome.
Itís really snappy and youíd feel that this phone could last a million
repetitive slides. On the screen, youíll see the 4 regular BlackBerry
buttons ó the Call, BB Menu button, the back and drop call buttons. It
also has the optical touchpad for navigation.




The screen of the phone is gorgeous. Itís as a good as the screen of
the older iPhone models. Itís very bright and clear. It only has 480◊360
screen resolution. The touchscreen is very responsive. It picks up the
touch inputs really fast. The BlackBerry OS 6 does a better job at
showing phone apps to its users. You can swipe up and down to show more
of the apps and you can swipe to the left and right to go to your
favorites and recently downloaded apps.

You can do the same thing with the optical touchpad. You can use the
touchpad to better navigate the phone interface. You can actually use
the entire phone like as if itís not a touchscreen phone. The
navigation is quite similar to a BlackBerry Bold if youíre just using
the optical touchpad. My only problem with the touchscreen is youíd
occasionally get stuttering when you try to scroll the screen using
touch input.




The phone is equipped with a 5 megapixel camera and a bright flash at
the back of the phone. The camera is not that great. Not crappy, just
ok. The phone can shoot video really well. You can use the extra button
on the right side of the phone as your camera button. Hereís a
comparison of a similar picture taken by the 5 megapixel camera of the
iPhone 4:



BlackBerry Torch



iPhone 4

What I really love with the phone is its multimedia capabilities and
its browser. The 3.2Ē screen can play videos really nicely. MP3 playback
is without any glitch. The phone may not be the best playing multimedia
but itís very very capable. You can store thousands of songs and hours
of videos on its 8GB of internal memory.

The browser is like a heaven sent feature to the BlackBerry Torch.
Finally, BlackBerry itís using a webkit-based browser. Itís the same
browser used by Android and the iPhone. You can pinch and zoom on the
browser. Itís as good as Androidís mobile chrome browser. Itís really
good. Adding and syncing multimedia files to the phone is as easy as
drag and drop. The speaker is really loud and clear. I was able to watch
an entire tv episode using the speakerphone. You can also connect a
3.5Ē audio jack to the right side of the phone.

With the Torch, you have 2 options with text input. You can use the
oh so great classic BlackBerry keyboard or the onscreen keyboard when
the slider is down. Nothing can be more said to the physical keyboard of
the Torch except for itís simply great. The onscreen keyboard is a
different story. Itís mediocre at best. Youíll miss a lot of times
because the letters are a bit smaller in size. I found some delays when
you type fast on it. In spite of the not-so-great on-screen keyboard,
this is the reason why this phone works for me. I get the benefits of
using a big touchscreen and have an awesome text input with the physical
keyboard. Youíll get the best of both worlds. I remember how I used to
love my Sony Ericsson P990i. It has a physical keyboard and a big
touchscreen.




The battery life of this phone is great. I can last an entire day
which is normal for a touchscreen phone. But if youíre a heavy 3G user,
this phone wonít last for more than 8 hours. Again, this is pretty
normal for any 3G smartphone. I had a great experience making calls.
Itís very clear.

One of the awesome new features of the phone is its universal search
app/button. It finds stuff really fast. Another feature on this phone is
the Social Feeds. Itís an app where you can connect all your social
feeds like Facebook, Twitter, IM accounts and your BBM. My experience
with the Social Feed is a mixed bag. If youíre the type of person that
only consumes information, then this is the greatest thing on earth.
Youíll get a single stream of information from different feeds.

But if youíre the kind of person who replies to entries or posts,
then you wonít be using this feature. When you open a post and you plan
to reply to it, the app will direct you the ďrealĒ app. So for example,
you need to reply to one tweet, once you click the tweet from the
stream, youíll be directed the Twitter app and do your replies from
there. Itís not really intuitive. The setting up of the email, wifi,
twitter, Facebook accounts and IMs are a breeze. Never got a single
issue. As usual, the BBM on this phone is great.




The handset has been selling for around Php28,000 to Php30,000 in the
grey market although officially, you can get them straight from the
carriers. Just remember that you also need BIS data connection to take
advantage of all the features of the phone.

I really think this is the best BlackBerry phone has ever made. I
really love this phone for the reasons that it has one of the best
mobile phone keyboard on earth and itís also a touchscreen phone. The
keyboard doesnít takes up the screen estate. If youíre a BlackBerry
user, youíll definitely love this phone. But if you donít like bulky and
heavy phone, this one is not for you. If youíre looking for a
smartphone today, I can recommend getting this one. This can easily
compete with the Androids and the iPhones.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 specifications:
3.2″ display @ 360◊480 pixels
512MB RAM, 512MB ROM
4GB storage (up to 32GB via microSD, 4GB included)
3G @ 384Kbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
5MP autofocus camera w/ LED flash + video
BlackBerry OS 6.0
GPS w/ a-GPS support
1300mAh Li-Ion battery
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