BlackBerry Torch 9800 Mobile Phone review

By on November 7, 2010
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BlackBerry makes a comeback with the Torch 9800.

Editor's Score

The Verdict:
With a touch screen, a full keyboard and a refreshed OS, the Torch 9800 is an excellent comeback device for BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the first device that comes equipped with the brand new BlackBerry 6 Operating System. RIM has certainly worked hard on bringing the look and feel of the OS to modern times by replacing icons, adding multiple home screens and a notification bar that can be tapped to show your notifications.  The following video shows some of the features of OS6.

As you can see in the video, there are many things that are new about BlackBerry 6. I found the Universal Search to be extremely helpful in not only finding information stored on my phone, but also on google for both international and local searches. In fact, I used Universal Search to launch applications or go to a particular control panel option- it works a bit like spotlight on Macs. RIM has also improved the on-screen keyboard and typing on it is much faster than the SureType technology found in Storm and Storm 2 models. Its still not as good as the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard which I think is the best, but its still pretty good.

Web Browsing is obviously one of the biggest changes in the OS. In fact, the reason Torch is named Torch is because that was the name of the company that RIM bought that made this browser. It’s a webkit based and thus sites now look much more like they’re supposed to compared to how they were on older models. People used to the older single column style of layout might crib but this is the future of mobile browsing bringing BlackBerry very much in line with Apple and Android.

Two more things worth talking about in the BlackBerry 6 are contextual menus and social tools. Contextual menus now pop up in a grid style allowing you quick access to actions that might be most related. Social Feeds aggregate your RSS, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace updates into one list showing you whats happening in your social world. Moving forward, I think RIM will open up the architecture for Social Feeds so external applications could possibly plug into it as well such as LinkedIn.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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  • mantower

    I am now considering buying a new phone, my Storm is slowly starting to test my patience a bit too much. I am not interested in joining the rank of i-sheep around the world, and I am sort of looking at a choice between the Xperia X-10 and the Torch. Which is the better option, especially considering the Xperia should soon have the new OS on it in the near future?

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Android is a great OS but I don’t think Xperia is the best way to experience it. I would much rather buy an HTC or the Samsung Galaxy Tab if I want to go down that route. I’ve switched between the BlackBerry, iPhone and Android in the last year and all three have their advantages and disadvantages. Android is great if you like the Gmail/GTalk eco system, BlackBerry is the best at push email and BBM while nothing beats the iPhone when it comes to Apps and the butter smooth experience. Decide what is more important to you and base your decision on that.

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  • Jamal

    Nice review. You gave me more reason to consider buying it. But it’s a bit expensive.

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      If you are in the UAE, you could sign a 12 month contract with Etisalat and get the device at half the price. Or buy it with du and get six months of unlimited local service free (or international at half price)

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  • Arclite

    Thanks for this. Great review, both the vid and the written review. My company only allows me to have BB devices, so I have been holding off replacing my Curve 8830 until RIM quality and specs improve. It sounds like they have.

    The main thing that is a bit of a concern is the screen size and quality. Resolution seems a bit smallish at 320×480. That’s half to a third what HTC, Samsung, and Apple offer. When will RIM get with the program? Also, how does the screen look: sharpness, color, refresh, etc.?

    Also, were you able to play any games? How was responsiveness/playability? On the one hand 600MHz will save you battery life, but on the other it means games and other high end apps will be slow.

    And finally, were you able to shoot any video?


    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      If you are into games then I would say the BB platform is not for you. In my opinion, the iPhone is best in that area. Android is kinda ok too. Where BlackBerry shines is connectivity- your email, your social, your IMs- I dont think any other device does a better job with connectivity and yet offers the battery life. I thought the screen res would be an issue but it wasn’t. While not as crisp as the iPhone, it does the job well enough to not really make you envious.

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