The full touch BlackBerry makes a comeback.
One of the biggest strengths of a BlackBerry device is it’s keyboard. There is no denying that RIM makes the finest keyboard for a Smartphone. However, RIM is also forced to compete in a market full of iPhones and other Android based slates. That is the reason the Torch 9850 exists. It’s not RIM’s first full touch device- in fact, I’m sure many people would very much like to forget the debacle that the click screen based BlackBerry Storm was, myself included. Thus, I am heading into this review with a bit of caution, especially since I’m coming from the BlackBerry Bold 9900 which, in my opinion, is the best BlackBerry to date.
I received the device from RIM last without any packaging as the official release date in the Middle East is a few weeks away but expect the usual assortment of accessories inside the packaging- a charger and a headset. At 11.5mm, the Torch 9860 is just a tad bit thicker than the BlackBerry Bold 9900 but still thinner than every other BlackBerry. It’s weight of 135g feels just about right in your hands- neither too heavy nor too light. The following table compares the dimensions and weight of the Torch 9860 to some of the other devices from RIM and competition.
|BlackBerry Torch 9860
|BlackBerry Bold 9900
|BlackBerry Torch 9800
|BlackBerry Bold 9780
|Samsung Galaxy SII
As you can see from the table above, the Torch 9860 is quite a bit tall and even though it’s as wide as the Torch 9800, it feels narrower because of it’s shape and contours around the edges. From the back, the device feels very symmetrical with the same chrome-like shiny edges that you saw on the older Torch hugging the 9860 from both the sides. In between sits the battery cover which I found extremely hard to open due the very tiny lock area that is not very easy to press into. Once you get inside, you have a SIM card and a MicroSD slot that you thankfully don’t need to remove the battery to access.
Coming to the front side of the Torch 9860, it’s one that I personally didn’t find particularly appealing. Starting off, the standard four buttons on the bottom of the device are raised and not flushed like the other Torch or Bold models. This gives the 9860 a somewhat cheap look of a knock-off phone from China. On the other hand, I’ve heard stories of people and their messed up front buttons on the original Torch 9800 which should hopefully not be an issue with the 9860.
The left side of the device has the micro USB connector while the top has a lock switch which is hard enough to not accidentally unlock the device. On the right side you have a 3.5mm audio jack, volume rockers with a mute switch in the middle and a convenience key towards the bottom. Thankfully, this convenience key is two-step key which always helps when using the phone as a camera.