BlackBerry Torch 9860 review

Reviews Richard Goodwin 16:44, 14 Mar 2012

We review the BlackBerry Torch 9860, RIM’s super-charged smartphone that packs in BlackBerry OS 7, a 1.2GHz processor and, interestingly, all-touch controls

Rating: 
2
Pros: 
Good spec, decent build quality, 1.2GHz CPU, BBM, Email, Security
Cons: 
Ugly design, poor camera and video, lack of applications and games, BB7 will be defunct in six months time
Verdict: 
In a world devoid of iOS, Android and Windows Phone this handset would be great. Unfortunately for RIM this isn't the case

Think of RIM and one or two things usually spring to mind: the first is BBM, the now de facto method of communication for many of Britain’s youth population. The second thing, in our opinion, would be RIM’s classic handset design – it’s unmistakable – with those trademark ergonomic keyboards, metallic edging and excellent build quality.

What happens if you take one of these things away though? Are you still left with a BlackBerry or is something lost in the transition? Take the ill-fated BlackBerry Storm, for instance, it didn’t feature a physical keyboard and ended up being about as usual as a decaffeinated shot of espresso.

Fortunately this isn’t case with the BlackBerry Torch 9860. RIM has kitted the device out with some of the best hardware we’ve seen to date inside a BlackBerry handset. It’s also ditched the SurePress touchscreen technology and used in its place something much more refined and usable.

The overall result is that 9860’s touchscreen UI is as responsive as any top-flight Android, Windows Phone or iOS-powered handset. In this respect RIM has come along in leaps and bounds and can now boast a near-seamless all-touch UI experience that surpasses that of many mid-range Android handsets.

Build quality on the handset is also superb being composed of an amalgamation of alloys, plastics and soft-touch rubber keys. The end result is a premium-looking handset that feels solid in the hand and is lightweight enough to sit in your pocket without causing too much drag.

That said we’re not fans of the design – it’s strangely shaped with slopes at either end and has four rather unattractive navigation keys, which sit just below its 3.7-inch 480 x 800 pixels display. The overall look is dated, in our opinion, and, like the Torch 9800 before, will not be treated nicely by the passing of time.

But it’s not all about looks. What’s on the inside counts for a lot too, especially in the world of smartphones. And what RIM has packed into the 9860 cannot be scoffed at – there’s a 1.2GHz dual core QC8655 CPU, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, which ensures everything ticks along very nicely.

Email, BBM and social networking are simple thanks to BlackBerry 7’s more than adequate built-in services. BlackBerry purists will struggle with the touchscreen keyboard, however, which isn’t as easy to use as Android and iOS’ stock set-ups. Keys seem unnaturally close together and typing out long emails is difficult with deice in portrait mode.

Specifications

Typical Price £300 - £350
UK Launch Available now
Network Latest BlackBerry Torch 9860 Deals
Frequency GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
Phone Style Candybar
Thickness 11.5 mm
Length 120
Width 62
Weight 135 g
Built-in Memory 4GB
Additional Memory 32GB via microSD
High-speed Data HSDPA,GPRS,EDGE,Wi-Fi
Connectivity Bluetooth,
Screen Size 3.5-inch
Screen Colours 16M colors
Camera Yes
Designer Lens No
Camera Resolution 5-megapixel
Zoom Yes
Flash Yes
Video Resolution 720p
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WMA/WAV/eAAC+/FlAC player
Radio Yes
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games Yes

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