I know we are a bit late for this, very late indeed but still it’s OS7. Along with the launch of OS7 RIM added two new devices to its torch series, BlackBerry Torch 9860 and BlackBerry Torch 9810. The 9810 is kinda the traditional torch with the touch and type both and the 9860 kinda being the new addition with full capacitive touch omitting the keyboard. Let’s look at the detailed review as to know the result of this experiment by RIM.
The sales package consists of a handset, battery, USB cable, wall charger, headset and the usual user manuals.
The device features a 480X800 pixel resolution 3.7inch 16M TFT capacitive color display (~252ppi) which is one of the best available considering a BlackBerry smart phone. The BlackBerry touch is powered by a 1.2 GHz QC 8655 with 768 MB RAM and 4GB internal storage, though it supports microSD card up to 32 GB. Do you notice that this is the best ever configuration on a BlackBerry? The device unlike its previous torch generations doesn’t have a QWERTY keyboard input but only a full touch capacitive input with a touch-sensitive optical trackpad and 4 more physical keys. The smart phone runs on a 1230 mAh Li-Ion battery which easily lasts for a normal day on BlackBerry internet services.
The 9860 measures 120 x 62 x 11.5 mm and weighs 135 grams. This device feels good in the hand inspite of being plasticky. The only metallic part of this device is the back cover. Everything else is plastic, even the shiny edges.
On the top we have the usual lock key as per the BB conventions but the upward pointy edge on
the top doesn’t makes it that comfortable to use.
The 3.5mm audio jack, Volume rocker, and the camera key are on the right.
The microUSB port for charging and synchronization is on the left.
On the bottom we have the trackpad and four physical keys, which are common in a BlackBerry with optical trackpad.
The 5MP camera with the LED flash are placed on either side of the back.
The 9860 has a 5MP autofocus camera with a LED flash which takes pictures with resolution upto 2592х1944 pixels. The speciality or the USP of this camera as compared to traditional BlackBerry’s is the Geo-tagging, continuous auto-focus, image stabilization and face detection which are not usually found in the range below this.
9860 clicks decent pictures in daylight as well as in low light.
Did i forgot to mention the video shoot? It shoots video upto [email protected] No front camera so only from the back.
The BlackBerry OS 7 launched last year was the much needed upgrade from the previous OS versions. The glossy, colorful, and modern looks are gorgeous with a 3.7inch display. The apps are automatically optimized for this full screen display and do not look absurd. The unique thing about this Torch, unlike others in the series, is the virtual keypad. Earlier only the storms were supposed to have the virtual keyboard input which are now no longer available. The touch input on this 9860 has improved a lot with the latest OS upgrade to v188.8.131.524, so don’t forget to upgrade after you buy one. The latest OS upgrade has fixed some battery drainage bugs, got some improvements in the performance and has improved the predictive text input. Some text changes can also be observed, like during the incoming call. Earlier it was “ringer off”, and now it’s “silent”, which happened during the upgrade.
We performed a keyboard typing test to compare the keyboard input on an Android and on this Torch. This Torch has a 3.7inch screen, so we thought it would be fair if we choose a 3.7inch Android. Luckily we had an HTC One V handy for this job.
As per our experience in portrait mode, if we disable the predictive text it becomes really hard to type on the torch without making errors. The spacing between keys are not sufficient enough to type in the correct letter. If one could type in the landscape mode he/she have a fair chance to avoid errors as the spacing increases.
Whereas after activating the predictive text, 9860’s keyboard gets the energy boost. The predictions, though, only support English language, but are really awesome which gets even better as you type. The probability for making errors reduce exponentially, which was really impressive, but Android still leads to the mark. Typing was much easier on Android which headed to its fair win. Virtual keyboard didn’t work out on OS7 but wait till BB10 is out, it will break all these records.
PS: We tested with the HTC’s stock keyboard.
BlackBerry Torch 9860, the only full touch Torch series, not only has a good design, but it performs well too. This Torch has those sumptuous looks which are good for showing off to women! The full screen experience of the premium BlackBerry services can only be found on this smart phone, but the touch input can be a pain. I would personally prefer a touch keyboard than a full physical keyboard for input. With good camera, design, and looks, this is actually not a bad deal. The pricing might not seem to be for the specifications when comparing with other OEMs, but then its BlackBerry, we should expect this.
Talking about my personal experience, switching from an Android was not easy at first, as I was used to the big screen, the keyboard, the apps, and the UI/UX. The lack of applications was the first hindrance I had to face. BlackBerry app database isn’t that small, but comparing with Android, I think you know what I mean.
The best thing I liked was the BlackBerry Messenger. The BBM service is often compared to the cross platform application Whatsapp, and I too use it, but trust me it’s nowhere near BBM. BBM is so quick and responsive that it’s service is unbeatable. Secondly, the BB mailing experience is found no where else. The push notifications in all the applications are like the USP of any BlackBerry smart phone. Comparing the user experience and user interface, obviously OS7 can’t match Android 4.1, but after using the Dev Alpha device, I can say that BB10 will make up for this. With RIM’s continuous efforts to involve more development for BB10, I am sure the application database graph will rise up soon. As I have said earlier, let’s wait till the BB10 action begins!