RIM has a certain tendency to launch sequels to popular devices. They recently launched the Bold 9900, commonly known as Bold 4. Today, we take a look at another sequel—the BlackBerry Torch 9810, which has already launched on two of the four major US carriers and is due for a launch on the other two in the first half of this month. Does this OS 7-laden BlackBerry have what it takes to take back the crown from the Android and iOS monsters? Jump past the break to find out!

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Feature Overview

  • 111 x 62 x 14.6 mm , 161 g
  • Li-Ion 1270 mAh battery
  • Talk time Up to 6 h 30 min (2G) / Up to 5 h 50 min (3G)
  • BlackBerry OS 7
  • 1.2 GHz processor
  • 3.2-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen
    • 480 x 640 pixels pixel resolution
    • 250 ppi
    • 16 million colors
  • 5-megapixel camera
    • Auto-focus
    • LED flash
    • 720p HD recoding at 30 FPS
  • 8 GB internal storage
  • External storage microSD, up to 32GB
  • 768 MB RAM


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Generally, the idea behind creating a device sequel is to make it sleeker, faster, and boost functionality. While faster and more functional, RIM failed to make this device any sleeker than its predecessor. Unfortunately, the 9810 has identical dimensions to its predecessor, the Torch 9800 : 111 x 62 x 14.6mm.

BlackBerry devices generally always feel solid in the hands. Thankfully, the Torch 9810 is no exception. The construction of the Torch 9810 is a fair mix of plastic and metal. It has a metal frame around the screen and the keyboard. The back has a gunmetal grey finish with a checkerboard pattern on the back cover that does a good job of hiding fingerprints. Between the metal frame of the phone and the back cover is the camera and the LED flash which is mounted on a glossy plastic strip. Overall, the feel is solid, and the slider is both fluid and sturdy. The metal frame certainly helps the sturdy feel. Luckily, even with the metal frame, the device weighs just 161 grams.

On the right side of the phone, there is the volume rocker along with the camera shutter key and a 3.5mm jack. On the left, is a micro USB port for data transfer and charging. On the top of the device you’ll find the lock and silence buttons. Under the display, you will find the standard call, menu, and back buttons. Sitting in the middle of those buttons, you’ll find the optical track pad.

The earpiece and LED sit above the display, and the battery cover pops off to reveal a 1270 mAh battery and hot-swappable microSD card. Underneath the screen, you’ll find the QWERTY keyboard and its wonderful sliding mechanism.




A 1.2GHz processor powers the BlackBerry Torch 9810, making it one of the most powerful BlackBerrys available. The added grunt enables the richer and more colorful OS 7 to run in full glory. The on-board memory on the Torch 9810 is 8 GB, and can be extended by 32 GB, thanks to the microSD card slot.



The new Blackberry OS 7 looks very similar to OS 6, except for the fact that RIM has done away with the transparent icons present on OS 6. The icons have since been swapped with a set of very colorful and aesthetically pleasing replacements. The tell-tale lag of previous OS revisions is now largely gone, and multitasking is faster and easier than ever. The “Liquid Graphics” hardware acceleration makes itself readily apparent in overall device fluidity. However, accelerometer-based page rotation was not as fast as we have seen before and on other platforms.

Radio toggles, phone book, connection manager, notification manager, sound profiles, menu, and settings are all incredibly similar to OS 6. Bundled software includes a full version of Documents-to-Go, which takes care of your mobile document editing needs. Unfortunately, the number of available apps on the platform pales in comparison to what is available on other platforms. Additionally, OS 7 allows you to use either the on-screen or slide-out hardware keyboards for text entry.



The Torch 9810 sports a 3.2 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with a pixel density of ~250 ppi and resolution of 480 x 640. While this may seem small when compared with its Android-based competition, OS 7 feels just right on the diminutive display. However the quality of the display is simply ordinary. Colors were thankfully neutral toned, but often skin tones seemed pale compared to HTC’s and Samsung’s offerings. The device’s touch sensitivity, however, was excellent.


Messaging, Email and IM

Messaging is the forté of BlackBerry devices. You get SMS, MMS, IM, and email support out of the box. Of course, a BIS/BES account is required for services using mobile data. The messaging and email interfaces are the same as in previous generations. Setting up an account is effortless, but as expected, this requires BIS/BES. The phone comes preloaded with the BlackBerry Messenger 6. BBM, for the uninitiated, is a quick and simple medium of communication between 2 or more BlackBerry users.

Overall, messaging, email, and IM are major draws to this device. I found accessing these services simpler than on any other platform. The addition of the hardware keyboard only solidifies BlackBerry’s place for message-heavy users.



The browser is identical to what is seen in other OS 7 devices. It is faster and sleeker than the OS 6 browser by a mile. Pages load quickly, and the single column view makes reading a breeze. Pinch-to-zoom was very fluid, and exemplified the overall good performance from this HTML5-capable browser. Unfortunately, there is no Flash support.



The Torch 9810 can handle a variety of media formats. On the music front, the phone can play MP3, WMA, eAAC+, FlAC, and OGG formats. For video, it can play DivX/XviD, MP4, WMV, H.263, and H.264 formats. Media playback was very smooth at 720p, however it could not handle 1080p videos. The device does partial justice to the content being played—switching between tracks and videos was fast, but buffering online media could be a little laggy at times. However, media would definitely be better on a larger screen.



The 5MP camera with LED flash on the Torch 9810 can capture 720p videos at 25fps. It is superior to the cameras found on any previous BlackBerry, including the Bold 9900. Images have great colors and contrast. And thanks to the fantastic auto-focusing, images are sharp and videos are well focused at 720p. Sadly, however, there is no front facing camera.


Call Quality

Call quality and voice clarity on this phone was good, the voice of the caller was loud and clear – and the dialer and phone book itself are fairly basic, minimalistic and easy to use – the phone book has very nice integration with Facebook and Twitter which does add to it’s appeal ! Both the speakerphone and the in-ear phone work equally good, and it also gives you the option of easily pairing a Bluetooth headset, which we tested and it worked great !



The GPS locks instantly in an obstruction free location. The Maps application itself is just as impressive. There are a bunch of great apps available in the App world, both paid and free, which will help you get the most out of this device in the navigation department. A noteworthy example is the augmented reality app WikiTude!



Torch 9810 has a 1270 mAh li-ion battery, which seems to be more than adequate for the device. With moderate browsing, media playback, emailing, and lots of BBM-ing, the device was able to last a standard day. The device should last you 12 hours or so on 2G, and 10 hours on a constant 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity. Despite its low rating, the battery seems to be no worse than what is found in flagship Android devices.


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The Torch 9810 ranges between $50 (AT&T) – $250 (T-Mobile), on contract. While $250 for Magenta’s variant isn’t horrible, it’s hard to justify when RIM will likely come out with the long-awaited QNX platform soon.

BlackBerry fans will enjoy using the Torch 9810 due to the powerful processor and new OS. First time smartphone buyers, however, would be best advised to thoroughly examine other options and mobile OSes.

The Torch 9810 ushers a new era for BlackBerry, but it doesn’t exactly turn the smartphone market on its side. The recent announcements of the Torch 9810, Torch 9860, and Bold 9900 mean that RIM isn’t ready to give up just yet. However, RIM needs to do a better job of catching up with the competition if they wish to become relevant once again.



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