It is here, finally! After the clickable screen of the BlackBerry Storm and the touchscreen-with-slide-out-keyboard from the original BlackBerry Torch, RIM has finally released a proper touchscreen smartphone. Powered with a 3.7-inch touchscreen, it is the largest touchscreen device RIM has ever made, it’s also the highest resolution, with a whooping 480 x 800 pixels on display. This does mean that the new BlackBerry OS 7 should look at its best.
Some specifications at a glance:
Dimensions: 120 x 62 x 11.5 mm
Weight: 135 g
Screen: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches (~252 ppi pixel density), Multitouch
Memory: 2.5 GB storage, 768 MB RAM, hot-swappable MicroSD
Camera: 5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus
Processor: 1.2 GHz
Power: Standard battery, Li-Ion 1230 mAh, J-M1
What comes in the box:
- The BlackBerry Torch 9860 device
- Battery, J-M1
- USB Wall charger
- MicroUSB cable for syncing and charging
- Stereo Earphones
Powering this is a single-core 1.2GHz processor, just like the BlackBerry Bold 9900. So we do expect the speed to be pretty snazzy.
Built with just 4GB of internal memory coupled with a hot-swappable microSD card slot, This baby will be able to have up to 36GB of memory at anyone time.
Fortunately for this device, it come with auto-focus and this should allow us to take rather crisp photos (especially close ups or text) with the 5 Megapixel camera and LED flash.
Anyway, at first glance, it doesn’t look much like your typical BlackBerry at all. There is obviously no physical keyboard on the device, which has been RIM’s trademark feature all along, you may not identify this is a RIM device. The Torch 9860 breaks off from the traditional design and form of nearly every other BlackBerry we’ve known. It doesn’t show much of a resemblance to the BlackBerry Torch 9800, but rather feels closer to a best mix of the BlackBerry Storm 2 and BlackBerry Pearl. Although it’s mostly plastic apart from the heavy metal back plate, there’s compromise in its build at all, and it feels high quality.
First off, just like most modern BlackBerry’s, the familiar twin call buttons, BlackBerry menu and the always important back button is present just below the screen which any BlackBerry user will find it familiar, surrounding the track pad. In this instance, the buttons (unlike the Curve 9360, Torch 9810 and Bold 9900) are actually protruding out which could actually just to make it much easier to press.
On the left-hand side of the device is the micro USB port, which handles the charging and data transfer, while the right side houses the volume controls and play/pause key, and the lone Convenience key. Similar to the 9360, the buttons featured on the device are super thin and small buttons which might pose as a problem for users with larger hands. The 3.5mm jack is also on this side, just like most modern BlackBerry devices. The top of the handset is the Lock button, while notification-light will be found this in its usual spot.
Similar to the other device (set aside Curve 9360), the OS 7, coupled with a touch screen is a great bonus and does enhances the whole user experience. With that large 3.7 inch screen, reading messages, watching shows was much better experience compared to the other devices. Of course nothing beats the powerful BlackBerry PlayBook but, for a mobile device, oh hey, this is not a bad addition.
On the web browsing end, the speed is pretty snappy, similar to the performance on the 9900. Recently, I just gotten hold of another full touch screen phone – Samsung Galaxy S2. Speed on wifi is considerably similar, but on the network, SGS2 seems to be faster. Not sure if it was due to it have H+ connectivity, but if cellular data was as fast on the Torch 9860, I am inclined to believe that they will be on par.
For the typing, the larger screen makes it easier to type, with the virtual keyboard. However, as a qwerty enthusiast, it takes some time to actually get used to the keyboard.
The camera on the BlackBerry Torch 9860 is actually much better than I had expected. Using the camera makes it feel like it is a digital camera, coupled with the sharp and clear screen, it was a very good experience. sporting the 5MP continuous auto-focus camera that records video in 720p HD with auto-focus as well, quality was pretty good.
The shutter is instant, though, producing a photo onscreen in a fraction of a second, there is no lag. And the quick shutter speed means there’s very little blur in the photos too, which is always a good thing.
The live view screen can distort a little if you move it quickly, but it doesn’t seem to affect the photos taken at all.
The call quality on this device is similar with the other BlackBerry devices, but the music on the speakerphone, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 still seemed better, however, the quality is much better than the older os6 and os5 devices.
The battery door is made of metal and it has a matte like look with a rubber texture. Good for rubber grip and it does have a very nice feel to it. Premium feel will be an understatement to it.
For the Torch 9860, I found that it could last an entire day for me with no issues. The device was running on 3G all day and I’d say my usage was average. However, this could vary from day to day usage, but it does seem like the battery is better than the Bold 9900 (on the stock OS not .540)
In comparison with the Storm 9520, the Torch 9860 is definitely a superb jump from the touch screen technology they have held.
No longer that lag, unresponsive screen and clickable screen. Hello to responsive powerful device putting itself on par with most competition.
It’s a smooth device that will certainly be please most users, especially existing BlackBerry users. Users that want the big screen and don’t mind not having a physical keyboard will be in BlackBerry Torch heaven. Whilst it may take time to adopt to the new screen for these keyboard addicts and surepress addicts, users converting from other touch screen phones would likely appreciate the direction in terms of screen technology RIM is heading towards. As for myself, I do really love the device alot and i dont mind having this by my side. The curved and flowing lines of the Torch 9860 were designed to let us hold the BlackBerry comfortably as I type on the redesigned keyboard. It is such comfort to type as compared to the Samsung Galaxy S2 and Storm 2. All in all, BlackBerry OS7 on this new Torch is faster, snappier, better. It is the BlackBerry experience we have all been waiting.
For the general users, with the boosted processor and increased RAM, the OS races along fast enough to keep up with pretty much anything you throw at it and if touch screen is your cup of tea, this is unlikely to disappoint.
Stay tuned for our side by side comparisons for the OS 7 phones!:)