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The New BlackBerry Torch – so what new?

Blackberry TorchWhen we first saw the rumored BlackBerry Torch we thought it would be called the BlackBerry Touch. This phone is definitely is a great leap for the traditional line of blackberrys we have seen and You will find out why we mistook its name for Touch and why this phone is a big step for BlackBerry but a small step for the smartphone Market… Read on for a complete Review and everything you need to know if you are considering to get this phone

Specs

Connectivity 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 /800
Size Dimensions 111 x 62 x 14.6 mm
Weight 161 g
Display Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 360 x 480 pixels, 3.2 inches
– QWERTY keyboard
– Optical trackpad
– Multi-touch input method
– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
Sound Alert types Vibration, MP3 ringtones
Speakerphone Yes
– 3.5 mm audio jack
Memory Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records Yes
Internal 4 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 4GB card included
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps
3G HSDPA; HSUPA
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, UMA (carrier-dependent)
Bluetooth Yes, v2.1 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
Camera Primary 5 MP, 2592х1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features Geo-tagging, continuous auto-focus, image stabilization
Video Yes, VGA@24fps
Secondary No
Features OS BlackBerry OS 6.0
CPU 624 MHz processor
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML
Radio No
Games Yes + downloadable
Colors Black
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, MIDP 2.0
– Social feeds
– BlackBerry maps
– Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
– Media player MP3/WMA/eAAC+/FlAC/OGG player
– Video player DivX/XviD/MP4/WMV/H.263/H.264
– Organizer
– Voice memo/dial
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 1300 mAh
Stand-by Up to 432 h (2G) / Up to 336 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 5 h 30 min (2G) / Up to 5 h 40 min (3G)
Music play Up to 30 h

The Goods

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • 3G with HSPA support
  • Slide Portrait QWERTY Keyboard
  • 3.2″ 16M-color multi-touch capacitive touch screen of 360 x 480 pixel resolution
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and VGA video recording
  • Home Page Widgets
  • BlackBerry OS 6
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Built-in GPS with BlackBerry maps preloaded
  • 4 GB internal storage and a hot-swappable microSD card slot
  • Nice design and build quality
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • Accelerometer sensor for screen auto-rotate
  • Bluetooth v2.1 and microUSB v2.0
  • Document viewer
  • Optical trackpad
  • Good audio quality
  • Good Battery Life
  • DivX and XviD support

The Bads

  • Comes pricey
  • No document editing without a paid upgrade
  • Interface needs more polishing
  • No FM radio
  • No web browser Flash support
  • No dedicated video-call camera
  • No email support or BlackBerry maps without BlackBerry Internet Service account

The Introduction

If you are Blackberry user the phone reminds a lot of his older brothers BlackBerry Bold 9700 and Strom 9620 and when you slide the phone it will remind you of the Palm Pre.  Like every other BlackBerry phone which has this look to it which reflects high standards, sophistication and class and the Torch is no different, you don’t have to look at the back of the and see BlackBerry logo to know it’s a BlackBerry.  With a touch screen and a keyboard any Blackberry loyal fan (fanboy) will claim it to be the iPhone killer (Its Not 🙂 ). RIM is also among the Smartphone manufacturers who have been shifted in the back seat by the androids and iOS Device, hence it’s now up to the torch to light the way for RIM and lead it to glory.

Looks  and Display (3/5)

The BlackBerry Torch measures 111 x 62 x 14.6 mm, which is by no means compact by modern standards. The slider form factor has added a few millimeters around the waistline. The Torch is quite a handful but that’s fair for what you get – a 3.2” touchscreen and a full QWERTY keyboard.

The phone has 3.2” front panel with a Chrome finish on the sides which gives a unique and distinct feel to it. The backside of the phone is a ribbed rubbery surface which gives a sense of grip to the phone. Overall the phone feels good in the hand.

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On the right side the phone has a camera key and above it is a the Volume rocker and at the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the left the phone has a microusb port with no protective cover over it. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 loudspeaker grill is located on top, between the two of the company’s trademark hidden keys. The Lock key is on charge of turning the screen on and off while the Mute key now acts as a Play/Pause button when playing music and videos to highlight the media slant of the phone and nothing at the bottom. On the rear side there also is a 5MP camera which will come back to later on in the review.

When you slide the phone you will notice the keyboard is just like what you will see in the bold but in the torch the keys are a little flatter maybe to adjust with the slide. But if you are have used RIM phones in the past you know how good they keyboard layout is and though the keys are a little hard to press but it won’t take much time even to a first time user in getting comfortable with the keys. Also on the front are the basic BlackBerry buttons with an 5-way optical track pad.

But there is one Drawback in the design, when you are holding the phone in one hand sliding the phone can be difficult, as there is no room at the bottom or at the side you will often find yourself using the screen to slide the keyboard and ending up accidently opening the apps

The Screen in is a 3.2” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 360 x 480, Image quality is not bad for such low resolution and we would have called it awesome if it was launched few years ago i.e. if you compare the phone with market leaders, Amoled, super Amoled, SLCD, retina display and even some normal LCD Blackberry torch is nowhere near in the competition. This is actually very disappointing in a high end phone.

User Interface (UI) and OS (3.5/5)

RIM has tried to completely revamp their OS and UI by Launching the OS 6 so let’s take a look at the does it live up to its name….

With the level of user-friendliness of the BlackBerry OS 5 being…well… basically rubbish in touchscreen terms, a major overhaul was in order for the 6th version to have a shot at wider appeal. And for a company that has limited experience in the area, the challenge is as formidable as it gets.Knowing that OS 6 would set the course for the future generations of BlackBerry phones, they put in quite a lot of effort and the end result isn’t bad at all. The BlackBerry OS 6 isn’t going to rival Android or iOS just yet but those insulting monochrome menus are finally getting some color and a few extra icons, and have become more thumbable.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8k8NGT7DyU&feature=related

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8cDFTerFPY

Home Screen and Menu (3.5/5)

When you first look how screen you will notice two new features, first is the notification bar it’s a new for the RIM users but its a lot like android, You can slide down  the notification bar to see all the notifications like unread emails messages and your updates from facebook and twitter.  Second thing you will notice is the android like menu slider, now you can slide up to see all the apps you have and you have the option how many rows you want to display on the home screen. You can either slide it all the way up or no icons at all.

Phone Book ,  Telephony and Messaging (3/5)

The phone Book has got an upgrade, Torch has now got a great contact management with nice look to it. Plus it’s things like unlimited capacity, adding custom fields and having SNS (well, at least Facebook) integration that matter the most. You can search for a specific contact thanks to the kinetic scrolling or by just entering a part of their name with either the hardware or the virtual keyboard. Like previous BlackBerry devices, the Torch lets you put your contacts in one of two categories – personal and business and then filter your phonebook accordingly. There is also grouping available this time and you can create as many custom groups as you like. Rest is like before and like what any other smartphone in the market has to offer (not considering Nokia or symbian os)

You get a tad better graphics, tabs and cool features such as Smart dialing. By the way Smart dialing works when adding contacts in messages too. Speed and voice dialing is also available and with a full QWERTY keyboard at your disposal you can assign half your phonebook a speed dial key. The in-call screen offers four large and easy to press buttons plus five shortcuts to features you are most likely to need during a call. Those include notes, calendar, contacts, dial pad and home screen. Well that last one might not be what you need during a call but it’s the quickest way to an application that is not on the list.

The call quality of the torch is not so great and you can hear some distortion sounds at both the receiver and callers end, which is also very disappointing for such a high priced phone.

One thing we noticed during messaging was that now you have a full QWERTY touch keyboard instead of the short keyboard in the bold. Again the only downside of the Torch messaging is the fact that you can only use BlackBerry Internet Service email accounts. This means that without a proper Blackberry service plan the handset is just a plain email-less device and globally there are quite a lot of carriers that do not support BIS yet, which can be very disappointing for phone with such price.

Web browser (2.5/5)

The browser now supports multi-touch for zooming and has text reflow option, that is when u zoom the text will fit accordingly into the screen. But all is not so great in the web browser, although like majority of phone and smartphones the web browser does not at all support flash it also does not support html5 i.e. you can’t view anything that embedded in to the website, also there is a glitch that occurs when you zoom into a website, sometimes the text reflow will leave a lot of space between the words making it almost impossible to read what’s written. Though the web browser is very quick to load the websites but you will often experience lag while scrolling and sometimes the images and   text will not completely render.

Organizer (3/5)

The Organizer does its job quite well as expected from a high end phone but it’s still not up to the mark, for example the phone does not give out of the box office editor options you need to buy an app for that, also you will need to download an app to sync your google calendar with the phone’s calendar (assuming you synced your FB calendar with your gmail)

Multimedia – Music, video and Image Gallery (2.5/5)

Music app has been renovated but nothing to make you go WOW or AWSOME!! Though it has got coverflow in it to. The loud speaker is good and lot but nothing what u did expect from a phone with similar price tag.

The video player now supports out of the box Divx and xvid support that is you can play your avi files on the phone, but, ya I know every good feature in this phone comes in with a condition, now though you can play avi file but the condition is you have to decrease their resolution else if you play movies with higher resolution you are bound to face lag and the video is not at all watchable

The image gallery of the Torch received a slight cosmetic update on the browser and a new feature or two. It has standard functionality including thumbnail and list view of the images.
The gallery also offers finger gestures, meaning you can browse pictures by sweeping your finger across the screen. You can also pinch-zoom your way in and out when looking at a single photo.Opting between portrait and landscape mode is automatic, thanks to the built-in accelerometer. All you need to do to switch modes is to flip the phone sideways. Overall, picture browsing is decently fast but the zooming is on the slow side. There is some noticeable lagging and that damages the whole experience a bit.

Camera –  Images and Video Recording (2/5)

Torch has the best camera there is among all the blackberry phones but not the best in the market. The camera interface has been changed but is still among the worst on the market. Since the display has the same aspect ratio as the camera sensor, the readings that appear at the bottom cover a part of the viewfinder and impede proper framing. There are only three shortcuts to actual camera functions but at least those are rather well chosen (scenes, flash settings and geo-tagging).This time RIM also added a few features, which might be considered standard elsewhere but are still novelty to BlackBerry. We are talking about the just mentioned scenes and the face-detection. Geo-tagging is also here but that’s been around for a while now. To get to the rest of the settings you will have to press the menu key and search for the options item in the scrollable list. There you can pick you preferred storage place (phone or microSD card), whether or not digital zoom to be available and the obligatory picture size. The image quality of the BlackBerry Torch is decent with enough resolved detail and tolerable (if unspectacular) noise levels. Contrast is fine too but the colors are off more often than not.

VGA video recording no longer suffices. The Torch is able to capture VGA videos at 24 fps. Now that was good enough a couple of years ago but today it’s not worthy of a flagship. There are already a few dozens of phones in our database that do 720p video recording so you should forgive us for not being over-excited with the Torch .And with the handset also applying a bit too much compression we don’t think the videos are really good even in their own league. Videos are captured in 3GP format and if you fancy, you can apply various color effects. The LED flash can also be set to work as a video light and there’s some kind of image stabilization, though we didn’t find it particularly effective (as is the usually the case with mobile phones).

Conclusion

Now though we never expected from RIM to be good at anything except Emails and messaging and related stuff but since the iphone and the android has transformed the market and the consumer now wants a complete package, now he wants a good multimedia experience along with business functionalities and hence RIM had to rethink and revaluate which resulted into The BlackBerry Torch. Since the BlackBerry torch portrays itself as a business phone + multimedia phone we tested it accordingly to see if it stands upto its to name.

Torch maybe a great leap forward for RIM but if you look at the competition, Torch is a disappointment, the spec of the phone reflect a phone that is an year old, Though the phone has usually smooth UI but sometimes it will lag and hang up and you have no choice except to take out the battery and restart the phone. This phone Cost at least Rs. 30K and nothing in the phone is worth the money. It is sad to say that RIM hasn’t offered any  innovation in the phone that differentiates it from the rest.

Though RIM’s easy to use OS and that familiar with the loyal users and business class and its friendliness towards Business functionalities makes its good choice for the business class who are upgrading from the previous Blackberry phone as now they have never before seen android and iOS like functionalities and still its way better than any symbian phone that available to the users.

Overall rating – 3/5

Value for Money – 2.5/5 (INR 33,000)

Now for the same price and even less you can get some awsome phones in india

iPhone 4 –

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mk2tLtPvg8

This phone is not available officially as of yet but this phone is due this diwali and you can still get it off ebay.

price – around INR 35,000

Samsung Galaxy S –

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73VdB3QStSA&feature=channel

This phone as the best internal hardware among the android Community.

Price INR 27,000+

HTC desire –

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLxsxnlGFnE

This is one the best phones out there and the custom UI (sense UI) is the best there is.

Price INR 25,000+

Motorola Milestone –

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtNisSeihPE&feature=channel

If you really want a phone with Physicall Keyboard then this phone is the best.

Price INR 22,000+

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