The latest review from Mobilesplease takes a closer look at the BlackBerry Torch 9800. Originally launched towards the back end of 2010, this was the first BlackBerry to feature a full touchscreen and separate keyboard. Despite its age, it remains a relevant phone due to its smart design and the all important price – you can now get this BlackBerry free on most contracts deals.
Confronted with its adversaries in chief, the Apple iPhone and the range of Android handsets, RIM went for a new approach when it launched the BlackBerry 9800 Torch: reaching to the youth, who are more oriented toward communicating via text, good music and social media.
If you’re familiar with BlackBerry phones, you’ll already be aware of their reliability and practicality among a wealth of other features. With the Torch 9800, you also have full and immediate access to your e-mail and social networking accounts. With the BlackBerry Torch, RIM were keen on meeting the basic needs of the more youthful mobile phone user, alongside its more familiar business clients.
So how does it measure up? Let’s take a closer look at it with our BlackBerry Torch 9800 review.
The 9800 Torch adopts the familiar BlackBerry shape, however this time its even more recognizable keyboard is tucked away in a sliding section. It’s still feels like a chunky, durable handset and due to this is heavier than your average smartphone, but not heavy enough for you to leave it at home on a night out.
The Torch model uses the OS 6, which has more personality than the OS 4 or OS 5 but has quickly been surpassed by 7 and no doubt 10, when it launches later this year.
The phonebook displays thumbnails next to entries in the list, which makes it more dynamic and alive for its users. There are multiple home screens, which makes it easier for users to swap between the various app categories. The App Market for BlackBerry phones is reasonable, though let’s be honest, it not yet comparable with the imaginative apps you’ll find in either the Android or Apple markets.
Having said that, the 9800 Torch does come with a useful Social Feeds app that keeps you connected to all the social media profiles you may be interested in and is a definite nod to targeting a more youthful user. If you don’t like the aggregated feeds, you can always use the separate Apps for Facebook, Twitter and so on.
The signal on this BlackBerry phone is generally good and you can catch a signal almost in most conditions, depending on your network and where you’re based in the UK, of course. To dial, you have the option to use either the slide-out keyboard or touchscreen keyboard. For me, the only thing missing is a full-screen caller ID, which some users might find indispensable nowadays.
The one thing that BlackBerries have always been strong with is their texting feature. Starting with the helpful complete QWERTY keyboard, it’s clear to see that BlackBerry phones were targeted at the business market and texting lovers. The dual keyboard and touchscreen gives users the option to complete quick replies or construct more detailed messages with comfort.
A big feature nowadays is BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, which lets users communicate to each other via text for free, and also send items. You can use the keyboard on the screen, or the slide-out keyboard, for more complex writing. They take a while to get used to though, because of the small keys. Or maybe it’s my fat fingers?
RIM has made a lot of progress when it comes to browsing the internet on the BlackBerry Torch by making the experience vastly better than before. Pages load quickly and easily, and users can benefit from two useful features: Tabs and Bookmarks. The connection over 3G is very fast and in some cases can definitely be compared a strong competitor to Wifi. Similar to Apple, this phone doesn’t support Flash either.
The 5 megapixel camera does a good job, especially with the flash and autofocus incorporated. It has a lot of settings if you want to experiment outside of the auto mode. It’s quite fast in starting up and in focusing, which is an important aspect when out and about.
Recording videos is definitely one of the weak points of the BlackBerry Torch model. The recording limit is 640×480 and the quality of image and sound is disappointing. Whereas the camera can compete with many handheld separates, the video will come up short time and again.
The BlackBerry 9800 Torch is now offered as a free handset with many deals on Mobilesplease.co.uk. For example 3 is offering as much as 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data, all for as little as £12.54 a month. You can compare these prices and all the best mobile phone deals at Mobilesplease.co.uk.
In conclusion, the 9800 Torch is a good handset, with all the quality we’ve come to expect from a BlackBerry phone with all the basic features included, at a reasonable price. At 5MP the camera is at an acceptable standard for handsets however the video recording facility is below that and does let the handset down somewhat. Having said that, you do get what you pay for, and as this is largely a free BlackBerry handset, you’re actually getting quite a lot with your money.
Mobilesplease rating: 4 out of 5