Research in Motion, said the BlackBerry 9800, also known as the BlackBerry Torch, is its “best BlackBerry ever”. The device combines a touch-screen interface with a full slide-down version, of the Qwerty keyboard for which BlackBerrys are renowned for and RIM calls it “the best of both worlds.”
The 9800 Torch has ditched the clickable touchscreen in favour of a standard capacitive model, and keeping the Qwerty keyboard that we’ve come to know and love. The Torch’s slide-out keyboard is tucked underneath the screen and is still amazingly similar in size, when closed, as the Bold 9700.
Like the 9700, it has a 624MHz Marvel processor, quad-band GSM/EDGE world phone coverage as well as tri-band UMTS/HSDPA 3G band coverage, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5-megapixel, autofocus camera with flash, GPS/BlackBerry Maps and geo-tagging, a 4GB memory card and it’s all shoehorned in to a smartphone that weighs less than 161g.
Another area BlackBerry has found fame in is battery efficiency. The 1300 mAh battery in the Torch will deliver up to 5.5 hours of talk (GSM), 5.8 hours of talk (UMTS) and as much as 18 days of standby time per charge.
The BlackBerry 6 operating system flaunts a new platform with universal search across the entire device, which allows you to look in every program and even the Internet to find what you’re looking for. To perform one of these searches, you just start typing right on the home screen.
The home screen features a sliding menu of shortcuts, which can be customised with links to favourite apps, contacts and browser bookmarks. The CoverFlow-style display is a welcomed addition, making browsing photos, videos and songs stored in the 4GB of on-board memory, more pleasant to look at.
The advantage of the responsive screen is immediately obvious when it comes to the BlackBerry Torch 9800 browser. Using multi-touch, you can zoom into the page and the text will be automatically reformatted and magnified to make it easier to read on the Torch’s 3.2in screen. The WebKit-powered browser has improved a lot in comparison to older BlackBerry browsers with better rendering of web pages and tabbed browsing. You can easily switch between the tabs with a tap, so browsing multiple pages is more fluent.
The integrated inbox combines instant messages from the device’s BlackBerry Messenger app with updates from social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and Windows Live.
Finally, BlackBerry App World will now come pre-installed on devices running BlackBerry 6, making it easier for BlackBerry users to find and install apps on their device. Many older BlackBerry phones will also be able to download and run the new operating system.