Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: BlackBerry Torch 9810

Patrick Stafford /

BlackBerry has been in trouble over the past couple of years. With Apple eating away at Research in Motion’s market share, and plenty of criticism from industry analysts, the BlackBerry is beginning to fall off the smartphone radar.

 

However, there are still a number of new models being released and they all have their fans. So is the BlackBerry Torch worth a look?

Hardware and features

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 is an upgrade from the previous 9800 model, although there are a number of improvements. The gadget comes powered by a 1.2Ghz processor, along with 768MB of RAM and 8GB built-in memory.

It also comes powered by the BlackBerry 7 OS, an upgrade from the previous version.

Features include a 3.2-inch screen, at 640 x 480 resolution, a MicroSD slot, and a full keyboard, along with a sliding touchscreen.

The rear camera is five megapixels with auto-focus – there is no front-facing camera. The device itself is 14.6mm thick.

What’s the consensus?

Reception to the 9810 model has been mostly positive. As TechRadar points out, one of the major differences between this model and the previous version is the material, with the new design given a brushed metal and black look.

It looks great, but unfortunately, as it points out, the design is still a little flimsy.

“But as we said about the original Torch 9800, drop this on the floor and you’ll know about it. As well as a few scuffs, we get the impression you could end up with your phone in pieces (two to be precise),” it noted.

It notes the buttons, an “impressive” dynamic speaker”, along with the same inputs as the previous model.

Although as Engadget states, there are some differences, including the micro-USB port.

One of the positives, however, is the extra power. Engadget said the new components make the BlackBerry really zip along, with a number of improvements helping day-to-day usage.

“And there are other welcome refinements under the hood as well. Internet connectivity has been remarkably improved over last year’s model, pushing forward with an HSPA+ radio capable of achieving speeds of 14.4Mbps down and 2Mbps up.”

It also stated the keyboard remained thinner than other models, but praised the “natural” feel.

Over at T3, the publication noted the high quality camera, praising the quick focus. It also complimented the LED flash, which can act as a light, although said the video footage wasn’t as good.

However, there seems to be another big problem – battery life.

“It’s also pretty easy to drain the power pack if you spend the day fiddling with the phone – constant internet use or downloading new applications will see the presence of the red battery warning icon sooner than you’d like.”

And back over at TechRadar, there were some harsh words for the OS “upgrade”, which isn’t necessarily much of an improvement. There were some criticisms of how icons are organised, along with how app drawers are handled.

“OS 7 was promised as a faster operating system than OS 6, and we agree that it is. Maybe it’s the beefed up processor, or maybe it’s the way it’s coded, that means this machine doesn’t lag or treat us to the awful spinning wheel of death that we used to be all too familiar with,” it noted.

“That’s not to say that the Torch 9810 is fast at everything, though. It still suffers from one of BlackBerry’s worst Achilles’ heels – the fact that it takes forever to start up.”

Who’s it for?

The BlackBerry 9810 is a solid smartphone. If you’re using it for business and not for browsing constantly, then you’re likely going to get a lot of enjoyment out of this device. It’s simple to use and fits well within the BlackBerry ecosystem.

But that’s also its downside – there is no innovation here. There’s nothing much different, apart from the upgrade in the operating system. If you’ve used BlackBerry gadgets before, then you’re going to enjoy this phone, but if you’re an outsider, there’s still no reason to jump on board.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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