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BlackBerry Torch 9860 Review

on February 20, 2012 – 5:48 pmNo Comment


Here is the FoneArena review of the BlackBerry Torch 9860. You saw the hands-on images of the phone few months back. This is a full touch phone that is the successor or the BlackBerry Storm 2. RIM launched the BlackBerry Torch 2 in India last September. Everything has been refreshed since the Storm 2. The BlackBerry Torch 9860 has 3.7 inch capacitive touch-screen display, 4 GB onboard memory that is expandable up to 32GB with MicroSD and has 768 MB RAM. It is 11.5 mm thick and weighs  135 g. It has Magnetometer (Compass) in addition to the Accelerometer, Proximity and Light sensor.

Hardware


The phone has 3.7 inch (800 x 480 pixels) 16M colors capacitive touch screen display with 253 ppi.There is a LED indicator on the top right next to the large ear piece. Below the display there are keys for call and end on either sides, menu and and back buttons on the either side of the optical track-pad that are back-lit. The phone is compact to hold in the hand and has metal around the phone including the back cover which is metal. The keys feel too plastic, and you need to press hard to get the feedback which is disappointing.

It has Light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness based on the surroundings if auto brightness is activated in the display options.


The micro USB port is on the right side


The camera key is on the bottom on the left side. The volume rocker is on the top just above it.

The 3.5mm audio jack in on the top on the left side.


The lock / unlock key is on the top. It is pretty tight unlike the Torch 9810 so that you don’t need to worry about the phone getting unlocked with a simple touch when your phone is in your pocket. But you might need to press hard at times to unlock which is a bit annoying some times.


The 5MP camera is in the back along with the LED flash next to it.


When you open the metal back cover you can see the 1230 mAh battery. You can insert the MicroSD card without removing the battery. The SIM card slot is below the MicroSD card slot, and you need to push the plastic slider down to remove the SIM card since it goes way inside.

Camera

The 5MP auto-focus camera could be activated by pressing the camera key on left bottom of the phone. There are shortcuts to access the camera pictures, geo tag your images, switch on / off flash and change scene modes. There are different scene modes such as auto, face detection, portrait, snow, text etc.

The camera options lets you enable digital zoom (use volume buttons to zoom in or out) change image preview time, set image size and set convenient key. The video camera options lets you enable video light and image stabilization, change scene modes and choose video quality.

The images are quite good in daylight and fine with flash in low light, but images are grainy without flash in low light. Check out the camera samples below.


It is also capable of recording HD 720p videos with continuous auto focus. Check out the sample images and 720p video sample below.

BlackBerry OS 7


The BlackBerry Torch 9860 comes with the new BlackBerry OS 7 that is much smoother than the OS 6. The home screen is similar to the OS 6 with the different screens for the entire apps, frequent, favorites and media. On the top there is a battery indicator, time and signal bar.

It is easy to switch to other profiles easily from the profile switcher on the left below the notification bar. The search lets you perform universal search for anything on the phone, including your email and calendar. The bottom apps bar is adjustable and you can also hide it completely which opens on your touch.

Apps


The phone has similar apps like the other BB OS 7 devices Facebook, Twitter, Social Feeds with both twitter and Facebook, Maps, YouTube and Games like BrickBreaker and Word Mole. The Media lets you play Music, view Images, view Videos, Listen to podcasts and access Slacker Radio.

The Application tab has MemoPad, Tasks, Calculator, Documents To Go, File Manager, Compass, Voice Notes, Voice Notes Recorder, Password Keeper and BlackBerry Protect. The  BlackBerry Protect protects your data by backing up important details such as contacts, calendar, bookmarks, text messages, passwords, and more online. You can always download more apps from the BlackBerry App World that has new sections that would let you locate apps and games.

e-mail and BBM


e-mail and BBM are important part of BlackBerry. The e-mails are stored in the handset even if it is deleted from your Mailbox (Gmail, Yahoo Mail etc). You can also delete both on the handheld and from the Mailbox. You can Sync your contacts and calendar when you setup your mail.

The latest version of BBM version 6 includes file sharing option that lets you share any type of file to other BBM contacts and on other social sites. The BlackBerry OS 7 has new BBM 6 with connected Apps feature that has integration with some of the Apps so that you can share the apps with other BBM contacts, Chat with other directly from the app and also let others view your apps and download them from you BBM profile.

Music and Media Player


The Music Player shows Album Art of the Song in now playing screen and has sounds good. You can also set a song as ringtone, added to playlist while playing it. It supports several audio formats (mp4, .m4a, .3gp, .asf, .wma, .mp3, .flac, .ogg, .aac, .amr, .wav and .mid). It also has an equalizer with different presets. Other options include, Audio Boost, Use Mute and Volume keys to Play /Pause or Skip songs and different styles. It also has A2DP so that you can play music via Bluetooth headsets. There is no FM Radio.

The Media Player plays 720p videos fine and it supports several video formats (.mp4, .m4a, .3gp, .m4v, .avi, .asf and .wmv). You can also use podcast app in the media folder to download podcasts from RSS feeds using Wi-Fi or 3G.

Browser and Keyboard


The browser start page shows your bookmarks and history. The pinch zooming is that zoom into a web page and has HTML5 video support but there is no Flash support. You can also adjust font size, enable / disable images, block popups and also clear browsing data. It managed to score 264 in the HTML5 test with 3 bonus points. They keyboard is not great if you are used to hardware QWERTY keyboards on other BlackBerry devices.

Connectivity


The Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS and Bluetooth. The service status indicates whether you are connected to BIS and BES or not, and shows the Wi-Fi network. You can turn off the data services and switch between the network mode (2G/ 3G or Both) from the network and connections. The Bluetooth has A2DP option so that you can connect it to your Bluetooth headset to listen to music apart from attending calls over it. There is no NFC support. Wi-Fi hotspot would be available in OS 7.1.

Verdict

The BlackBerry Torch has good display but the hardware keys and the on-screen keyboard is not impressive. The 720p video recording is a plus. The battery life is decent, that lasts more than a day with average use with push e-mail, few calls, music and browsing. The apps in the BlackBerry App World are limited and there is no secondary camera which is disappointing. The phone is overpriced for its features, if  the price comes down to Rs.20,000 or below that, it would be the perfect.

Pros

  • Good display
  • 720p video recording

Cons

  • Poor hardware buttons
  • No secondary camera
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Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+