on 15 January 2011
Being a text-happy gadget loving student, after a few weeks of research deciding between the iphone 4, htc desire z, htc desire hd and the blackberry torch, I'm confident I made the right decision.
The odds of finding a phone with a responsive touch screen and a half decent battery life that didn't require charging every day, were slim up to this point. This is why the torch intrigued me, coming from a sony x10 in which I was lucky to last 8 hours before grabbing the incredibly un-portable, portable charger. Battery life presents itself as a massive selling point to me, with the torch the touchscreen is crazily responsive and I don't have to panic if I miss a charge for one or two days. Granted you have to learn how to close you're applications properly or they continue to run in the background, and also drain your battery in the background. As long as you press the option key and select close, rather than press the big red button (DON'T DO IT!) you're battery will remain safe and will last a good 40 hours with heavy use.
TOUCH SCREEN AND RESOLUTION
Now the one thing blackberrys aren't famous for is their screen resolution, being that the torch kept the same resolution as it's other latest blackberrys (480x360) yet made it's screen bigger was not the best of ideas from RIM, needless to say it's not a horrible resolution, 8 out of 10 times you'll get the response you want when you use the touch screen however a lower resolution will of course effect the touch screen, not a massive problem at all, however I would be lying if i said it was never an inconvenience. As for the responsiveness of the touch screen it is no different than an htc or an iphone and thank god it doesn't click in like the storm. From time to time the responsiveness is a little late, but that's the processors fault, so moving swiftly on.
PROCESSOR AND MEMORY MANAGEMENT
The torch may only have a 624mhz processor compared to most new and advanced smartphones which are packing 1ghz processors, rim have used memory management as a key to their success, the torch running os 6 helps the torch use its processor to maximum efficiency. You will find with correct use that the torch functions just as quickly as as an iphone or htc desire, providing you close applications properly like I previously mention. You can check to see if you've left programs open by holding the options key at the home screen, and you just select and properly close the applications you don't want running and hey presto, smoother running processor.
Blackberry app world was introduced along with OS6, there's thousands of apps to choose from and plenty of free apps. App world is still a work in progress, it hasn't been around for as long as the ios app store or android market place, so there are obviously fewer apps at this moment in time. However there are still tons of apps that focus on primary needs, especially the pre installed trial version of word to go which is essentially all components of microsoft office that allow you to download an open powerpoints, word documents, spreadsheets and pdfs and so on. The full app costs about £10 and is well worth it.
The torch is one of the first blackberrys to be blessed with a decent 5MP camera, compared to the old 3.2MP camera on other blackberrys this is a huge improvement. Sure it's not HD like the new htc desire z and hd or the iphone 4, but it doesn't have to be, it's sharp and captures clear memories with an led flash.
Now a great attraction about the torch is a responsive smartphone with a keyboard, the keyboard isn't exactly like the old bold and curves but is still pretty similar, it takes some time to get used to but only a couple of weeks and once you are used to it you'll never look back. One thing I can't stress enough is that there is no wrong way to use the torch, if the slider is down you can get an on screen qwerty, in portrait or landscape screen mode. This is really helpful for when you only have one hand free (for whatever reason) because when the slider is up it gets pretty tall and requires the attention of both hands.
Blackberrys, what a reputation they have as business phones, i've already configured all three of my emails on my torch, and can customize the alerts for each one, view single or combined address inboxes and download and view pretty much any kind of attatchment. The e-mail sending is fast and able to do in the background thanks to os 6's multi tasking. Writing them is quick thanks to the qwerty keyboard and you can also attatch your own files.
The torch connects with your computer thanks to blackberry desktop software and if you want you can sync all of your files with it, music, pictures, documents and so on. However that is come to be expected with all desktop software, but the one thing that seriously caught my eye in blackberrys software was the option to tether. For those of you who aren't sure what tethering is it is essentially using the mobile internet included in your contract or pay as you go sim but on your computer (isn't technology wonderful?) Once you have your blackberry connected to your lap top or desktop you can choose to access the internet through your phone at no extra cost than it would using it on your blackberry, just make sure you don't go over your contract.
The torch come with a 4gb micro sd card, and because of that has expandable storage up to 32gb, but i've found 4gb to be plenty of memory even with music and apps.
What review would be complete without mentioning the fastest growing media in the world?
The torch's web browsing comes with flash, what a dream come true, the speed is simply brilliant for a smart phone and it displays web pages just like your computer would. It is a huge improvement over other blackberrys.
OS 6'S navigation is just as easy with the optical trackpad as it is with the touchscreen, use of how you navigate really depends on how you're holding your phone, when I have the slider up I tend to use the optical trackpad to navigate as the screen requires a pretty long reach if your holding it at the bottom to use the keyboard, when the slider is down I make good use of the touchscreen but it's easy either way and you'll end up just using whatever works for you.
For the price amazon is giving you'll be getting a fair deal on a brilliant smartphone, it however would be wrong of me not to mention blackberry services, which includes of the web browser, app world and bbm would cost an extra £5 a month, now you can add this to your existing contract without cancelling it like I did, or you sign up for it on pay as you go. However this is a small price to pay to make use of your flash new smartphone.
This is my first review and I hope it has been helpful.