RIM caused a stir last year when it unveiled the BlackBerry Torch 9800, a device that marked a radical departure for the company as it dispensed with the traditional BlackBerry form factor and adopted the touchscreen/slide-out QWERTY keyboard approach. The change was worth it though, as the Torch was a resounding success. However, as with every handset, it did have its downsides.
A year on from the release of the original Torch and we aren’t that surprised to have its successor, the BlackBerry Torch 9810, in our possession. Apart from a new colour scheme though, it looks like the same device we first laid eyes on but 12 months ago, so what’s changed?
The Torch 9810 is the spitting image of its predecessor and has an almost identical build too. We must admit that it was a little disappointing to discover that the 9810 had inherited the dimensions of its older sibling, as we expected that it might have slimmed down from the portly 14.6mm thick frame sported by the original.
However, the chunkiness is understandable when you consider that there’s a slide-out QWERTY keyboard crammed in – we’ve learnt to accept that this will always bring out the brick in modern mobile phones. This aspect of the Torch 9810 isn’t likely to bother you if you’re primarily after a device with a sliding keyboard, and whilst the tactile input pad itself is well crafted with ridged keys offering precision, it’s noticeably less spacious than the Bold 9900’s offering.
As mentioned, the Torch 9810 has been given a slight makeover and now features brushed aluminium edges which give the device a sheen of quality. The 3.2-inch touchscreen has also undergone a major overhaul and has a higher resolution than the previous model at 480 x 640 pixels. What’s most impressive here though is the display’s count of 253DPI. It shows too as the screen is wonderfully bright and produces vivid, sharp images; a definite improvement on the Torch 9800.
Power and Operating System
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 runs RIM’s latest operating system, BlackBerry OS 7, which features a plethora of new features. The platform needs some serious power though and the Torch 9810 offers just that in the form of a 1.2GHz processor alongside 768MB of RAM. If you’re familiar with the original handset, then you’ll immediately notice that the 9810 is a lot faster.
It’s great to see RIM finally putting some decent processors into its devices; it certainly makes a world of difference when it comes to navigating the user interface. Transitions between apps and menus are smooth, mainly thanks to the Liquid Graphics technology on-board which facilitates seamless navigation.
The Torch 9810 comes with all the same OS 7 perks as the Bold 9900 including a voice-activated search tool, NFC support and BlackBerry Balance software which separates your work and personal content within the phone’s main menus.
Camera: The OS 7 improvements just keep on coming as the BlackBerry Torch 9810 also offers HD video recording at 720p. It inherits the 5 megapixel camera from its predecessor and an LED flash, so expect reasonable quality photos that are more than acceptable to post to your social networks. Unfortunately though, it’s almost impossible to focus when capturing video if you happen to be moving around.
Other tech specs:
- Music player – Supports MP3, WMA, WAV, eAAC+ files.
- Video player – Supports DivX, XviD, MP4, WMV, H.263 and H.264 files.
- 8GB internal storage
- microSD card slot that supports cards up to 32GB
- microUSB port
- A-GPS support
- Up to 6 hours 30 minutes talk time
RIM has really listened to its critics as the Torch 9810 improves upon the original in all the necessary places. If we had to be picky, it would have been great for the manufacturer to have slimmed down the chassis in keeping with the Bold 9900’s thinner frame, and Flash support in the browser wouldn’t have gone a miss either.
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 is only likely to build on the success of the handset that preceded it thanks to the new, performance-driven software platform. However, with many similarities to the Bold 9900 in terms of the features offered, it really does boil down to whether you want a device with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard or would rather take the more traditional BlackBerry route with the Bold 9900. Of course, the choice is yours, but if you do opt for the Torch 9810, it’s unlikely to be a decision you’ll regret.