A good, mould-breaking BlackBerry that's great for business and pleasure
BlackBerry OS 7.0, 3.7in 480×800 display
The BlackBerry Torch 9860 eschews the QWERTY keypad of previous BlackBerry generations. Instead, it has a 3.7in touchscreen placed above a set of push buttons and an optical trackpad. It’s unclear if the move to a touchscreen is meant to attract new customers or move loyal customers over to touchscreens.
One thing’s for certain: it’s great if you’re a media buff with a love of the BlackBerry OS. Its 3.7in screen is great for viewing YouTube clips. Traditional BlackBerry users may mourn the loss of the keyboard, especially when trying to type in portrait orientation, because it resulted in more typos than we made using other virtual keyboards. You should, however, have no problem typing in landscape mode. The screen itself is bright, colourful and responsive to your gestures. Text looks great and is even legible when rendered in a small point size.
The installed operating system is BlackBerry OS 7, which is a decent alternative to Android and iOS, although its list-driven menus do have something of the Windows 3.1 operating system about them, giving it a less sophisticated look and feel than other mobile OSs. In keeping with modern demands, the lists are kept to a minimum and its home screen is full of icons that can be activated by pressing them. The Torch 9860’s OS feels fast and animation is smooth and fluid, although we sometimes had tremendous difficulty trying to make it change orientation, which ruined web browsing.
Its browser is fairly responsive but basic, and the Torch 9860 rendered the BBC News home page in 15 seconds, which is similar to budget Android devices.
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The Torch 9860’s 5-megapixel camera takes crisp images and you can choose between 10 different scene modes. It also has a good flash, which is great for taking Facebook shots on a night out. You can also record HD videos at a resolution of 720×1,280. The Torch 9860’s camera offers great versatility, but its not up to the standard of better Android devices, such as the HTC One S.
It has a decent selection of apps, but they’re mostly geared towards business users looking for productivity support. We had no trouble opening and editing Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, even the latest 2010 file versions, with Documents To Go, and the app was quick and responsive. If we wanted a phone to support our business activities we’d certainly go for a BlackBerry. It also comes with music and video players, so you can support your on-the-move business activities with a selection of killer beats.
We stored our media and test files on the Torch 9860’s built-in 4GB of storage space, although the total free storage space for applications is 173MB and the free storage for files is 2.5GB. You can, however increase the Torch 9860’s storage space with an SD card, up to 32GB.
It’s an older phone, but we really like the Torch 9860. If you’re a fan of BlackBerry OS but have always wanted a touchscreen, this is the smartphone for you.
|Main display size||3.7in|
|CCD effective megapixels||5-megapixel|
|Memory card support||micro SD|
|Memory card included||4096MB|
|Operating frequencies||GSM 900/1800/1900, 3G 2100|
|Wireless data||GPRS, EDGE, 3G|
|Operating system||BlackBerry OS 7.0|
|Microsoft Office compatibility||Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers|
|Accessories||Stereo earphones, USB lead, Plug|
|Talk time||6 hours|
|Standby time||12 days|
|Price on contract||0|