BlackBerry Torch 9800 review: BlackBerry Torch 9800

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The RIM BlackBerry Torch combines both a touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry OS 6 brings such improvements as a better user interface, universal search, and an improved browser and multimedia experience.

The Bad The smartphone can be sluggish. The Torch has a lower-resolution screen. Applications can be saved only to the phone's main memory. Camera shoots only VGA video.

The Bottom Line Though performance could be better and it could stand for some hardware upgrades, the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 and BlackBerry OS 6 offer much-needed improvements to stay in step with the competition, and keep BlackBerry enthusiasts happy.

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Editors' note: We have adjusted the ratings since our original publish date to reflect new devices that have entered the market.

Though BlackBerrys continue to be extremely popular, it's no secret that RIM needed to step up its game and really work on improving and advancing its operating system. Over the past few months, the company has given us previews of a refreshed OS, but now, we've finally had a chance to put it to the test.

The RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the first device to ship running BlackBerry OS 6 and will be available starting August 12 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. We actually got the smartphone a few days before the official unveiling to put it through its paces, and we found a lot to like about it. The slider phone--a first for RIM--brings together a touch screen and a physical keyboard into a solid, compact design. The new OS brings some much-needed and welcome additions, including a better browser, an enhanced multimedia experience, and improved user interface. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, none of this is new but at least it puts RIM back on track. It's just unfortunate that RIM didn't upgrade other parts of the phone, such as the display and processor, as the Torch doesn't quite stack up to some of the latest smartphones. Still, there's enough there to keep BlackBerry fans happy.

Design
The BlackBerry Torch marks new territory for RIM. It's the company's first slider phone and isn't meant to be a one-off design, but rather, the start of a new series. RIM and AT&T actually began work on the device about a year and a half ago, and when creating the phone part of the goal was to offer a design that not only combined the best of all worlds--touch screen, full keyboard, and track pad--but also a familiar experience to previous and current BlackBerry users. For the most part, we think RIM was successful in doing so.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug. 12, 2010
  • Talk Time Up to 330 min (GSM)
    Up to 348 min (UMTS)
  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player
  • Service Provider AT&T
  • Weight 5.68 oz
  • Diagonal Size 3.2 in
  • Sensor Resolution 5 pixels