We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900;UMTS 2100), internationally quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) BlackBerry Torch 9850 in San Francisco using Verizon's network. We enjoyed clear call quality on our end, though we did encounter a tiny bit of static occasionally. Otherwise, callers had plenty of volume and sounded quite natural.
Callers reported similar call quality, though they did say our voice quality was not quite as natural and rich as that of a regular landline call. They could still tell we were on a cell phone due to slight distortions. On the whole, call quality was quite impressive. Speakerphone calls sounded good too, though it did have heavy echo effect at times.
RIM BlackBerry Torch 9850 (Verizon Wireless) call quality sample
The Torch 9850's battery has a rated talk time of up to 6.8 hours and a rated standby time of up to 13.4 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the Torch 9850 has a digital SAR of 0.9 watt per kilogram.
RIM finally made a full touch-screen phone that works. It makes for a great midrange handset with good multimedia features and performance. We welcome the speedy boost that the new processor provides as well as the new camera and browser technologies. Yet, it doesn't quite compete with the big leagues with its lack of a front-facing camera, no 4G support, and no dual-core processor. That's forgivable since this is a midrange device, but Verizon has priced this phone as if it were a premium product at $199.99 with a two-year contract. We do think the BlackBerry Torch 9850 represents one of RIM's better efforts to capture the non-RIM crowd, but we feel it needs to be more aggressive with pricing to really do so.