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BlackBerry Torch 9810 hands-on (photos)

The successor to the BlackBerry Torch is on the horizon. Is the BlackBerry Torch 9810 worth it? See what's new here.

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Bonnie Cha
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BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 is expected to be available from AT&T in August. Though it looks very much like the original Torch, the smartphone does offer some improvements underneath the hood like a faster 1.2GHz processor, BlackBerry OS 7, and support for AT&T's HSPA+ network. Pricing was not announced at this time.
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Keyboard and display

The Torch 9810's QWERTY keyboard is slightly wider than the original Torch. Generally speaking, it's pretty easy to use, but those with larger thumbs might need to make some adjustments. The 3.2-inch touch screen is quite nice. RIM did not disclose the exact resolution, but it looks to be an improvement over its predecessor.
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Left side

On the left spine, you'll find a Micro-USB port.
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Right side

Meanwhile, the right spine features a volume rocker and a camera key.
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Slider

The BlackBerry Torch 9810's slider mechanism is smooth, and the screen locks securely into place when open. The phone doesn't feel too top-heavy either when open.
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Camera

The smartphone is equipped with a 5-megapixel camera and flash and can capture 720p HD video. The textured surface on back prevents the phone from feeling too slick when held in the hand.
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Browser

With BlackBerry OS 7, RIM claims that the browser is now 40 percent faster than BlackBerry OS 6 and 100 percent faster than BlackBerry OS 5. There were network connectivity issues during the event, so we didn't experience the fastest data speeds. That said, we did notice that pages loaded faster and general navigation was smoother, which is encouraging.
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Wikitude

Wikitude is a augmented reality app that comes preloaded on the new BlackBerrys. It uses the phone's magnetic compass and works with other apps, including BBM, to give you information about your surroundings, alert you to friends nearby, and more. (See next photo for an example.)
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BBM + augmented reality

Here's an example of using Wikitude and augmented reality to see which of your BBM friends are nearby. The little icons onscreen indicate your buddies and if a contact has a personal avatar, it will also appear on the display.

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