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BlackBerry Torch: hands on

The BlackBerry Torch has been out in the US for a couple of months now, but this didn't stop us snapping up the chance to take a photo or two during DevCon last week.

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Joseph Hanlon
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
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Touch 'n' type

We know, we know, the BlackBerry Torch has been out in the US for a couple of months now, but this didn't stop us snapping up the chance to take a photo or two during DevCon last week.

The Torch is, of course, the first BlackBerry to include both touchscreen input and a QWERTY keyboard, and we were quite surprised to see how responsive the screen is. Uniquely, the touchscreen has sensitivity settings, allowing you to change how easy it is to make on-screen selections.

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Textaholic

Luckily, the Torch keyboard is only slightly smaller than the keyboard you get on the Bold 9700. RIM has also designed the slide position well, giving you a nice buffer between screen and keys, making it easy to reach the top row of the pad.

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Curvier

Just like we saw recently on the Curve 3G, the external controls on the Torch are like raised rubber nibs, rather than separate keys.

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Sharp shooter

The Torch ships with a 5-megapixel camera paired with an LED flash. In this photo you can also see the position of the 3.5mm headphone socket.

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A game of quarters

The home screen of the OS 6-packing Torch is split into invisible quarters, with the top segment dedicated to the information panel. The lower three quarters are customisable; either you can just display a wallpaper, or you can drag up the shortcuts to reveal one, two or three rows of quick links to your favourite apps.

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Fresh paint

This is the BlackBerry OS 6 menu screen, complete with newly designed icons for your favourite apps.

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Do you come here often?

OS 6 brings new menu filters to simplify your growing list of apps. You swipe left or right at the top of the menu (where it says Frequent in this image) to go from All, to Favourites, to Frequently used apps, to Media apps only, and so on. This is a nice, easy way to clean up your cluttered apps drawer.

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Around the world in a matter of seconds

In an effort to catch up to some of the innovations introduced by its competition, RIM has included a universal search feature in OS 6. You can start typing from the home screen to scour your phone's contents and the worldwide wonderful web almost simultaneously.

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An artful gallery

The new-look gallery makes the most of the Torch's touchscreen.

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Have you had work done?

The famous BlackBerry messaging window is one of the key areas of the phone to get a facelift. The messaging client is cleaner looking than previous versions, and the larger fragments are finger-friendly for touchscreen devices.

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Breathe!

Y'all can relax, BrickBreaker is included in OS 6.

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