BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review: Hot Hardware but Software Lukewarm

CIO.com's BlackBerry Black Belt Al Sacco reviews the BlackBerry Torch 9800, RIM's first BlackBerry smartphone with both a touch-screen and traditional, full QWERTY BlackBerry keyboard. Verdict: The slider hardware is sure to impress, while the software may actually depress BlackBerry enthusiasts. Here's why.

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Tue, August 17, 2010

CIO — The word "BlackBerry" used to bring to mind mostly images of bulky, brick-like handhelds and busy executives in tailored suits. Today, BlackBerry smartphones are all over the place, in the hands of teenagers, parents, businessmen and everyone in between. And they come in all shapes and sizes.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 Slider
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 Slider (Image Credit: Brian Sacco)

BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion's (RIM) (RIM) latest creation, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, sports an entirely new form factor for the company: It's the first BlackBerry "slider" device with both a touch display for on-screen navigation and typing, as well as a full QWERTY BlackBerry keyboard/optical trackpad . And it's meant to bridge the gap between people who value messaging over multimedia, which comprise the bulk RIM's user base today, and those who prefer a first-rate multimedia experience.

In contrast to some of the initial Torch reviews already out, this evaluation delves deeper. I dedicated more than a week to really use the Torch, completely customize it, and thoroughly test its performance under the daily rigors of a BlackBerry "Power User."

The additional time to review made a definite difference. My impression of the device changed entirely after only a couple of days with the Torch and after I added my various enterprise- and Web-mail accounts, downloaded a handful of apps and tweaked my settings, etc.


BlackBerry Torch 9800 Rear Side, Open
BlackBerry Torch 9800 Rear Side, Open (Image Credit: Brian Sacco)

Overall, I've really come to appreciate the BlackBerry Torch 9800 hardware. But unfortunately, the software, RIM's brand new mobile OS, BlackBerry 6, leaves something to be desired, to say the least, despite a number of valuable enhancements and feature-additions.

Keep moving for specifics. And check out my BlackBerry Torch unboxing video and my pre-review post, "BlackBerry Torch 9800: 10 Things You Didn't Know About RIM's New Slider."


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