Review: The RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800

A few weeks back, the good folks at AT&T provided me with a BlackBerry Torch 9800 to review and use during a recent trip to Argentina for the TOMS One Millionth Shoe Drop.*

For CrackBerry addicts, we already know that synchronized e-mail, contacts, and calendars are non-negotiable features to have – and BlackBerry does it the best. The Torch is a welcome upgrade to the indispensable and utilitarian device we’ve come to know, love, and relentlessly depend on.

As someone constantly on the go, I need a smartphone that brings up phone numbers, directions,  e-mails and contacts all within a few simple keystrokes. I also like to capture experiences via photos and video, posting tidbits on the fly.  Also important is to be in-communicato with friends at all times via text, IM, Twitter, or BBM. Fully-loaded and running on the new BlackBerry 6 OS, the Torch provides a plethora of options for doing all of the above.

A user can navigate using either the trackpad or the touch screen with on-screen keyboard. If the on-screen keyboard doesn’t cut it, you can shift to the full QWERTY slide-out keyboard to craft your message. The 3.2″ HVGA + 480×360 pixel color display goes from portrait to landscape mode in an instant.

I was impressed by how well the phone handles multimedia. The Torch comes with 8GB of internal storage (expandable up to 32 GB) and a 5-megapixel cam with flash and auto-focus. It also records video, and handles both video and audio playback seamlessly.

The social media features could be better. A “social feed” gives us access to both Twitter and Facebook and most of the time, I prefer to manage each account separately. However, I love the activity feed on the main menu that pulls in missed calls, calendar events, Twitter notifications and…birthdays (via Facebook)!   The browser upgrade is also quite welcome, allowing me to tab various sites reaching them quickly and easily.

The Torch makes sense in the evolution of the BlackBerry family. I’m happy to see the much-loved smartphone receive a smart update.

In a Nutshell:

Upsides- Intuitive Interface + Navigation. Sleek design. Innovative notifications. Handles multimedia well.

Downsides- A little on the heavy side. Social media integration could be better.

More:

BlackBerry Torch

Related:

RIM Unveils the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

*Sponsored by AT&T and Gowalla.
For my coverage of the event: http://toms1m.wordpress.com

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