I would not call RIM’s decision to leave the physical QWERTY keyboard out of the design of the BlackBerry Torch 9850 a bad idea. It’s a serviceable device and the touch controls are relatively well implemented in the new BlackBerry OS 7 interface. Plus, there’s still the good old trackpad for some of the more precise on-screen selections that sometimes prove difficult to hit with your fingers.
But without the typical excellent BlackBerry keyboard, what we’re left with is a decidedly average piece of hardware. Although this is a huge departure for BlackBerrys, the Torch 9850 falls into line with just about every other smartphone on the market that has a touchscreen-only design.
So with unexceptional hardware, our attention turns to the software and the thing is… there’s nothing special about the operating system, which is has proven to only be a modest upgrade at the very best. Therefore, there isn’t too much that sets the Torch 9850 apart from other smartphones that sport better operating systems and better software. I mean, if you’re already a fan of the BlackBerry OS in general then you’ll probably be satisfied since there aren’t that many changes. But if you’re looking for vast improvements and changes, they won’t be found here.
That’s not to say that this is a useless device. Per the BlackBerry standard, it still has excellent email and communication capabilities, and some aspects of the new OS 7 interface are a step up from OS 6 and previous iterations. But I said this about the Bold 9930 and I’ll say it about every other BlackBerry OS 7 device: you’re better off waiting until RIM’s QNX OS-based BlackBerrys hit the market. Then, I suspect, you’ll be in for something new and different.
- Excellent messaging capabilities
- Crystal-clear voice calls
- On-screen keyboard easy to use
- Design not graceful
- Medocre performance at best
A generally serviceable device, and the touch controls are relatively well implemented in the new BlackBerry OS 7 interface, but there’s no stand-out features.