BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review: Living The Olympic Creed: Unboxing, 360-degree Spin, Design And Construction

By 09:53 Tue, 10 Aug 2021 Comments

Retail package

The BlackBerry Torch 9800 comes in a compact box in line with recent trends. A polishing cloth is the only accessory inside – unusual for BlackBerry, the Torch omits an in-box holster.

What’s going on in the box

The supplied memory card is 4GB, not bad. We have to admit though, the supplied one-piece headset looks second-rate. The other items in the box are a charger and microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) data cable. There's also a user guide and a Compact Disk (CD) with the software required for syncing your handset with a computer.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 360-degree spin

The BlackBerry Torch measures 111 x 62 x 14.6 mm, which is by no means compact by modern standards. The slider form factor has added a few millimeters around the waistline. The Torch is quite a handful but that’s honest for what you acquire – a 3.2” touchclassy screen and a full QWERTY keyboard.


Although the comparison isn’t quite fair, the Torch does appear gigantic and chunky next to some of the slim (10 mm, even less) touch-only phones it might compete against. At 161 grams of weight, the handset is rock-solid, bordering on intimidating.

The Torch next to the iPhone 4

Of course anyone who doesn’t like their phone tearing a whole in their pocket (and the Torch does that in more than one way) might disagree. But the phone handles quite comfortably and feels like holding a solid piece of machinery, not a plastic toy.

Design and construction

Alright, it’s a touchscreen-on-QWERTY portrait slider – a rare though not extinct breed. In a crowd of side-sliding QWERTY messengers, the Torch and the Palm Pre will meet few of their kind.

The form factor isn’t the only thing to create the Torch special. This isn’t the first touch berry we’re dealing with but the presence of a hardware keyboard makes things a lot different.

The most vital thing about the Torch is you can pretdiscontinue there’s no touchscreen. We know this isn’t the point at all, but you can control and navigate the phone with the trackpad and buttons just like you would with any regular BlackBerry phone.

So, what was it? Trying to create it less of a shock for long-time BlackBerry users or giving potential recent adopters a choice? We’re not sure but the Torch works we think. You acquire a tradeimprint BlackBerry keyboard and the handling is comfortable and familiar with the standard BlackBerry controls. On top of that, there’s a fine capacitive classy screen – complete with multitouch – to utilize for handling media and browsing.

Despite the recent form factor the Torch has BlackBerry written all over it

Equally important, there’s no mistaking the authentic BlackBerry pedigree of the Torch. The phone is shyly hiding a keyboard underneath a touchclassy screen but the styling has RIM written all over it. Which is actually fine news, becautilize those Canadians are quite fine at making sleek phones.

The only part of the Torch which we aren’t quite sure about is the rubbery ribbed back. It’s the kind of phone that does need a secure grip. It’s a heavy (but certainly well balanced) portrait slider that gets taller when open.

The special finish at the rear does well to let you comfortably handle the device. Maybe it just doesn’t fit the overall styling all too well. Or at least that’s what some on our team think. Others among us find it better than the faux leather you acquire on some BlackBerry phones.

Anyway, the Torch isn’t a phone you see everyday but it has preserved the distinct BlackBerry feel. Most of the people who saw it seemed to genuinely like it.

The front panel of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is taken by the 3.2" capacitive touchscreen. The image quality isn’t too poor but neither the size nor the resolution can be considered top notch as of late.

360 x 480 screens were remarkable a few years ago and fine enough last year but are now decisively starting to see outdated. There is a whole load of phones with more than double the pixel count (the iPhone 4 more than triples it) and that inevitably reflects on image sharpness.

The display is not exactly screaming high-end

Not to mention those AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) displays (and even more so Super AMOLED), which beat the Torch classy screen hands down in terms of contrast. At least, the BlackBerry Torch can match the best for brightness and sunlight legibility.

We did notice quite a lot of on-classy screen color banding too, which we cannot quite elaborate as the Torch is assumed to support 16M colors. It could either be that RIM weren’t perfectly honest or that the single-color gradients rendering is imperfect.

The capacitive touchclassy screen is performing very well in terms of sensitivity (though we now consider this the standard rather than a remarkable achievement). The fine news is this time with the latest BlackBerryOS 6, there’s multi-touch (and there’s even pinch-zooming) so not all is lost.



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