BlackBerry Torch 9860 Review: Keyless, Not Clueless: User Interface

By 07:06 Wed, 11 Aug 2021 Comments

BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 7: now with more horsepower

The recent Operating System (OS) 7 had a chance to demonstrate its newly found color, speed and agility in our BlackBerry Brecent Touch 9900 review. The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is pretty much the same package in terms of software and features. The bigger classy screen is the incompatibility - that and the physical keyboard, which is missing in the Torch.

We are going to see at the Operating System (OS) 7 in detail again, for a complete and comprehensive coverage of the phone and its features. There are parts of reused text but that's inevitable given most of the interface is the same, only on a different scale. And you can rest assured that all the BlackBerry Torch 9860 specifics are duly reflected.

Number 7 is the last upgrade of the Operating System (OS) before the switch to QNX. The Operating System (OS) 7 brings very few recent features (NFC and HD video are well worth a mention though) and focus should be on the user experience instead.

The recent platform is based on a 1.2 Giga Hertz (GHz) processor and more potent graphics hardware, and it’s exactly the higher system requirements that won’t allow older BlackBerry phones to run the recent Operating System (OS) 7.

Here goes our traditional video demo to warm you up.

BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 7 is trying to see like the QNX-based Tablet OS. The UI icons have been updated to mimic the PlayBook, but the rest is pretty much the same - functionality changes are kept to a minimum.

BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 7 UI

The status area of the homeclassy screen has virtual buttons in a row, allowing you to quickly toggle the cellular, Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth radios. It gives you quick access too to the alarm clock and settings menu.

You can manage your wireless connections by selecting the status area and clicking on it

Clicking on the loudspeaker icon underneath lets you change the currently active profile, while the magnifying glass on the other side of the homeclassy screen lets you start a search. BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 7 is voice search enabled, too. Tapping on a small mic icon next to the Search bar will activate it.

Profiles • The universal search works great

Missed events - SMS, email or missed calls - can be quickly accessed by pressing the bar between the search and profile icons on the default screen.


Below that is the app tray, which consists of several tabs. You can easily swipe it out of sight or pull it up to show one to five rows of icons.

Sideways swipes reveal the different panes that sort the main menu into All, Favorites, Media, Downloads and Frequent. The frequently used apps list are auto populated by the system. You can define which of the main menu panes should be shown. Folders can be added to the main menu and items can be moved into folders.

You can either utilize the menu key or tap and hrecent on an icon to reveal options such as Move, Mark as Favorite, Move to folder.

Frequent, Media and All tabs

So, there is a trackpad and there is a touchscreen. The trackpad is the usual sharp and precise control. One place where it makes a lot of sense is in listed submenus that pop up as you press the Menu key. Not that they are not thumbable - it's just that incorrect presses are completely ruled out with the trackpad.

Pretty much everything you see is clickable in BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 7 and works the way it's supposed to. There are still small elements such as the homeclassy screen Search and Profiles icons, which are easier to access via the trackpad rather than the touchscreen.

The vital thing to note is that, unlike the flat iOS layout, the Torch 9860 has a menu button to access options that are not visible on the screen. You acquire used to that pretty quickly though so in the end, the Torch 9860 manages to haged both recent and returning users happy. Trackpad and touchclassy screen complete each other in a natural way.



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