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BlackBerry Torch 9860

  • First full-featured BlackBerry touchscreen only handset
  • Fast and reliable
  • Sturdy BlackBerry design
Written by Adam Wajnberg
29/12/2011

The BlackBerry Torch line is BlackBerry’s proving ground, where the company can test out new hardware specifications that cater to the tech-hungry business user. The new Torch 9860 is not the first BlackBerry to offer a touch screen, but it is the first major, full-fledged BlackBerry that abandons a hardware QWERTY keyboard altogether. The Torch 9860 will sit alongside the latest offerings from Samsung, Motorola, HTC and LG, not to mention Apple, and seek to offer something a little different, while looking very much the same.

In truth, BlackBerry’s competition here is the iPhone. The other manufacturers are using the open and free Android operating system with their own little tweaks, which can produce mixed results (and by ‘mixed’ we mean ‘bad’). Like the iPhone, the Torch 9860 will be running its own proprietary operating system (BlackBerry OS7) and the phone has been specially designed to play nice with that operating system, rather than just packed with enough power to cover up any faults. BlackBerry also has the type of name recognition that the iPhone has, with its own cadre of loyalist fans.

True to its brand, the 9860 offers entry-level cameras and add-ons as an afterthought, and the main focus is on business applications, durability, security and reliability. On that front, the 9860 is a winner. Zippy performance, ultra fast start-up from power off, great battery performance and rock-solid email distinguish the 9860 from Android rivals. Native Microsoft Office editors and an SD card input help distinguish it from the minimalist iPhone.

The 9860 also comes in at a more market-friendly price, helping BlackBerry shake its image as a stuffy business-only company. For the regular consumer who wants to take advantage of BlackBerry’s strengths, while still wanting some fun and affordability, the Torch 9860 represents a rock-solid option. It’s not BlackBerry’s flagship – the QWERTY keyboard Bold 9900 has that distinction – but it just might represent its future.

PROS
Highly secure email and powerful BlackBerry Messaging (BBM)
Sturdy design
Fast performance

CONS
Very limited options for 3rd party apps compared to iOS, Android and even Windows Mobile
Light specs, making the phone prone to obsolescence
No video calls or front-facing camera

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