Research In Motion has taken the Blackberry Torch back to its roots but, the firm has thrown so many phones at the wall in the hope couple will stick, is there any chance the Torch 9810 was given the due attention it deserves?
RIM might be in the doldrums at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped the Canadian firm spitting out new handsets like an errant Catherine Wheel - and the BlackBerry Torch 9810 is one of the big hitters of the new range. Packing the now-familiar touchscreen/slide-out keyboard combination and the latest BlackBerry 7 OS, is this going to be a hit or a miss for the under-fire brand?
BlackBerry Torch 9810: Screen
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 finally features a screen that makes it a ‘proper’ leading smartphone, with an upgrade to WVGA (800x480) pixels over the low-res mess of the original.
The screen looks vivid and colourful thanks to being slightly smaller (and therefore sharper resolution) although many will probably find it too small for watching movies or browsing the internet regularly.
Reaction is slow on occasion too - we found tapping a link or swiping across didn’t always register straight away in the same manner as an iPhone or top-end Android device. We’re still bigger fans of this than the clickable display of the Storm series, but it’s nowhere near a market leading screen.
BlackBerry Torch 9810: Camera
The camera on BlackBerry phones hasn’t always enjoyed the best reputation, with some substandard performances in the past.
Thankfully things have been improved somewhat with more recent handsets, and we’re impressed once again with the snaps we could take with the new Torch 9810.
That’s partly down to the quick auto focus on offer - we went from blurry fuzz to a top pic in under a second in most situations, and having the dedicated camera key certainly helps a bundle.
Plus while the LED flash on the phone might be all on its own, but its certainly bright enough to illuminate even the darkest of scenes - plus acts a video light too (although it’s a ridiculous faff to try and turn it on).
The HD video footage wasn’t quite as good though, with the resulting 720p HD footage looking slightly grainy and washed out and nowhere near the slick 1080p footage we’ve seen from cheaper phones.
BlackBerry Torch 9810: Interface
It feels like a bit of a swindle for RIM to claim that the new BlackBerry operating system is actually a new OS - it’s more of a little evolution than a whole step-change.
This means if you’ve used any of the phones released in the last year on BB OS 6, you’re going to wonder what’s different here - although being able to specify which drawers are displayed on the home screen is a nice touch and removes a real irritation from the first Torch.
The response under the finger is speedy enough though, thanks to the boost to a 1.2GHz processor (although still not dual core) - while there were times when we noticed something of a lag when doing things like uninstalling applications or downloading files from the internet, the spinning clock that’s irritated countless BlackBerry users over the years has all but disappeared.
BlackBerry Torch 9810: Battery
Here’s something we’re not really used to - the battery power of the Torch 9810 isn’t actually too good, lasting not much more than a day under normal use.
It’s also pretty easy to drain the power pack if you spend the day fiddling with the phone - constant internet use or downloading new applications will see the presence of the red battery warning icon sooner than you’d like.
BlackBerry Torch 9810: Verdict
We were amazed when the Torch 9810 was unveiled by RIM, as it’s pretty much the same version of the phone we saw last year with a few tweaks.
The enhanced processor and improved screen resolution are the most welcome of these though, making internet browsing and general operation much more like other leading smartphones.
The camera is adequate without being stunning - and that’s the general feeling of the whole phone when it comes to the Torch 9810. It’s a decent enough smartphone, but lags behind the pack when it comes to an internet browser and the chassis design.
RIM needs a BlackBerry that’s among the fastest on the market with the style to match - and this phone really isn’t it.
BlackBerry Torch 9810 availability: Out now
BlackBerry Torch 9810 price: Price £460, £35 per month