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BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

When Research-in-Motion (makers of BlackBerry) tried making a touchscreen phone the first time with the BlackBerry Storm, it was plagued with lots of complaints from people. The OS was slow, the execution of the touchscreen was half hearted and the entire experience was crappy. Will their latest attempt with the touchscreen phone, the BB Torch 9800, be any better?

I’ll start off this review by admitting that I’m a touchscreen phone guy. I’ve been using touchscreen phones since Sony Ericsson P900. I’ve owned and used all iPhone models including the iPhone 4 now. I find the touchscreen UIs very natural to use regardless of the OS. The only problem that I encountered with touchscreen phones is the text input. If it’s good, then the entire experience will most probably be great for me too.

The flagship phone of BlackBerry feels like you’re holding a high end phone. It’s a bit heavy and the built is rock solid. The entire phone looks elegant and very modern. The metallic-painted bezel of the phone makes this baby a bit more luxurious. The rubbery back gives the user a good grip to the phone.

Did I say that this is a slider phone too? When you slide up the 3.2” capacitive touchscreen, you’ll be presented with almost identical keyboard as with the BlackBerry Bold. The sliding mechanism is awesome. It’s really snappy and you’d feel that this phone could last a million repetitive slides. On the screen, you’ll see the 4 regular BlackBerry buttons — the Call, BB Menu button, the back and drop call buttons. It also has the optical touchpad for navigation.

The screen of the phone is gorgeous. It’s as a good as the screen of the older iPhone models. It’s very bright and clear. It only has 480×360 screen resolution. The touchscreen is very responsive. It picks up the touch inputs really fast. The BlackBerry OS 6 does a better job at showing phone apps to its users. You can swipe up and down to show more of the apps and you can swipe to the left and right to go to your favorites and recently downloaded apps.

You can do the same thing with the optical touchpad. You can use the touchpad to better navigate the phone interface. You can actually use the entire phone like as if it’s not a touchscreen phone. The navigation is quite similar to a BlackBerry Bold if you’re just using the optical touchpad. My only problem with the touchscreen is you’d occasionally get stuttering when you try to scroll the screen using touch input.

The phone is equipped with a 5 megapixel camera and a bright flash at the back of the phone. The camera is not that great. Not crappy, just ok. The phone can shoot video really well. You can use the extra button on the right side of the phone as your camera button. Here’s a comparison of a similar picture taken by the 5 megapixel camera of the iPhone 4:

BlackBerry Torch

iPhone 4

What I really love with the phone is its multimedia capabilities and its browser. The 3.2” screen can play videos really nicely. MP3 playback is without any glitch. The phone may not be the best playing multimedia but it’s very very capable. You can store thousands of songs and hours of videos on its 8GB of internal memory.

The browser is like a heaven sent feature to the BlackBerry Torch. Finally, BlackBerry it’s using a webkit-based browser. It’s the same browser used by Android and the iPhone. You can pinch and zoom on the browser. It’s as good as Android’s mobile chrome browser. It’s really good. Adding and syncing multimedia files to the phone is as easy as drag and drop. The speaker is really loud and clear. I was able to watch an entire tv episode using the speakerphone. You can also connect a 3.5” audio jack to the right side of the phone.

With the Torch, you have 2 options with text input. You can use the oh so great classic BlackBerry keyboard or the onscreen keyboard when the slider is down. Nothing can be more said to the physical keyboard of the Torch except for it’s simply great. The onscreen keyboard is a different story. It’s mediocre at best. You’ll miss a lot of times because the letters are a bit smaller in size. I found some delays when you type fast on it. In spite of the not-so-great on-screen keyboard, this is the reason why this phone works for me. I get the benefits of using a big touchscreen and have an awesome text input with the physical keyboard. You’ll get the best of both worlds. I remember how I used to love my Sony Ericsson P990i. It has a physical keyboard and a big touchscreen.

The battery life of this phone is great. I can last an entire day which is normal for a touchscreen phone. But if you’re a heavy 3G user, this phone won’t last for more than 8 hours. Again, this is pretty normal for any 3G smartphone. I had a great experience making calls. It’s very clear.

One of the awesome new features of the phone is its universal search app/button. It finds stuff really fast. Another feature on this phone is the Social Feeds. It’s an app where you can connect all your social feeds like Facebook, Twitter, IM accounts and your BBM. My experience with the Social Feed is a mixed bag. If you’re the type of person that only consumes information, then this is the greatest thing on earth. You’ll get a single stream of information from different feeds.

But if you’re the kind of person who replies to entries or posts, then you won’t be using this feature. When you open a post and you plan to reply to it, the app will direct you the “real” app. So for example, you need to reply to one tweet, once you click the tweet from the stream, you’ll be directed the Twitter app and do your replies from there. It’s not really intuitive. The setting up of the email, wifi, twitter, Facebook accounts and IMs are a breeze. Never got a single issue. As usual, the BBM on this phone is great.

The handset has been selling for around Php28,000 to Php30,000 in the grey market although officially, you can get them straight from the carriers. Just remember that you also need BIS data connection to take advantage of all the features of the phone.

I really think this is the best BlackBerry phone has ever made. I really love this phone for the reasons that it has one of the best mobile phone keyboard on earth and it’s also a touchscreen phone. The keyboard doesn’t takes up the screen estate. If you’re a BlackBerry user, you’ll definitely love this phone. But if you don’t like bulky and heavy phone, this one is not for you. If you’re looking for a smartphone today, I can recommend getting this one. This can easily compete with the Androids and the iPhones.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 specifications:
3.2″ display @ 360×480 pixels
512MB RAM, 512MB ROM
4GB storage (up to 32GB via microSD, 4GB included)
3G @ 384Kbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1
5MP autofocus camera w/ LED flash + video
BlackBerry OS 6.0
GPS w/ a-GPS support
1300mAh Li-Ion battery

Editor’s Note: Dale is a reviews & special assignments contributor for YugaTech. The review had some minor revisions from me. You can follow him on Twitter @dalekins. – Yuga

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46 Responses

  1. Neil says:

    First again.. :D

  2. Neil says:

    By the way, it looks like the Dell Venue Pro.. But much bigger..

  3. chl says:

    Now if only someone build an Android version of this..

  4. Saimon Apor says:

    I’m drooling over this smartphone! :D If only I have the budget to swap it to my Bold 9700, I won’t hesitate to! :D It’s so awesome!

  5. Blackberry. No thank you.

  6. Whatif says:

    hmmm… bat parang wala ako makita na negative(cons) sa review? :) parang luto yung review hehehe *peace*

  7. allan says:

    down side is you need BB data plan / BIS for this or any BB phone to maximize it’s features. sayang naman, coz most of the time nasa wi-fi hotspot ako. but if i have the extra money for the monthly BIS registration, this is definitely the phone for me.

  8. Peejay says:

    Nice feature but i ‘ll go for sony ericsson brand.

  9. Peejay says:

    Android phone is much better.

  10. ebengtot says:

    I was working as a customer service representative for A****N.co.uk and I encountered a lot of concerns regarding with the problem on that particular device. A lot of customers are asking for a replacement and even a refund because they don’t want to encounter the same defect again.

  11. Yuya says:

    Yellow tint, iphone shot.

  12. Jacen29 says:

    Still sticking with my Iphone4…

  13. NemOry says:

    ang ganda nito, gusto ko mkahawak nito. .haha. . .yung BB Storm nga parang lagger. .yung ito sana hindi na.hehe

  14. Samahan ng Malamig ang Pasko! says:

    Blackberry’s OS is already a “Dinosaur OS”!
    That’s the reason why i hate blackberry! They’re still using the same old OS in their new phones.

  15. Samahan ng Malamig ang Pasko! says:

    …Though the design and build quality of this smartphone is more than pleasing

  16. Ralph's Dentist Reviews says:

    Hinde ba madaling masira ang mga slide up

  17. Ralph says:

    sir ask lang po kung hinde ba madaling masira yung mga slide up tulad nito.

  18. rob says:

    any idea on the release date of the bb9800? and which carrier?

  19. Boo says:

    Must be a ten year old girl to be giggling at the thought of being the first to comment.. Sheesh!

  20. Manny says:

    Fail article didn’t even mention processor speed.

  21. nge says:

    mediocre in all aspect. pass ako.

  22. Kobe-air says:

    Nice build.

  23. Harley says:

    i would love to have this phone but when i was talking to someone in BBM who is a chef and used most blackberry models, he told me that his has alot of bugs and is selling it this week in gh for only 18k after a few months of use.

    i hope that the ones from our telcos that they would release wouldn’t encounter the same problem. I am getting to love blackberry alot just except for the battery. well, any phone with me drains fast! i tend to tweak it every now and then…

    thanks sir abe for the great review!

  24. tolome says:

    problem with blackberry is you can’t use the full potential of the phone if you haven’t install their Enterprise Server application on your desktop server if you have one. another problem is, as we all know we don’t all have desktop server for us to install their enterprise server app

  25. David Miguel says:

    We are offering the Blackberry Torch 9800 for as low as $400US. Interested buyers should contact us on: [email protected]


  26. al says:

    is this a sponsored article?i wonder how much you got for this post.haha..this review looks bias
    dont get me wrong im a blackberry fan and been using it as my primary phone

    stop calling blackberry os dinasour unless u hav fully experienced one(with os6 please) im using a 9700 with os6.0.0.418 and its super snappy. browser is mediocre but battery life is superb. blackberry is a more of a messaging phone than a multimedia.

  27. booguy says:

    any comment po samsung B7722, feel ko buy next fouthnight. yan lang po kaya ko. :)

  28. clyde says:

    its a good phone nontheless… just good, not earth-shattering awesome… the keys are of the blackberry standard but a bit cramped and flatter than most bb handsets… slide mechanism is fantastic… screen is ok but is edged out with the newer hi-res screens like iphone4’s retina display… this is a good phone for existing bb users who want to upgrade… if you are a multimedia junkee, then look elsewhere, there’s a lot of offerings far better than this…

  29. MarCee says:

    Without sounding bias and all, for I am not an iPhone fan myself, but BB Torch is a great phone.. I love this phone so much.. Have been using this for a while and I am glad to say, the phone never fails me. I haven’t got any negative experiences nor complaints, so I guess, I can recommend BB Torch to you guys…

    Cheers.. :)

  30. David Miguel says:

    We are offering the Blackberry Torch 9800 both Black.White & Red colours in stock for sale.wholesale and Retail order available.

    Interested buyers should contact us on: [email protected]

  31. ang ganda nito, gusto ko mkahawak nito. .haha. . .yung BB Storm nga parang lagger. .yung ito sana hindi na.hehe

  32. J_lee says:

    hi… i have a bb bold 9700 and i wana trade in for bb torch 9800 sana. anyone knows where can i avail this? or is it possible? and how much will i need to cash out pa. my 9700 is 3 mos old and looks new pa…

    or if fresh unit, saan makaka bili ng torch na mura? i want the white version sana….

    pls help me guys. thanks! Godbless!

  33. joel says:

    magkano po ba ngayon yan????
    gusto ko po sanang bumili eh!!!!

  34. joel says:

    san po ba makakakita ng ganyan???

  35. chippoy says:

    I love my BB bold 9700 with OS6. Don’t expect blackberry to have a super AMOLED screen cause its not how they play. Organizing and texting is awesome. It’s a league on their own. Im dying to get this phone. Argg

  36. Sainz says:


    Is the BB torch a good phone? The reviews are confusing. How does it fare with the Samsung Galaxy S?

  37. Obed Cutaran says:

    I have a Red Torch from AT&T, all I can say is, it’s much easier to navigate Torch that any blackberry device, though sometimes I still use the track pad, but most of the time I use the screen to navigate.

    Keyboard at first is a bit small you can tell the difference, since I’m use to text with my 9700, but after 2 days of emailing and texting, I got used to it.

    If you have a huge thumb might as well try texting some phrases before buying the phone.

    Speed, way better than 9700, but of course don’t expect this one to be near Iphone capacitive screen or speed.

    Battery life for average user like, texting, emailing and chatting will give you enough juice until the next day afternoon, but if you’re like me that uses the phone to lots of tweet, texting, lots of lots of email, GPS, foursquare, voice dictation, internet browsing, facebook, probably you need an extra spare of battery since it only last for about 15 hours.

    Errr… what else can I say, network is great, again this is AT&T unlocked phone using Globe BIS service, um.. internet browsing is great but not like HTC HD7 or iPhones mobile browsing experienced which is super superb.

  38. Gabbie says:

    How come there’s no “Torch” written on the back?

  39. i already have.. super ganda nya..
    thanks! to my loving husband.. especially to GOD…

  40. i already have
    thanks! to my loving husband.. especially to GOD

  41. mon says:

    ganda nga,.. kaso wala pang budget tagal ng bonus hehe

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