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RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

BlackBerry Torch 9800

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Camera:

From a quick glance, we easily noticed that RIM didn't do too much renovating with the camera interface on the Torch 9800 – especially when it mirrors the one on the Storm2. Images produced by the 5-megapixel shooter were slightly above average and could have been even better if it weren't for the overcast looking tones it produced. Although it was able to meticulously capture some detail in our shots, they all looked darker – even when lighting provided the most optimal conditions. The LED flash is a nice amenity on the handset which particularly did a good job in illuminating shots taken in low light, however, it tended to produce a bit over-exposed images taken in complete darkness. Unfortunately it cannot handle closeup or macro images since the camera failed to focus in on an object that's close. In the end, the decent looking images captured on the Torch should be more than satisfying for the quick point and shooters out there.

Camera interface - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Camera interface - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Camera interface - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Outdoor samples shot with the RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

Strong - Indoor samples - Darkness with flash - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Medium - Indoor samples - Darkness with flash - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Low light - Indoor samples - Darkness with flash - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

Strong

Medium

Low light

Indoor samples

3ft. - Darkness with flash - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
5ft. - Darkness with flash - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
7ft. - Darkness with flash - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

3ft.

5ft.

7ft.


When 720p video recording is fast becoming the standard of most premier smartphones, it's a little bit of a letdown to see a latest-generation BlackBerry sport VGA video capture. With anti-shake enabled, videos recorded had a decent amount of detail, but also looked less choppy thanks to its 24fps capture rate. On the other hand, you'll easily see the difference when it's off and it drops the rate to 23fps. Unfortunately, it's no high definition video recording, but at least the performance is more desirable over any other BlackBerry handset out there.

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 sample video with anti-shake at 640x480 pixels resolution.
RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 sample video without anti-shake at 640x480 pixels resolution.


Multimedia:

Such a refreshing sight to see, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 manages to present a reasonably good looking music player that provides a subtle graphical improvement in its presentation. Although it may  be a simplistic looking interface with common items like the album cover, artist, track title, and on-screen controls being displayed, you can quickly jump to playing a track by scrolling to the appropriate album cover a la Coverflow. The effect when moving about different albums looks pretty smooth with few instances of slowdown – making the whole process seem fine in execution. With the audio boost option enabled, sound from the speaker was powerful enough to be distinguished, but you can easily get a feel for the somewhat strained tones when high-pitched sounds are played.

Music player - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Music player - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

The video watching experience is your typical one as the BlackBerry Torch will play  continuously with no evidence of choppiness or lag for videos that tally in resolution close to the display. We were able to load a video encoded in MPEG-4 480 x 320 resolution with no problems at all, however, playing the same one in 640 x 480 resolution was a totally different experience. The handset struggled to keep pace with the video since it was clear that the audio from the clip did not sync up to what was on screen – plus, there was some noticeable choppy performance.

Video playback - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Video playback - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

For those media heavy users out there, RIM includes a 4GB microSD card for all your needs, but it easily pales in comparison to the minimum 8GB offerings from its rivals – however, it definitely beats relying on its 4096MB internal storage.


Software:

Out of the box, we were really impressed to see a handful of icons for various apps on the handset. However, our mood quickly changed when we began to find that they're simply links to their downloads – so they are technically NOT preloaded on the handset. Luckily the Torch plays to the strength of social networking individuals since it packs dedicated apps for Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter – all of which were quite proficient.. As we mentioned earlier in the review, there is also a “Social Feeds” app which aggregates all your social networking accounts in addition to the IM clients – which is the place where you're taken when you click on a notification.

Social networking - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Social networking - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Social networking - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review
Social networking - RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review

Location based apps such as AT&T Maps, AT&T Navigator, and Where are available to you – but keep in mind that they are not pre-installed on the phone as well. As always, any BlackBerry user will find the BrickBreaker game ready for some record attempts. All in all, you can download additional ones from App World, but just remember that not all apps developed for OS 5 will run on the Torch – you'll just have to sit back and wait until developers come around to upgrade them.

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 Review


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PhoneArena rating:
8Good
Display3.2 inches, 360 x 480 pixels (188 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
624 MHz
0.5 GB RAM
Size4.37 x 2.44 x 0.57 inches
(111 x 62 x 14.6 mm)
5.68 oz  (161 g)
Battery1300 mAh, 5.5 hours talk time

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