With just a 600MHz processor, Web surfing on the Torch is surprisingly – no, shockingly – sluggish. Web-optimized sites can take up to 10 seconds to load, three times longer than on the iPhone, while non-optimized sites can take nearly 30 seconds to completely load.
In additional, signal retention is far less consistent than on the iPhone. While riding on an elevated train in New York City, the iPhone retained 3G connectivity while the Torch slipped to EDGE; and while coming into an underground station, the iPhone retained 3G connectivity longer and restored connectivity sooner than the Torch.
The Torch’s 5-megapixel camera may be its best feature. It snaps colorful, crisp pictures, geo-tagged outdoors, with little of the spotty off-center blurriness found on many cell cam images. Torch’s torch – er, flash – does a great job of illuminating subjects without overwhelming them, and most indoor shots are crisper than from other recent cameras.
VGA videos are bit a disappointing. The Torch shoots at 24 instead of 30 frames per second, with too much smudgy pixilation, even without blowing up the image.
RIM rates the Torch at 5.5 hours of talk time, but we always had plenty of life left after a full day of real-life usage.
The Blackberry Torch’s kludgy touch interface will not attract a single defector back to BlackBerry, and current BlackBerry users will not like the less responsive flush Torch keyboard. As such, it really doesn’t matter how advanced the new BB OS 6 is compared to previous BlackBerry touch attempts, or how good the camera is. RIM’s ads are correct: The Torch is the most advanced BlackBerry yet. It’s just not necessarily a better BlackBerry, or a competitor to phones running more sophisticated touch operating systems like Apple iOS and Google Android.
- Bright, colorful, 3.2-inch LCD touchscreen
- BlackBerry 6 OS
- Vertical slide QWERTY
- 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
- 4GB built-in memory; 4GB card pre-installed
- Functionality not completely compatible with touch
- Slow Web surfing
- Flat physical QWERTY keys
- Poor network connectivity
- Smaller screen than smartphone competitors