Product Type: Blackberry Smartphone
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Not good enough
Blackberry Torch 9800
Member Name: TheTallGuyUK
Blackberry Torch 9800
Date: 17/08/12, updated on 24/08/12 (14 review reads)
Advantages: Cheaper than other smartphones... though there's a reason for this
Disadvantages: Poorly designed, crashes, few apps available
I've had my BlackBerry Torch for just over a year and I'm counting down the months to when my contract expires. As my company provides my phone, I'm only able to choose a BlackBerry, unfortunately.
The good news is that it is much better than my previous model, the truly useless BlackBerry Storm, though that isn't particularly high praise. If you are after a basic level smartphone but you're not interested in much other than talking, texting and checking your email then I'm sure this would be fine. If you're after more than that, or if you have ever owned (or borrowed for 5 minutes) an iPhone or Android phone then the Torch will be a huge disappointment.
== Menus ==
Apps and other features are organised into a series of menus which can take up all or part of the screen as you wish. You can swipe left and right to move from one menu to another. These are as follows:
- ALL - lists all of the apps and features available (although some features are hidden within subfolders so you have to remember where some of them are hidden!)
- FAVOURITES - you can select certain apps to appear on this menu
- MEDIA - includes all the default media related apps such as music, video, pictures etc
- DOWNLOADS - any new app downloaded from the App Store appears in here
- FREQUENT - this menu includes the 16 most recently used apps in order of how much you use them, which means that apps frequently move around in this menu, increasing the amount of time it takes to find them.
There are very limited opportunities to reorganise these menus. Whilst you can move the position of apps around, and you can add apps to favourites, you can't create new menus or rename existing ones which is frustrating. Maybe I'm doing something wrong but I always find it takes much longer to track down a particular app on here compared to my iPod Touch where the menus are fixed yet customisable so I always know that a certain app is in a particular position on a particular page.
== Apps ==
If you've used Android or iOS apps, you'll be disappointed by what BlackBerry has to offer. Apps are comparatively very basic. There aren't that many to choose from (relatively speaking) and those that are available are expensive and limited in what they can do. Take the example of the BBC Olympics app. The iOS version is a very good, proper iPhone app with lots of information. The BlackBerry app is simply a link to the BBC website. Many BlackBerry apps are no more than hyperlinks. Other apps, like the Podcasts app which comes with the Torch, cannot be used in the UK and so are pointless.
== Speed ==
Slow. Even on WiFi, the Torch often seems to take an age to connect to websites or information on apps. Sometimes it just seems to give up altogether. The Torch regularly slows down to the point where it needs a full reset (involving taking the back off the phone and pulling the battery out, although a third party app is available which has a similar effect).
And quite often, the Torch just hangs - a spinning clock comes up on the screen whilst it stops everything it is doing, rendering the phone unusable for maybe a minute or more. This happens more often than it should, even if you're not doing anything especially difficult. It would seem that the phone just doesn't have anywhere near the memory it needs.
== Social Feeds ==
The Torch had what I thought was quite a useful feature where it collates your social networking and RSS news feeds. Useful until it turned out this was using data at an incredible rate (I've never understood how when it seems mainly text based to me) leading to a very nasty bill. So I've turned that off now.
== GPS ==
The Torch has inbuilt GPS (sat nav) which should be useful but is very hit and miss. It can often take a long time for it to find the satellites and regularly needs rebooting in order for it to do so. The advice on the BlackBerry website is that it may take 10 minutes to connect to the satellites. I couldn't believe it when I read this. If you find yourself lost whilst out and about, it will often be quicker to track a stranger down and ask them for directions than it is to wait for the BlackBerry to tell you. Of course, it isn't always that slow - and it can be known to be more or less instant - but it's certainly not a reliable feature.
== Rebooting ==
On the subject of rebooting, the battery pull feature described above reboots the phone completely and as I've mentioned, you need to do it a lot. But... doing so renders the phone unusable for an incredible length of time. I've never actually timed it but it must be at least 5 minutes and quite possibly more. Unless it is just "asleep" rather than fully turned off, the Torch doesn't power up quickly at all.
== Keyboard ==
The touchscreen keyboard is inaccurate, whilst the physical keyboard is fiddly with small keys.
Summary: Better options exist