BlackBerry Torch 9860
MRP: Rs 28,500
Street Price (As On 21-Nov-2011): Rs 27,500 (Letsbuy.com); Rs 28,000 (Saholic.com; Flipkart.com)
A BlackBerry without a QWERTY keypad sounds as weird as a Bollywood movie without a song. Seems like the 9860 wants to challenge touchscreen smartphones with its 3.7" display, powerful CPU, and a spanking new BlackBerry 7 OS. Nevertheless, is it good enough to stand a chance against the high-end Androids? More importantly, will the BB purist embrace this QWERTY-less mobile?
Design And Build Quality
The retail box comes with a phone, USB cable, charger, and earphones. No complimentary memory card, which is odd considering the internal storage is just 2.5 GB.
The device measures 4.7" (l) x 2.4" (w) x 0.5" (d), and weighs 135 grammes. It looks slightly bigger than other 3.7" mobiles due to its large bezel. The front is all glossy, which I personally don't find classy for a premium device. On the other hand though, the metallic back with its rubberised grip looks impressive.
Five physical buttons are present below the screen: [Call], [Hang-Up], [Menu], [Back], and an optical trackpad. These buttons are well-spaced, making sure you won't end up hitting the wrong keys.
The phone is powered by a 1.2 GHz CPU and has 768 MB of RAM. Other features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, a 5 MP camera, 3.5 mm jack, microSD card slot, a 1230 mAh battery, and a bunch of sensors.
The 3.7" LED-lit touchscreen has pixel dimensions of 800x480. The display is bright and produces crisp images. Viewing angles are also good, but a colour shift is noticeable at extreme inclinations. While the lack of Gorilla Glass is a downer, what's worse is that the screen is prone to scratches.
UI And Applications
The new BlackBerry OS has brought in colourful and touch-friendly icons. It's a welcome change; but the icons look slightly tacky and may not please corporate types. On the other hand, the transparent menu backgrounds look decent. Instead of multiple homescreens, the BB7 OS features a drawer that reveals apps and settings when slid upwards.
The status area at the top of the screen provides quick access to the cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth settings. Below that is a notification bar, which brings up a full-fledged notifications screen when touched. Multitasking support is present and you can switch between apps with a long press of the [Menu] button.
Although you can navigate using just the touchscreen, the trackpad provides a functional alternative. It is indeed useful where precision matters, especially while editing Word files in the Documents To Go app. Overall, the UI is fast, but I experienced random freezes occasionally. Moreover, the system became sluggish quite a few times while browsing the app store. Let's hope RIM will iron out these bugs soon.
The App World is where you can get apps for your BlackBerry. Unfortunately, the useful apps are paid, and their pricing is not friendly either. For example, the Wi-Fi hotspot app called Tether is priced at an atrocious Rs 1400! Thankfully, you also have free apps such as Zombie Attack (an Angry Birds rip-off), and Fruits and Ninja (a Fruit Ninja clone). The games are strictly ok, but surprisingly the 1.2 GHz CPU failed to run them smoothly.
The phone has a GPS receiver, but it constantly requires an internet connection. Navigation is taken care of by BlackBerry Maps, but those looking for voice guidance will be disappointed. The web browser is snappy, and makes good use of the CPU. It supports all the features of modern-day browsers, such as pinch-to-zoom, text reflow, etc. However, Flash-based sites are a no-go.
The music player's interface borrows heavily from the iPhone's Cover Flow. However, I'm not complaining as it makes for good eye candy. Equaliser presets are present, and the sound quality though the earphones is great.
The video player supports MP4, DivX, XviD, and WMV videos up to 720p. Strangely, it failed to play most 720p WMV videos, probably due to some codec issues. Overall though, the multimedia performance is great when compared to previous BlackBerrys.
The onboard 5 MP camera is accompanied by a single LED flash. It produces good images in daylight, correctly reproducing natural colours and a good amount of detail. However, the low-light performance is unimpressive, with the resultant images containing a lot of noise.
The device is also capable of 720p video recording at 30 fps. The video playback is mostly smooth, but clips can only be saved in the 3GP format.