The BlackBerry Torch 9800: Beyond the Hype

We did an initial comparison between the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and the iPhone 4 yesterday after the final technical specs were released and the release version got a hands on. Let’s look a little beyond the hype today and I will let you know of what you should look out for before you go out and grab one of these beauties. No smartphone is perfect and yes, the Torch 9800 does have some flaws.

Before the Apple fanboys jump on here and start spamming “told you so” and “antennagate is a lie created by BlackBerry!” Let me clarify. Nothing in the Torch 9800 is anything similar to the ‘antennagate’ and the newest smartphone from Research In Motion (RIM) is an excellent piece of hardware. You will have to decide for yourself if it is the right phone for you.

Problem #1: The screen resolution

Let’s be honest here. The screen on the Torch 9800 is a little underwhelming. We have been spoiled by some of the newest screens that have come out on flagship smartphones and RIM decided that its users did not really need a screen with pixels so small they were indistinguishable from each other. While the screen is not bad by any means, it is not great either. If video is your thing, then you might want to pass this up and wait until that rumored Storm 3 comes out. If email, appointments and BlackBerry Messenger is what you do, then you will probably not care that much.

Problem #2: The processor speed

The processor in the Torch 9800 is the same as is in the Bold 9700. While the initial tests of the Torch yesterday showed it to be a tad sluggish sometimes, the software is most certainly not in its final form and you can expect it to run quite nicely. However, I can name at least three smartphones on the market with 1GHz processors and there are even rumors of an Android phone that will have a dual-core processor. If killer apps are your thing, or multitasking a number of processor intensive apps are something that you simply have to do, then you might want to take pause.

Problem #3: The ‘wow’ factor

No HDMI out, no front facing camera, no 720p video recording, and no mobile hotspot abilities, the BlackBerry Torch lacks all of them. Basically, there is no wow factor. OS 6, multitouch and a sliding physical keyboard that is much better than the Palm Pre’s are all good things. But if you were looking for a feature to brag about to your friends, it is not here. Unless of course you count the fact that your data is still far, far more secure than anyone else’s.  Long story short, it is about time RIM came out with features like these.

Readers may think that I am being a little mean here. Sorry, but I have certainly beaten up on the iPhone 4 on a nearly daily basis since its launch. While we will have to wait to see how everything works out when the Torch goes on sale through AT&T on August 12th, this is not the BlackBerry that is going make everyone trade in their smartphone for. Customers who need a BlackBerry will love it, I am sure some people will trade in their iPhone or Android OS phone for it, and I am sure that this RIM will sell plenty of these.  However, these are some things you should be aware of before you decide to purchase one.

Also, take a look at the new commercial for the Torch. It certainly does look sexy.


Let us know what you think guys and girls. Does the Torch 9800 have the stuff it needs to bring RIM back to the top?

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