RIM BlackBerry Torch 9860 smartphone

BlackBerry Torch 9860 review: A touchscreen-only BlackBerry? Only for casual users

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Research In Motion BlackBerry Torch 9860
  • Research In Motion BlackBerry Torch 9860
  • Research In Motion BlackBerry Torch 9860
  • Research In Motion BlackBerry Torch 9860
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • Well built, great screen
  • Excellent Web browsing and interface

Cons

  • Touchscreen typing is imperfect
  • Hidden volume buttons

Bottom Line

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is a touchscreen-only smartphone like the iPhone or any generic Android. Given that the BlackBerry calling card has always been excellent physical keyboards (and excellent mail) we’re a bit confused as to the Torch’s purpose. The phone itself is built to a high standard and is powerful, but its imperfect touchscreen keyboard makes the Torch inferior to its tactile counterparts.

Would you buy this?

BlackBerry Torch 9860: Keyboard and typing

We realise that the Torch 9860 is a BlackBerry aimed at touchscreen ‘enthusiasts’, for want of a better word, but it’s still a BlackBerry and should sell itself on the excellence of its text input (among other things, of course). The keyboard of the Torch 9860 is not bad by any stretch — it’s better than the ones we’ve used on most Android smartphones — but it doesn’t have the same slickness and pin-point accuracy we’re used to on the iPhone 4 and Samsung Galaxy S II.

We wish the phone was a bit wider with square-shaped on-screen keys — currently they’re slightly too thin and can be hard to hit accurately 100 per cent of the time. The large screen comes to the BlackBerry Torch 9860’s aid for landscape touchscreen typing though, where the keys are larger and are arranged across almost the entire screen. The trackpad makes scrolling through typing (and therefore correcting your possible errors) thankfully easy.

We are talking from the perspective of a long-time iPhone user, so perhaps that is a factor. Anyone using the Torch 9860 as their first touchscreen smartphone should be happy with the key response and should quickly get used to the key spacing. The fact remains that for a user already familiar with touchscreen smartphones, the keyboard isn’t perfect and a better experience can be found on a different device. If we were buying a BlackBerry with a lot of typing in mind we’d almost certainly opt for the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

BlackBerry Torch 9860: Conclusion

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is a well designed, well constructed and well specced-up touchscreen smartphone. Its keyboard is our main pain point — and given that it’s a BlackBerry, made for heavy typists, we advise you to cautiously try before you buy.

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