RIM BlackBerry Torch 9860 review

RIM takes another stab at a touchscreen-only smartphone, but has the Torch 9860 caught up with the competition or has it already fallen behind the pack? Julian Prokaza finds out in our review.

Price
£299

The Torch 9860 is the second of RIM's new smartphones to feature its new BlackBerry OS 7 operating system, but it's a very different beast to the previously reviewed Bold 9900. Whereas the Bold 9900 was an elegant refinement of RIM's traditional Qwerty keyboard design, the Torch 9860 is an all-touchscreen smartphone that's obviously intended to compete against the iPhone.

RIM BlackBerry Torch 9860

The Torch 9860 isn't the first BlackBerry to do away with a physical keyboard. RIM first tried it with the Storm in 2008, but its awkward haptic display wasn't very good, to say the least. The subsequent switch to a capacitive multi-touch display for the Storm 2 did little to improve things either, though its failings were largely due to the inadequacies of the then-current BlackBerry OS5.

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RIM didn't abandon large multi-touch screens completely though, and earlier Torch devices were also so equipped, albeit with the safety net of a Qwerty keyboard hidden inside their slider designs. All this makes the Torch 9860 RIM's first solid attempt to go head-to-head with the iPhone since 2009 and this time it has the touchscreen-friendly BlackBerry OS 7 operating system to back it up.

The size and shape of the Torch 9860 are reminscient of the iPhone 3GS, with a similar squared-off appearance, but then there are only so many ways to design a touchscreen smartphone, after all. The design is essentially that of a BlackBerry Curve though, with the same bevelled top and bottom edges, plus the wide silver band that runs around the case's perimeter; the only real difference is that there's no physical Qwerty keyboard.

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