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.
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.
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.
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.