With the HTC Evo, Samsung Galaxy S (AT&T Captivate/T-Mobile Vibrant) and Apple iPhone 4 out in the market, RIM’s (Research In Motion) response and move to keep them in the smartphone game is the release of the BlackBerry Torch 9800.
Aside from the new interface, new Web browser and a number of new apps, what makes the Torch unique is that its the first and only BlackBerry to offer both a touch screen and slide-out keyboard. These features gives the user the option to choose between a physical keyboard or a virtual keypad, making it an ideal choice for users who type a lot – chatting or sending email or text messages all day. The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is only the second BlackBerry device that runs on BlackBerry OS 6.
- 3.2” HVGA+ touch screen (480×360)
- Font size (user selectable)
- Light-sensing and proximity detecting screen
Camera & Video Recording
- 5 MP camera
- Continuous auto-focus
- Image stabilization
- 11 scene modes
- 2X digital zoom
- VGA (640×480) video recording
Battery & Battery Life
- 1300 mAHr removable/rechargeable lithium-ion cell
- Standby Time: GSMÂ® – up to 18 days, UMTS – up to 14 days
- Talk Time: GSM – up to 5.5 hours, UMTS — up to 5.8 hours
- Music Playback: up to 30 hours
- Video Playback: up to 6 hours
Data Input & Navigation
- Trackpad located on front face of device, ESC key to the right, Menu key to the left
- Touch screen with on-screen keyboard: portrait SureTypeÂ®, QWERTY and multi-tap, landscape QWERTY
- Slide-out QWERTY keyboard with backlighting
Voice Input & Output
- 3.5mm stereo headset capable
- Integrated speaker and microphone
- Hands-free headset capable
- Bluetooth headset capable
- Integrated hands-free speakerphone
- M3, T3 (open position only) Rating for hearing aids (PDF)
- Windows Media DRM 10 for music & video
- Video format support: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV3
- Audio format support: MP3, AMR-NB, AAC-LC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMV, Flac, Ogg Vorbis
- Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR; Headset, Handsfree, Serial Port Profile, Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP), SIM Access Profile, Dial-up Networking and Messaging Access Profile.
- Bluetooth Stereo Audio (A2DP/AVCRP)
- 512 MB flash memory / 512 MB SDRAM
- 4 GB eMMC + 4 GB media card included
- Expandable memory — support for microSD card up to 32 GB
- 802.11 b/g/n
- WPA / WPA2 Personal and Enterprise
- Cisco CCX certified
- Wi-Fi access to BlackBerryÂ® Enterprise Server
- Wi-Fi access to BlackBerry Internet Bundle
- Support for UMA (carrier-dependent)
- Tri-band 3G UMTS networks: 2100/1900/850/800 MHz
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Initial reviews from all over the Internet all point out that the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the best smartphone BlackBerry has ever produced to date. However, it seems being the best BlackBerry smartphone won’t be enough to beat the iPhone and other top smartphones or even capable of winning over iPhone users or users of some of the best Android-powered smartphones.
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 will be available here in the US via AT&T on August 12th and will retail for $199 with a two-year contract.
What do you think of the BlackBerry Torch 9800? For the same price, would you pick it over an iPhone 4, Samsung Captivate or other new Android-powered smartphone? Please share your thoughts.