BlackBerry Torch 9860 Hands-on

BlackBerry Torch 9860 Hands-on

BlackBerry Torch 9860

The BlackBerry Torch 9860 is the high-end full touch smartphone offered by Research In Motion. This is venturing into questionable territory for RIM since most of their customers actually prefer using BlackBerries primarily because of the physical QWERTY keypad. Their most successful attempt at something like this was the BlackBerry Torch 9800 which was a hybrid (slide-out keyboard). The older touchscreen-only Storm models failed miserably. It looks like RIM learned from their previous mistakes though and came up with a pretty solid offering with the Torch 9860. We’ve only spent less than a week with this device so we’ll do a hands-on first and we’ll do the full review next week once we’ve gotten more hours into it.

BlackBerry Torch 9860 Spec Sheet

  • 1.2GHz Qualcom CPU
  • 768MB RAM
  • Internal 4 GB storage, Expandable via micro-SD up to 32GB
  • 3.7-inches, 480×800 pixels (~252 ppi)
  • HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • 5 MP camera, 2592?1944 pixels, autofocus
  • Records 720p video
  • OS: BlackBerry 7
  • Standard battery, Li-Ion 1230 mAh

Hardware, Display, and Keypad

When I first opened the box and took out the unit my first impression was that the Torch 9860 looked like a bigger BlackBerry Curve 9380 (click here for our review)! That’s unavoidable though since the the Curve 9380 was the last smartphone from RIM that we reviewed here at Unbox. Anyway, don’t think that they’re the same. The Torch 9860 has a 3.7-inch display verus the Curve’s 3-inch display. It’s actually slightly bigger than the 3.5-inch display of the iPhone 4/4S. At the top of the screen you’ll find the BlackBerry logo and the capacitive buttons at the bottom. The controls (volume and sleep/wake) and ports are located at the sides.

Torch 9860 in the flesh!

A major difference with this verus the Curve 9380 by the way is the back. The Torch 9860’s back is the same as the BlackBerry Bold 9790 (click for our review) – smooth matte finish that’s pleasant to hold and easy to grip! The Curve 9380 had a plastic black back which was a magnet for fingerprints.

Back of the Torch 9860

An obvious upgrade as well is the better on-screen keypad because of the bigger display. With a 3.7-inch screen you have more surface area for the keys. I had a bit of a difficult time with the 3.0-inch screen of the Curve 9380 and ended up using it mostly in landscape. It’s much more comfortable to use the Torch 9860 in portrait for typing.

On-screen keypad of the Torch 9860

User Experience

Taking off from my previous point on bigger surface area, the Torch 9860 gives a much better over-all user experience as well with all the various applications and core phone functions. In fact some of the features like watching videos, listening to music, reading ebooks, gaming, social networking and browsing can outperform traditional form-factor BB’s like the Bold 9900 (click for our review) primarily because of the bigger screen. The best thing about full touch smartphones is that you can use the space for the physical keyboard for whatever application you’re running and this is very evident with the Torch 9860. When it comes to mashing out long e-mails or messages though nothing beats the traditional QWERTY BlackBerry keypad (in my personal opinon).

Big screen. Rawr!

Full Review Coming Soon!

That’s it for now! Expect our full review next week. We’ll spend time also checking out the BlackBerry App World and see if there are enough apps that were made to maximize the 3.7-inch display of the Torch 9860.

Disclosure: RIM through their local PR sent us the loaner review unit of the BlackBerry Torch 9860.

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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