Blackberry Torch 9800 Review: Week 1

    Newer Older

    Updates are in the comments below.

    Photo taken with the phone - why isn't the device info in the exif data? There's no setting in the camera options that I can see and it worked fine with my Bold. UPDATE: it works with the 4th phone (see the Mercedes Sprinter pic about 5 photos after this one).

    So here are my initial impressions of the Torch. My smartphone background: Pearl to Curve to Nexus One to 9700 Bold.

    HARDWARE: nice - the phone is sleek but rather weighty. My not-large fingers hit the bottom of the top slide quite a bit while typing on the top line of the physical keyboard, so it's crammed (with the Otterbox case on). Not sure why they decided on a plastic camera cover that touches - and is therefore easily scratched by - whatever surface the phone is lying on if not in a case, though.

    PHONE: I hear tinny feedback when I talk. I expected the same excellent BB phone, but this is not it.

    SCREEN RESOLUTION: Not fantastic, not as nice as the 9700 (but bigger). Not horrible either. Tracking (accuracy of touch) seems pretty good.

    CAMERA: sucks somewhat for a 5 MP camera. I lost b/w, sepia and macro functionality that existed on the 9700 v 5 (sad about that) but gained many modes (party, closeups, outside, portrait, snow, etc.). The quality of the HTC/Android camera is far superior at the same MP level.

    The UI is very nice, quite an upgrade. Very Android-like. The application management UI is top notch.
    The Facebook app seems like an upgrade but since configuring it on my phone, I don't get all the gmail notices I previously did, nor to the device as I have specified.
    The Gmail app is the same as my previous BBs - still no html. :(
    Social Feeds (aggregates all social feeds) is kinda cool and easy/intuitive to set up.
    Twitter app is nice, but I don't use twitter much.
    Profiles (notices, ringtones, etc.) are easy to configure many different ways.
    WiFi works great.
    AWESOME select text tools.
    Can multiselect photos for sending.

    Lockups: first one was after I set the encryption on the device memory, I received a call on my office phone (forwarded to this phone) that never showed up due to a process locking the phone up - there was a notice on the screen saying this could take a while. Second lockup was during video recording - I could not play videos I'd recorded - that cleared on its own after a while. Interface sluggish on beginning of day 2 - it took a long time for touches or key presses to work.

    YouTube error upon uploading a video and getting "incorrect password" error the first time: A connection cannot be established to YouTube server (403). I checked my account online and I'm signed in via Google - I was able to log in using my gmail e-mail as the username and google password. I uploaded the video then although I'm showing 3G network can't get to the internet (thru App World, Google Mobile, Browser, etc.).

    In setup, I clicked ATT Address Book and received the error: Uncaught exception: supplied contact isn't linked for this application then the icon disappeared after I clicked ok on the error. It's back after rebooting, but then gave me a cannot connect error several times. Tried again and went back to the exception.

    I haven't changed any settings and now my screen won't sleep nor autolock (which I set to 2 minutes, password required). This cleared up on its own later.

    On Day 2: I pulled the battery/sim card due to sluggishness upon unlocking - you'll need a quarter or something to get the battery out. I bet an eraser would help get the sim out - they did a good job with microsizing everything. Takes 2 minutes to boot back up. It seems to be locked up - I can't enter my password to unlock it. The only thing that gets the screen to show is opening the keyboard - inputs don't work (keyboard, touch or buttons at the bottom of the screen) but I can get calls and notices of sms/e-mail. Then I was able to get in by pushing the volume keys but only when the keyboard was hidden so I had to type on the screen, but now that it autolocked I'm back to square 1. Re-rebooting resolved it - for now.

    In Setup when I click any icon in the Help and Tutorials section except Tutorials I get the error Error displaying content for: cod://net_rim_bb_help_9800_series_en/ Error message 404 (truncated) The fourth phone does not have this problem.

    When I use the search function, I receive the message "Indexing...Search results may be incomplete." This has been the message for two days and I can't figure out how to check the indexing status.

    Flickr app @ meets the requirements for this phone (it says) so I install it then cannot find it to run it even after searching the phone. It's showing in the apps list but I can't run it. I deleted it, reinstalled and rebooted. I noticed a nondescript "application updater" had appeared. In it, a message says "You must update the following applications to use them with BlackBerry Device Software 5.0. Flickr is listed. I clicked it and chose update. It said "Installing Flickr..." for several minutes. It told me it was installed successfully and asked me to reboot, which I did. I search for it and it's not on the phone. Sigh.

    DEVICE NOTES: long pressing on blank spaces of different tray tiles gets different full menu options (same as pressing the menu key I guess): on media: explore, memory use and media options are included; on downloads and frequent - nothing happens when long pressing - sometimes; on all I don't have enough room.

    Opera Mini gave an error when I tried to download it, something about a jar file - ended up loading Opera Mini for Blackberry and it has sporadic touchability and no multitouch.

    No FB chat app?

    No bar code reader in the camera app?

    BeWeather Free is awesome and I'm planning to buy the full version if I keep the phone.

    For screencap check out the free CaptureIt program (won't work using the menu key to capture a popup error message).

    I would have hoped an upgrade would be to explain the application in detail for which there was a pre-installed link before agreeing to a long "going to the web now" terms and downloading the software.

    Other preloaded links to apps: Snap - what is it? It says it's made by Exclaim Mobility. I searched for the company and the app and there are no matches; google really doesn't return any helpful info either. The Exclaim website has the most minimal of info (says it launches mid-August - of what year?) and throws the acronym UGC around as though everyone knows what it is. Where - is not listed in App World from the phone but is from the web.


    Here is my note about the DM6 help file being incorrect about mobile internet (tethering).

    1. julesagogo 57 months ago | reply

      On Day 5, I lost data-bility. Very long story short after talking/chatting with half a dozen ATT/RIM techs, multiple diagnostic tests (manage connections-mobile network options-menu key-diagnostics test-menu key-run), deleting 2 IPPP service books (options-device-advanced-service book), a couple of re-registrations (options-device-advanced-host routing table-menu key-register now), a few service book sends from the network and consequent battery/sim pulls - I took it to the store where we were able to browse the web after they pulled the battery however still no bb icon near 3G nor pin messages or e-mail coming through. New SIM: No go. Next phone: the keys below the screen didn't work. I'm on the third phone. Much less tinny sounding (with/without the Otterbox Case or screen up/down) but screen was going on/off while I was leaving the store - it's quite loose. The manager called later and said he could hear it when I jiggled the phone (keyboard showing). I'm charging the battery and not installing apps in preparation for returning it for the fourth one.

    2. julesagogo 57 months ago | reply

      Phone number 4: so far so good after a few hours...not as much jiggle in the screen but now I'm sensitive to it. I had the equivalent of a BSoD on the way out of the store (App Error 503 - reset, I think). Pulling the battery fixed it, but later the buttons below the screen stopped working - battery pull fixed that too.

      4GB of music I had transferred to my 8GB card (not using sync) using the original phone as a USB drive was deleted in the process.

    3. 57 months ago | reply

      This is shocking to read. I've been looking forward to the phone for quite some time (I live in Canada and we don't have a release date yet), but this is absurd. I had to get three different Bold 9000 models before I got one without any problems but now the trackball doesn't work half the time and the device restarts itself when it feels like it. Maybe a software upgrade will fix some of the problems you mentioned. So do you think the sliding mechanism is something that will get loose quickly since some of the units out of the store have had issues?

    4. julesagogo 57 months ago | reply

      I'm thinking it will; you may want to wait for generation #2 before buying or stay within the return timeframe/requirements. I have 30 days to decide if I want it, so I'm using those days. After that, RIM's warranty and my AMEX purchase protection/extended warranty should cover it.

      My 9700 Bold, Curve and Pearl worked fine,* so I'm not sure what the deal is with this phone. Check the BB support forum for more info.

      *The Pearl's earphone stopped working at 1 year and 2 weeks but AMEX's extended warranty took care of it.

    5. 57 months ago | reply

      good to know, thanks. I'll still end up picking one up and will make sure I have a way of giving it back if things go wrong.

    6. julesagogo 57 months ago | reply


      GPS and device info are in the EXIF data on this last phone.

      Last night the phone locked so that the only thing I could make it do was show the password block by moving the screen up - nothing else would work (touching screen, keyboard, keys below screen). Several times I'd have to wait a couple of minutes then I could unlock it. Good thing I didn't have to make an emergency call.

      From the camera application, I'd touch the previous photo to view it but could not - there was an icon like a car wheel in the top left. This was the case for the 4 photos I'd taken on this device - the others I'd taken previously were visible. A battery pull fixed it.

      The more I use it the more the screen rattle bothers me. This should slide rather snugly and not feel loose.

    7. julesagogo 56 months ago | reply

      Phone 4: I only loaded google apps and CaptureIt this time. I couldn't open a animated radar due to a "not enough memory error" (the viewing of which was not an issue on my 9700). I deleted some optional apps in an effort to help. It lost the ability to send/receive data and the AT&T rep said the only thing that could fix it was a master reset, so I took it back.

      Phone 5: Screen is tighter, keyboard is louder (crinkly sounding when typing or running fingers over it), tinniness exists on any call type except speaker (with Skull Candy headset or normal with screen up/down), people are constantly asking me to repeat myself as though they can't hear me well. Still getting sluggishness (camera app acted funky during photos one day as well - part of overlay missing, touching the last photo taken would not bring it up, taking exxxtra long to snap a photo) I believe this one is going back, and this time I'm not getting a replacement, because although the leaked update supposedly fixes it, AT&T nor Blackberry have officially released it. I will miss O/S 6 and a touch screen but not the other problems. It was kind of a relief to go back to the 9700 for several days before I got this one.

    8. dirkmanuel 56 months ago | reply

      Appreciate your commentary. I'm onto my second Torch. The first lasted less than a week before going into a constant reboot cycle. This one has been good so far, although some apps don't work. I can't install Flickr - it always goes directly to the 'Uninstalled' list. Apart from these minor quirks I do love it and wouldn't go back to my Bold 9000.

    9. 55 months ago | reply

      I got the Torch and I've been using for about a week now. Here in Canada we had it released with an updated version of OS6 and the phone's been amazing. The combo of touchscreen, keyboard and especially a trackpad is great.

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts