Blackberry Torch 9800 Review: Week 1

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.

 

INTERFACE/SOFTWARE:

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.

 

PROBLEMS:

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 @ blackberry.com 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 blackberry.com 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.

 

DESKTOP MANAGER 6 NOTES

 

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

 

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Uploaded on August 13, 2010