Verizon to release the Torch 9850 tomorrow
You might recognize the above device as the BlackBerry Torch 9850, the full-touchscreen handset that RIM announced last month. Sprint was first to the gates, releasing the device on August 21st for $150. Verizon is the latest to announce the device. They’ll sell it for $200 starting on Thursday. The Torch 9850 is unlike any device that RIM has yet released. It borrows some features from other handsets, but it has a distinctly different feel. I got a chance to review the unit. Here are a few impressions. The touchscreen The only device that this really compares to is the Torch 9800 and 9810. That is, it has the same touchscreen feel. Gone is the old SurePress technology that drove the BlackBerry Storm. In fact, it appears that RIM wanted to distance itself from that stigma. Hence naming this device the Torch rather than the Storm. What I dig about this is that it takes the Torch touchscreen, which I loved, and blows it up. The Torch 9850 has a smooth screen that bests even the Torch 9810 (the size helps). I’ve really taken to this one. It makes me wonder why the Storm ever existed in the first place. My favorite aspect of the screen, though, is the resolution. RIM put some more work into the screen quality this time around, and it really shows. Videos on this device are crisp and clear, coming through better than even the Android device I have. If I had to choose between the two for watching a movie or TV show, I’d choose the Torch in a heartbeat. Device feel As for the physical device, it feels very natural sitting in my palm. It’s thinner than the previous line of BlackBerry smartphones, making it easy to interact with the touchscreen. It’s also only slightly taller and wider than previous BlackBerry models. In fact, it’s hard to hold the device and, from a purely physical standpoint, not make an iPhone comparison. It really has that thin feel to it. The only complaint I have here are the physical buttons. The smooth touchscreen interface just makes them feel out of place. They’re also very firm, which adds to the unnaturalness. Given how smoothly the operating system runs, I’m absolutely certain that RIM could have removed these buttons completely and still have a product that people would use. Software It seems pointless to go on about BlackBerry 7, since I did so in the Torch 9810 review
. There is literally no difference between the two devices in terms of software. That is to say, it’s still behind the pack, but it’s adequate for what it does. The faster processor also helps.