BlackBerry Torch 9810 review
|Review: September 2011|
Last updated November 2012
In a nutshell: The Blackberry Torch 9810 is a hybrid touchscreen/QWERTY keyboard phone, bringing BlackBerry's core strengths in messaging and business communication into the twitter age. The new touchscreen-based BlackBerry 7 operating system makes it an easy phone to use, despite a relatively small screen, but it's looking very dated now.
It's been nearly a whole year since the release of the BlackBerry Torch 9800, so an upgraded version is a welcome move. The original Torch was a great phone, combining a touchscreen with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but it came with a sluggish processor and was priced too high, in our opinion, at the very top end of the market. We're pleased to report that these two deficiencies have been overcome with the Torch 9810.
Placing the 9800 and 9810 models side by side, it's hard to tell which is which. The original chrome finish has been replaced with brushed metal, but everything else is pretty much the same. The Torch 9810 is still bulky and weighs a ton (161g, if you want to be picky), but it makes a satisfying clunk when you place it on a desk during a business meeting.
The changes have been made inside, and the first one to note is the upgrade from the BlackBerry 6 OS to BlackBerry 7, in common with the BlackBerry Bold 9900. There's no great difference between 6 and 7, although the facebook and twitter apps have been improved and facebook has been much more closely integrated into the contacts. Icons are perhaps clearer, and there are some minor tweaks, but it's an evolution, not a great leap forward. Users of older BlackBerries should find the new touchscreen-driven OS easy to use with no steep learning curve.
The screen remains the same size, at 3.2 inches, but the resolution has been increased, bringing it nearer to what we'd expect from a high-end smartphone. The fact remains though that with a small display, the Torch is never going to be a match for the competition when it comes to multimedia. Instead its strength lies in its hybrid design, giving the benefit of a physical keyboard. You can't have both - you have to make a choice. At least the Torch has a bigger screen than the BlackBerry Bold 9900, thanks to the slide design.
One of the problems with the original Torch was its slow processor. In the 9810, the processor is nearly twice as powerful, running at 1.2GHz, and the difference in responsiveness is noticeable. There are no annoying lags when using the 9810, although it has nothing like the power of a modern high-end phone. Memory is adequate, with 8GB provided, plus the option to expand this to 40GB by adding a microSD memory card.
Connectivity is faultless, with a choice of Wi-Fi or HSPA for data transfer, 3G and quadband GSM for voice, and Bluetooth/USB for everything else. You can plug in a stereo headset with the 3.5mm audio jack, or use a wireless Bluetooth one. GPS is here too, and comes with BlackBerry Maps.
The core strength of all BlackBerries is in business apps and communications, and the 9810 doesn't let us down. It's all here, from secure email to BBM, and the improvements to facebook make mobile fb a much pleasanter experience too. All the core business apps are available too, either pre-installed or downloadable. Whilst the number of apps may be drastically less than for the iPhone, there are still plenty of useful ones. And some games too, when you need to waste some time.
The camera isn't at all bad. Of course, this isn't a core function of a BlackBerry, but it's definitely in the "nice to have" category, and it performs at least as well a expectations. The camera takes still shots at 5 megapixels, and videos at 720p HD resolution, which is an improvement over the original Torch. The music player performs well enough too, as does the video player.
When it comes to web browsing, the Torch 9810 does a fair job, but this really isn't the best platform for the web. Even with pinch-and-zoom control, 3.2 inches is only just adequate when it comes to screen size. Having said that, it's definitely a better experience than the original Torch, with the enhanced screen resolution and faster processor, and it's better than the Bold too, which has an even smaller screen.
Call quality, signal and battery life are all excellent, just as with the original Torch.
We wouldn't want you to come away with the impression that we dislike the Torch 9810. We like it very much. It's a good incremental improvement over the Torch 9800, which was itself a good phone. The new Torch brings an updated OS, a faster processor, more memory, a higher resolution screen and HD video recording. It keeps everything that was good about the original Torch, especially its fine QWERTY keyboard. The thing is, the Torch's hybrid design is the source of both its strengths and its weaknesses. On the positive side, it's a high quality, solidly built business phone with the twin benefits of a physical QWERTY keyboard and a decently-sized touchscreen. On the negative, it's heavy and bulky, without offering the really big screens of most high-end smartphones.
One year after launch and it's looking very dated in comparison with modern smartphones.
BlackBerry Torch 9810 features include:
- 5 megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, image stabilisation and 2.5x digital zoom
- 720p HD video recording
- Display: Touchscreen, 640 x 480 pixels, 3.2 inches, user selectable font size
- Media player (MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMA and other audio formats supported)
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, instant messaging, push email with attachment viewer
- Built-in speakerphone
- Voice dialling
- Voice memo recorder
- MP3 ringtones with LED and on-screen indicators and vibration alert
- GPS with BlackBerry Maps
- Personal organiser functions
- Memory: 8GB memory plus support for microSD card up to 32GB
- Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, USB, RIM wireless modem, 3.5mm stereo headset port
- Internet: Web browser, social media
- Size: 111 x 62 x 14.6 mm (when closed)
- Weight: 161g
- Quadband GSM plus 3G HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE
- Battery: 1300 mAh
- Talktime: 5.5 hours
- Battery standby: 310 - 410 hours
BlackBerry Torch 9810 user reviews
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Average rating from 9 reviews:
Reviewed by Ismael from UK on 12th Sep 2012
Using the phone for nearly a year now... absolutely amazing! Does what you want a phone to do, and does it well.
Has touchscreen and keypad functions to help in any situation, fast processor and hasnt crashed yet! With optimised settings running on 7.1 get around day and a half before battery depleted.
Upgraded to 32GB SDcard, running multiple apps and with over 13,000 messages phone works fine under moderate/heavy usage.
Cant recommend phone enough for those who want a phone to do what a phone was supposed to do.
Reviewed by mk from uk on 6th Apr 2012
I have been having problems with my Blackberry Torch 9810 since upgrading in December 2011.
The problems began 16 days into my new upgrade.
The recommendation of the Blackberry Torch 9810 was by my networks member of staff and it came about after informing him what I required. He confidently told me that the Blackberry Torch 9810 fits the bill and will be perfect for my requirements.
The first 5 days, the mobile worked perfectly and then after that it started freezing, switching off during mobile calls etc, which caused problems for me because the mobile would switch off during business calls.
I requested a different Blackberry model/make because it worried me that a new mobile would have so many problems in such a short period of time and I was guaranteed that the phone I had was a ‘very good phone’ and that I should not have any further problems, and that the mobile I had was probably part of a ‘bad batch’. Taking his word for it I left with another brand new Blackberry Torch 9810.
It was less than a month later when the problems occurred again in the new mobile I was given. I requested a replacement of the model and they told me to take the mobile into the store I bought it in and they will send the mobile for repairs. The mobile was sent for repairs and it was 18 days later that I was able to go and collect my mobile. It was only 3 weeks later after the phone was 'repaired' and i was told 'the phone should work perfectly now' that the Blackberrt Torcg 9810 started:
• Switching itself off- even during mobile calls- and the rebooting itself
• Freezing, resorting in being unable to switch off mobile to reboot. Could only be rebooted by taking out battery. The longest the mobile remained frozen was for 14 hours.
• Lost connection- mobile will have no reception at all. Mobile calls can’t be made, internet can’t be accessed. The longest the mobile lost connection and was unusable was for 24 hours. I fixed this problem by switching off mobile for 15 mins then switching it back on
By this point I had enough, and after much squabbling with my network they offered an exchange. Burnt by the blackberry i was offered the samsung sII. Fingers crossed, the problems and nightmares will stop with Blackberry!
Reply by bill from uk on 11th Jun
same happended to me
Reply by Jon from UK on 19th Jun 2012
Maybe the actual battery was the problem?
Reviewed by Lp from england on 10th Mar 2012
only got my blackberry torch 9810 yesterday. but so far so good if you want a phone that can do everything and can do it well. then the torch can certainly provide that wheather its text messages or emails on the go or even browsing the web its great at doing them all. not only do you get the best of both worlds with a fantasticlly clear bright touch screen you also get a great qwerty keyboard for those long emails texts or when putting that 1.2GHz processer to good use when browsing the web.and with 3g support you know you can rely on it when you need that important email or information from the web. and when doing the old fashioned thing making a phone call the 9810 can do this also just as good as any other. so overall i give this phone 10/10.
Reviewed by Joel Morán
on 12th Feb 2012
I switched my 9780 for the 9810 after reading like a 100 reviews,the upgrade from the 9800 it's quite big,i've tried the 9800 and i've noticed the 9810 it's faster,has a way better touchscreen,pinch to zoom,navigation,everything it's better,at first i could'nt get use to the battery drain a little faster than my previous phone,but after researching i manage how to increase my battery power for a longer time,i highly recomend this phone,opinion af an ex-iPhone 4 user who has all he wanted,a good touchscreen and slider with RIM Service.
Reviewed by Capers from UK on 6th Jan 2012
Love it? What more could you ask for in a phone. It ticks all the boxes for me.
Reviewed by Ali from UK on 10th Dec 2011
Just got my new BB9810 in white on the Vodafone network... Very pleased!! Battery lasts about a day on heavy usage, network is excellent and overall the phone is great! Much faster then previous models, easy to set-up and not as bulky as most think. Upgraded from the android - less fun more business orientated. A few issues though (1) emails could have more advanced syncing options (2) touch-pad needs to be cleaned often. Had the choice between this and 9900 - I made the right choice. Never crashed or went crazy but needs to be updated like most smart-phone 24/7 :)
Reviewed by Fluttz from uk on 6th Dec 2011
Ive had this phone for several months now. ive been a fan of blackberry for a while now and upgraded from the bold 2. I love the touchscreen aspect as it is easier to navigate through menus and on the browser. It is much faster and smoother. doesnt feel bulky at all. there is one thing that is annoying. every so often the phone freezes and I have to wait a minute or so for it to catch up! and sometimes I give up and take the battery out for a reboot. however even though it has this 'weakness' I still love it. just not sure how long its going to last! although, I have dropped it a few times, so it might be that! has anyone else had this problem?
Reviewed by Angel from UK on 26th Oct 2011
Received my torch 9810 a week ago after being an avid android fan. And I have to say that for as long as bb do slide phones with buttons I will stay with bb! I absolutely adore this phone I have missed using buttons and being able to end calls immediately without having to wait for the screen to come back to life during calls you have so much more control over the phone and it feels more 'there' in your hand. Everything about this phone is fantastic and although there aren't as many apps for bb the selection grows everyday and I have found great subs for any android app so if you are umming and ahing as to whether to make the switch I highly recommend that you do lol! Brilliant phone well done bb another converted ex android follower!!
Reviewed by Michael from UK on 26th Sep 2011
It was upgrade time and I was torn between this and the 9900! The 9900 definetly wins looks wise (and keyboard), however, I found the 9810 better function wise when I tried them both in the shop. The 9810's browser is much improved over the original torch and the review above is spot on. I found the screen zize more than enough for casual browsing. The screen on the 9900 seems better but to small for comfortable browsing. Battery life is great on mine (Voda) and lasts 1.5 days with considerable usage (1 hour calls, few dozen txts, BBM, 30mis browsing) but with WIFI switched off. One thing also is the camera; the 9810 wipes the floor with the 9900! I tested them both and the 9810 has auto focus while the 9900 is fixed and gives blury results for close-up & motion photo's. If you want a better blackberry browsing experience, better camera and can make do with the adequate (but not great) keyboard then this BB is the one!