RIM launches Blackberry Torch 9810, Torch 9860 and Bold 9900, we go hands-on!
Here they are folks. Months after we first got our hands on pre-release Torch and Bold Touch handsets, RIM is finally ready to show off its latest hardware. They’re all powered by a 1.2GHz processor, have 768MB of onboard RAM and — most importantly — run the latest operating system BB OS7.
RIM claims its new OS is 40 percent faster at browsing compared to OS6-based smartphones, and 100 percent faster than OS5 handsets. It also supports RIM’s Liquid Graphics technology, which uses a dedicated graphics processor for smoother scrolling, zooming and panning.
Hands-on impressions and video follow after the break.
The Torch 9810, aka the Torch 2, is perhaps the most exciting of the trio, thanks largely to its hybrid form factor. The basics are familiar from our previous hands-on with a pre-release handset. The 3.2-inch touchscreen slides up to reveal a keyboard that is mercifully bigger than the old Torch, but still nothing like the size of the chunky monster on the 9900. We were typing away in no time — our fingers proving quick to remember our good old days with the Bold 9700, which felt very similar. Browsing was a mixed-bag: the BBC News site rendered okay, but Engadget and some others didn’t. There was a tiny lag each time we zoomed in, with annoying and illegible place-holder text occupying the screen until it was ready to display things properly — which you’ll see in the video shortly. No such lags were present when navigating the main OS, however, with home screens, emails and contacts all panning and scrolling with perfect fluidity. The 5MP camera loaded quickly and seemed efficient — though we’ll reserve judgement until we can see actual photos at full size. While we don’t have official pricing for availability for any of these handsets, we do know that this particular model is coming to AT&T this month, and the other two handsets will follow later in the year.
We also got a quick play with the Torch 9860 (aka 9850 in some regions), with its large touchscreen-only form factor. This one’s for the media consumers out there, who’ll appreciate the relatively large and bright 3.7-inch screen. The new OS 7 is perfectly at home on this form factor, although the middle part of the main screen does look a bit strange when there’s so much empty real estate: basically, the middle section is just space for the pull-up apps screen or pull-down notifications screen to appear when you need them. We were desperate to pin some favorites or, dare we say it, widgets to that unused area, but it’s not possible.
We already know a lot about the 9900, which we’ve had plenty of hands-on time with, so a quick review of the basics should suffice. Aside from the common characteristics listed above, it boasts a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen with the highest DPI of the trio, HSPA+, NFC (embedded in the battery cover), a 2.8-inch a large QWERTY keyboard with reassuringly clunky keys. This one is aimed at the heavy typists, and we think they’ll fare fine with it.